Advisory Board on Disabilities
We aim to make Delta the carrier of choice for customers through thoughtful, reliable and innovative service to the disability community. Our Advisory Board on Disability promotes accessibility for all of our customers by providing recommendations to Delta related to compliance, training, policies, procedures and anything that impacts the travel experience of people disabilities when they travel by air. All Advisory Board members are individuals with different disabilities who are Delta Frequent Flyers.
We’re proud to count the following leaders among the members of our Advisory Board:
Shanti Aaron serves as the Director of Work Incentive Planning and Assistance Services for Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency (GVRA). She holds an M.S. degree from the University of Wisconsin-Stout in Vocational Rehabilitation, as well as post-graduate certification in Management. She has worked in all facets of Vocational Rehabilitation for 25+ years. She has served on a variety of Boards and Committees as an advocate for persons with disabilities. She is currently the Chair for the Employment Committee for the Georgia Coalition for the Blind, and serves on the Training Education Compliance and Outreach Committee for the Delta Advisory Board on Disability. She lives in Atlanta with her husband and has two adult children and two grandchildren.
Jessica Cox is the world's first licensed armless pilot, as well as the first armless black-belt in the American Taekwondo Association. She was born without arms but has been able to compensate to function effectively in a world that requires the use of hands and arms. She is also a certified SCUBA diver. Cox works as a motivational speaker and has shared her message in 20 different countries. Jessica published an autobiographical self-help book, Disarm Your Limits in order to inspire people to overcome their own challenges through the lessons she has learned in her life.
Catherine is the Executive Director of the South Carolina Spinal Cord Injury Research Fund, which promotes research to develop a better understanding of causes and effective treatment strategies for paralysis, sensory loss and other consequences of spinal cord injury and disease. Catherine also works as a rehabilitation engineer with over 20 years as owner of her ADA consulting group providing assessments and transition plans for businesses throughout the U.S.
Carol Gray is a Consultant to Children, Adolescents, and Adults with Autism. She is an internationally sought-after keynote and seminar speaker, and has completed over 1,000 presentations. She is best known for the development of Social Stories, a well-respected evidence-based practice used worldwide with people with autism of all ages. Carol is the recipient of several awards for her contributions to the education and welfare of individuals with autism worldwide. For more information about Carol and her work, or to contact her, visit www.CarolGraySocialStories.com, opens in a new window.
After a distinguished career in the US Navy, Robert experienced disability in a profound way while serving in the US Navy Reserve. He became acutely aware of what happens as many of our returning veterans experiencing debilitating injuries and vowed to make a difference in their lives as well as his own. His mission is to help veterans return to an active recreational lifestyle instead of a sedentary one. Robert is the founder of Amputee Recreational Support Group for Central Ohio.
Dr. J.R. Harding is a recognized disability leader from both personal and professional experiences. As a 2x quadriplegic, author of "Now What?",, opens in a new window accessibility expert, and international speaker, he has contributed for over 30 years to national, state, and community policy for the independence and self-sufficiency of persons with disabilities. He has served under 2 U.S. Presidents, 4 Florida Governors and continuously serves on a number of community-based organizations.
He currently serves The Able Trust (Ambassador), Evergreen Life Services, the Florida Alliance for Assistive Service and Technology (FAAST), the Florida Network on Disabilities, opens in a new window (Director) and the Delta Disability Advisory Board (member). He is the first person with a significant disability to graduate from both Leadership Florida, Leadership Tallahassee, and he is also a co-founder of Florida Disability Mentoring Day (DMD). He completed his doctorate from Florida State University (FSU) in Higher Education and Public Policy. He and his wife Erika live and work in Tallahassee, FL.
Minna A. Hong is the SCI (Spinal Cord Injury) Peer Support Coordinator at Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Georgia. She is also a Board Member of Disability Resource Group and distribution committee member for Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Trust Fund, Georgia. She also serves as a guest lecturer for Emory University, the University of Georgia, Mercer University and Georgia State University's physical therapy, occupational therapy and physician assistant students. Minna is a spinal cord injury survivor, wife and mother of two young adults.
