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Annual Interagency Accessibility Forum. November 7 - 9, 2023. Beyond Compliance: Building a Culture of Digital Accessibility

A Section | B Section | C Section | D Section | E Section | F Section | G Section | H Section | J Section | K Section | L Section | M Section | N Section | O Section | P Section | R Section | S Section | U Section | V Section | W Section

A

Image of Brooke Aiken

Brooke Aiken

Section 508 Program Manager
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

Brooke Aiken joined the FDIC in August 2019 as the FDIC’s first full-time Section 508 Program Manager.

Brooke began her federal government career with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), where she served for 13 years as a federal employee and two years as a contractor. During her time at CBP, she developed an interest in Section 508 Compliance and was able to research and learn about the law and its mandate. Through her persistence, Brooke educated management about the importance of IT accessibility and spearheaded an agency-wide initiative to implement Section 508 compliance.

Brooke assisted in the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Accessible Systems and Technology, which employs 22 staff members dedicated to Section 508 compliance.

During her time with CBP, Brooke served a six-month detail with the Executive Office of the President, where she established a framework for a Chief Accessibility Officer to ensure Section 508 compliance is mandatory within the Executive Office of the President.

Brooke was also selected to detail at the General Services Administration (GSA), Government-wide IT Accessibility Program. She provided guidance and assistance with Section 508 procurement review language and accessibility platforms during her time at GSA.

Currently, Brooke serves as the co-education chair for the federal-wide Accessibility Community of Practice. She is involved in the FDIC’s CAN DO Network and was recently selected as a member of the FDIC Chairman’s Diversity Advisory Council.

Brooke holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human Environmental Services from the University of Alabama.

Moderator: Section 508: Testing Tools & Microsoft Ease of Access Center, Day 1
Moderator: Section 508: Common Issues for Documents, Day 1
Moderator: Should You Compromise on Your Greatest Abilities When You Have a Disability?, Day 3
Speaker: Closing, Day 3


Image of Willa Armstrong

Willa Armstrong

IT Specialist
Library of Congress

Willa Armstrong is a Digital Accessibility Architect at the Library of Congress. Trained as a librarian, she is dedicated to removing barriers to information and ensuring equal access to information for all. Previously she worked at the New York Public Library with roles in Digital Accessibility and in NYPL Labs.

Presenter: User Research and Personas for BARD Mobile, Day 2


B

Image of Bruce Bailey

Bruce Bailey

IT Specialist
U.S. Access Board

Bruce Bailey has lead responsibility for the Access Board website and with providing technical assistance on Section 508, especially as that regulation relates to websites, software, and hardware. Bailey supports Access Board members serving on Election Assistance Commission (EAC) boards and committees. Bailey serves as the Access Board 508 Program Manager.

Bailey has worked for thirty-five years in the field of digital accessibility and assistive technology, with the last fifteen years at the Access Board. Since 2001, Bailey has been an invited expert active in the W3C WAI Accessibility Guidelines Working Group (AG WG). Prior to joining the Access Board, Bailey worked at U.S. Department of Education OCIO and, prior to that, with the State of Maryland, Division of Rehabilitation Services.

Bailey has a B.S. from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and an M.Ed. from SUNY Albany. Bailey lives in Frederick, Maryland.

Presenter: An Overview of New Web Accessibility Requirements from WCAG 2.2 and 2.1, Day 3


Image of Rachael Bradley-Montgomery

Rachael Bradley-Montgomery

Accessibility Architect
Library of Congress

Rachael Bradley Montgomery, Ph.D. has been working in accessibility and usability for over 20 years. She currently serves in the following roles:

  • Digital accessibility architect at the Library of Congress
  • Co-chair of the W3C Accessibility Guidelines Working Group
  • Executive director of Accessible Community
  • Adjunct lecturer at University of Maryland’s College of Information Studies (iSchool)
  • Member of the Maryland Initiative for Digital Accessibility

Rachael has a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland, College Park and an MS from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana.

Presenter: An Overview of New Web Accessibility Requirements from WCAG 2.2 and 2.1, Day 3


Image of Tanya Bradsher

Tanya Bradsher

Deputy Secretary
Department of Veterans Affairs

The Honorable Tanya Bradsher was nominated by President Biden to serve as the 10th Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Ms. Bradsher’s nomination was confirmed by the United States Senate on September 14, 2023, and she was sworn in on September 20, 2023. In this role, Deputy Secretary Bradsher helps lead the Department of Veterans Affairs as it continues to deliver more care and more benefits to more Veterans than ever before in the nation’s history.

Upon her confirmation, Ms. Bradsher said, “As deputy secretary, I promise to do everything in my power to ensure that every Veteran gets the world-class care and benefits they deserve. This is the honor of a lifetime, and I am forever grateful to President Biden and Secretary McDonough for this opportunity to serve our nation’s heroes.”

Ms. Bradsher is a combat Veteran who served for 20 years in the United States Army. She enlisted in 1993 and was commissioned in 1994 from the Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia. Her major assignments included Spokesperson on the White House National Security Council for the Department of Defense, Asia, Africa, Western Hemisphere, counter-terrorism, and detainee policies; Defense Press Officer in the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs at the Pentagon; Brigade Public Affairs Officer during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Deputy Public Affairs officer, 8th U.S. Army; Commander, Delta Company 516th Battalion, and Executive Officer, 1st Replacement Company, 8th Personnel Support Command.

In March 2021, Ms. Tanya Bradsher was selected by Secretary McDonough to serve as the Chief of Staff for Veterans Affairs. Prior to being named VA’s Chief of Staff, Ms. Bradsher served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Partnerships and Global Engagement on the National Security Staff in the Executive Office of the President. She previously served as the Chief of Staff to Congressman Don Beyer in Virginia’s 8th District. Before working on the Hill, Ms. Bradsher was the Chief of Communications for the American Psychiatric Association (APA). Prior to joining APA, she served at the Defense Health Agency as the Chief for Communications Plans and Operation in the Office of Public Affairs.

During the Obama Administration, Ms. Bradsher served as the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at the Department of Homeland Security where she oversaw public outreach, media, and incident communications efforts and served as the principal communications advisor to the Secretary. Prior to joining DHS, she served at the White House as the Assistant Director, Office of Public Engagement, where she led Veteran, Wounded Warrior, and Military Family Outreach initiatives. Ms. Bradsher earned her M.A. in Strategic Communications from George Washington University and her B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She received numerous military awards, including the Legion of Merit and Bronze Star. She and her husband, Colonel (Retired) John Bradsher, have three children.

Speaker: Keynote, Day 2


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Judy Brewer

Assistant Director for Accessibility
White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP)

Judy Brewer is Assistant Director for Accessibility at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), where she works on science and technology policies that impact people with disabilities. These include strengthening digital accessibility policies that are essential to disability rights, including through improvements to the ADA and Section 508 implementation; promoting equitable access to accessible technologies; helping build paths for responsible AI; opening the STEM pipeline for people with disabilities; and improving health science equity.

Prior to working at the White House, Judy served for several months as a Digital Accessibility Expert at the Partnership for Public Service, a non-partisan non-profit focused on building better government. For the previous 25 years she led the World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), which develops the internationally recognized Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG); and served as a Principal Research Scientist at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). Her experience includes work on digital accessibility, assistive technology, disability advocacy, international standards development, and development of technology policies and practices to advance equity and inclusion.

