Speakers

Keynote Speakers

Travis Roy

Motivational Speaker

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Travis Roy

Motivational Speaker

Travis Roy is a powerful motivational speaker and a former college ice hockey player for Boston University.  On October 20, 1995 – just eleven seconds into his first-ever shift for Boston University men’s ice hockey team – a 20-year-old Roy slid head-first into the boards, cracking his fourth vertebra and leaving him a quadriplegic.  That fateful October night in 1995 signaled the death of one dream – but also the eventual rebirth of a special kind of hope.  Although imprisoned for months in a hospital bed, then confined to a wheelchair, Travis gradually found the grit and the will to reclaim for himself a fulfilling and productive life.

Travis has spoken to various corporations, universities and high schools across the country.  He speaks on conquering life’s hurdles, setting goals, and his overall experiences in life.  He has a unique ability to quickly connect with his audience no matter what profession or age.

Roy and Sports Illustrated writer E.M. Swift wrote his autobiography, Eleven Seconds.  His story was also featured on ESPN’s E:60 series in an episode titled “Travis Roy, 20 years ago, 11 seconds long.”  During the 2015 NHL season, the Boston Bruins signed Travis to a one-day contract and had him perform the ceremonial puck drop before a game.  On October 20, 2015, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh declared October 20th “Travis Roy Day” to honor Travis, and to recognize the work he has done through “The Travis Roy Foundation”. In December 2016, Travis was profiled in People Magazine’s “Heroes among Us”.   In April 2017, Travis was awarded with the “Beacon of Courage and Dedication Award” at the 14th annual “Gathering for a Cure” Gala of the Brain Mapping Foundation.

Travis set up the Travis Roy Foundation, to help spinal cord injury survivors and to fund research for a cure.  Inspired by Travis’ own story, the lifeblood of the Travis Roy Foundation has been the generosity of individuals, corporations and foundations across North America.  This generosity has made an immediate impact on the lives of many individuals.  Since 1997, the Travis Roy Foundation has distributed more than $12 million in individual grants as well as to research projects and rehabilitation institutions across North America.  The Travis Roy Foundation is uniquely positioned to touch individual lives with its focus on providing adaptive equipment and sponsoring research.

Breakout Speakers

Robert Wadley

EY, Partner

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Robert Wadley

EY, Partner

Robert Wadley is an audit partner in EY Boston’s Financial Services Office where he serves banking and capital markets clients. He is the New England Executive Sponsor of EY’s AccessAbilities Professional Network. Robert has a passion around inclusiveness and diverse abilities, in part because of his love for two nephews on the autism spectrum, and because he’s faced depression in his own life. He resides in Medfield, Massachusetts with his wife Karen and sons, Josh and Paxton.

Scott Borchardt

Tax Partner, PwC

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Scott Borchardt

Tax Partner, PwC

Scott Borachardt is a Tax Partner in PwC’s Asset and Wealth Management Practice.  Scott is a co-leader of the PwC Boston office employee resource group (ERG) that supports employees with disabilities and caregivers.  Under Scott’s leadership, members of the ERG have partnered with several community organizations to host sessions about financial literacy to individuals with disabilities.  He is currently serving as the Vice President of The Arc of Massachusetts board of directors.  Scott and his wife, Julie, are advocates for the rights and community inclusion of their 20 year old daughter, Noelle, who has Down Syndrome.  In 2005, they established a scholarship to support post-doctoral fellows at the Beach Center on Disability at the University of Kansas.

Joe Buizon

Employment Services Specialist Supervisor, Massachusetts Commission for the Blind

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Joe Buizon

Employment Services Specialist Supervisor, Massachusetts Commission for the Blind

Joe Buizon studied at Bridgewater State College earning a BA in Social Work.  Since college, Joe has worked at MGH and, for the past 12 years, at the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind first as a rehab teacher in the Metro West area and then as a social worker in the North Shore.  Joe went to grad school at UMass Boston earning a degree in Vocational Rehabilitation. Currently, Joe is an Employment Services Specialist Supervisor working with individuals who are visually impaired and seeking employment.   He is married with two rambunctious sons and plays Beep ball with the Boston Renegades.

 

Eric Caputo

Transfer Pricing Principal, PwC

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Eric Caputo

Transfer Pricing Principal, PwC

Eric Caputo is a Transfer Pricing Principal in PwC’s Boston office and is known as a specialist for transfer pricing, including IP Structuring and M&A, with his clients and peers. Over the last 19 years, Eric has built his success on his strongest traits – his deep knowledge, collaborative and inclusive nature and his ability to approach the most complex projects with a quick wit and welcoming style that sets everyone at ease. His clients rely on him for his commitment to excellence and collaboration that has been his hallmark since the start of his professional career.  Eric is also co-leader of the northeast employee resource group that supports caregivers and professionals with disabilities.  Eric cherishes his family, friends, and his 4 children. He is a dedicated sports enthusiast while coaching his kids’ sports teams. Eric also has a vested interest in helping find a cure for Multiple Sclerosis in his lifetime. His experience with MS has given him a focused perspective on work and life, which has driven his interest in helping others embrace their individual challenges, leverage their resources, and reach their full potential.

