2023 Annual Conference – Biographies

See the biographies below to learn more about our speakers & awardees for this year’s Annual Conference.

Our Keynote Speaker

Clark Souers is the CEO/Founder of EXPERT EFFECT which provides HR and stress-resiliency solutions to companies of all sizes.  With a background in HR leadership and stress management, Clark is a sought-after speaker by news outlets, conferences and large companies.  He is an Associate Certified Coach, was valedictorian of Pepperdine University and received a MBA from ASU.



Our Emcee & Speaker

Sean Crump, Founder & Head Chair of Included by Design

Sean is a universal design and disability inclusion industry expert, while priding himself as a social entrepreneur using his voice, lived experience, and passion for building barrier-free communities. As Founder of Included by Design, Sean’s primary focus is spent on developing digital solutions creating equal opportunities for people living with disabilities. He currently sits on multiple boards and committees across Canada including CP Alberta, while providing workshops and speaking at different engagements on accessibility and inclusion, most notably speaking about disability inclusion on his TEDx talk.




Featured Speakers

Travis Davis

Travis is a native New Mexican. He was also born with cerebral palsy. He received two college degrees (B.A. in English from Azusa Pacific University and Master’s in Adapted Physical Education from UNM) and is ADA Coordinator certified. In 2015, he gave a TEDx Talk on social inclusion in education. The message was about the importance of having the courage to ask questions about a person’s disability and strategies to appropriately do so. Over the years, Travis realized that his disability can be used for a positive purpose. In his free time, Travis records his “Off The Crutch” podcast.




Sean Luechtefeld, ANCOR

In his role as Vice President for Communications, Sean Luechtefeld leads communications, public relations and marketing strategy to strengthen the positioning of the ANCOR and ANCOR Foundation brands. In addition to his work at ANCOR, Sean is an adjunct professor in the Master’s program in Communication at Johns Hopkins University. He holds a Ph.D. in Rhetoric & Political Culture from the University of Maryland, a Master’s degree in Communication from Wake Forest University, and Bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and Communication Studies from Florida State University.



Other Speakers, Panelists & Breakout Session Presenters
(listed alphabetically by last name)

Honorable Tony Coelho

The Honorable Tony Coelho is a retired U.S. Congressman from California, a former House of Representatives Majority Whip, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman and the principal author of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  Diagnosed with epilepsy at 22 years old, Mr. Coelho has spent his entire adult life helping advance the lives of people with disabilities.  While he calls this his “ministry”, those in the disability community call him their “voice” and “champion.”  Mr. Coelho founded The Coelho Center for Disability Law, Policy and Innovation at Loyola Marymount University.



Jennifer Cooley, Director of Marketing and Development, UCP of Mobile

Jennifer Cooley is a 20-year marketing and PR veteran who joined UCP of Mobile in 2022. Jennifer has a wealth of experience from working at advertising agencies and marketing departments and as a consultant and a university instructor. She also has an extensive background in social media marketing and content development.





Dr. Mark E. Gormley, Jr., M.D.

Mark Gormley, MD, Gillette Children’s

Mark E. Gormley MD is a pediatric rehabilitation medicine physician at Gillette Children’s Specialty. He treats children and adolescents who have cerebral palsy, brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, neuromuscular disorders, and other conditions, with a special interest in spasticity management. He joined Gillette in 1993. Dr. Gormley received his medical degree at the University of Louisville School of Medicine in Louisville, Ky.  He completed his residency in physical medicine and rehabilitation at Tufts Affiliated Hospitals in Boston and completed a fellowship in pediatric rehabilitation medicine and traumatic brain injury at the University of Michigan Medical Center.  He serves on the UCP Board of Trustees and is a member of the UCP Research Committee.



Geoffrey Haxel
2023 Chair Award Recipient

Mr. Haxel retired in 2018 as Senior Vice President of Operations at Circle K. From 2001 to 2011, he served as Vice President of the Arizona Business Unit for the company, though he’s worked for Circle K since 1988. When working as a regional manager in the 1990s in the Dallas/Fort Worth area,  he was first impacted by the work of United Cerebral Palsy when invited to tour the local affiliate.  It is estimated that the contributions collected from Circle K customers on behalf of UCP of Central Arizona and Southern Arizona during Haxel’s 17-year tenure in Phoenix totaled at least $25 million.



Karen Johnson, MSW, LCSW, Social Current

Karen leads the development of Social Current’s Change in Mind Institute, leveraging the latest advances in neurosciences and trauma-informed approaches across sectors and at the practice, policy, and systems levels. She brings knowledge of the advancing science around resilience, brain development, adversity, toxic stress, equity, and trauma-informed approaches to the complex challenges we face.   She previously worked for the National Council for Mental Wellbeing and Wellpoint Care Network, and served as an independent consultant. Karen is a licensed clinical social worker certified in Dr. Brené Brown’s Dare to Lead and Daring Way and trained in Dr. Bruce Perry’s Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics.


Kelly Martin, MS, Social Current

Kelly Martin is the Director of Practice Excellence at Social Current, with an emphasis on applied developmental psychology.  In this role, she collaborates with stakeholders across the network to advance systems change through policy and advocacy efforts, and to build the capacities of members through networking, knowledge, and solutions.   She holds a Master of Science in Applied Developmental Psychology, and a B.S. in Psychology and Sociology from the University of Pittsburgh. 




