Conference Speakers

Keynote Speakers

Carmelyn P. Malalis Commissioner of the New York City Commission on Human Rights

Carmelyn P. Malalis

Commissioner Malalis is Chair and Commissioner of the New York City Commission on Human Rights, following more than a decade in private practice as an advocate for employees’ rights. Previously, she was a partner at Outten & Golden LLP where she co-founded and co-chaired its Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Workplace Rights Practice Group and its Disability and Family Responsibilities Discrimination Practice Group, and represented employees in negotiations involving claims of sexual harassment, retaliation, and discrimination based on race, national origin, sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, pregnancy, disability, and religion. Throughout her career, Commissioner Malalis has been committed to promoting diversity and inclusion and prosecuting discrimination and intolerance. She and her wife live in Brooklyn with their two children.

Twitter @CarmelynMalalis

John Kirkwood of CityMouse

John Kirkwood

John is a digital expert and cognitive design thought leader dedicated to making the Internet universally usable and accessible. His online work dates back to the mid-1990s, when he was appointed as NYC’s inaugural New Media Strategist and created its first official web site. John’s personal experience with a critical brain aneurysm in 2006 brings a unique hands-on perspective to the design and development of cognitive technologies for individuals and institutions alike. In 2009, he re-launched his web marketing and design company, CityMouse, as one of the nation’s first certified USBLN disability-owned business enterprises (DOBE). CityMouse now helps corporations, nonprofits and government agencies comply with universal and W3C WCAG online accessibility standards.


Ashley Cortez of NYC Opportunity

Ashley Cortez

Ashley works at NYC Opportunity where she helps the City use evidence and innovation to reduce poverty and increase equity as a training, workshop design, and outreach specialist for the digital products ACCESS NYC, Growing Up NYC, and Generation NYC. Prior to working in the accessible technology space, Ashley worked as a social justice advocate and first responder to marginalized communities. She now works to champion poverty reducing technologies in New York and volunteers on the leadership committee for BetaNYC. Ashley has a bachelor’s degree from University of Florida and a master’s degree from NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP).


Alex Glazebrook of OATS

Alex Glazebrook

Alex is Director of Technology & Training at Older Adults Technology Services (OATS), where he’s responsible for ensuring an outstanding experience for the older adults who participate in the many training and support programs that OATS offers. Alex manages the team of OATS trainers, leads the organization’s efforts to identify and assess technology for inclusion in OATS programming, and develops new technology-based channels through which OATS can deliver its services. Alex earned a BA and an MSW from Stony Brook University, specializing in healthcare and aging. He is now pursuing his PhD in social welfare policy from Stony Brook, with a focus on aging; investigating the many ways in which technology influences health outcomes for older adults.

Twitter @seniorplanet

Devon Hirth of NYC Opportunity

Devon Hirth

Devon is a front-end developer on the NYC Opportunity Product and Design team. Using his experience in design and engineering he works on enhancing ACCESS NYC and Growing Up NYC products through prototyping and continuous development with a special attention to their design patterns and accessibility. Before NYC Opportunity, he worked as a product design consultant to businesses and organizations with a focus on social impact. In 2015 he made the leap into design and tech for social impact as a design fellow at Blue Ridge Labs @ Robin Hood Foundation where he helped build, a tool for protecting low income New Yorkers from unlawful debt collection. Before that he cultivated a long experience in product design and engineering within start-ups and advertising agencies.


Hilina Mohammed of NYC Opportunity

Hilina Mohammed

Hilina works at NYC Opportunity ensuring the accurate flow of information and data across products. She has strong beliefs in having accurate and up-to-date information in all products and strong customer/user support. At NYC Opportunity, Hilina verifies programs and services requirements and gathers forms and documents for digital products, provides feedback and insight into the user experience and strategy for all products. She also generates reports and data based system usage, collaborates with agencies to keep all programs information up to date, and leads workflow of content translation, validation and entry.


Kim Peng of NYC Opportunity

Kimberly Peng

Kimberly is a front-end developer at NYC Opportunity. Her journey has taken her around the world where she built tools used to tackle global poverty and promote sustainable agricultural processes. At the Mayor’s Office, she brings her passion closer to home, utilizing her love for data and technology to support the ongoing efforts to improve the livelihoods of New York residents.


Laura Godfrey of USAGov

Laura Godfrey

Laura leads the Agency Partnership Program and Multilingual Strategies at USAGov. With more than 25 years of combined experience in the digital and multilingual space, Laura is passionate about building partnerships across government agencies to more effectively deliver government services to the public. As the Chair of the Multilingual Community of Practice, Laura also works on a variety of strategies to help agencies achieve their multilingual goals and build a government-wide network of multilingual professionals to find common solutions to common issues. Prior to this position, Laura managed, the Spanish language website of the U.S. government (2010-2016). Laura is a member of the North American Academy of the Spanish Language, a very prestigious honor only awarded to those professionals whose work has reshaped communications in Spanish in the United States.


Sharon Winberg

Sharon is the Director of Content Operations at the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications. Sharon works on the team that manages, The City of New York’s official website. She manages City agency website projects, advising agencies on best practices for information architecture and content, and leading projects through to launch. Over the last year, Sharon has worked closely with the City’s Digital Accessibility Coordinator to identify best practices for creating accessible web content, train agencies on accessibility, and in improve accessibility across and City agency and initiative sites.


