Inclusive Workforce Summit - Speakers

David Allgood
David Allgood is a graduate of the University of Kentucky with a master’s degree in vocational Rehabilitation Counseling.   David has either led or participated in several major advocacy efforts in the state.  David is the Chair of the Statewide Advisory Council for the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, is a member of the National Council for Independent Living, serves on the Board of the KY Spinal Cord and Head Injury Trust Fund, is the Vice Chair for the Commonwealth Council on Developmental Disabilities and serves on the Louisville Metro Commission for Persons with Disabilities. He is the Director of Advocacy for the Center for Accessible Living.   

Justin Banks
Justin is an IPS Employment Specialist at Mental Health America of Northern Kentucky & Southwest Ohio 

Ryan Bowman
Ryan Bowman is the Program Manager of the Workforce Recovery Program at the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. He works with the business community to help show how being a transformational employer can be mutually beneficial for everyone involved. Ryan is a combat veteran, serving two tours in Iraq. He received his undergraduate degree in Psychology from Morehead State University and is currently pursuing his MPA from Murray State University. Ryan is excited to have a hand in sculpting the business landscape of Kentucky through his continued efforts to reduce the stigma of addiction, addressing criminal justice reform, and assisting employers and organizations in those areas through programs offered by the Kentucky Chamber Foundation.                                                                                               

Beth Brinly
Louisville native Beth Brinly brings a wide array of government, non-profit, and private-sector experience, and an extensive knowledge of workforce development, economic development, and education to the position of deputy secretary of the Kentucky Education and Labor Cabinet.

Dep. Brinly is no stranger to Kentucky state government having served in the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet as the deputy secretary from 2014–2015, commissioner of the Department of Workforce Development from 2010–2014, and the Kentucky Workforce Development Cabinet from 1990–1996. She began her state government career in the Governor’s Office where she worked in policy and budget from 1987–1990.

Dep. Brinly comes to the cabinet from the American Institutes for Research (AIR) where she was vice president of the Workforce Program Area in the Human Services Division. Prior to that position, she served as the vice president of Workforce Innovation at consulting firm Maher & Maher.

On the federal level, she worked at the regional office of the U.S. Department of Labor in Philadelphia as chief of the Division of Workforce Investment in the Employment and Training Administration. Dep. Brinly has also served as an Education Program Specialist in the Philadelphia Regional Office of the U.S. Department of Education. She has extensive experience with federal programs including the Workforce Investment and Opportunities Act, Wagner-Peyser and the Trade Act.

Priya Chandan, M.D.
Dr. Priya Chandan is a physician-scientist who engages in health services research to improve the quality of medical care for people with disabilities. She is a clinical associate professor at the University Louisville School of Medicine and is passionate about medical education. She is involved in teaching efforts with both medical students and medical residents nationwide. Dr. Chandan serves as a senior editor for PM&R, the official scientific journal of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and brings expertise in mixed methods, econometrics, and community-engaged research methods. She has been involved in advocacy and policy efforts for over 10 years and is currently serving on the Scientific and Clinical Advisory Board for the National Down Syndrome Society and the Board for Special Olympics Kentucky.

Todd Coffey
Todd Coffey has been employed with UPS for over 40 years, primarily at UPS’s main air facility, Worldport, where he has held multiple positions.  Todd has assisted with several special assignments, including opening an international gateway.  He is currently a Training and Compliance Manger and has been an integral part of the development and implementation of the Transitional Learning Center (TLC) at Worldport. Todd is on the Board of the Coalition for Workforce Diversity in Louisville.

Johnny Collett
Johnny Collett is deputy director at the University of Kentucky’s Human Development Institute (HDI). Before joining HDI, Collett served as Assistant U.S. Education Secretary for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services in Washington, D.C. Prior to that, Collett served as program director for special education outcomes at the Council of Chief State School Officers in Washington, D.C. Collett has also previously served as a division director and state special education director at the Kentucky Department of Education, and as a high school special education teacher.

Anita Dowd
Anita is the executive director at the Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. She has held a variety of positions since being hired in 1998. Regardless of the position, advocacy was at the forefront of her duties. She is passionate about advocating for effective communication and working with families with deaf and hard of hearing children. She is also a certified ADA coordinator and loves public speaking. Anita attended Gallaudet University and graduated from Eastern Kentucky University. She has two awesome daughters that also have hearing loss. When not working she keeps busy collecting crafting supplies in hopes that someday she will have time to actually make something with them.

