We are very excited to announce our 2023 Paul W. Spooner Generational Leadership Summit participants! Behind the scenes, our team reviewed all applications and was impressed with each applicant. After careful consideration, we are happy to be bringing the following 20 individuals.
Jonathan Atiencia - Lansdowne, PA
Noelle Balutis – Fitchburg, MA
Sarah Broas – Cambridge, MA
Austin Carr - Winthrop, MA
Cristina Cortez – North Easton, MA
Brian Edwards – Dartmouth, MA
Desi Forte – Boston, MA
Jonathan Gardner – East Bridgewater, MA
Erin Ryan Heyneman – Melrose, MA
Chris Hoeh – Jamaica Plain
Benji Kemper – Brighton, MA
Maisie Kramer – Brighton, MA
Cynthia Laine – Fitchburg, MA
Henry Morgan – Florence, MA
Amber Pettell – Westfield, MA
Marissa Pike – Lynn, MA
Cody Rooney – Amherst, MA
Mia Savage – Fall River, MA
Maggie Sheets - Melrose MA
Tatiana Thomas – Somerville, MA
Gyasi Burks-Abbott (he/him) - Burks-Abbott is a writer, public speaker, and autism self-advocate. In addition to serving on the boards, commissions, and committees of several autism and disability organizations, he is on the faculty of the LEND Program at Boston Children’s Hospital and UMass Boston’s Institute for Community Inclusion. LEND, which stands for Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities, is an interdisciplinary program that provides treatment for children with disabilities and training for healthcare professionals. Burks-Abbott graduated from Macalester College in St. Paul, MN with a BA in English and psychology, and he has an M.S. in Library and Information Science from Simmons University in Boston. He’s collaborated on and written articles for such publications as the Autism in Adulthood Journal and the Developmental Disabilities Network Journal. He has also written a book about his life called "My Mother's Apprentice: An Autistic's Rites of Passage."
Keith Jones (he/him) - Jones started SoulTouchin' Experiences to bring a perspective to the issues of access inclusion and empowerment which affect himself as well as others who are persons with a disability. With involvement in efforts ranging from the Arts to Medicaid to Voter Rights and Access, Jones has consolidated his interests, passion and beliefs into an organization that trains and consults with individuals and organizations.
Felix Jordan (they/them) - Felix is currently working as a community organizer with the Boston Center for Independent Living on issues of housing, racial equity, and equitable climate adaptation for disabled folks in the Greater Boston area. Jordan’s work as an organizer has taken many forms, including organizing community forums and legislative visits, lobbying for the Alternative Housing Voucher Program and Affordable Accessible Housing Housing Grants in the Massachusetts state legislature, facilitating anti-racist education trainings, and working on targeted research initiatives to impact regulation and guidance regarding equitable implementation of housing regulations. They are an alum of Wellesley College, where they double majored in history and environmental studies, with a focus on social, cultural, and racial history, environmental law, policy, and justice.
Colin Killick (he/him) - Colin is the Executive Director of the Disability Policy Consortium, Massachusetts’ largest statewide disability rights advocacy organization. He is also a member of the Massachusetts Democratic State Committee and a professional voice actor on the podcasts "The Pasithea Powder" and "Pershing Radio." Killick is a 2012 graduate of Williams College and a 2018 graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, where he founded the student Disability Justice Caucus and won the Robert F. Kennedy Award for Public Service. The Housing Advocacy Leadership Team (HALT) that he co-founded at Disability Policy Consortium has won nearly $3 million in state funding to provide affordable accessible housing to low-income people with disabilities in Massachusetts. He lives in Somerville, MA, where he chairs the Mayor’s Commission for Persons with Disabilities. He has a neuromotor disorder and a learning disability, and believes his 504 accommodations changed his life—something that the courageous organizing of disabled activists made possible.
Brian Kremer (he/him) - Kremer is the Statewide Coordinator at Mass Advocates Standing Strong (MASS), the statewide advocacy organization, working on legislation, special projects, and individual self-advocacy. He is an alumnus of DePaul University where he received his BS in Commerce/Marketing, and Brandeis University where he received his MBA in Nonprofit and Healthcare Management. Kremer has years of experience volunteering abroad as a part of the Peace Corps, visiting Morocco and Armenia, the latter of which he assisted in developing long term strategies for the first group home in the country. Other previous organizations that Kremer has been involved with include the Asperger/Autism Network (AANE), Boston Center for Independent Living (BCIL), Boston Medical Center (BMC), and Resources for Human Development (RHD).
Maura Sullivan (she/her) - Sullivan is a dedicated and passionate leader in advocacy for people with autism and intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), with expertise in disability health policy and education. She is a registered lobbyist for The Arc of Massachusetts and represents Advocates for Autism of MA on legislative priorities at the State House. Sullivan is an alum of Suffolk University, where she received her Master’s in Public Administration, and was previously with the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center, UMass Med. School’s University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities UCEDD.) Sullivan collaborates with key community stakeholders to impact bias against people with disabilities. Her life focus for this work comes from being a mother of two young men with profound autism and intellectual disabilities.