Song Hia of NYC Opportunity

Song Hia

Song brings technology and design expertise to shape the creation and improvement of tools and services as a product manager. Before bringing his passion to the Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity, he launched products in enterprise software, produced websites and mobile applications for digital consultancies, and covered the intersection of culture and technology for NPR. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Johns Hopkins University and a master’s degree from NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP).


Thomas Logan of Equal Entry

Thomas Logan

Thomas has spent the past fifteen years assisting organizations to create technology solutions that work for people with disabilities. Over his career Thomas has worked on project deliverables for numerous federal, state, and local government agencies as well as private organizations from startups to Fortune 500s. He is the owner of Equal Entry, whose mission is: “contribute to a more accessible world.” He is also co-organizer of Accessibility New York, a monthly Meetup for people interested in topics related to accessibility and people with disabilities.


Chi Nguyen of NYC Digital

Chi Nguyen

Chi is the Digital Design Lead at NYC Digital, the Mayor’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer. Outside of her official role with the City, she is a community organizer and interdisciplinary artist. She uses durational performance, fiber art, and writing to reflect on race, feminism, economic justice, immigrant rights, and reproductive justice.

Kate Bernyk, Senior Comms Strategist to the First Lady

Kate Bernyk

Kate is Senior Communications Advisor to First Lady Chirlane McCray, and a senior communications strategist with more than 15 years’ experience. At City Hall, Kate oversees communications for the First Lady’s initiatives across mental health, substance misuse, domestic violence, gender equity, and incarceration. Most recently, Kate served as senior communications director at the Center for Reproductive Rights, notably leading the campaign for the 2016 Supreme Court victory for abortion access in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. Kate is also a body positive activist and has published essays on the topic for Refinery29, Allure, and Huffington Post.

Twitter @kbernyk
Instagram @kbernyk

Priya Nair of the City Council Speaker's Office

Priya Nair

Priya is the LGBTQ Liaison for the New York City Council Speaker’s Office. Previously, she worked at the ACLU National office supporting LGBT, reproductive justice, and women’s rights work. Priya grew up in New York City and received a BA from Vassar College, where she studied Psychology and Queer Studies.

Quiessence Phillips of NYC Cyber Command

Quiessence Phillips

Quiessence is the Deputy CISO at the City of New York’s Cyber Command team, and has 10+ years’ experience working within the financial industry. She is the co-founder of a non-profit EdTech, JOURNi, where they are building an authentically inclusive tech ecosystem in Detroit. In efforts to get more women into Cybersecurity, Quiessence started Securing Your Path, a community for women interested in forging their path in the industry. Quiessence is a mom, mentor, coder, hacker and strategist.

Twitter @itsquiessence

Walei Sabry, Digital Accessibility Coordinator for the City of New York

Walei Sabry

Walei is Digital Accessibility Coordinator for the City of New York. Born in Egypt and raised in New York, Walei has had significant transitions in his life. First from one country to another and then through varying degrees of vision. As the Digital Accessibility Coordinator, Walei makes sure that the City of New York’s digital products can be accessed by all. Whether it’s by conducting website audits, providing staff awareness trainings or representing the disability community in his everyday life, wherever he goes, Walei is constantly changing perceptions one situation at a time.

Medics & Coaches

Betty Ming Lui

Betty Ming Lui

Betty Ming Liu coaches clients to share their stories with confidence. She is also a professor who teaches writing and digital communication skills at NYU, The New School and Westchester Community College. A former journalist, Betty was a Newsday digital reporter and a New York Daily News columnist who covered inclusion issues and the immigrant experience. She graduated from Baruch College and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.

Twitter, FB, Instagram, LinkedIn @BettyMingLiu

Claire Kearney-Volpe of NYU Ability Project

Claire Kearney-Volpe

Claire is an Art Therapist, Digital Accessibility Professional, Designer and Researcher. She holds a Master’s Degree from New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program and is currently a PhD Candidate in NYU’s Rehabilitation Sciences Program, Web Accessibility Fellow at CUNY, and Research Fellow at the NYU Ability Project. Her work centers around Participatory Design, Disability, Human Computer Interaction, as well as, the accessibility of code languages and code pedagogy.

Jon Novick, MOPD

Jonathan Novick

Jonathan is the Outreach Manager for the New York City Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities. He is responsible for creating digital and print materials to help promote office initiatives and events as well as running the office website and social media. In doing so, he works with Digital Accessibility Coordinator Walei Sabry to ensure that all of the content is accessible. In the past few years, the two have collaborated to create best practices and put on workshops in creating accessible digital content for city agencies, businesses and colleges.

Joyel Crawford

Joyel Crawford

Joyel Crawford is a determined and passionate Certified Professional Career Coach and Learning & Development Consultant with over 15 years of experience in human resources and career management.


Willa Armstrong

Willa is Digital Accessibility Coordinator at the New York Public Library, where she leads website accessibility improvements, trains staff, and advocates for an inclusive and accessible library. Previously, she was the Digital Projects Librarian for NYPL Labs.

Yidan Zeng, Digital Accessibility Coordinator at Lincoln Center

Yidan Zeng

Yidan is the current Digital Accessibility Fellow at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, overseeing the organization’s auditing, captioning, and audio description programs.