Christina Espinosa, MRC, CRC
Christina Espinosa, MRC, CRC, is the Division Director of Community Education with the Human Development Institute and a nationally Certified Rehabilitation Counselor. Since 2007, she has been working in Universal Design (UD), assistive technology (AT), home modification, and training and technical assistance across topics of disability. Ms. Espinosa is also the PI and Project Director for the UK-HDI Center for Assistive Technology Services (CATS), funded through the Assistive Technology Act. She served on the AUCD Project Advisory Committee from 2013-2015, and has Chaired HDI’s Disability, Equity, and Inclusion Committee since 2014. Ms. Espinosa worked with UK administration in implementing Unconscious Bias training to all UK faculty, staff, and students, on a UK Smart House workgroup collaborating with faculty and directors across the University, and on a Community of Practice in UD. In 2016, she was appointed to the board of Independence Place, Lexington’s Center for Independent Living, and served as Vice-Chair 2017-2021. She was also appointed in 2016 to the Lexington Fayette Urban County Government Mayor’s Commission for People with Disabilities and voted as Vice-President of the Commission since 2018. She also served as the Chair of the Housing Committee for the Lexington Livable Cities initiative.  In 2018, she was invited to participate on the Kentucky Housing Authority’s Weatherization Advisory Council, and in 2019 she was invited to be a member of the Center for Knowledge Translation for Disability and Rehabilitation Research Expert Review Panel.  

Jim Ford
In July 2021, Jim Ford became the Kentucky Chamber’s first Chief Resource Officer, overseeing the Membership and Business Services departments of the Kentucky Chamber. Ford has been with the Chamber for almost 30 years playing a key role in all events, seminars, and other business services. In 2006, he was promoted to Vice President of Business Services, and was later named senior vice president in 2014.

During his time at the Chamber, Ford has been an instrumental part of the organization’s growth, including spearheading renowned events like Kentucky Chamber Day Dinner and the Business Summit and Annual Meeting, creating successful partnerships with organizations like Kentucky Society for Human Resource Management (KYSHRM) and Best Places to Work in Kentucky, while finding solutions to help the ever-changing needs of businesses like selling personal protective equipment during the coronavirus pandemic.

Sharnika Glenn
Sharnika Glenn is the HR Business Partner-Director with UPS Global, Flight Operations where she is responsible for providing strategic HR support and Talent Acquisition for the Airline. Shanika’s journey with UPS began in 1998. Throughout her time with the company, she’s held positions of increasing responsibility within the HR function. Sharnika holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Spalding University and a Master of Business administration from Webster University. Sharnika currently serves on the board of the Lincoln Foundation in Louisville, Kentucky. Sharnika is married and enjoys spending time with her husband Kevin their children and grandchildren.

Bev Harp
Bev Harp is Project Director for Innovative Supports for Autistic Workers (ISAW), a project of the Human Development Institute and is self-advocate faculty for the Kentucky LEND at the University of Kentucky. Bev is an autistic self-advocate who has presented at national conferences for APSE, AHEAD, TASH, and other organizations. She holds a master’s degree in social work from the University of Kentucky.

Marty Keith
Marty Keith is Market Vice President of Human Resources for CHI Saint Joseph Health. He relocated to Lexington, Kentucky and joined Saint Joseph in July 2021 and was previously Market Chief Human Resources Officer with Saint Francis Healthcare, a subsidiary of Tenet in Memphis, Tennessee. Prior to that he spent 21 years with Methodist Healthcare in various leadership roles in human resources and operations. He has over twenty years’ experience in human resources. He received his Bachelor of Business Administration from Mississippi State University, and his Master of Science in Administration from Central Michigan University.

Marty also enjoyed thirteen years as adjunct faculty teaching the human resource administration course in the Master of Public Health Administration program in the School of Public Health at the University of Memphis.  Marty has always been very active in leadership roles in local, regional, and national human resource and healthcare organizations. He serves on the Board of Directors of Wesley Senior Ministries, and Wesley Housing (a conglomerate of Methodist operated assisted living and independent living facilities). He also serves on the Board of Directors of the YMCA of Central Kentucky.