Panelist: A Fireside Chat with Accessibility Leaders, Day 3


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Arthur Brunson

Program Analyst
General Services Administration

Mr. Brunson is a Program Analyst in the Office of Information, Integrity and Access. He has been an associate at GSA for 30 years. His career with GSA includes 15 years with the Federal Procurement Data Center, as a Data Specialist and he has worked on many rewarding special projects. 15 years with the Office of Governmentwide Policy, as a Project Manager supporting OMB/PMA initiatives. Prior to joining GSA he worked at the Department of Veteran Affairs, as a specialist in the Loan Guarantee Division and served honorably in the U.S. Navy.

He currently serves as a member of the Section 508 team, managing the Accessibility Requirements Tool, for use by the acquisition, IT, and Section 508 coordinator communities, government wide. The program supports GSA’s charge in conjunction with the Access Board to provide Section 508 technical assistance, tools, and workforce development support to Federal agencies. One of his personal favorite highlights during his career with GSA is volunteering for FEMA Surge Support, 2017/2018 assisting with the recovery efforts in Puerto Rico after hurricane Maria.

Presenter: How to use ART, Day 1


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Sylvia Burns

Chief Information Officer and Chief Privacy Officer
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

Ms. Burns joined FDIC as Deputy Chief Information Officer (DCIO) in September 2018, focusing on IT Strategic Planning, Enterprise Architecture, and Data Management. Under her leadership, the organization is shifting to cloud-based platforms and software that reduce the on-premises IT footprint and provide more responsive solutions to the FDIC’s dynamic business needs. Ms. Burns continues to lead an interagency initiative under the Federal CIO Council to help federal agencies adopt zero trust architectures.

Previous to joining the FDIC, Ms. Burns served as the CIO of the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) where she was responsible for the management and oversight a more than $1 billion information management and technology portfolio. In this role, she successfully led a comprehensive reorganization to improve the delivery of Information Technology (IT) services, restructuring the IT management and reporting structure to align with the requirements of the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA).

Ms. Burns was recognized as one of the top women in technology in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area by FedScoop for three consecutive years, and among the FedScoop 50 top federal leaders in 2016. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in the special honors curriculum and geology from City University of New York at Hunter College and a Master of Science in business management and policy from State University of New York at Stony Brook. She also holds a graduate certificate in project management from George Washington University.

Speaker: Welcome, Day 2
Panelist: Digital Accessibility in the Federal Workplace, Day 2


C

Image of Amy Cole

Amy Cole

Accessibility Manager
General Services Administration

Amy Cole is an accessibility specialist and a contractor on the USWDS Core team. She is a seasoned Digital Accessibility Manager who has been making significant contributions to the field of digital media for many years, finding joy in exploring ways to enhance online spaces and making them more accessible. She values the opportunity to collaborate with other professionals in the field, always seeking to expand her knowledge and skills.

Panelist: Using USWDS Critical Checklists to Develop Accessibility Skills Across Government Teams, Day 2


Image of Jacline Contrino

Jacline Contrino

UX Researcher
General Services Administration

Jacline Contrino is a UX researcher and a contractor on the USWDS Core team. She has eight years of experience helping organizations put users at the center of their design decisions. While she has used insights to improve UX in various industries, including higher education, financial technology, and healthcare, she is especially interested in applying this work in government.

Panelist: Using USWDS Critical Checklists to Develop Accessibility Skills Across Government Teams, Day 2


Image of Tim Creagan

Tim Creagan

Senior Accessibility Specialist/Information Technology
U.S. Access Board

Mr. Creagan is a senior accessibility specialist with the U.S. Access Board. He provides technical assistance and training on the Revised Section 508 Standards and the Revised Section 255 Guidelines, and he frequently presents on accessible electronic and information technology and telecommunications. He is co-chair of the Education subcommittee of the Accessibility Community of Practice of the Chief Information Officers’ Council. He currently serves on the Disability Advisory Committee of the Federal Communications Commission.

Mr. Creagan joined the U.S. Access Board in 2006 to lead the team revising the Board’s existing standards and guidelines for electronic and communication technologies. He served as the Designated Federal Official (DFO) for the Telecommunications and Electronic and Information Technology Advisory Committee (TEITAC). He was a member of the team that developed the revised accessibility standards for information and communication technology (ICT) under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and the revised accessibility guidelines under Section 255 of the Communications Act, published in 2017.

He was formerly the Director of Consumer Training for the Information Technology Technical Assistance and Training Center (ITTATC) and before that he was the Director of Public Policy for Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) (formerly SHHH). Before joining HLAA, Mr. Creagan was a litigator in the courts of D.C. and Maryland.

Mr. Creagan received his J.D. from the Catholic University of America, and his undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame.

Moderator: An Overview of New Web Accessibility Requirements from WCAG 2.2 and 2.1, Day 3


Image of Jennifer Croft

Jennifer Croft

Diversity Program Manager
Office of Personnel Management

Jennifer Croft is a Diversity Program Manager at the Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (ODEIA) within OPM. In this position, her role is to advise OPM and federal agency leaders on the implementation of Executive Order 14035 on DEIA in the Federal Government; recommending concrete strategies and best practices to recruit, hire, include, develop, retain, engage, and motivate a diverse, results-oriented, high-performing workforce.

As a member of the ODEIA team, Jennifer helps to support the Chief Diversity Officers’ Executive Council, the Interagency Disability Senior Leadership Networking Group, and the Federal Exchange on Employment and Disability (FEED). Throughout her career, Jennifer has been frequently called upon to provide subject matter expertise on data-driven recruitment, hiring, and retention strategies to strengthen and support employment of people with disabilities as well as other underserved communities. She most recently held the position of Branch Chief for Strategic Diversity and Inclusion at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) where she led a team that conducted recurring assessments of agency and subcomponent DEIA strategic plans and then compiled those plans annually in NIH’s Management Directive 715 (MD-715) Report.

Jennifer has a wide range of experience in the EEO as well as HR spaces, having held roles as a Targeted Recruitment Program Manager at NOAA; Senior Disability Policy Advisor for the Department of Commerce; Civil Rights Specialist, Management Officer, and EEO Specialist at the FDA, which included work developing reasonable accommodation and Section 508 related policies. She began her federal career as a staff sign language interpreter at the FDA and prior to that was self-employed as a freelancing sign language interpreter specializing in university, religious, and medical settings.

Jennifer has a Master’s degree in Public Leadership with a specialization in Multi-Sector Management focused on the roles and responsibilities of the public, private, and social sectors of society from the George Washington University, and an undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Maryland.

Panelist: The Accessibility-Powered Future of Work, Day 3


Image of Pierce Crowell

Pierce Crowell

Accessibility Program Manager
Social Security Administration

Pierce Crowell has been a champion of IT accessibility since 1997. He began his career in the commercial sector, supporting federal agency customers. In 2010, he moved to federal service, where he has served as the agency’s Accessibility Program Manager since 2016. Throughout his career, Pierce has contributed to interagency accessibility workgroups on Testing Best Practices, Policy, and Procurement. Notably, he was among the original authors of the Harmonized Baseline for Web Accessibility Testing. Pierce possesses a deep passion for technology and recognizes its potential to enhance the lives of individuals, and particularly those with disabilities.

Presenter: Remediation: The Next Step in an Effective 508 Program, Day 1


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Dee Dansby

Program Analyst
National Institutes of Health

Dee Dansby, Program Analyst. Dee works for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the Contract Data Management Program (CDMP) under the Deputy Director’s Office (DDO) in the Office of Acquisitions and Logistics Management (OALM). Dee has been with the federal government for over fifteen (15) years. Before her federal service, Dee worked in Corporate America for over twenty-five (25) years.

