Liz Taub serves as the US Business Leaders Network director of business relations and strategic partnerships. Taub received her B.S. and M.S.W. from New York University while directing and guiding the design, development, and implementation of a pilot program that runs today at the Center for Special Needs in New York. While working with dedicated, intelligent, and productive young adults with disabilities, her interest in the business case for hiring people with disabilities sparked. Upon graduation, Taub started working for Walgreens Co. on their initiative to employ more people with disabilities. She co-created Walgreens REDI (Retail Employees with Disabilities Initiative), which expanded nationwide. Taub went on to serve as the executive director of incline, where she focused on educating, supporting and equipping military veterans with the skills to pursue careers in technology. In her position, she works with member companies of the USBLN as a trusted adviser to business to help leverage disability inclusion solutions and policies in the workforce, supply chain, and marketplace.
Thomas (Tad) Asbury
Thomas (Tad) Asbury is vice president & executive director of the Marriott Foundation for People with Disabilities, leading Bridges From School to Work, which fosters employment opportunities for young adults with disabilities in major cities across the country. With nearly three decades of experience in the public and private sectors, Asbury leads the Foundation’s 70-plus associates, directing all strategy, program, operations, finance, and public and private development efforts to ensure long-term organizational stability and growth. His past professional experience includes senior positions in corporate philanthropy at a telecommunications company, public affairs, public relations, and education. Asbury is currently on the boards of the National Youth Employment Coalition and the Disability Funders Network, and he is chair of the Leadership Council of National Youth Transitions Collaborative. An experienced national speaker and presenter, Asbury holds a B.A. from Albion College and an M.S. in applied linguistics from Georgetown University.
Richard E. (Dick) Marriott
Richard Marriott is chairman of the board of directors of Host Hotels & Resorts, which is among the largest owners of lodging properties in the world. Marriott also serves as chairman of First Media Corporation, an independent broadcasting firm privately owned by the Marriott family. Marriott joined Host on a full-time basis in 1965 as manager of a Hot Shoppes restaurant, having held part-time positions with the company since his mid-teens. He subsequently served as eastern coordinator of the Roy Rogers division, corporate vice president for the architecture and construction division, and vice president of property development for Marriott Hotels. In 1976 Marriott was promoted to group vice president of restaurant operations, and in 1978 he was appointed corporate group vice president, with continuing responsibility for the company’s restaurant business, as well as its theme parks division. He was elected as a director of the corporation in 1979, and assumed responsibility for its data processing operations in 1983. He subsequently was named an executive vice president in 1984, and vice chairman in 1986.
Marriott is chairman of the boards of trustees of both the J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation and the Marriott Foundation for People with Disabilities. A former president of the National Restaurant Association, Marriott serves on the Federal City Council, and the National Advisory Council of Brigham Young University.
He was chairman of the board of directors of the Polynesian Cultural Center, was a trustee of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, and a member of the Gallaudet University board. He is an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Washington, D.C., area.
Marriott graduated from the University of Utah and holds a master’s in business administration from Harvard Business School. The younger of the two sons of company founders J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott, Marriott was born in Washington, D.C. He resides with his wife Nancy in Potomac, MD. They have four daughters and 13 grandchildren.
John Hockenberry is host of public radio’s live morning news program “The Takeaway.” An Emmy- and Peabody Award-winning journalist, he is a former correspondent for NBC News, ABC News, and NPR, and has traveled the globe reporting on a wide variety of stories in virtually every medium for more than three decades. He has written dozens of magazine and newspaper articles, a play, and two books, including the novel, “A River Out of Eden,” and the bestselling memoir “Moving Violations: War Zones, Wheelchairs, and Declarations of Independence,” which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Hockenberry wrote and performed the critically acclaimed Off-Broadway show “Spokeman,” and has written for The New York Times, The New Yorker, I.D., Wired, The Columbia Journalism Review, Details, and The Washington Post. A skilled presenter and moderator, Hockenberry has appeared at numerous design and idea conferences around the nation, including the TED conference, the World Science Festival, the Aspen Design Summit, the Aspen Comedy Festival, and speaks regularly on the media, design and disability. He has served as a distinguished fellow at MIT’s Media Lab and is currently a member of the White House Fellows Commission. He and his wife Alison, also an Emmy and Peabody winner, have five children and live in Brooklyn.