Shirley Kron
Shirley Kron is the Director of Outreach and Engagement - RETAIN Kentucky, University of Kentucky Human Development Institute, Lexington KY.  She is a certified Occupational Health Nurse Consultant (COHN-S) with 40 years of experience in nursing, including rehabilitation, occupational health, and care management. Shirley worked within a large hospital system for over 20 years and provided employer based occupational health and primary care onsite services across the Commonwealth.  

Mykal Leslie
Mykal is the director of evaluation at the Human Development Institute with the University of Kentucky.
Dennis McClain, M.D.
Dennis McClain, M.D., has been providing occupational and emergency services to Southern Indiana for more than 25 years. He earned his medical degree at the University of Louisville and is a member of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. He was the first certified medical review officer in Southern Indiana and is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine and the American Board of Independent Medical Examiners.  Dr. McClain serves on the board for CardioCare and previously served on the board of One Southern Indiana.

Cora McNabb
Cora McNabb, Executive Director of the Kentucky Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, is a graduate of Indiana University and has 31 years of experience in the field of rehabilitation in the areas of Workforce Initiatives, Management/Administration, and grant writing. Throughout her career, she has provided direct oversight of programs for individuals with disabilities in employment. She was a director of programs in a non-profit organization for 14 years prior to coming to state government where she has been employed by Vocational Rehabilitation for the past 17 years.  Her favorite memories encompass the time when she provided direct support to individuals in employment settings.

Austin Nugent
Austin Nugent coordinates several statewide efforts focused on multi-system change related to disability, access, and inclusion. These efforts include RETAIN’s Inclusive Worker Health Leadership Network and the Kentucky Education, Employment & Health Consortium for People with Disabilities. She has a bachelor’s in sociology and disability studies from UCLA, and a graduate certificate in developmental disabilities. She is currently pursuing her Master of Public Administration with a concentration in disability policy. In addition to personal experience, Austin has held various roles at local, state, and national levels supporting disability justice. She currently serves on the National Disability Rights Network’s Board of Directors, Kentucky Protection and Advocacy’s Mental Health Advisory Council, and is the Advocacy Chair for the Center for Accessible Living’s Board of Directors.

Amanda Owen
Amanda Owen left her job as a special education teacher over a decade ago to launch Puzzle Pieces, a nonprofit that serves individuals with disabilities, offering them more opportunities outside the classroom and after graduation. Amanda has grown Puzzle Pieces to serve more than 400 clients with a staff of over 100 and a $5 million operating budget. She has led her organization to develop a supported employment program paired with Pre-ETS since 2018.  Since then, her Supported Employment team has grown to 9 full-time employees, which have successfully transitioned over 75 clients into the workforce. Amanda also played a pivotal role in her community by developing the Coalition for Workforce Diversity, offering networking and education to current and future employers on how to feel confident in successfully employing those with disabilities. Amanda was appointed by Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear to the Employment First Council.

Phillip Rumrill, Ph.D., CRC
Phillip Rumrill, Ph.D., CRC, is a Professor in the Department of Early Childhood, Special Education, and Counselor Education at the University of Kentucky (UK) in Lexington. He also serves as Director of Research in the UK Human Development Institute, which is Kentucky’s University Center on Disability. Dr. Rumrill is well known as one of the leading disability and employment researchers in the United States. He has authored or co-authored more than 450 professional publications including 16 commercially published books (e.g., Foundations of the Vocational Rehabilitation Process, Emerging Disabilities and Rehabilitation Counseling, Case management and Rehabilitation Counseling, Research in Rehabilitation Counseling) Dr. Rumrill has extensive experience administering funded research projects. He has had leadership roles on 44 grants with total budgets of more than $53 million. Dr. Rumrill has received numerous awards and honors for his work, including distinguished career awards from the American Rehabilitation Counseling Association and the National Council on Rehabilitation Education. Dr. Rumrill has lived experience with a significant disability (blindness), is a former state Vocational Rehabilitation. consumer, and was diagnosed with Long-COVID syndrome in 2021.

Sara Shahid Salles, D.O.
Sara S. Salles received her Doctor of Osteopathic degree from Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine, Kansas City, Mo. She is board certified by the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Her research interests include Spinal Cord Injury and Spasticity and Movement Disorders. She has reviewed manuscripts for several notable journals including the Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Journal and the Knowledge Now, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation of the American Association of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and the Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine.