Carol Cullins

Employment Services Specialist, Massachusetts Commission for the Blind

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Carol Cullins

Employment Services Specialist, Massachusetts Commission for the Blind

Carol Cullins has worked as an Employment Services Specialist with the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind since 2014 where she connects employers with qualified job candidates who have vision impairments. She previously worked as Assistant Director of Enrollment Management and Director of Alumni Affairs with Mount Wachusett Community College, as well as Director of Sales and Member Services with the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce. Carol holds a master’s degree in non-profit management from Worcester State University and a bachelor degree in Marketing with a minor in corporate communication from Bentley College.

Heather Donovan

Young Adult Department Supervisor, MassHire Lowell Career Center

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Heather Donovan

Young Adult Department Supervisor, MassHire Lowell Career Center

Heather is the Young Adult Department Supervisor for the MassHire Lowell Career Center and has been working in this capacity for the last three years. Before supervising the department, Heather worked as a Young Adult Career Advisor specializing in maintaining and creating programs and partnerships that were flexible to meet varying needs. The Young Adult department at the Career Center of Lowell works with youth aged 14-24 in various avenues ranging from WIOA programming to state funded programming to re-entry programs and everything in between. In Heather’s capacity she has taken on the role of public liaison between community partners and the Career Center to properly execute year round and summer subsidized work programs.

Heather was born and raised in Lowell and has a deep want to assist the young people in this community which has pushed her to create and maintain many important partnerships and relationships which result in outcomes such as college enrollment and completion, HiSET achievement, advanced training certificates, full and part time work as well as lifelong skills needed to be successful in career pathways. Heather sits on the Greater Lowell Health Alliance Substance Use and Abuse Task Force, the Lowell Youth Development Council and the City’s Health and Wellness Committee. She is also a certified Mental Health First Responder able to assist customers who are in the process of experiencing or close to experiencing a mental health breakdown and a Certified Professional Resume Writer.

Pamela Ferguson

Central/West Regional Autism Program Coordinator, Massachusetts Department of Developmental Disabilities

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Pamela Ferguson

Central/West Regional Autism Program Coordinator, Massachusetts Department of Developmental Disabilities

Pamela P. Ferguson, LMSW, MS is the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Disabilities (DDS) Central/West Regional Autism Program Coordinator. This role was created to provide support, training, and guidance for Autism Service Coordinators, Supervisors, and Area Directors for the newly eligible population. Pamela obtained a Master’s degree in Social Work from Springfield College and a Master’s degree in Nonprofit Management from Bay Path University. Pamela has worked in the human service field for over 20 years, here in Massachusetts and in Connecticut. Prior to DDS, Pamela was the Coordinator of Family Driven Practice for the MA.  Department of Mental Health, wherein she worked to help shape family driven policy, protocols and practice. Pamela has presented nationally at the Georgetown University Training Institute 2014 “Improving Children Mental Health” conference in Washington D.C. and at the National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health 25th Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. – November 2014. Pamela has held many positions in her career; however, the role she easily identified with, is being a mother to her son, who has unique abilities and qualities.

Lea Hill

Autism Program Coordinator, DDS Northeast Region

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Lea Hill

Autism Program Coordinator, DDS Northeast Region

Lea Hill is the Autism Program Coordinator for the DDS Northeast Region. The position was created in response to the 2014 Autism Omnibus Law which expanded DDS eligibility to include adults with autism regardless of intellectual disability. The role was created to provide support, training, and guidance for ASD Service Coordinators, Supervisors, and Area Directors for the newly eligible population. Lea also works closely with providers and direct support staff on their training needs, issues and challenges they’re facing while serving adults with autism and celebrating successes along the way. Lea is a member of four of the Autism Commission’s Sub-Committees, the Youth At Risk Planning Committee, and the North Shore Community Health Network.

Julie LeBlanc

Vocational Specialist, New England Center for Children

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Julie LeBlanc

Vocational Specialist, New England Center for Children

Julie LeBlanc is a Vocational Specialist at the New England Center for Children (NECC) ®. Julie has worked in the Vocational Services Department since July, 2014. Julie joined NECC in August of 2011 after graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Florida. A graduate of Western New England University, Julie has her Master’s Degree in Applied Behavior Analysis. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and a Licensed Applied Behavior Analyst in the State of Massachusetts. Julie is a member of the Association of Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) and the Berkshire Association of Behavior Analysis and Therapy (BABAT).

Christine Pellerin

Vocational Specialist, New England Center for Children

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Christine Pellerin

Vocational Specialist, New England Center for Children

Christine Pellerin joined the New England Center for Children in August 2011 spending her first 3 years working in various positions throughout the residential program, with students ages 14-22. She then spent two years working in the United Arab Emirates as a Program Specialist before returning to the main campus as a Vocational Specialist.  She graduated with her Bachelor’s Degree from Wheelock College in 2011 where she majored in Special Education and Media Literacy. She later went on to receive her Master’s Degree in Severe Special Education from Simmons University in 2014. Christine completed Applied Behavior Analysis certification courses at Western New England University in 2016 and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and a Licensed Applied Behavior Analyst in the State of Massachusetts. Christine is a member of the Association of Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) and the Berkshire Association of Behavior Analysis and Therapy (BABAT).