Jenni Gold is considered a triple threat in the world of entertainment. Her editing and screenwriting skills serve as a foundation for her directorial efforts, which have received multiple awards and have placed her among the best in her field as a director member of the Directors Guild of America. Gold is the cofounder of Gold Pictures, Inc., a development/production entity that was established in 2001.
In addition to recently directing the star filled and award winning film “CinemAbility,” Gold has just directed a comedy feature film, and has co-written and is currently developing various films and TV programing. She also runs the corporate division of Gold Pictures, which services such well-known clients as The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.
Gold attended film school at the University of Central Florida, where she graduated summa cum laude with two B.A. degrees, one in motion picture production, and another in radio and television broadcasting. Gold has Muscular Dystrophy and has used a wheelchair since the age of 7. She often jokes that “since her director’s chair goes 12 miles an hour she is the first to arrive on set.” Her passion for storytelling and entertaining an audience is clearly evident in her work and achievements.
As an advocate for people with disabilities, Gold uses her filmmaking skills and the power of the media to enlighten the public. She recently wrote “The Gold Test” as a standard for Hollywood content creators. “The Gold Test” asks whether a work of fiction prominently features a disabled character whose story is not about their disability, and whose character is not solely defined by their disability.
Elaine E. Katz
Elaine E. Katz, M.S., C.C.C.-SP, is senior vice president for grants and communications at the Kessler Foundation. She is responsible for planning, implementing, and monitoring a comprehensive grant-making program for the Foundation. In addition, she oversees the Foundation’s communication department. Katz has over 25 years of consulting experience, and also works with nonprofit organizations in areas of board development, fundraising, marketing, and business development. She currently serves on the board of directors of JESPY House as board president, Association of People Supporting Employment First (APSE), Essex/Newark Disabilities Issues Committee, and on the program committee of the Council of NJ Grantmakers. Elaine is also an appointed member of the NJ Veterans and Community Collaborative Network (VCCN). She is the recipient of the Betty Pendler Award for improving the lives of persons with disabilities from Community Options, Inc. Katz holds a certificate of clinical competence in speech pathology from the American-Speech-Hearing Association. She received her master’s degree in speech pathology from Adelphi University and bachelor’s degree from Boston University in Speech Pathology and Audiology.
Rich Donovan is founder/CEO of The Return on Disability Group, and is a globally recognized subject matter expert on the convergence of disability and corporate profitability. He has spent more than 10 years focused on defining and unlocking the economic value of the disability market for large companies and governments globally. Donovan created The Return on Disability concept and model, the first of its kind. The Barclays Return on Disability ETN listed on the New York Stock Exchange on Sept. 11, 2014, under the ticker RODI.
Donovan was appointed to chair of Ontario’s Accessibility Standards Advisory Council by the Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure in January 2016. He provides corporate and governmental clients with insights and tools to frame disability as a global emerging market. Donovan’s proprietary and proven process translates disability success factors into specific actions that create sustainable value. He is sought-after by businesses and governments for advice when acting on the disability market.
Donovan founded Lime (2006), the leading third-party recruiter in the disability space, where he worked with Google, PepsiCo, Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, IBM, TD Bank, and others to help them attract and retain top talent from within the disability market. Identified as a best practice by the U.S. Department of Labor and featured in the Wall Street Journal, Lime does one thing very well — find great talent. Donovan has a combined 20 years of experience in portfolio and investment risk management. As a proprietary trader and portfolio manager at Merrill Lynch, he delivered consistent performance results focused on macro strategies with an event-driven overlay, using equity indices as a primary tool. Donovan holds an M.B.A. from Columbia Business School and a B.B.A. from Schulich School of Business at York University. He is an avid sailor and proud father of his son, Maverick, along with his wife, Jenn. Donovan also happens to have cerebral palsy.