Dee became the OALM 508 Help Point of Contact (HPOC) in 2009. She partnered with the Trans-OM Section 508 program, where she instructed the Section 508 Interns yearly until June 2020. In November 2020, Dee won the Disability Ally Award presented by the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI). Presently, Dee is a volunteer instructor for the Center for Information Technology (CIT), where she creates and instructs training programs for Creating Accessible Microsoft Office 365 documents (i.e., Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook). She also instructs PDF accessibility.

Her philosophy is “Why reinvent the wheel?” Dee has given the NIH community a one- stop “shopping” center via the CDMP SharePoint and Yammer sites. The sites were developed to encourage staff to utilize and share accessibility training programs, handouts, tools, and resources to ensure Section 508 compliance in their IC’s electronic documents.

Presenter: Design PowerPoint Templates for Accessibility, Day 1


Image of Jessica Dearie

Jessica Dearie

Digital Communications Strategist & Accessibility Evangelist
Environmental Protection Agency

Jessica Dearie is a federal employee at the Environmental Protection Agency. She manages a large Drupal intranet and and wears many hats: Accessibility Evangelist, UX/UI, Content Strategist, Site Builder, Trainer, and more. She is an active member of Drupal4Gov and has co-led DrupalCon Government Summits for the last 7 years. She retired from the District of Columbia Air National Guard in April 2022 as a Chief Master Sergeant with 27+ years of service.

panelist: Improving Digital Accessibility: A year long strategic plan to improve the accessibility of digital products, Day 2


E

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Erin Elzi


Office of Natural Resources Revenue

Erin Elzi is a UX Designer with ONRR. Although relatively new to ONRR and the federal government, Erin has years of experience providing UX research and design for libraries and higher education. She is Trusted Tester Certified and was in the first cohort to go through the University of Denver’s Neurodiversity Institute. Erin is passionate about inclusive and equitable design and research, and making sure all users can find the information they need quickly and easily.

Presenter: Testing for Compliance: A Comparison of Tools and Methods, Day 1


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Maroya Faied

Product Manager
Office of Natural Resources Revenue

Maroya Faied currently manages a team responsible for the agency’s public websites and committed to providing open and transparent federal data and information to the public. She has a Master’s degree in Minerals and Energy Economics and has worked for the Office of Natural Resources Revenue for over 10 years.

Presenter: Cultivating & Managing an Inclusive Culture, Day 3


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Chet Frith

Section 508 Senior Advisor
Department of Veteran Affairs

Chet Frith joined the Department of Veteran Affairs in May 2022 and is supporting Section 508 as the Senior Advisor. He began his career in the United States Navy where he served 21 years on active duty and another 7 years as a DoD civilian. While working with seriously wounded, ill and injured service members, he developed a passion for accessibility and personally utilized assistive information and communication technology upon his return from Iraq in 2011. Chet has been focused on the realignment of the Section 508 office under the Office of Information and Technology’s Compliance, Risk and Remediation portfolio, ensuring the 508 Playbook is being implemented through a robust Plan of Action and Milestones. He holds a Master’s Degree in Operations Management from the University of Arkansas.

Presenter: Creating Accessible PDF Documents with Signatures, Day 1
Speaker: Closing, Day 2
Panelist: Accessibility Round Table with the Department of Veterans Affairs, Day 3


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Anupa Iyer Geevarghese

Chief of Staff, Office of Disability Employment Policy
Department of Labor

As Chief of Staff for the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), Anupa Iyer Geevarghese collaborates closely with ODEP’s Assistant Secretary and other U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) leaders to identify and implement strategies for increasing the number and quality of employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

In so doing, Iyer Geevarghese draws on years of legal experience in both the public and nonprofit sectors. She came to DOL from the U.S. Department of Defense, where she served as a subject matter expert and Senior Disability Policy Advisor for diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA) initiatives. Prior to that, she worked for seven years at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Office of Federal Operations (OFO), where she was instrumental in implementing updates strengthening Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Before joining EEOC’s OFO, Iyer Geevarghese was a Confidential Assistant to EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum, a position through which she played a leading role in the agency’s “Curb Cuts to the Middle Class” initiative, an innovative federal cross-agency effort to increase employment and economic self-sufficiency for people with disabilities. Before beginning federal service, she worked for various non-profit advocacy organizations, among them the Mental Disability Advocacy Center, and served as a Union Organizer for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

Iyer Geevarghese holds a J.D. from Seattle University School of Law and B.A. in Political Science from the University of California Los Angeles.

Panelist: The Accessibility-Powered Future of Work, Day 3


Image of Leah Glick-Stal

Leah Glick-Stal

Accessible ICT Procurement Specialist
Shared Services Canada

Leah-Glick-Stal is a Sr. ICT Accessibility Analyst with the Accessibility, Accommodations and Adaptive Computer Technology (AAACT) Program at Shared Services Canada (SSC). She has over 30 years of experience working for Canadian federal, provincial territorial, municipal governments, as well as for a foreign Embassy abroad. Leah brings 16 years’ of procurement experience with both federal and provincial governments.

Leah was responsible for forming the multidisciplinary Accessibility Triage Team at SSC, the central agency that leads IT procurement for the Government of Canada. This team is developing and implementing an accessible ICT procurement framework for the federal public service of Canada.

Panelist: Shared Services Canada - Update on our Accessible ICT Procurement Pilot, Day 2


Image of Lindsay Goldstein

Lindsay Goldstein

Digital Services Specialist
Office of Natural Resources Revenue

Lindsay Goldstein is a Digital Services Specialist with the Open Data, Design & Display team in the Office of Natural Resources Revenue in the Department of the Interior. An economist by training, she spent her previous life working in energy and finance at the U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Institute of International Finance. She made her way over to civic tech a few years ago and there’s no turning back. She loves learning and sharing new methods of making government accessible for everyone.

Presenter: Cultivating & Managing an Inclusive Culture, Day 3


Image of Matthew Greener

Matthew Greener

Document Remediation Specialist
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

Matthew Greener has been a contractor with the FDIC since February 2023 working as a Document Remediation Specialist.

Matthew spent the past 18 years as a contract employee as both a Section 508 Test Engineer and Analyst. Matthew also specializes in Section 508 conformance testing of web-based applications and Section 508/WCAG testing of Learning Management Systems.

Matthew holds a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Northeastern University in Boston, MA.

Presenter: Section 508: Common Issues for Documents, Day 1


Image of Danny Guzman

Danny Guzman

Section 508 Subject Matter Specialist
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

Danny spent the past 6.5 years as contract employee working for various government agencies such as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Department of Homeland Security (DHS) (OAST) & Department of Veteran’s Affairs as both a Section 508 Test Engineer and Analyst. As well as being a Document Specialist, Danny specializes in Section 508 conformance testing of web-based applications and Section 508/WCAG testing of Learning Management Systems.

Presenter: Section 508: Testing Tools & Microsoft Ease of Access Center, Day 1


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Susan 'Jen' Haggerty

Section 508 Program Manager
United States Department of Defense

Moderator: AI-generated Alt-text: The future of Image Accessibility?, Day 3


Image of Chuck Hardy

Chuck Hardy

Chief Architect
General Services Administration

A licensed architect, workplace strategist, and certified construction manager, Mr. Hardy’s career with GSA spans more than 31 years, beginning in GSA’s Great Lakes Region as an architect and project manager. He has since spent time in a variety of leadership positions in the Great Lakes Region and GSA’s Central Office in Washington, DC, including as Director of Design and Construction, and most recently, as GSA’s Acting Chief Architect.