Hale Pulsifer

Customer Accessibility Lead, Fidelity

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Hale Pulsifer

Customer Accessibility Lead, Fidelity

Hale Pulsifer is the co-lead of the Office of Customer Accessibility at Fidelity Investments. Fidelity is a leading provider of investment management, retirement planning, portfolio guidance, brokerage, benefits outsourcing and other financial products and services to more than 20 million individuals, institutions and financial intermediaries.
In this role, Mr. Pulsifer works to optimize customer interactions for people with disabilities by ensuring that accessibility is a design principal in everything we do at Fidelity. In addition, Mr. Pulsifer is the former national co-chair of the Fidelity Enable Employee Resource Group for associates affected by disabilities.
Prior to leading the Office of Customer Accessibility, Mr. Pulsifer served in multiple finance and strategy roles at Fidelity for over 15 years.
Mr. Pulsifer has his Master of Business Administration from the F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College and earned his Bachelor of Science in International Relations and Development from Brown University.

Allyson Schiller

Office of Diversity and Inclusion Leader, Northeast, PwC

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Allyson Schiller

Office of Diversity and Inclusion Leader, Northeast, PwC

Allyson Schiller is the Office of Diversity and Inclusion Leader the Northeast market at PwC.  She is responsible for leading the market’s strategic initiatives to retain, develop and advance women and minorities, and foster inclusion in the workplace.  Allyson is a frequent facilitator for training session on cultural dexterity, unconscious bias, and inclusion.  She is also serves on the MSCPA Diversity and Inclusion council.  Allyson graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson University with a B.S. in Business Management. She is also a certified Professional of Human Resources and volunteers her time as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for children in the Boston community.

Maria Stefano

Metro Region Autism Program Coordinator, Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services

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Maria Stefano

Metro Region Autism Program Coordinator, Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services

As Autism Program Coordinator for the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services Metro Region, Maria helps to support the newly eligible autism population. In working with DDS area, regional, and central offices, she maintains and shares information and resources, conducts presentations, arranges training opportunities, and serves as a liaison to schools, service providers, and other state agencies.

Julie Weiss

Director of Vocational Services, The New England Center for Children

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Julie Weiss

Director of Vocational Services, The New England Center for Children

Julie Weiss joined The New England Center for Children® in June 1990.  She currently serves as a Director of Vocational Services.  She received her undergraduate degree at Boston University in Rehabilitation Counseling and Master’s Degree in Intensive Special Needs from Simmons College. Julie has been a Board Certified Behavior Analyst since 2001 and a Licensed Applied Behavior Analyst in Massachusetts since 2015. Research interests include task analysis, teaching procedures and vocational skill training.  Her research has been published in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis and Behavior Analysis in Practice. Julie has presented at regional and national conferences including ABAI (Association of Behavior Analysis International), Berkshire Association of Behavior Analysis and Therapy (BABAT) and Association for Professional Behavior Analysts (APBA). 

Plenary Speakers

Lisa M. Colombo, DNP, MHA, RN

Executive Vice Chancellor, Commonwealth Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School

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Lisa M. Colombo, DNP, MHA, RN

Executive Vice Chancellor, Commonwealth Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School

Lisa Colombo assumed the senior-most executive role at Commonwealth Medicine in October 2018, overseeing the health care consulting and operations division of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. She was previously the senior vice president and chief nursing officer at UMass Memorial Medical Center. Colombo held additional roles within UMass Memorial Health Care system, including president of UMass Memorial Clinton Hospital, and both corporate vice president for Clinical Operations and chief nursing officer at UMass HealthAlliance Hospital in Leominster.

Earlier in her career, Colombo was a founding partner and principal consultant at Healthcare Management Partners, LLC in Milford, a private consulting firm with its core business in physician practice management.

Her extensive academic health care management experience includes roles as senior vice president and chief nursing officer at Lahey Hospital and Medical Center, vice president of patient care and chief nurse at the former Milton Hospital, executive director of ambulatory operations at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, director of inpatient nursing at New England Baptist Hospital, vice president of clinical services at Evocare/American HomePatient, and vice president of patient services at the Visiting Nurse Association of Central Massachusetts.

Colombo has taught doctoral level courses in the UMass Medical School Graduate School of Nursing (GSN) for over a decade and has offered advice to GSN leadership as associate dean for clinical practice since 2017. She is also a graduate of Worcester State University and has retained her connections with the institution, currently serving as an alumni representative to the Board of Trustees.

A published author of both book chapters and journal articles, Colombo is a prolific writer on health care and nursing. She has been a published peer reviewer for the Journal for Healthcare Quality and the Journal of Advanced Nursing. Colombo has also served as a member of the executive board of the Organization of Nurse Leaders of Massachusetts and Rhode Island and is also a member of the American Organization of Nurse Executives, the American College of Healthcare Executives and Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing.

Colombo earned her bachelor of science in nursing at Worcester State University, a master’s of health administration at Clark University, and a doctor of nursing practice at the Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions.

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