Dr. Salles is a diplomate of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and a member of the American Spinal Cord Injury Professionals, American Medical Association, American Osteopathic Association, American Paraplegia Society, Kentucky Osteopathic Association, and the Association of Osteopathic Directors of Medical Education. She has published more than 30 journal entries.

Russell Shaffer
Russell Shaffer is Executive Vice President, Strategy & Programs, for Disability:IN where he has responsibility for the development and implementation of the organization’s strategic plan along with the measurement and reporting of its key performance indicators. In addition, Russell and his team lead signature Disability:IN programs including Accessibility, Disability Equality Index, Learning & Workforce Development, NextGen Leadership, and Supplier Diversity.

He joined Disability:IN in October 2022 from Walmart Inc. where he most recently was Senior Director – Global Culture, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (CDEI) with responsibility for reporting and analytics; global employee engagement measurement and strategy; benchmarking; branding and messaging strategy; and budget forecasting and management. In a previous role as Senior Manager – Constituent Relations, Russell managed Walmart’s corporate strategy and stakeholder outreach for the people with disabilities and aging constituencies. His career also includes roles in advertising, corporate communications, marketing, print journalism and public relations with organizations such as May Department Stores, The Timken Company, The Canton Repository, and The Ohio Optometric Association.

Russell currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the American Printing House for the Blind (APH) in Louisville, Kentucky, and his board service includes prior terms with Sources for Community Independent Living in Fayetteville, Arkansas and the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB). His AFB service included a two-year term as Chair of the Board, and in 2015 he received the AFB Stephen Garff Marriott award in recognition of his professional achievement and service as a person who is blind or low vision. While at Walmart he served two terms as Chair of the company’s inABLE Associate Resource Group, and in 2018 he traveled to China as a private-sector disability employment expert as part of a U.S. State Department delegation. Disability:IN honored Russell as the 2019 recipient of the annual John D. Kemp Leadership Award in recognition of his commitment to advancing disability inclusion inside Corporate America.

He is an honors graduate of Malone University in Canton, Ohio, and holds dual bachelor of arts degrees in business administration and communication arts. Russell resides in Rogers, Arkansas with his wife, Jessica, and their children, Sophia and Brady. His perspectives on disability advocacy and inclusion are informed by his experiences with retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic, degenerative eye disease that was diagnosed when Russell was 10 years old and led to his legal blindness by his late 20s.

Kathy Sheppard-Jones, PhD, CRC
Kathy Sheppard-Jones, PhD, CRC, is the Executive Director of the Human Development Institute at the University of Kentucky. Dr. Sheppard-Jones is the implementation lead for the University on the Retaining Talent after Injury/Illness Network (RETAIN) Kentucky grant, funded by the US Department of Labor. She holds a doctorate in Educational Psychology from the University of Kentucky. Dr Sheppard-Jones also serves as adjunct assistant faculty in the Counselor Education program in the College of Education. An active researcher with over $70 million in lifetime externally funded awards, her interests include return to work, transition, inclusive higher education, universal design, and systems change. As a person with lived disability experience, she is guided by a vision of a workforce that is inclusive of all people.

Leslie Sizemore
Leslie Sizemore is currently Executive Director for Healthcare Workforce Initiatives at the Council on Postsecondary Education, focusing on healthcare sector workforce and economic development. She also owns and operates TheraCare, Inc., a therapy services staffing agency since 1996. TheraCare provides physical and occupational therapy services to residents of Southeastern Kentucky through home health, school system, hospital, and other contractual arrangements. She previously served as the District Occupational Therapist for Clay County Public Schools. She holds various volunteer positions including EKU's College of Health Sciences Advisory Council, Freedom House Community Advisory Council, and the Laurel County Center for Innovation Advisory Council. Leslie previously represented the Kentucky Occupational Therapy Association as the Kentucky Legislative Chair. She volunteers in Kentucky government through service on the Institutional Review Board for the Protection of Human Subjects for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

Reid Jewett Smith, Ph.D.
Reid Jewett Smith, Ph.D. is a career researcher with a background in non-profit management, social science research, and strategic consulting. Reid taught American History for ten years before completing a doctorate at the Lynch School of Education & Human Development at Boston College. She is the Director of Research & Policy at Disability:IN as well as an adjunct professor of Global Perspectives in Education at Boston College. Born with Cystic Fibrosis, Reid has spent her life in and out of hospitals and is personally invested in both disability employment and equitable healthcare outcomes.