John D. Kemp, Esq. became only the fourth President & CEO of The Viscardi Center, a nonprofit organization providing a life span of services that educate, employ and empower people with disabilities. He is widely respected for his many achievements, both in the corporate and non-profit worlds. As a person with a disability who uses four prostheses, he inspires others to achieve the impossible through knowledge, experience, vision, personality and persistence. Mr. Kemp graduated from Georgetown University in 1971 and from Washburn University School of Law in 1974.
In March 2006, Mr. Kemp received the Henry B. Betts Award, widely regarded as America's highest honor for disability leadership and service. With more than 50 years of direct experience in the disability movement, John D. Kemp has partnered with, worked for and served as Board Member/Chair or CEO of some of the leading disability and nonprofit organizations. In 1995, Mr. Kemp co-founded the American Association of People with Disabilities with Paul G. Hearne. In 2001, he became a partner in the Washington, D.C. Law Firm of Powers, Pyles, Sutter & Verville, P.C., where he developed an active federal legislative and lobbying practice. In January 2014, Mr. Kemp received the David Award, bestowed upon ‘Renaissance Men’ of Long Island by Networking Magazine who have excelled in business or academics, and also accomplished outstanding heroic and humanitarian acts. John was recently awarded the prestigious Robert Dole Award for his exemplary leadership to the disability community.
David Nelson has served as President of the District of Columbia Association of the Deaf and the Florida School for the Deaf Alumni Association and has been with NAD since 1978. He represents NAD on issues concerning telecommunications and transportation.
In his role as Sr. Community Outreach Specialist in Government Affairs/Corporate Communications at the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak), David is responsible for providing accessibility information, managing outreach activities by Amtrak to the disability community and overseeing internal projects to ensure accessibility compliance.
David holds a bachelor's degree from the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), as well as degrees from the National Technical Institute of the Deaf (NTID). He received his secondary education at the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind.
In recognition of his advocacy work, David has received the Fred C. Schreiber Distinguished Service Award, NAD’s most prestigious award, The Dr. Rosalyn Simon Award from the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority during its first annual Accessibility Excellence Awards, and the RIT 2015 Distinguished Alumni Award for the NTID.
David hails from Miami and currently resides in Washington, D.C.
A lifelong advocate, Mr. Rosenthal has served in a variety of roles advocating for the deaf and hard of hearing. A deaf man himself, he has served as the Executive Director of the Kansas Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Prior to the establishment of the Americans with Disabilities Act, David worked with the Kansas Corporation Commission to establish the Kansas Relay Center.
David also served 17 years as manager and area manager for Southwestern Bell Telephone Company (now AT&T) in the Kansas Relay Center. During his time with Southwestern Bell, David also was involved with the National Emergency Number Association by helping them help Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) to improve their communications accessibility and responding effectively to people with hearing loss when they call 9-1-1 for assistance.
After leaving AT&T, David served as president of the Kansas Telecommunications Industry Association for 6 years. He currently serves as the director of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services for the Minnesota Department of Human Services.
Mallory has been a competitive swimmer since the age of seven. After her injury at the age of 18, Weggemann chose to return to the pool. In April 2008, her older sister found an article in the local newspaper discussing the Paralympic Swimming Trials. Still learning her new life with a disability, Weggemann found one thing unchanged, her love for swimming. Mallory showcased her amazing abilities by winning gold and setting a Paralympic Record in the 50m freestyle. Mallory also anchored the bronze medal winning 4x100m medley relay team, bringing USA back from fifth place to almost capturing gold! It has been deemed one of the most memorable moments of the London Games, and it inspired many across the world. Mallory is also a highly sought after motivational speaker for corporations and has been a speaker at TEDX.
Glen serves as Director of the Research & Training Center on Independent Living at the University of Kansas. He conducts research that focuses on increasing opportunity for consumers with disabilities to more fully participate in the community. Dr. White has regularly conducted research and training in Perú and has more recently conducted research with colleagues in Korea and Japan. He previously served as president of the National Association of Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers, past Chair of the American Public Health Association's Disability Forum and serves as an adviser and consultant to many national organizations. Dr. White works as a Professor of Applied Behavioral Science at the University of Kansas, where he teaches behavioral, community psychology and disability studies. Dr. White also serves as the current Chairman of the Delta Advisory Board on Disability.