As Chief Architect, Mr. Hardy will serve as a Senior Advisor to GSA Administrator Robin Carnahan, as well as to Public Buildings Service (PBS) Commissioner Nina Albert, on all matters related to federal architecture and design for GSA’s capital construction program. Additionally, Mr. Hardy’s role will include administering GSA’s Design Excellence, historic preservation, and art-in-architecture programs.

Prior to joining GSA, Mr. Hardy was a practicing architect with firms in Florida, Colorado, and Illinois. He earned his professional degrees in architecture and environmental design from the University of Minnesota and holds certificates from the Harvard Graduate School of Design and The University of Texas McCombs School of Business. Mr. Hardy is also a retired officer of the U.S. Air Force, where he served as an intelligence officer.

Panelist: The Accessibility-Powered Future of Work, Day 3


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Michael Horton

Senior ICT Accessibility Specialist
General Services Administration

Michael Horton is a Senior ICT Accessibility Specialist with the Office of Government-wide Policy at the General Services Administration (GSA) providing technical assistance to federal agencies on Section 508. He also serves as the Co-chair of the CIO Council (CIOC) Accessibility Community of Practice (ACOP) Best-Practices Subcommittee.

Mr. Horton is an accessibility and technology professional with nearly 30 years of experience in web-based application development. He is a compliance subject matter expert, DHS Certified Trusted Tester, and digital accessibility advocate who joined the General Services Administration, Government-wide IT Accessibility Program in 2018 to support agencies in their efforts to ensure independence and the dignity of work for people with disabilities.

Prior to joining GSA, Michael served as the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Section 508 Program Manager, and as a software engineer, front-end web developer, partner advocate, and online policy and compliance specialist at America Online (AOL).

Presenter: GSA General Update, Day 2


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Natasha Jamal

Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility
U.S. Digital Service

Natasha Jamal serves as the Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility (DEIA) at the US Digital Service, where she advises on integrating DEIA principles into all aspects of the USDS culture and service delivery. In November of 2022, she co-created the inaugural DEIA Council at USDS, comprised of 14 individuals across 5 Communities of Practice, to advise the organization on tangible ways to elevate and integrate DEIA. Related to accessibility specifically, Natasha serves as the sponsor for a recently created USDS team focused on accessible service delivery for the public, the first of its kinds at USDS. Prior to joining USDS and government, Natasha created the DEI and Culture Transformation practices at Gallup and leverages her experience in creating culture change to work across various stakeholder groups to push for big and small changes across USDS and government at large.

Panelist: The Accessibility-Powered Future of Work, Day 3


Image of Tracy Jolivette

Tracy Jolivette

Records and Information Management Specialist and Section 508 Coordinator
United States Geological Survey

Tracy is a Records and Information Management Specialist and the Section 508 Coordinator for U.S. Geological Survey. After 18 years in education and administration, she began her federal career within the Department of the Interior as an intern with the Bureau of Land Management in 2015. She was hired a year later as their Records Administrator. Prior to returning to records, she moved to the Department of the Interior’s Office of the Executive Secretariat and Regulatory Affairs, working in the FOIA Office.

Tracy holds a bachelor’s degree in animal science, a master’s degree in Secondary Science Education, and a master’s degree in library science. She has used those degrees to teach science and served as a math and science administrator, writing science curriculum. She embraces life-long learning and is always gathering data.

Moderator: Improving Digital Accessibility: A year long strategic plan to improve the accessibility of digital products, Day 2


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Katy Kale

Deputy Administrator
General Services Administration

Katy Kale is the Deputy Administrator of the General Services Administration under the Biden-Harris Administration.

In this capacity, she leads a staff of nearly 12,000 GSA employees nationwide, overseeing more than 370 million square feet of property, approximately $75 billion in annual contracts, 5 million government credit and purchase cards, and 225,000 leased vehicles. She also serves as GSA’s Senior Climate Adaptation Official. In addition, she is a federal member of the U.S. Access Board, which promotes accessible design, guidelines, and standards.

Prior to serving as the Deputy Administrator, and Acting Administrator in early 2021, Katy was President and Chief Operating Officer of Elevate. There she led growth strategy, operational process, financial planning, and performance management, and ensured all were aligned with the broader purpose of serving the nonprofit sector.

A public servant at heart, Katy was a senior leader in the Obama-Biden Administration, serving as Assistant to the President for Management and Administration, Director of White House Operations, and Chief of Staff at GSA. She also served 10 years in the U.S. Senate working on operational and legislative issues for several senators.

Katy is a graduate of George Mason University.

Panelist: A Fireside Chat with Accessibility Leaders, Day 3


Image of Jacques Kapusinski

Jacques Kapusinski


Environmental Protection Agency

Jacques Kapuscinski is the Web Content Coordinator for EPA’s Office of Research and Development. He leads a group of communication and web staff from across EPA ‘s Research Centers to update and maintain their web sites and comply with agency web standards. He serves on EPA’s Web Council which is the governing body for how EPA ‘s Web Presence is managed. He also manages EPA’s Science Inventory which receives close to one million visits a year. He has a master’s degree in Public Administration and Environmental Studies from the University of Oregon and has over 20 years of experience with managing content on epa.gov.

panelist: Improving Digital Accessibility: A year long strategic plan to improve the accessibility of digital products, Day 2


Image of Julia Kim

Julia Kim

Product Owner
Library of Congress

Julia (she/her) is a Product Manager and Owner for Discovery and Access of the Library of Congress’s Access Platform to transform end user access to the Library’s vast digital resources. As such, she is responsible for product strategy and vision, and ensures that the end-users are represented through the development process.

Previous to this, she served as the first Product Manager at the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled at LoC, managing the BARD Mobile applications for iOS, Android, and Kindle Fire platforms (2020-2023).

She has published widely with Code4lib, JCAS, IASA, and blogs like the Library of Congress’s “The Signal” on digital workflows, audiovisual case studies, emulation, the digital stewardship field and patron/user-studies. She has a B.A from Columbia University in Religion and an M.A. from New York University in the Moving Image Archiving and Preservation Program.

Presenter: User Research and Personas for BARD Mobile, Day 2


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Laura Larrimore

Web Manager
Department of State

Laura is the Web Manager for Travel.State.gov at the U.S. Department of State. Travel.State.gov is one of the most-visited government websites, and where Americans go to find up-to-date and authoritative travel safety information or instructions on applying for or renewing their passports. Previously Laura was the Digital and Creative Services Branch Chief at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), where she oversaw a digital portfolio including the agency flagship website (uspto.gov), social media, and email marketing. During 2016-2017 Laura was on detail as the Acting Director of Digital Strategy at the United States Department of Commerce, helping the outgoing and incoming Secretary of Commerce and Commerce bureaus navigate the presidential transition. Before joining government, Laura spent a decade working on digital initiatives at Cornell University, American Unviersity, Ithaca College, and finally the George Washington University School of Public Health, where she was their first Director of Digital Strategy.

Presenters: AI-generated Alt-text: The future of Image Accessibility?, Day 3


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Merissa Larson

Executive Director for Quality, Performance, and Risk
Department of Veterans Affairs

Ms. Larson serves as the Executive Director and Deputy Chief Risk Officer for Compliance, Risk and Remediation within the Office of Information Technology.

Ms. Larson began her federal career with the General Services Administration (GSA) within their Financial Management Leadership Program. Throughout her career, Ms. Larson has worked at the operational, strategic, and executive levels, serving in multiple federal agencies including GSA, the Department of the Navy, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

At the Department of the Navy Ms. Larson was hand-selected to lead the creation of their Wounded Warrior Program from scratch, including the development of the program’s first ever mission, vision, strategic goals and objectives. Then Ms. Larson was selected to a competitive 2-year Defense Senior Executive Leadership Program where she earned an opportunity to attend the Army War College. From there, Ms. Larson served at the Office of the Secretary of Defense within the Office of Personnel and Readiness. She prepared and influenced department wide policy decisions, congressional responses, along with managing inspector general inquiries and reports for corrective actions. Continuing her passion for advocating for service members and their families, transitioning to the Department of Veterans Affairs presented a perfect fit.