James Tidwell, III, M.D.
Dr. Tidwell is a native of Utah, though he lived in Central America for 4 years as a boy. As a young man he served a two-year mission in Argentina for The Church of Jesus Christ. He graduated from Brigham Young University then went to medical school in Houston Texas at Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Tidwell then trained for 6 years in Temple, Texas to become a Plastic & Reconstructive surgeon. Following his residency, he completed an additional 18 months of fellowship training in Microsurgery in Las Vegas Nevada, Ghent Belgium, and Taipei Taiwan.  When his training was complete, he returned to Texas where he practiced and served as an Assistant Professor in a residency training program.  He joined Owensboro Health in 2015 when he was recruited to help start the OH Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery Program. He speaks fluent Spanish and did yearly medical mission trips to Guatemala performing cleft-lip and cleft-palate surgeries. Though a spinal cord injury in 2018 left him unable to operate, he remains a diplomate of the American Board of Plastic Surgery. While he maintains a presence in the clinic, now his primary role at Owensboro Health is as Vice President of Population Health. He oversees Owensboro Health’s efforts outside the walls of its hospitals and clinics, to improve the health of the communities it serves.

Jessica Tipton
Jessica Tipton serves as an Employment Specialist for the Community Work Transition Program (CWTP) within Madison County Schools. CWTP is a collaborative program between Madison County Schools, OVR, and HDI. She is a National Board-Certified teacher in the area of Exceptional Learners, has a master’s certification as a Reading Writing Specialist, and a Bachelors in Learning and Behavioral Disorders. Jessica has worked in the field of Special Education for 15 years. Until 2022, she served as a Special Education Teacher at Madison Central High School where she taught social skills and served as a Special Education Facilitator.  In 2020, Jessica was named as a top three finalist for the Kentucky Special Education Teacher of the year. She shares that the CWTP program is changing the lives of Kentuckians with disABILITIES and is grateful for the opportunity to support youth in taking steps towards reaching their optimal independence.  

Morgan Turner
Morgan Turner is a Program Education Assistant at the Human Development Institute at the University of Kentucky. Mr. Turner is a strong self-advocate who has both cognitive and physical disabilities. He is an influential leader, expert peer educator, and the former host of Morgan’s Musings, a video series dedicated to supporting individuals to become leaders and self-advocates in their own unique way. He works full-time across multiple HDI projects focused on health, advocacy, leadership, and inclusive higher education and employment for people with disabilities. Morgan has co-facilitated several inclusive health promotion programs and over 75 trainings on Universal Design in health and disability inclusion for professionals, self-advocates, and community members. He is a graduate of Tates Creek High School and an athlete and athlete ambassador with Special Olympics. Mr. Turner was invited to participate in the national Special Olympics Inclusive Health Work Group.  In recognition of his hard work and leadership, Morgan was appointed to Kentucky’s Employment First Council by Governor Beshear. Recently Morgan was nominated to be the Vice Chair of the Employment First Council

Katie Wolf Whaley, MSW
Katie Wolf Whaley, MSW, is a Principal Investigator and Project Director at the University of Kentucky’s Human Development Institute. In her work she coordinates training & technical assistance on employment strategies for people with disabilities to service providers, job seekers, family members, and businesses. She works, in collaboration with partners across the state and nation, to build effective systems of support to increase opportunities for people to gain and maintain competitive integrated employment. Katie serves by Gubernatorial appointment as Chairperson of Kentucky’s Employment First Council, serves as the President of the Kentucky Chapter of APSE (Association of People Supporting Employment First) and has served on the national board of APSE.

Dr. Jason Wheatley
Jason is a transition specialist in the Office of Special Education and Early Learning’s American Rescue Plan Team.

Jeremy White
A Kentuckian by birth, Wildcat by choice and special needs dad by the grace of God, Jeremy White joined Norton Healthcare in Louisville 5 years ago to further its mission to provide quality health care to all, by providing timely, accurate and relevant data and analytics, primarily in pediatrics. Jeremy’s working career has ranged from high-tech to accounting to ministry, but the most thrilling challenge he’s ever faced is parenting his son with Down syndrome. Jeremy leads the ABLED employee resource group at Norton, advocating for anyone in the organization who is impacted by disability. Jeremy believes Norton Healthcare is uniquely positioned not only to care for people with disabilities, but to employ them as well, as evidenced by Norton being named a Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion by the Disability Equality Index in 2022.