Register for the Signal Centers Accessibility Awareness Summit on May 20, 2021

Submitted by anoopa on Mon, 05/10/2021 - 12:18

The 3rd annual Signal Centers Accessibility Awareness Summit will inspire transformative conversations about the inclusion of individuals with different abilities and accessibility innovations and ideas. This one-day, digital summit will present workshops from accessibility experts, educators, and leaders in the field.

The summit will take place on Global Accessibility Awareness Day
Thursday, May 20th at 10:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada) via Zoom, LIVE from Chattanooga State Community College.

Due to the generosity of sponsors, the Signal Centers Accessibility Awareness Summit will be provided for FREE to all participants. 


Keynote Presenter, Chris Downey

Architect @Architecture for the Blind

{Image Description: Headshot of Chris Downey} Christopher Downey, AIA, is an architect, planner and consultant who lost all sight in 2008. Today, he is dedicated to creating more helpful and enriching environments for the blind and visually impaired. Chris consults on design for the blind and visually impaired, encompassing specialized centers as well as facilities serving the broader public. His work ranges from a new Department of Veterans Affairs blind rehabilitation center, renovations of housing for the blind in New York City, and to the new Transbay Transit Center in San Francisco. As one of the few practicing blind architects in the world, Chris has been featured in local, national and international media stories and speaks regularly about architecture, multi-sensory design and visual impairment. He also teaches accessibility and universal design at UC Berkeley and serves on the Board of Directors for the Lighthouse for the Blind in San Francisco.

Valerie Fletcher

Executive Director @Institute for Human Centered Design

{Image Description: Headshot of Valerie Fletcher wearing a black hat standing in front of a wall with a butterfly sculpture on it.} Fletcher has been Executive Director since 1998 of the Institute for Human Centered Design (IHCD), founded as Adaptive Environments. Fletcher writes, lectures and works internationally. She oversees consultation and design services to public and private entities in the US and globally. She created the IHCD User/Expert Lab which has over 500 people with lived experience of a physical, sensory or brain-based functional issues. Her research focus is generating data to inform designing on the rising prevalence of conditions that impact brain function inclusive of mental health, neurodiversity, learning disabilities, brain injury and cognitive limitations. Fletcher has a master's degree in ethics and public policy from Harvard University.

Mia Ives-Rublee

Director @Disability Justice Initiative

{Image Description: Mia Ives-Rublee sitting in her wheelchair with guide dog, moving down a sidewalk outside.} Mia Ives-Rublee is a disabled transracial adoptee who has dedicated her life’s work to civil rights activism. She began her journey as an adapted athlete, competing internationally in track, road racing, fencing, and crossfit. She obtained her Master’s in Social Work at UNC Chapel Hill and began working with disabled people to help them find work and independence in their communities at the NC Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services. Mia is best known for founding the Women’s March Disability Caucus and organizing the original Women’s March on Washington in 2017. She has worked with numerous progressive organizations on disability justice and inclusion. As a public speaker, Mia advocates on the national stage for the rights of disabled people, immigrants, and other marginalized communities.


10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Architecture for the Blind
Keynote Presenter, Chris Downey

11:00 a.m. to 11:50 a.m.
Accessibility and Aging Roundtable
Edna Varner – Consultant, Public Education Foundation
Pam Evans – Southeast Tennessee Area Agency on Aging and Disabilities
Geoff Millener – Enterprise Center

11:50 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
Accessibility in Practice
Donna McConnico - CEO, Signal Centers
Live Guests & Sponsors

12:15 p.m. to 12:45 p.m.
Accessibility Accesses, Challenges and a Path Forward
Rebecca Ashford – President, Chattanooga State
Bryan Johnson – Superintendent, Hamilton County Schools
Leigna Friener – Speech Pathologist, LeBonheur Hospital

1:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
A Personal Accessibility Story
Mia Ives-Rublee - Activist & Athlete

1:40 p.m. to 2:20 p.m.
The Changing Reality of Disability in America
Valerie Fletcher – CEO, Institute Human Centered Design