Speaker Bios & Information
(speakers listed alphabetically)
Innovator, author and accessibility advocate Mike Calvo’s vision for making affordable products and services to help people with disabilities began in 2001 when he founded the Serotek Corporation – The Accessibility Anywhere People. Mike led Serotek to become the industry’s pioneer of accessible, cross-platform cloud-based products and services for blind and visually impaired people, world-wide. Mike publicly challenged adaptive equipment and software companies to join his quest to make accessible products affordable for blind and visually impaired people, providing the never seen before “free lifetime software product update” for Serotek products.
Mike also founded and serves as Director of the Accessibility is a Right (AIR) Foundation. The AIR Foundation is a not-for-profit organization, whose mission is to advocate, teach, and deliver tools that promote accessibility as a fundamental human right. He is the author of the Amazon e-book, Cloudy with a Chance of Profit, a historical and predictive look at the affects cloud technology has, and will have, on world culture and global business. Today, Mike Calvo, along with Pneuma Solutions’ Cofounder Matt Campbell, have taken accessible cloud-based solutions where they’ve never gone before: to the network infrastructure level. Building accessibility at the network level, coupled with machine learning, Mike continues to build on his original vision for a more accessible world for blind and print disabled individuals world-wide.
Dr. Steven Hunt is a leading expert in the field of Supported Employment. Steven began his work with Briggs and Associates as a career specialist and currently serves as a Region Director for Floyd, Bartow and parts of Cobb and Paulding counties, in Georgia. During his tenure with Briggs & Associates, Steven has proven to be very successful in both securing employment for individuals with disabilities as well as helping them to maintain those jobs. Dr. Hunt serves as a lead trainer for new staff within Briggs & Associates as well as an expert trainer of staff from other agencies.
Dr. Hunt is a National Speaker providing research-based insights and guidance to Supported Employment organizations both large and small, on a state and local level. Steven earned a Doctor of Psychology degree from the University of The Rockies, with an emphasis on Mental Health Administration. When asked, Steven said his greatest passion is supporting individuals in reaching their fullest potential.
Dr. Penny Jennings joined Greyston as vice president of strategic programs in January, 2021, responsible for leading the Center for Open Hiring and the Workforce Development and Community Wellness programs. She also plays a vital role in collaborating with other members of Greyston's leadership team on a host of strategic initiatives focused on expanding the organization's impact in the community. Penny has developed the Greyston Employment Opportunity Center, which serves as a ONE STOP SHOP for all employment needs, including occupational training, job placement, staffing and replication of the famous Greyston Open Hiring model.
Before joining Greyston, Penny was executive director of strategic initiatives at SUNY - Rockland Community College, where she was responsible for all non-credit course offerings, workforce development programs, ESL programs and external partnerships. She also was director of the Rockland County Career Center, where she incorporated strategies to strengthen partnerships with local businesses to increase client/student job placement outcomes, and identify opportunities for individuals with barriers to employment. Prior to her work at the career center, Penny served as Rockland County’s Human Rights Commissioner. She has served as Chief Compliance Office and Director of Community Development, Rockland County. Penny earned a Ph.D. from Northeastern University, as well as a master's degree in social policy, and a bachelor's in business management and economics.
Claire Lachance serves as the CEO of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, leading a team of world-renowned scientists and experiential program professionals located in Northern California.
Prior to joining IONS in 2016, Claire was founder and president of Inspiration Quest, Inc. where she led the delivery of comprehensive management consulting services to hundreds of nonprofit organizations, foundations, public agencies, and social entrepreneurs. Earlier in her career, Claire held executive positions at Pacific Bell and MetLife. She earned an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA (magna cum laude) in Economics from Tufts University.
Ashlea Lantz is the Senior Consultant with Griffin-Hammis Associates, a full service consultancy that specializes in building communities of economic cooperation, creating high performance organizations, and focuses on disability and employment. She provides training and technical assistance around Customized Employment, Supported Employment, Benefits Planning and agency capacity building. Ashlea helps support the Center for Self-Employment, a 5-year Rehabilitation Service Administration, Innovative Training grant that GHA received in the Fall of 2020. Ashlea has worked with various states including Alabama, Iowa, Maryland, Missouri, New Mexico and Utah. Projects include working with Utah on their Partnerships in Employment grant focusing on transition age youth and Iowa’s Employment First State Leadership Mentoring Project focusing on provider capacity building through the Office of Disability Employment Policy. In May of 2015, Ashlea transitioned from being a service provider to a consultant. In addition to her work with Griffin-Hammis Associates, Ashlea also worked as a Project Coordinator with the Iowa Coalition of Integrated Employment.
Previously, Ashlea Lantz was the Director of Employment at Candeo in Johnston, Iowa. Ashlea started her career after college as a Job Developer at Candeo and quickly moved into the coordinator role, where in just four years she more than tripled Candeo’s supported employment both in the number of employees and number of clients served. Candeo is a 100% community organization – the organization does not have any segregated employment and does not operate group homes. Ashlea is the past president of Iowa APSE; she is part of Iowa’s Employment First State Leadership Mentor Program leadership team and a member of the Olmstead Consumer Taskforce. Ashlea also has served as the Secretary and current Vice President of Association of Community Rehabilitation Educators (ACRE). In 2021 Ashlea helped to organize the Iowa Harkin Summit on Disability Employment as the committee chair and facilitated peer to peer business mentoring to businesses to diversify their hiring practices. Ashlea is a certified benefits planner through Virginia Common Wealth University, and she completed the Certified Employment Support Professional certification in 2013. In addition, Ashlea completed her Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling at Drake University at the end of 2015 and is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor.
Justice Shorter joined NDRN in February 2019 as its Disaster Protection Advisor, readily available to support the Protection & Advocacy system with technical assistance and trainings related to disaster protections, emergency management, fire safety and humanitarian crises/conflicts. As a youth journalist in 2005, Justice began writing professionally on topics related to community development, humanitarian affairs and youth empowerment. Driven to action by these issues, she has studied community development in South Africa, Peace & Post-Conflict Reconciliation in Uganda/Rwanda, periodically returned to her childhood community to teach on subjects surrounding social action/communications and earned a B.A. in Journalism with minors in Justice & Peace Studies from Marquette University.
While earning her MA in Sustainable Development: International Policy & Management, Justice authored three separate inclusion guides for the U.S. State Department and produced multiple people-centered projects via internships with The Hunger Project, World Learning and Women Enabled International. Justice also interned within the White House Office of Public Engagement & Intergovernmental Affairs where she focused on disability outreach efforts, social inclusion policies and federal agency engagement. In more recent years, Justice served as a Disability Integration Advisor with the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency, deploying frequently to disaster areas across America and its territories. With a steadfast commitment to international development and inclusive humanitarian assistance, Justice continues to participate in ongoing projects as a global advisor and trainer.