Board of Advisors

Randall Duchesneau is a consultant that provides clients with real estate investment and transactional advisory services. He also is a founding member of the United Spinal Association Greater Philadelphia Chapter, and is a C5-C6 quadriplegic from a spinal cord injury during gymnastics.

Duchesneau has an undergraduate degree from Cornell, a Masters of Public Health from Yale, and has advocated for legislation on behalf of disability organizations. He has worked at General Electric and the Department of Health and Human Services, and is also the former Director of the National Leadership Program at RespectAbility. He has interviewed United States presidential candidates, governors and senators on disability employment policy.

Duchesneau also is an active mentor for individuals living with spinal cord injury and has worked with engineers to design and develop medical devices and assistive technology.

headshot of Randall Duchesneau seated in a power wheelchair

Randall Duchesneau

Janie L. Jeffers has had a distinguished career in public policy, education, executive management, public relations, planning and criminal justice at the federal and local levels. President Clinton appointed Jeffers as a Commissioner to the United States Parole Commission in 1999.

In April 1997, she served as Executive Deputy Director for the Federal DC Interagency Task Force at the White House Office of Management and Budget, where she coordinated technical assistance to the District of Columbia government on economic development and public/private partnerships. She also worked for the First Lady and President Clinton. From 1996-1997, she was the Senior Policy Advisor for the President’s Crime Prevention Council, chaired by Vice President Gore. From 1992-1996, at the Justice Department, she served as Chief of the National Office of Citizen Participation for the Bureau of Prisons. From 1985-1991, she worked for the New York City Department of Correction, rising through the ranks to become the first civilian to serve as Deputy Commissioner.

In 2000, Jeffers left the Commission and launched Jeffers and Associates LLC, a strategic management consulting firm providing services to Harvard University, the Justice Department, the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, the Kellogg Foundation and criminal justice organizations. She serves on several non-profit boards. She also is an Adjunct Professor of Criminal Justice at her alma mater – Howard University School of Social Work. Jeffers is one of the authors of RespectAbility’s “Disability & Criminal Justice Reform: Keys to Success” report.

Janie L. Jeffers of Jeffers and Associates, LLC.

Janie L. Jeffers

Dana Marlowe is an architect of inclusion and accessibility. She is the Principal Partner and co-founder of Accessibility Partners LLC, a disability and accessibility advocacy IT consulting firm. From empathetic personal practices to making an accommodating workforce in her business, she fights for a world that accepts the contributions of those with disabilities.

As an accessibility subject matter expert, Marlowe has been featured in national and international industry publications to promote inclusivity. Marlowe lives with her family near Washington, D.C., and keeps her calendar full of family outings, indie music concerts, road races, and struggling to make her garden grow.

Headshot of Dana Marlowe

Dana Marlowe

Donna Meltzer is CEO of the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD), a national nonprofit organization that supports the nation’s 56 governor-appointed Developmental Disabilities Councils that work within state government to promote independence, productivity, and integration of people with disabilities through systems change activities. In this capacity, Meltzer oversees the organization’s public policy and advocacy agenda as well as technical assistance to the members. Meltzer joined the NACDD in October 2012.

Previously she was the senior director of government relations for the Epilepsy Foundation, where she worked from 1987-1993. She rejoined the Epilepsy Foundation in July 2005. She also served as director of legislative affairs for the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) from 1995-2005. Meltzer began her career on Capitol Hill working for the Honorable Tony Coelho (D-CA), a former member of Congress and House Whip. Meltzer also spent two years as the government affairs director for the National Health Council, where she directed the advocacy agenda for the Council’s Voluntary Health Agency (VHA) members. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland’s School of Journalism.

Meltzer also participates in several key coalitions including serving on the board of directors of the Coalition for Health Funding. She most recently stepped down from a three-year term as chairwoman of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) where she is an immediate past chairwoman and co-chairwoman of the CCD’s Fiscal Policy Task Force. She also is a past chairwoman of the National Health Council’s Government Relations Affinity Group.

Headshot Donna Meltzer

Donna Meltzer

Debra Ruh
When told by ‘experts’ that her daughter, Sara, who was born with Down Syndrome, would be lucky to push shopping carts at the local grocery store, Debra Ruh refused to accept this. When she told friends and family that she was going to start a for profit organization that would help companies see the worth and potential in hiring disabled employees, she was met with skepticism. Why not start a nonprofit? And could such an idea be feasible? Ruh’s unshakable faith in the power of human potential and her love for her daughter, led her to create Tec-Access, an ICT Accessibility firm and the majority of employees were technologists with disabilities.By 2011, Ruh had built TecAccess into a multi-million-dollar firm but realized that her mission was not yet complete. Convinced that “the real disability is being unable to see human potential,” she went on to create Ruh Global Communications and became a global disability inclusion strategist. She consults to Fortune 100 companies and nations including Kenya, Oman, Egypt and the Bahamas. Her daughter, Sara, is an internationally renowned keynote and motivational speaker who travels the world inspiring and encouraging others to follow their dreams.

Ruh, who is extremely active on social media and blogging platforms, is the co-founder of AXSChat, a Twitter chat about accessibility and disability inclusion. AXSChat is the #1 TweetChat in Europe and UK and Top #5 in US and Globally.

Image of Debra Ruh standing behind her daughter Sara Ruh with a slideshow projector behind them

Debra and Sara Ruh

Dr. Dee Soder has been one of the nation’s leading advisors to top executives, companies and boards for decades. She saw the need for a service combining business and psychology and started an assessment and advisory firm to fill the void. In the process, she pioneered a new industry, executive coaching. Like her clients, Soder continues to improve, refine and innovate. As CEO Perspective Group founder, Soder advises top management and Boards on a wide range of issues.

Her career is full of “firsts.” She was a Vice President at Prudential early in her career; led a key President’s Reorganization Project for the White House; was Staffing Director for the District of Columbia; a chief of the D.C. Police Department; and partner at Rohrer, Hibler, and Replogle (consulting firm). While Senior Research Psychologist for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, she led efforts to ensure legal, valid tests, co-founded the highly regarded Personnel Testing Council.

An Economics Club member since 1990, she also is a lifetime member of the American Psychological Association (former ethics committee member.) To avoid conflicts, Soder is a nonprofit board director, helping to advance women, ensure reproductive rights and promote service dogs. For decades she has routinely donated 20 percent of her time and money to helping others.

headshot of Dr. Dee Soder

Dr. Dee Soder

Steven James Tingus is recognized and serves as a national expert on disability, aging and health care policy. Tingus has more than 20 years of experience in managing policy issues impacting the disability community, including currently advocating for diversity and inclusion within the entertainment industry. Tingus particularly enjoys bringing his expertise in disability policy to the entertainment industry in support of talent with disabilities.

Tingus believes that the entertainment industry can be an incredible ally in creating social change. He enjoys educating industry leaders (e.g., Comcast NBCUniversal, Writers Guild of America West, and Television executive producers) on the business sense of hiring highly-talented and trained people with disabilities onscreen and behind the camera. Toward that end, to build a network of high-profile actors, producers, directors and other key players in the entertainment industry towards increasing storyline development and hiring so that the abysmal one percent representation on TV and in film is changed for the disability community.

Tingus worked as a presidential appointee at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in Washington, D.C., as deputy assistant secretary for Planning and Evaluation for Disability, Aging, and Long-Term Care Policy, and preceded by as director of the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research at the U.S. Department of Education. Tingus currently lives in Los Angeles, CA.

Headshot Steven James Tingus

Steven James Tingus