Rep.  Cathy McMorris-Rodgers
2023 Legislative Award Recipient

Cathy McMorris Rodgers represents the State of Washington’s 5th Congressional District. First elected to the House in 2004, she currently serves as the chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Prior to this appointment, McMorris Rogers served as chair of the House Republican Conference from 2012 to 2018. She was the 200th woman ever elected to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives and the first woman to give birth three times while in office.  In 2007, she gave birth to Cole Rodgers. Cole was born with an extra 21st chromosome and inspired the congresswoman to become a leader in the disabilities community.  Among her many achievements since entering Congress, Rep. McMorris Rogers is the author of the ABLE to Work Act and played roles in the movement for the ABLE Financial Planning Act and the ABLE Age Adjustment Act.




Kate McSweeny, President & CEO, ACCSES

Since early 2016, Kate McSweeny has led ACCSES’s national advocacy efforts, including legislative and regulatory policy and member advocacy. In January 2022, Kate was elevated to President & CEO. Prior to joining ACCSES, Kate practiced law at the law firms of Chadbourne & Parke (now Norton Rose Fulbright) and Dilworth Paxson in Washington, D.C., while also teaching 22 semesters of legal research and writing as an adjunct law professor. Kate is a magna cum laude graduate of George Mason University School of Law and a cum laude graduate of Boston College. Kate has extensive experience serving on Boards, and currently sits on the SourceAmerica board.



Nancy Mireles, CNP, Sr. Director of Development, UCP of Central Florida

Nancy joined UCP of Central Florida in 2020 as the Senior Director of Development. Her non-profit career started in 2005 with the Central Florida Council, Boy Scouts of America. Nancy has over 17 years of Development experience, including: community partnerships, special events, grants, endowment, major gifts & capital projects.



Valerie Pieraccini,  UCP of Central Arizona 

Valerie Pieraccini MS, OTR is the Executive Director of Therapy & Early Learning and has practiced as a pediatric occupational therapist for over 30 years, working with children at United Cerebral Palsy of Central Arizona since 1994. Valerie received her Bachelors and Masters in occupational therapy at Western Michigan University and A.T. Still University respectively. Her current focus is on implementation of evidence practice for children with cerebral palsy. She is a member of the American Academy for Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine. Valerie is a co-chair for the UCP Research Committee and a member of the UCP Professional Learning Series committee. She is the lead author of Handprints: Home Programs for Hand Skills and has lectured often on children’s hand skills.



Honorable Jon Porter, President & CEO, PORTER GROUP

Congressman Jon Porter (ret.) is the founding member and CEO of PORTER GROUP, a bipartisan government relations, lobbying, public affairs, and business consulting firm with offices on Capitol Hill. Jon possesses a unique set of skills built upon 30-plus years of experience in business, public policy, and politics. In addition to PORTER GROUP, Jon has built and run a large and highly successful financial services company and has achieved multiple terms in elected office as a city councilman, mayor, state senator and, most recently, a three-term United States Congressman from Southern Nevada.



Kari Luther Rosbeck, President & CEO, TSC Alliance

Kari is the President & CEO of TSC Alliance. She has been involved in nonprofit fundraising and volunteer management for more than 30 years. During her tenure at the TSC Alliance, community volunteers have grown from 90 to more than 2,000, she built 36 volunteer branches across the country and as a result drove revenue growth by 380%.




Mark Shaffer, Executive Director, UCP of San Luis Obispo
2023 Kathy O. Maul Award Recipient

Mark brought United Cerebral Palsy to San Luis Obispo, CA in 1987 and founded Ride-On Transportation in 1993.  He currently serves as the organization’s Executive Director. He built the organization into a $6 million business providing support services for people with disabilities and transportation services.



Andrea Stoesz, Executive Director, United Cerebral Palsy of Minnesota 

Andrea Stoesz is the Executive Director of United Cerebral Palsy of Minnesota. Andrea also serves as Director of External Affairs at Gillette Children’s, and has spent her career in health policy and politics. She lives with her husband, toddler, and dog in St. Paul, Minnesota.





Deborah Thompson, Studio 929 West Consulting & Coaching

Deborah Thompson is an expert in nonprofit leadership and governance, with over 30 years’ experience working with charitable organizations at national and local levels. As former VP of Chapter Advancement with Make-A-Wish America she has extensive knowledge of federated systems and challenges facing chapter leaders and boards. In addition to her consulting and coaching practice, Deborah teaches courses in nonprofit governance, strategic planning, and finance for Arizona State University



Lisa Vaccarelli, Senior Consultant, Plus Delta Partners

Lisa brings 18 years of advancement experience to her role as Senior Consultant at Plus Delta Partners. In this role, Lisa partners with non-profit leaders to enhance their fundraising results by providing best-in-class performance improvement solutions.  She has worked with organizational leaders, fundraisers, and board members at a variety of non-profit organizations at both national and local levels, including the Anti-Defamation League, Junior Achievement, Feeding America, YMCA, and United Way.




To read more about our 2023 Awards and the recipients, click here.