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AAPD Announces New Board Members and Officers

by | Sep 6, 2017 | Press Release

September 6, 2017

Recently the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) elected four new members to their board of directors and four new officers. The four new board members are Keri Gray, Leah Katz-Hernandez, Nora Swimm, and John Unland.

Keri Gray brings to AAPD her diverse background in advocacy and leadership in disability rights and intersectionality through her experience as an intern in AAPD’s Summer Internship Program, Youth Transitions Fellow for the National Council on Independent Living, and co-creating the We Can’t Breathe Project. She hails from Longview, Texas and earned her Bachelor’s degrees in political science and communication and Master’s degree in communication from Abilene Christian University. Keri is currently the Rising Leaders Initiative Program Manager at the US Business Leadership Network, a membership organization that represents more than 5,000 businesses. She works with more than 200 college students and recent graduates with disabilities who are interested in working in the private sector. Keri is also an Intersectionality and Youth Programming Designer. Her work over the years has centered on an intersectional philosophy – meaning that her advocacy for people with disabilities also intersects with issues surrounding racial and gender justice.

Leah Katz-Hernandez brings to AAPD her in-depth experience in public service and communication working as the West Wing Receptionist at the White House during the second half of President Barack Obama’s second term, the Youth Transitions Fellow for AAPD, and traveling aboard to advocate for civil rights for deaf individuals. Leah earned her Bachelor’s degree in government from Gallaudet University in 2010 and her Master’s degree in strategic communication from American University in 2016.

Nora C. Swimm brings to AAPD her past experiences in information technology and business leadership from her work at PJM Interconnection, General Electric Aerospace, and Merck & Co. Nora hails from Newtown, Pennsylvania and earned her Bachelor of Science in computer science with minors in business administration and mathematics and an Executive Master of Business Administration from Villanova University. She is currently the Senior Vice President of Corporate Client Services at PJM Interconnection and has responsibility for all human capital related business and strategic initiatives and centralized business services.

John Unland brings years of experience in marketing products and services for for- and non-profit organizations around the world. John earned his Bachelor’s degree at Colgate University, attended the London School of Economics, and earned his Master of Business Administration from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. John is the founder of The Unland Company.

Four current AAPD board members were elected to leadership positions: Edward Kennedy, Jr. will serve as chair, Joyce Bender vice chair, Kelly Buckland treasurer, and Susan Diegelman secretary. Christine Griffin assumes the role of immediate past chair.

For a complete list of board members, please visit AAPD’s website.



The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) is a convener, connector, and catalyst for change, increasing the political and economic power of people with disabilities. As a national cross-disability rights organization, AAPD advocates for full civil rights for the over 56 million Americans with disabilities by promoting equal opportunity, economic power, independent living, and political participation.