Ms. Larson served as the Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor of the Office of IT Resource Management (ITRM) since October 2018 where she leveraged her background in budget, policy development, Human Resources and special projects, which led her to be called upon to lead high-level initiatives for OIT.

Panelist: Accessibility Round Table with the Department of Veterans Affairs, Day 3


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Alison Levy

Director, Office of Technical and Information Services
United States Access Board

Alison Sutton Levy joined the U.S. Access Board in June 2022 as the Director of the Office of Information and Technical Services (OTIS) where she oversees the technical assistance team for both the built and digital environments.

The Access Board is an independent federal agency that promotes equality for people with disabilities through leadership in accessible design and the development of accessibility guidelines and standards. OTIS currently includes a team of eight staff members who write the

guidelines and standards, provide answers to technical questions via a hotline and email, and present training in person and virtually.

Alison most recently served as the Manager of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Disability Resource Center (DRC). The DRC is a centrally funded office that supports internal supervisors and employees in creating an accessible and inclusive workplace through recruitment, hiring, outreach, education, and reasonable accommodations.

As a person with disabilities, and with over 30 years of experience in the disability profession, Alison has worked toward improving workplace attitudes and accessibility, and in providing equal opportunity in the post-secondary, public, and private sectors. She is a person with disabilities and is fluent in American Sign Language.

Speaker: Closing, Day 1
Moderator: A Fireside Chat with Accessibility Leaders, Day 3


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Arlo Liu

Web Content Management
Environmental Protection Agency

panelist: Improving Digital Accessibility: A year long strategic plan to improve the accessibility of digital products, Day 2


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Beth Martin

Digital Services Expert (UX Designer)
Office of Personnel Management

Beth A. Martin is a civil servant with over 20 years of practice in user experience (UX), communications, digital transformation, and innovation; currently, she is a Digital Services Expert (UX Designer) at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Beth previously worked at the FAA, FDA, and HHS; she is also an adjunct professor in UX design.

Moderator: Using USWDS Critical Checklists to Develop Accessibility Skills Across Government Teams, Day 2
Moderator: Applying Radical Participatory Design in the Context of Digital Accessibility, Day 2


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Clare Martorana

Federal Chief Information Officer
Office of Management and Budget

Clare Martorana is an industry leader in deploying innovative to create products, services, and experiences that improve people’s lives.

In March 2021, Clare was appointed by President Biden as the Federal Chief Information Officer. She previously served as Chief Information Officer of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and a member of the U.S. Digital Service team at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, launching the agency’s enterprise-wide digital modernization effort to give Veterans the 21st century digital experience they deserve. Prior to joining government, Clare was a President at Everyday Health and Senior Vice President and General Manager and editor-at-large at WebMD.

Throughout her career, Clare has worked to improve and simplify the digital experiences people have when interacting with businesses – and knows the same is possible when our citizens interact with our government. As a creative leader and big thinker, she is leading government technologists and policy experts in meeting federal mandates while working collaboratively to deliver secure modern tools and services to our citizens. She looks forward to partnering with key stakeholders to maximize investments and deliver high-quality digital services to the American people.

Moderator: Digital Accessibility in the Federal Workplace, Day 2


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Jennifer Mathis

Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Division
United States Department of Justice

Jennifer Mathis is a Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. She reviews the work of the Disability Rights Section and the Special Litigation Section’s disability work. Prior to arriving at DOJ, Jennifer served as Director of Policy and Legal Advocacy at the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, a national non-profit legal advocacy organization that advances the rights of people with mental disabilities. 

At the Bazelon Center, Jennifer used litigation as well as legislative and administrative policy advocacy to promote equal opportunity for people with disabilities in all areas of life, including community living, health care, housing, employment, education, parental and family rights, voting, and other areas. 

Jennifer played a key role in coordinating strategy and briefing when the Olmstead case was heard by the Supreme Court and has litigated numerous community integration cases before and after.  She also served on the disability community negotiating team that worked with representatives of the business community to craft language that became the ADA Amendments Act and played a lead role in securing passage of the ADAAA. Jennifer served at the Bazelon Center from 1999 to 2021, with the exception of 2010-2011, during which she served as a Special Assistant to Commissioner Chai Feldblum at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, helping to draft regulations implementing the ADA Amendments Act and the Genetic Information Non-discrimination Act. 

Jennifer received her A.B. at Harvard College (1988) and her J.D. at the Georgetown University Law Center (1994).

Panelist: A Fireside Chat with Accessibility Leaders, Day 3


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Brianna McGowan

IT Specialist
General Services Administration

Brianna is part of the Digital Strategies Division within GSA’s Office of Government-wide Policy (OGP) as an IT Specialist developing machine learning and artificial intelligence for the Solicitation Review Tool (SRT) and assisting with the Section508.gov and the Accessibilty Requirements Tool (ART). She is a developer, poet, data scientist, modern dancer, and an advocate for connecting people to resources. Some of her previous roles have been in the private sector as data scientist, a NASA contractor developing websites and APIs, and a Python developer for a DC startup developing bots. She graduated from UT Austin with a degree in Economics and a certificate in Computer Science. Outside of work, she is a Co-Director for both Women Who Code DC and Delicious Democracy, DC’s Creative Advocacy Lab. She is passionate about intersecting worlds and developing community-owned AI. As a data scientist, her mission is to develop AI and automation tools that are accessible, secure, and grounded in equity.

Presenter: How to use ART, Day 1


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Alexandria McNally

Digital Service Specialist
Office of Natural Resources Revenue

Alexandra McNally is a User Experience (UX) designer at the Office of Natural Resources Revenue (ONRR). Alex’s career in design began in cartography and urban planning ten years ago and over the past five years it has evolved to UX design. Alex approaches design with a focus on people, starting her design process with empathy for the people who use the products and services she helps to develop. Throughout her career, Alex has collaborated with a diverse set of agencies including Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), National Park Service (NPS), Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to create human-centered designs that fit the needs of these agencies and their users.

Presenter: Testing for Compliance: A Comparison of Tools and Methods, Day 1


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Jennifer Meltz

Section 508 Specialist
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

Jennifer Meltz has been a contractor at the FDIC since December 2018. In this role, she serves as a Section 508 Specialist and Work Order lead to ensure compliance with all Section 508 related tasks.

Prior to her time at the FDIC, Jennifer worked as the Team Lead for a contract with Federal Student Aid (FSA) to address accessibility defects with the FSA Loan Servicers. Before that, she spent 12 years at the Department of the Interior (DOI), where she worked as a Disability Resource Analyst and addressed issues arising under Section 504, as well as under Section 508. In this regard, she ran DOI’s technology center for employees with disabilities and helped them find reasonable accommodations.

Jennifer holds a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Psychology from Ithaca College and a Master of Public Administration from George Mason University.

Presenter: Section 508: Testing Tools & Microsoft Ease of Access Center, Day 1


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Gary Morin

Section 508 Program Manager
National Institutes of Health

Gary M. Morin joined the National Cancer Institute’s Office of Communications and Public Liaison (OCPL) as their Section 508 Coordinator in March 2020. In this capacity, he oversees Section 508 policies, governance, training, 508 procurement processes throughout the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Gary supports NCI staff in making its wide array of digital contents more accessible for employees and for members of the public. He supports staff who are producing ICT products as well as those in contracting to ensure that their acquisition documents are inclusive of Section 508 requirements. Prior to joining NCI in March 2020, he similarly functioned as NIH’s Section 508 and accessible ICT guru, based in NIH’s Office on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) (2001 – 2008) and the Office of the Chief Information Officer (2008 - 2020).

