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CEO Awards & Leadership Circle

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Champions of Equal Opportunity Awards

Each year, NACDD presents two awards both entitled “Champions of Equal Opportunity,” or CEO. The first is given to a national policymaker with outstanding leadership and commitment to policy that supports equal rights for people with disabilities.  The second is presented to a self-advocate who has been nominated by his or her DD Council as someone who shares and promotes NACDD’s values of self-determination, independence, productivity and inclusion. Our CEO Award recipients are listed below:


National Policymaker Award: STABLE Accounts with the Ohio Treasurer’s Office

Self-Advocate Award: Ross Ryan, Oregon


National Policymaker Award: Michael K. Yudin
Self-Advocate Award: Betty Williams, Indiana


National Policymaker Award: Senator Harry Reid, Nevada
Self-Advocate Award: Chris Blake, Connecticut


National Policymaker Award: Senator John Barrasso, Wyoming
Self-Advocate Award: Eric Stoker, Utah


National Policymaker Award: Governor Jack Markell, Delaware
Self-Advocate Award: Santa Perez, Nevada


National Policymaker Award: Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, Connecticut

Leadership Circle

At the 2014 Annual Conference, the Leadership Circle for Self-Advocates was established. The purpose of the Circle was to create an entry point for the many highly talented self-advocates identified by DD Councils to become more involved in the work of NACDD. As a national organization, we want to be sure that the voice of those who live with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities is included in every aspect of our work. All too often, we have found ourselves creating committees and work groups saying, “do we have self-advocates or individuals with DD on that group” and often the same 3 individuals would volunteer. By establishing the Circle, we have a ready group of highly qualified and available voices to join every committee and group within NACDD to ensure a strong advocate voice. In the two years since its’ creation, the members of this Circle have helped write “The Art of Impact,” served on multiple committees and helped to write grant opportunities. The Leadership Circle is not a standalone committee with its own agenda, but a portal to serving in all meaningful roles in NACDD’s work. The names below are the current members of the Leadership Circle:

Kathy Bates, New Hampshire

Cynthia Bentley, Wisconsin

Shiloh Blackburn, Idaho

Christopher Blake, Connecticut

Diana Braun, Illinois*

Adonis Brown, North Carolina

Monica Cooper, Arizona

Morgan Davis, Oklahoma

Janice (Cathy) Enfield, Missouri

Kelly Holt, Utah

Sandy Houghton, Massachusetts

Tina Jackson, Kentucky

Jennifer Karner, Oklahoma

Marisa Laios, Virginia

Kathy Leigh, Florida*

William Lovell, Tennessee

Santa Perez, Nevada

Carrie Raabe, Arizona

Robbie Reedy, Minnesota

Tricia Riccardi, Florida*

Ross Ryan, Oregon*

Aaron Snyder, Wyoming

Eric Stoker, Utah

Erlinda (Lynn) Tydingco, Guam

Betty Williams, Indiana

Andre Williams, Massachusetts

*Denotes 2017 Inductee