Ivan Rodriguez

Ivan was born in Puerto Rico and raised in New York City and Buffalo, NY.

He earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theater from Buffalo State College and Master of Fine Arts in Media Production from the University at Buffalo. His professional experiences and studies expand to institutions such as The Juilliard School Drama Division, New York University, Stanford University, University at Buffalo, and Buffalo State College.

During the last 5 years, Ivan has held various positions such as Artist Services Coordinator, Artist Liaison & Studio Manager at Stanford Live / Bing Concert Hall at Stanford, and as the Community Relations Manager at the Community School of Music and Arts, a non-profit arts organization in Mountain View. He has taught theater arts at Buffalo State College and has acted in numerous plays.

Currently, he is an administrator at the Center for Youth Mental Health and Well being in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford. He is also the merchandise photographer and visual art consultant for drewandbarb.com, an artisan leather goods on-line shop.

Ivan lives in San Jose with his beautiful wife and lovely stepdaughter.

Fleet Easton

Fleet Easton is a singer, actor, dancer and entertainer born in Akron, Ohio. He has an extensive background in dance, acting and singing. He studied at American Ballet Theatre, Ballet Arts and took master dance classes at the world-renowned Julliard School.

He has toured nationally on stage and has appeared in many featured films and television shows. He has performed with Florida’s “Space Coast Pops Orchestra”, the “Melbourne Orchestra” and was a founding member of “The Bel Canto Enesmble” with Beatrice Moore, a former soprano with the Metropolitan Opera. In 2008 Fleet won the Desert Idol competition naming him the best entertainer in Palm Springs California. He has worked with homeless shelters in the Coachcella Valley feeding the homeless on a daily bases. Fleet is now part of the “Friend Movement” which is an anti bulling campainge founded by actor Ronnie kroell and Elliot Dal Pra London. On November 15th. 2012 he recieved the “Touching Lives” Humanitarian Award in Hollywood California for his contribution in sharing his time and talent with charities throughout his career.

Geri Jewell

Geri Jewell is best known as Cousin Geri on the NBC sitcom, The Facts of Life. She was the first person with a disability to have a regular role on a prime time series. She began her career doing stand up comedy at the Comedy Store in 1978. In 1980 she performed at the 2nd Annual Media Access Awards, where she was introduced to Norman Lear by producer, Fern Field.

After her ground breaking role on Facts she has appeared on such shows as The Great Space Coaster, the Emmy award winning movie Two of a Kind, Sesame Street, 21 Jump Street, The Young and the Restless, Strong Medicine and the HBO hit series, Deadwood, which she also received Emmy consideration for. She also co-starred in the independent film “Night of the White Pants” and was featured on the FOX series, Alcatraz.

When Geri is not working in television, she is a highly sought after motivational speaker and trainer in the areas of diversity, disability and GLBT issues. Her training has taken her to such companies as Hewlett Packard, Master Foods, Johnson Wax, AT&T, Amgen, Mass Mutual and Raytheon. She has also trained such government agencies as The C.I.A., The U.S. Treasury Department, Defense Intelligence Agency, and the U.S. Army.

She is famous for her uncanny ability to captivate the hearts of her audiences by using humor to facilitate attitudinal change. Geri brings to her presentations her personal experiences in life, which in turn allow people to gain insight into the prospect of seeing disability in a totally different light, creating hope where there is none, and joy where there is pain.

She has never forgotten her roots in comedy. She has appeared on many of cable comedy shows, including Evening at the Improv on A&E, and Stand Up Spotlight on VHI. She has opened for Paul Anka, Robert Goulet, and Judy Collins. She has been featured on Entertainment Tonight, E! Hollywood True Story, and ABCs 20/20, and A&E’s Biography.