Gary joined the NIH as a Sign Language Interpreter, in 1993. Throughout the 1990s, he coordinated NIH interpreting services and he trained ASL interpreters across the US to facilitate communication in healthcare settings. He was also actively involved with HHS’s Shared Neutrals, mediating conflict resolution in agencies across the federal government, with an emphasis on reasonable accommodations. With the onset of Section 508, he quickly saw and embraced the potential of accessible of Information and Communication Technology.

Gary sees the role of accessible technology as a means of enabling employees with disabilities to perform to their greatest potential and as part of an institutional responsibility and strategy to address healthcare disparities experienced by persons with disabilities. Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act is more than a law – it’s a means to address barriers to employment and to better healthcare outcomes. Since the law’s implementation, he has been one of NIH’s few agency-wide subject matter experts for the coordination and implementation of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as Amended, and its integration with both business ICT and digital content, as well as the role of assistive technology (AT).

Gary is Vice-Chair of ABILITIES, NIH’s employee resource group for persons with disabilities and allies; he is equally active with the NIH Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing community. For the last couple of years, he has also become more and more fascinated with audio-description and is now involved in the American Council of the Blind’s Audio Description Project and sits on the ADP’s Section 508 subcommittee.

Outside of the NIH, he finds great joy spending time with his 4-year-old granddaughter, seeks dead people in family history research, and loves a good film noir or classic, black-and-white horror flic. His most recent recognition includes NIH EDI’s 2020 NIH Champions and Allies of Disability Awardees and NIH EDI’s 20 profiles for 2020: Celebrating LGBT community Diversity at NIH and Beyond.

Moderator: Design PowerPoint Templates for Accessibility, Day 1


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Joanne Mosuela

Information Technology Specialist
Environmental Protection Agency

Joanne Mosuela works in information technology management at the Environmental Protection Agency (3 years). She supports the Section 508 compliance, privacy policy, and contract management for scientific research applications. She is a certified Trusted Tester for Section 508 Conformance.

panelist: Improving Digital Accessibility: A year long strategic plan to improve the accessibility of digital products, Day 2


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Frances Nguyen

Public Affairs Specialist
Health Resources and Services Administration

Frances Nguyen works for the Office of Communications, HRSA, as a Public Affairs Specialist on the web team. Previously, she worked with the HRSA Section 508 Team. She’s been with the Federal government for several decades with backgrounds in graphics, web, 508, and communications.

Moderator: Shared Services Canada - Update on our Accessible ICT Procurement Pilot, Day 2


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Andrew Nielson

Director, Government-wide IT Accessibility Program
General Services Administration

Andrew is the Director of the Government-wide IT Accessibility Program in GSA’s Office of Government-wide Policy, which has the mandate, under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to provide technical assistance to federal agencies and individuals in meeting Section 508 requirements. Andrew is an expert in the field of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) accessibility. He is Co-Chair of the annual ICT Accessibility Testing Symposium, which brings together other experts from around the world in the field of ICT accessibility testing to exchange academic analysis of current ICT accessibility testing issues and explore approaches to improve accessibility testing practices. He is a principal co-author of the current version of the Harmonized Processes for Revised Section 508: Baseline Tests for Web Accessibility (aka the “ICT Baseline”). Andrew was also the coordinator and facilitator of the inter-agency team of experts that developed both the Baseline and the current version of the “Trusted Tester” accessibility testing process, which is recognized across the federal government as a leading practice in accessibility testing.

Presenter: GSA General Update, Day 2
Speaker: Closing, Day 3


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Andrea M. O’Neal

Senior Advisor to the Administrator for Equity
General Services Administration

Andrea M. O’Neal is a presidential appointee of the Biden-Harris Administration serving as the Senior Advisor to the Administrator for Equity at the U.S. General Services Administration. In this historic, first-ever position for the agency, O’Neal brings 20 years of experience championing the advancement of historically and socially marginalized communities with expertise in institutional equity, racial and economic justice, organizational behavior, and cultural change management.

Andrea is a recognized thought leader in the diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) field with a career spanning global Wall Street, social impact, and advisory services for C-Suite executive teams. As a former capital markets investment banker, including four years abroad structuring cross-border IPOs in Europe and Asia, Andrea developed a multicultural business acumen that she leverages to achieve exceptional stakeholder management and metrics-driven results.

As a social and public sector principal, Andrea has been on the front lines of mission-critical conversations related to breaking down systemic barriers, closing racial wealth gaps, fostering equitable workplaces, and operationalizing high-performing culturally competent leadership practices. She has served as a research advisory committee member for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Equitable Futures Project, Brown University President’s Leadership Council, and Ambassadors Program for the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture (NMAAHC). Her work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Business Insider, and in several industry conferences. She hails from Atlanta, GA and resides in Washington, DC.

Moderator: The Accessibility-Powered Future of Work, Day 3


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Martha Orr

Deputy Chief Information Officer for Compliance, Risk, and Remediation
Department of Veterans Affairs

Ms. Orr currently serves as the Deputy Chief Information Officer for the Compliance, Risk, and Remediation service within OIT, and as the OIT Chief Risk Officer (CRO) and Chief Audit Executive (CAE). In these capacities, she is responsible for OIT enterprise independent verification and validation (IV&V), risk management oversight and compliance, audit compliance and reporting, quality continuous improvement, IT strategic planning, governance oversight, data management and analytics, and VA Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and records management and assessments for the OIT Assistant Secretary and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary. She also facilitates activities associated with the General Accountability Office (GAO) and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and ensures all issues related to OIT are worked at the appropriate levels.

For more than 30 years Ms. Orr has held positions in information technology, financial management, and program and project management with increasing levels of management responsibility. She has served on numerous community committees and boards.

Panelist: Digital Accessibility in the Federal Workplace, Day 2
Presenter: Accessibility Round Table with the Department of Veterans Affairs, Day 3


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Dr. Sachin Pavithran

Executive Director
United States Access Board

Dr. Sachin Dev Pavithran is the Executive Director of the U.S. Access Board. In this role, Pavithran oversees research funded by the Access Board that supports the development of rules and voluntary guidelines in the areas of transportation, information communication and technology, the built environment, and outdoor recreation. With over twenty years of direct involvement in development, testing, and training for assistive technology, Pavithran has given lectures and training in accessible information technology for individuals and groups, as well as assisted in the evaluation of products related to web accessibility and design. Pavithran also has extensive experience working with the higher education community in providing access to instructional materials to facilitate transitioning from K – 12 to post-secondary education into the workforce. As a lifelong advocate for the rights of people with disabilities, Pavithran has presented and provided training in the U.S. and worldwide, including in the United Arab Emirates, India, Egypt, Syria, Philippines, Thailand, Turkey, and Mexico.

Speaker: Welcome, Day 3
Panelist: A Fireside Chat with Accessibility Leaders, Day 3


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Dan Pomeroy

Deputy Associate Administrator, Office of Technology Policy
General Services Administration

Dan Pomeroy currently serves as the Deputy Associate Administrator in the Office of Technology Policy within the Office of Government-wide Policy at the General Services Administration (GSA). Dan’s work is focused on enabling Federal CIOs to deliver world-class information technology services across government, particularly in the areas of accessibility, identity credentialing, digital services, IT infrastructure modernization, and IT capital planning. In 2020, Dan established a dedicated emerging technology policy office in GSA.

