Power Up 2020
AT Conference and Expo
Opening Keynote -- Tiana Tozer
After nine years in corporate public relations Tiana moved to Iraq to become a humanitarian aid worker. In Iraq she implemented an innovative program that taught people with disabilities how to advocate for themselves and become social change agents. She also ran a program that taught 10,000 women how to read and write. In Sudan, she was the State Director in Southern Kordofan running a program to build government capacity to deliver services, before she was extracted from the civil war.
Since being injured by an intoxicated driver at the age of 20, Tiana has worked to change attitudes about people with disabilities, she lobbied for the ADA, sat on the board of the National Industries for the Severely Handicapped (NISH, now SourceAmerica) more recently she ran an employment program for people with disabilities.
A two-time Paralympic medalist, bringing home bronze and silver, she was a member of the USA Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Team for five years. Named University of Oregon’s outstanding young alumna in 2010, she was also honored with the Harold Scharper Achievement Award from the University of Illinois. She has been featured on NBC Nightly News, NPR’s Here and Now, and The Takeaway.
The author of numerous essays including I lost my “I” in Iraq, Minority Report and The Brat, she is currently working on her memoir, The Statistic.
Tuesday Luncheon Keynote -- Colleen Kelly Starkloff
Colleen Kelly Starkloff co-foundered the Starkloff Disability Institute with her husband Max. Together they co-founded on of Missouri’s Centers for Independent Living, Paraquad, Inc. in St. Louis in the 1970’s. Ms. Starkloff has worked in the field of disability rights since 1973. She has extensive experience educating and training the disabled and non-disabled communities on issues related to employment of people with disabilities, independent living; developing new program initiatives; and coordinating activities that promoted the successful implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
She served two terms as the United States Organizer of the Japan/USA Conference of Persons with Disabilities. In 1999, she joined a citizens’ advocacy group responsible for the establishment of the Affordable Housing Commission in the City of St. Louis, which oversees a $5M Affordable Housing Trust Fund. She ensured that housing created by the Trust Fund must include Universal Design features. She served as Founding Chair of the Commission. She is the creator and Organizer of 6 national/international Universal Design Summits which train architects, designers and builders on uses and benefits of Universal Design in home and community design.
In 2005 she introduced Disability Studies into the curriculum at Maryville University and also taught a course on Universal Design in 2010. From 2005-2010 she collaborated with the Missouri History Museum to create a 1,000 square foot exhibit focused on Disability History. Titled “The Americans with Disabilities Act: Twenty Years Later”, this exhibit remained open and free to the public for 19 months. An estimated 163,000 visitors saw this exhibit. In 2011 she established the Max Starkloff Speaker Series, to educate the public on the need to create a world that welcomes all people with disabilities.
In 2011 she was presented a Doctor of Humane Letters by Fontbonne University. In 2013 she began consulting and training on issues related to employment of people with disabilities in mainstream, competitive jobs. In 2014 she was responsible for organizing advocacy efforts in Missouri to encourage Senate ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. In 2016 she initiated a new program called DREAM BIG to encourage youth with disabilities to dream big about their future careers. In 2017 she began an statewide effort to reform Missouri’s Medicaid program to remove the work disincentives from it. In 2018 she initiated a new program called Access U to identify college students with disabilities to connect them with corporations looking for talented graduates with disabilities for internships and employment.
In 2016 she began a new venture, “Colleen Starkloff Talks Disability”, as a public speaker on disability issues. Ms. Starkloff is sought after to speak nationwide on a variety of subjects related to employment of people with disabilities, disability history, the Disability Rights Movement, Independent Living and the emancipation of all people with disability. A 1993 graduate of Coro’s Women in Leadership Program, she has won numerous awards for her work in the Field of Disability. She is also a St. Louis “Woman of Achievement” for 2017. Watch the award ceremony.
Her life story is captured in Max Starkloff and the Fight for Disability Rights, a biography about her late husband. The book is available in print, at the Missouri History Museum and as an ebook