All in all, Geri enjoys a thriving career. She has been the recipient of many awards, including the 1992 Founders Award, the 2005 Independent Living Legacy Award, and the 2006 Victory award. Her NEW autobiography, I’m Walking as Straight as I Can received the 2012 Gold Award by the Independent Publishers. She also received the 2013 Golden Halo Award, and the 2013 UCP Life Without Limits Award.

Gail Williamson

Gail Williamson is a well known public speaker and advocate for performers with disabilities. She has established herself as the “go to person” in Hollywood and elsewhere when a project includes characters with Down syndrome and other disabilities. She has assisted many television shows over the years. Some of the most notable include: TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL, ER, FAMILY LAW, LAW AND ORDER: SVU and THE GUARDIAN.

Gail’s connections in the entertainment industry along with her past position as president of the Media Image Coalition – A project of the L.A. Commission on Human Relations, gives her a realistic view of what media depiction can do for diverse groups. She continues to use her expertise to advocate for more, and authentic, characterizations of individuals with disabilities and Down syndrome.

Gail and her husband Tommie have been married for 40 years and are the proud parents of two adult sons. Tim, the oldest is married to a wonderful woman and they have two children together, Blair the youngest, was born with disabilities from Down syndrome and started acting professionally at the age of 11. As an adult, Blair has some very impressive credits on his resume. Gail and Tommie also opened their home for many years as the legal guardians to 6 nieces. Today the girls are all grown and living independent lives. Most are married and raising children of their own.

Gail’s work, as well as her personal life, has been recognized by several organizations. With 5 children in her home at the time, she was recognized as the 1999 California State and National Mother of the Year by American Mother’s, Inc. the national organization that sponsors Mother’s Day. The Hollywood based organization Changing Images in America, recognized Gail with their 1999 Chia Awards Media Image Award for her “tireless efforts in pursuing and promoting increased employment opportunities and more balances images of people with disabilities in the Entertainment Industry.” Goodwill Industries in Buena Park, CA also named Gail as one of their “Women of Hope” and honored her with the William Knott Service Award in 2000. In 2004 the acting unions, Actor’s Equity (AEA), Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and Actors Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) recognized Gail with a diversity award at their annual event. In July 2005 she was honored by the National Down Syndrome Congress at their annual convention for her work in the media industry.

Gail continues to travel for speaking engagements addressing issues like: “The Importance of Images of People with Disabilities in the Media,” “Media Advocacy,” “The Business of Show Business,” “Images of Down Syndrome in the Media,” and her and Tommie’s personal story of raising two sons, one with a disability, and opening their home to their six nieces.

Michael Pritchard

Michael Pritchard is a nationally acclaimed keynote speaker praised by the Wall Street Journal, CNN and Time for his ability to use humor to inspire and educate his audiences on communication skills. Michael Pritchard is a big guy with a warm heart who as one student described him, “truly walks as he talks.”

He began his career on both the comedy stage and as a juvenile counselor in San Francisco’s Youth Guidance Center. In 1980, Michael Pritchard won first place in the San Francisco International Stand Up Comedy Competition as well as winning the prestigious California Probation Officer of the Year.

Michael’s offers from Hollywood rolled in including a guest appearance on an Emmy Award winning episode of “Taxi”. His sensational standup comedy billed him with Robin Williams, Jerry Seinfeld, Dana Carvey and Whoopi Goldberg playing venues as Caesar’s, the Comedy Store, Universal Ampitheater and opening for such names as Diana Ross, the Grateful Dead, Kenny Rogers, Mike Mc Donald and Boz Scaggs. But Michael rejected offers from Hollywood to focus on using his comic talents for inspiring youth and adults.

David Joseph Maley

David Joseph “Dave” Maley (born April 24, 1963 in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin) is a former American hockey player, having played for the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens, New Jersey Devils, Edmonton Oilers, San Jose Sharks and New York Islanders; and is currently a radio and television analyst for the San Jose Sharks.