Dan Pomeroy has also served as the first Director of the Infrastructure Optimization Center of Excellence under the White House Office of American Innovation, and as the Director of GSA’s Data Center and Cloud Optimization Initiative (DCCOI) Managing Partner PMO.

Dan is a native of Las Vegas, Nevada. He possesses a Masters in Public Service and Administration from Bush School of Government at Texas A&M University, and a Master of Science in Government Information Leadership from the National Defense University.

Speaker: Welcome and Opening Remarks, Day 1


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Justen Proctor

Senior Contracting Officer
General Services Administration

Mr. Justen Proctor is a Senior Contracting Officer at the Technology Transformation Services. He has over 11 years of experience in the career field, spanning the entire acquisition lifecycle. He has worked at the Air Force, Navy, DOT and now GSA.

His passion for accessibility is motivated by his lived experience as a blind person and has been actively involved in bridging the gap between accessibility and procurement.

Presenter: Accessibility in Procurement, Day 3


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Donna Ring

IT Specialist
Social Security Administration

Donna Ring began her career at the Social Security Administration in 1974. Since 2010 she has applied her skills in using assistive technology and Braille to improve the Section 508 Program at the agency. She is passionate about accessibility and fosters a culture of equity and inclusion for underserved communities. Donna is dedicated to helping people find new and meaningful opportunities, active in the disability community, and a dedicated member of diverse Social Security Advisory Councils, including disability advocacy groups.

Moderator: Remediation: The Next Step in an Effective 508 Program, Day 1


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Courtney Ritz

IT Accessibility Lead
National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Courtney Ritz serves as the Accessibility Lead and Section 508 Program Manager for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). She began work as an IT Specialist at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in 2002, where she served as the Alternate Goddard Section 508 Program Manager as well as the Goddard Postmaster. Courtney is a passionate supporter of digital accessibility and has participated on multiple employee engagement and diversity and inclusion committees. Courtney has also provided training across NASA on best practices for developing accessible technology. She is a user of assistive technology, as she lost her vision at age 5 due to a form of eye cancer called retinoblastoma. She received her Bachelor of Business Administration Degree from Mississippi State University in 2001.

Panelist: Real Talk- A Conversation with Section 508 Program Managers, Day 2


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Karla Rodriguez

Customer Experience Lead
Department of Homeland Security

Karla Rodriguez is the Customer Experience/User Experience lead in the Platform Services Program at DHS. She is a technologist with a background in cybersecurity, product management, and Voice of Customer. She specializes in the customer experience of enterprise platforms. She was awarded the 18F Challenge Coin for contributions to the user experience of federal systems. Trust her; she’s a professional in connecting the dots.

Panelist: Accessible Customer Experience & Shared Services, Day 1


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Benjamin Rolleman

Accessibility and Procurement Analyst
Shared Services Canada

Benjamin Rolleman is an Accessibility and Procurement Analyst with Shared Services Canada’s (SSC’s) Accessibility, Accommodations and Adaptive Computer Technology (AAACT) program. He has more than 9 years of experience in Information Communications Technology (ICT) accessibility standards, accessibility testing, web development, and adaptive technology in the public, private and non-profit sectors. Rolleman is active in the Accessibility Triage Team. This team, part of a multidisciplinary group of SSC professionals in AAACT, the Chief Information Office and Applied Procurement Policy, is implementing an accessible ICT Procurement Framework.

Benjamin has a BSc in computing science and business and is a long-standing advocate of accessible ICT procurement.

Panelist: Shared Services Canada - Update on our Accessible ICT Procurement Pilot, Day 2


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Rajiv Shah

Accessibility Specialist
U.S. Department of State

Rajiv Shah currently works as an Assistive Technology Specialist in the Office of Accessibility and Accommodations (OAA) at the U.S. Department of State. In his current position, Shah provides recommendations and troubleshooting support to the Department’s staff located in the United States and at U.S. embassies abroad. Prior to coming to OAA, Shah participated in a variety of career experiences, ranging from foreign affairs, IT support, Web application development, and nine additional years in disability policy. In all these areas, Shah has allowed his passion for clear communication to serve as the guiding light. Shah graduated with a linguistics major from Georgetown University in 1994.

Speaker: Should You Compromise on Your Greatest Abilities When You Have a Disability?, Day 3


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Siddhartha 'Sid' Sharma

Section 508 Program Manager
Department of the Interior

Serves as the Department of the Interior’s Section 508 Program Manager. As Interior’s Section 508 Program Manager, he manages and oversees the implementation of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and ensures all IT products and services developed, procured, maintained and used by Interior are accessible to individuals with disabilities.

Moderator: Testing for Compliance: A Comparison of Tools and Methods, Day 1
Panelist: Real Talk- A Conversation with Section 508 Program Managers, Day 2
Moderator: Cultivating & Managing an Inclusive Culture, Day 3


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Patrick Sheehan

Section 508 Program Manager
Department of Veterans Affairs

Patrick has worked at the Department of Veterans Affairs since 1989. He joined the Section 508 Office in 2001. As the Chief of the 508 Office and the agency’s 508 Coordinator, Patrick leads a team to ensure all electronic and information technology the VA uses, procures, maintains, or develops meets Section 508 requirements. The Department’s 508 Office is available to IT professionals, procurement officials, and disabled VA employees to explain what Section 508 is, what disabled employees can expect from the VA regarding access and the VA’s responsibilities under Section 504 and 508. Patrick received a BS degree in Computer Science from the University of Maryland and a BA degree from Providence College. He serves on the Board of Directors with the American Council of the Blind. He has also chaired the Accessibility Advisory Committee for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) for the past 20 years.

Presenter: Creating Accessible PDF Documents with Signatures, Day 1
Panelist: Accessibility Round Table with the Department of Veterans Affairs, Day 3


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David Shive

Chief Information Officer
General Services Administration

Shive oversees GSA IT — formerly known as the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) — and information technology operations and budget, ensuring its alignment with agency and administration strategic objectives and priorities.

Shive joined the U.S. General Services Administration’s Office of the Chief Information Officer in November 2012. Prior to being named CIO, he was the Director of the Office of Enterprise Infrastructure, responsible for the enterprise information technology infrastructure platforms and capability that support the GSA business enterprise. He was also the Acting Director of HR and FM Systems for the GSA CFO and CPO offices.

Prior to joining GSA, he served in the District of Columbia government as a Chief Information Officer. In this role, Shive had executive responsibility for agency IT operations including financial systems, security and privacy programs, internal controls and compliance, strategic planning, enterprise architecture and performance management and measurement programs and directed the transformation of enterprise systems and processes, to public/private cloud hybrid. Shive was the recipient of the 2012 Washington, D.C., CFO Meritorious Service Award.

Shive began his career at Lockheed Martin Corporation in management and consulting roles overseeing large, customer-centric, IT organizations serving state and local, federal and international government customers. He is the recipient of numerous sector awards including the 2006 State & Local Government Executive Management award and the 2003 Management Award for Transformational Technology

Shive is a member of the National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System Alumni Association; American Meteorological Society, DC Chapter; Project Management Institute, DC Chapter; the Air Force Association; and the Government Finance Officers Association.

He holds an undergraduate degree in physics from California State University, Fresno; a master’s degree in research meteorology from the University of Maryland College Park; and a post-graduate management certificate from the Carnegie Mellon Graduate School of Industrial Management.

