Washington, D.C. (September 29, 2015)–Today, the Board of Directors at the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), has announced that Helena Berger, the current Acting President & CEO of AAPD, will now serve as the full-time President & CEO, ending a search that began earlier this year. Ms. Berger, a well-recognized and long-time disability rights advocate, joined AAPD this past April as Acting President & CEO during a time of transition.
AAPD Board Chair, Christine Griffin, reflected upon this decision by saying that she is “incredibly grateful to Helena for taking on the challenge of re-building an organization that is so vital to the needs and voices of every day Americans with disabilities”, adding that “Helena has shown remarkable leadership these past few months as Acting President & CEO, leadership that has positioned AAPD for growth and impact in 2016 and beyond.”
Prior to joining AAPD, Ms. Berger served as Advocacy Director for the Eastern Paralyzed Veterans Association, now known as United Spinal Association. Ms. Berger then joined AAPD in 1997 and left the organization in 2012 when she was serving as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. Since that time, Ms. Berger has remained heavily involved with AAPD and several other national disability organizations.
Upon being named President & CEO, Ms. Berger stated “I have a tremendous amount of respect and affection for AAPD, which has been a huge part of my life for almost two decades. I look forward to working with AAPD’s committed board, staff, and stakeholders across the country to ensure that we are an organization that represents our rich and diverse community in our collective fight for equal access, integration, and full inclusion for all Americans with disabilities. AAPD’s best days are not behind us, they are in front of us and I’m honored to be part of its future.”
Ms. Berger has served as a featured speaker at the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Information Programs on disability rights, engaging with foreign audiences in Mongolia, Nepal, and Cyprus and has traveled to the West Bank in Israel and Amman, Jordan to meet with leaders in academia, government, and the disability movement. In addition, she has served as a member of the Comcast/NBCUniversal Joint Diversity Council, and continues to serve on the Board of Directors for the ENDependence Center of Northern Virginia.
Ms. Berger received her Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science from American University. She also attended the University of Copenhagen’s Special Studies Program in political and government affairs.
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The American Association of People with Disabilities is a convener, connector, and catalyst for change, increasing the political and economic power of people with disabilities.