As a player, Maley was part of the University of Wisconsin–Madison team that won the NCAA Division I hockey championship in 1983, as well winning a Stanley Cup with the Montreal Canadiens in 1986. As a broadcaster, Maley serves as a pre-game analyst and intermission reporter for Sharks radio broadcasts. On occasion, he will do color commentary for games when regular commentator Jamie Baker is out on assignment for the Sharks. He also joins Dan Rusanowsky and Baker in a popular “triple-cast” format during several regular season and home playoff games.

In 1996 David established Rollin’ Ice in San Jose, California, “the Bay Area’s premier roller hockey facility”. Rollin’ Ice has been a part of the Silvercreek Sportsplex since 2007, expanding to 3 rollerhockey rinks. Rollin’ Ice hosts adult and youth roller hockey leagues and clinics, provides the facility for roller hockey tournaments, and is the home for a number of Bay Area traveling roller hockey teams, including the Mustangs, Rampage, Riot, Public Enemy and the Silicon Valley Quakes. Maley is the current president of the Silvercreek Sportsplex, as well as an active participant and advisor to the growing ice hockey community in San Jose.

Sam Liccardo

Sam T. Liccardo was elected onto the San José City Council in November 2006, and represents the Downtown district of America’s 10th largest city. He also serves in leadership positions of various regional governmental bodies, including the boards of the Cities Association of Santa Clara County (in 2012, he was President), the Valley Transportation Authority (in 2010, as its Board Chair), the Association of Bay Area Governments (on which he serves on the Executive Committee), and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. Prior to his election, he served as a prosecutor of sexual assault and child exploitation crimes in the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.

Sam was recently elected as mayor of San Jose.

Reverend David Bird

Reverend David Bird: Dean and Rector of Trinity Cathedral Church, Downtown San Jose: Central to who we are is the conviction that everyone is welcome at God’s table. Our simple motto is “a place at God’s table for everyone.” We believe that was the attitude of Jesus and must be ours. As such we are consciously a very diverse congregation. Jesus’ life was characterized by prayer, care, study and rigorous intellectual questioning. All this we attempt to do. As a congregation, we seek to follow the bishop’s charge to a new parish pastor: “care alike for young and old, strong and weak, rich and poor;” proclaim the Gospel; and “Love and serve Christ’s people. Nourish them, and strengthen them to glorify God in this life and in the life to come.”

Omair Farooqui

Legal Experience
Omair Farooqui is a business attorney specializing in Intellectual Property, corporate law, and civil litigation.

Mr. Farooqui’s Intellectual Property experience includes patent litigation and patent prosecution involving mechanical, biomechanical, chemical, electrical and software technologies.

Mr. Farooqui also has extensive experience in trademark prosecution, counseling and litigation, as well as copyright and trade secret counseling and litigation. In addition, his experience includes drafting and negotiating Intellectual Property contracts such as licensing agreements, research and development agreements, non-disclosure agreements, etc. While in law school, Mr. Farooqui clerked at the Office of Technology Transfer, California Institute of Technology/Jet Propulsion Laboratory-NASA, California Energy Commission, and California Resources Agency.

Mr. Farooqui’s corporate experience includes representing numerous privately held technology companies in matters involving all phases of the business and product life-cycles including inception, emergence, growth, and maturity. Mr. Farooqui also has significant experience working with nonprofit organizations with regards to inception, governance, and finance.

Mr. Farooqui’s civil litigation experience includes commercial and business litigation disputes and personal injury litigation.

Ali Barekat

Ali Barekat, Executive Director, has 25 years of business leadership and product development experience at start-up companies focused on web, enterprise, and mobile software products and services. He was a Co-Founder of 2Cast, a leader in Mobile Interactive Marketing. Ali has held several executive management positions at Tesaria, and CyberBills. He was a member of the founding engineering teams at WebMD. Ali has been a Boy Scout volunteer and leader for the past 12 years. He holds a B.S. and M.S. degree in Computer Science from University of Louisiana.