Panelist: Digital Accessibility in the Federal Workplace, Day 2


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Betsy Sirk

Director, Digital Accessibility and Strategic Sourcing
National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Ms. Betsy Sirk is the Director, Digital Accessibility and Strategic Sourcing for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration with extensive leadership experience in program, project, technical, and acquisition management focused on implementing digital solutions to support NASA’s mission and the Federal Government. She serves as the Chairperson of the Federal CIO Council Accessibility Community of Practice Industry Outreach Program and the Section 508 Program Manager of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

Ms. Sirk also leads government-wide strategic sourcing efforts for workstations and Federal mobility solutions as the Strategic Sourcing Program Director from the NASA Solutions for Enterprise-Wide Procurement (SEWP) Program. Ms. Sirk is a renowned expert on digital accessibility. She has received numerous Government and Industry awards for program management and leadership. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelors Degree from University of Maryland and holds a Masters Degree with Distinction in Computer Science from George Washington University.

Moderator: Real Talk- A Conversation with Section 508 Program Managers, Day 2


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Kristen Smith-O'Connor

Senior ICT ccessibility Specialist
General Services Administration

Kristen Smith-O’Connor is a Senior ICT Accessibility Specialist with the Office of Government-wide Policy at the General Services Administration (GSA). Mrs. Smith-O’Connor draws on over twelve years of experience in digital accessibility, ranging from document remediation, to web/software testing, to accessibility program maturation and brings a wealth of knowledge to assist Federal Agencies in complying with Section 508.

Prior to joining GSA, Kristen was a Project Manager and Senior Accessibility Subject Matter Expert at New Editions Consulting Inc, providing accessibility strategic planning and program maturity for public and private sector clients, with a focus on maturation of digital policy. She has created and led trainings such as Trusted Tester bootcamp, Section 508 incorporation into Acquisitions, and testing using automated browser tools. She is a certified DHS Trusted Tester and an IAAP Certified Professional in Accessibility Core Competencies.

Presenter: GSA General Update, Day 2


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Wendy Stengel

Section Head, Accessibility/User Research
Library of Congress

Wendy AFG Stengel, accessibility & user research section head at the Library of Congress, is a seasoned UX professional, with a background in electronic and print publishing, and a hefty portfolio of usability research projects. She is passionate about delivering the right content at the right time, and helping users accomplish what they need. Wendy lives and works in Washington, DC.

Presenter: User Research and Personas for BARD Mobile, Day 2


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Kate Sweeney

Director, Section 508 Program
Health and Human Services

Kate Sweeney is the HHS Section 508 Program Director. She has over has over 12+ years’ experience in enterprise governance, policy, and process improvement across the federal government. She as an Advanced Certified Scrum Master and Lean Six Sigma practitioner, she has led the HHS Section 508 program through an extensive program maturity effort in hopes of establishing an HHS Accessibility Center of Excellence. She has held the role of HHS Section 508 Program Director since 2019, previously serving as the Office of the Secretary (OS) Section 508 Program Manager.

Presenter: A Retrospective on the Annual Section 508 Assessment, Day 3


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Victor Udoewa

CXO, CTO & Service Design Lead
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Victor Udoewa works in the Office of Public Health Data, Surveillance, and Technology (OPHDST) at the CDC. He previously served as CTO, CXO, and Service Design Lead of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs at NASA. He was the Director of Strategy at 18F, a civic consultancy for the federal government inside the federal government. He led the digital strategy practice and served as a designer and strategist on projects. Previously, as a Global Education Instructional Designer and Training Development Specialist at Google, he designed learning products and services for people in low-to-middle-income countries around the world.

Presenter: Applying Radical Participatory Design in the Context of Digital Accessibility, Day 2


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Mark Urban

Accessibility Program Manager
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Mark Urban is the Accessibility Program Manager for the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Mark’s 30+ years of experience translate to frequent engagements in the Accessibility community across the Federal and State workspace, and the award-winning program at CDC generates resources and practices used throughout the world. In the recent year, COVID and other health issues have been front and center, and CDC has learned to find the balance of ensuring accessibility alongside the need for just-in-time response activity.

Panelist: Real Talk- A Conversation with Section 508 Program Managers, Day 2


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Alfred Vallarta

Business Analyst
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

Alfred J. Vallarta is a Section 508 Specialist at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) since March of 2019. His current role, as a member of the Section 508 Team at the FDIC, includes outreach/training, software and web application testing, and document/multimedia reviews and assistance. Alfred spent 10 years, prior to joining the FDIC, working for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) as a Senior Analyst that provided support on two multi-faceted contracts which focused on Section 508 accessibility implementation on custom web and software applications. During this time, he also worked with the documentation team to ensure the latest accessibility requirements in all support aides and publications were packaged within these application releases. He has a bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design from the Corcoran School of the Arts & Design at the George Washington University.

Presenter: Section 508: Common Issues for Documents, Day 1


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Teresa Verigan

Digital and Creative Services Branch Chief
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

With more than 15 years experience in the digital and design space, Teresa directs the strategy and technical development of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website. With a focus on improving customer and user experience in the federal space, Teresa has championed accessibility on www.uspto.gov, and developed trainings that teach staff how to better prepare documents and webpages to meet Section 508-standards.

Presenters: AI-generated Alt-text: The future of Image Accessibility?, Day 3


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Angela Watkins

Section 508 Program Manager
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation

Angela Watkins, a certified Project Manager and CGEIT certified professional, has served as the Section 508 Program Manager for Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation since January 2018. She’s been aware of the goals of accessibility since serving on agency wide team in 2001. Prior to her current role, she’s had experience as a Business Representative, Service Desk Manager, Procurement Support, and a Contracting Officer Representative ensuring that products and deliverables she was responsible for included Section 508 compliance as a requirement. She serves as the chair of the Section 508 Intra-Agency team of representatives from the agency’s communications, human resources, legal, EEO, IT, facilities and procurement departments. She and her team have been effective in promoting the message that “Accessibility is Everyone’s Responsibility” in her agency.

Moderator: Accessible Customer Experience & Shared Services, Day 1


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David Whittington

Section 508 Coordinator
United States Census Bureau

David Whittington is currently the Section 508 Coordinator for the US Census Bureau and works in the Application Development and Services Division (ADSD). As the Section 508 Program Manager, his team provides Section 508 guidance, governance, and training for the Bureau. Prior to joining the agency, he worked for the Defense Information Systems Agency (DoD-DISA) where he was a Test Director, helping the US military develop, maintain, and operate mission critical Information Systems for the warfighter.

David holds a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering from Morgan State University as well as a plethora of leading IT industry certifications including PMP, ITIL, Certified Scrum Master, and Certified Test Engineer. He lives in Washington, DC and when not busy working, he enjoys spending time with his family and friends as well as coaching youth sports and bike riding.

Moderator: User Research and Personas for BARD Mobile, Day 2


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Dan Williams

U.S. Web Design System (USWDS) Project Lead
General Services Administration

Dan Williams is the project lead of the U.S. Web Design System. Previous to working on USWDS, he worked as a designer at 18F, and with both the Harvard Law Library and the Berkman Klein Center For Internet & Society.

Panelist: Using USWDS Critical Checklists to Develop Accessibility Skills Across Government Teams, Day 2


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Alex Wilson

Program Analyst
General Services Administration

Alex Wilson is a program analyst within GSA’s Office of Government-wide Policy (OGP). Alex works within the Digital Strategies, Government-wide IT Accessibility and Content Management teams supporting content creation, metrics & analytics, content rationalization and strategic planning efforts, among other activities. Alex is a disabled Army combat veteran.

Moderator: How to use ART, Day 1
Presenter: GSA General Update, Day 2


Reviewed/Updated: October, 2023

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