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AbilityLinks Staff Named to ADA 25 2018 Fellows Class

Bill Oconnor

Congratulations AbilityLinks Information and Referral Counselor Bill O’Connor for being named to the 2018 Fellows Class of ADA 25 Advancing Leadership!

The mission of ADA 25 Advancing Leadership, now three years old, is to build a pipeline and network of leaders with disabilities who are deeply engaged in the civic life of the Chicago region and advancing in their careers — consistent with the spirit of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

“Although people with disabilities are our neighbors, co-workers, classmates, family and friends, they rarely play a visible leadership role at tables of power and influence in Chicago,” says Emily Harris, Executive Director of ADA 25 Advancing Leadership.

"This is a great opportunity to develop myself further as a leader and for AbilityLinks to develop as a solution for disability employment.” said Bill.

The year-long program includes:

  • Training for emerging leaders through an annual Fellows Retreat
  • Programs that provide opportunities to move individual leadership plans forward through education and networking
  • Mentoring
  • Summer Event
  • Fall Symposium
  • Autonomous Fellows Meetings

“The selection process was especially challenging this year due to a highly competitive pool of qualified applicants who bring a combination of expertise and experience in both professional and advocacy settings," said Robin Burnett, Program Manager, ADA 25 Advancing Leadership. 

Congratulations to the Entire ADA 25 Advancing Leadership 2018 Fellows

  • Azeema Akram, Legal & Policy Advisor, Illinois Commerce Commission
  • Emily Blum, Director of Marketing and Communications, Metropolitan Planning Council
  • Liz Davis, Front End Web Designer, Quikorder
  • James Ferg-Cadima, Associate General Counsel, Public Safety, City of Chicago Office of Inspector General
  • Valerie Gilles, Manager, Strategy and Management Consulting, KPMG
  • Andre Johnson, Founder and CEO, LiveEquipd
  • Evelyn Keolian, Children’s Librarian, Chicago Public Library
  • Christina McGleam, Assistant to the Commissioner, Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities
  • Angel Miles, Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Carlos Navarro, Community Leader
  • Manasseh Nuwagaba, Peer Support Specialist, Bobby E. Wright Comprehensive Behavioral Health Center
  • William O’Connor, Information and Referral Specialist, AbilityLinks
  • Joyce Otuwa, Staff Attorney, Equip for Equality
  • Courtney Sass, Student Aide, British International School of Chicago
  • Grishma Shah, Mass Media Consultant and Artist 
  • Ather Sharif, Software Engineer, Comcast
  • William Sitter, Core Recruiting Coordinator, People Scout
  • Jewel Ware, Owner, Jewels of Success
  • Andrew Webb, Equal Justice Works Fellow and Attorney, Equip for Equality
  • Bryen Yunashko, Owner, Access 256 Productions

ADA 25 Advancing Leadership is currently supported by the continued investment of donors led by The Chicago Community Trust and Exelon as well as BMO Harris, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, JPMorgan Chase, Allstate Insurance Company, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, Hyatt Hotels Foundation and Microsoft. Learn more about ADA 25 Advancing Leadership.