Leadership Awards Gala

The AAPD Leadership Awards Gala provides a unique opportunity for AAPD’s partners, supporters, and colleagues to show their support of disability rights and inclusion for all Americans with disabilities, while bringing together the disability community with business and government leaders for one night each year.


2018 Leadership Awards Gala

March 13, 2018 | 6:00pm – 9:00pm

Washington Hilton (1919 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20009)

Ticket sales are closed

Photos from the 2018 AAPD Leadership Awards Gala


AAPD Catalyst Award

Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation

AAPD will recognize the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation (MEAF) for their efforts to promote the full inclusion of youth with disabilities in society. Founded in 1991, MEAF is the corporate foundation of the Mitsubishi Electric group companies in the United States. With the generous (and continued) support of MEAF, AAPD established its flagship AAPD Summer Internship Program, which is now in its 16th year.


AAPD Leadership Award

Dick Thornburgh

Photo of Dick Thornburgh

Dick Thornburgh

AAPD will recognize former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh for his leading role in the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act and life-long commitment to the civil rights of people with disabilities. Identified by Washingtonian magazine as one of “ten legendary Washington lawyers who will forever leave their mark on the District’s legal landscape,” Thornburgh is currently counsel to the international law firm of K&L Gates LLP in its Pittsburgh office. He previously served as Governor of Pennsylvania, Attorney General of the United States under Presidents Reagan and George H. W. Bush and Under-Secretary General of the United Nations, during a public career which spanned over 25 years.


AAPD Leadership Award Presenter

U.S. Senator Bob Casey

Photo of US Senator Bob Casey

Senator Bob Casey

U.S. Senator Bob Casey is Pennsylvania’s senior senator. He works every day on behalf of Pennsylvania families, fighting to create jobs, advocating for the education and well-being of children, and pursuing a national security strategy that protects our interests and supports those who serve our country. He serves on four committees including the Senate Finance Committee and Senate HELP Committee. He is also the highest ranking Democrat on the Special Committee on Aging. Senator Casey and his wife Terese have four daughters and live in Scranton.


AAPD Paul G. Hearne Emerging Leader Award

Each year at the Gala AAPD presents two upcoming leaders with disabilities with the AAPD Paul G. Hearne Emerging Leader Award to recognize them for their achievements and provide them support to continue their work. This year, AAPD is proud to recognize Lydia Brown and Emily LadauLearn more about the AAPD Paul G. Hearne Emerging Leader Award recipients.


Special Guest and Entertainer

Photo of Ali Stroker smiling. She is sitting in a wheelchair and wearing a green sweater.

Ali Stroker

Ali Stroker is a groundbreaking performer who made history as the first actor in a wheelchair to appear on Broadway when she starred in Deaf West’s acclaimed 2015 revival of Spring Awakening. She’s also the first actress in a wheelchair to graduate from the NYU Tisch drama program. She has starred on both The Glee Project and Glee, guest starred on Fox’s Lethal Weapon and CBS’ Instinct, and she recently recurred alongside Kyra Sedgwick on the ABC drama, Ten Days in the Valley. Stroker’s remarkable ability to improve the lives of others through the arts, whether disabled or not, is captured in her motto: “Making Your Limitations Your Opportunities.”




AAPD Thanks Our 2018 Sponsors!

National Catalyst



National Connector



National Convener


Nancy Dorn & Will Ris


National Stakeholder


Anthem, Inc. | Centene Corporation | Covestro | CVS Health | G2 | Goldman Sachs | IFS Group | JetStream | Ringler Associates | Senator Robert J. Dole | Ted Kennedy, Jr. | UCB | Wells Fargo


National Advocate


Alliant-Mesirow Financial Services | Amazon | American Baptist Home Mission Societies | American General Life Companies (AIG) | American Institutes for Research | Berkshire Hathaway Structured Settlements Division | CTIA | Esquire Bank | Fannie Mae | Kessler Foundation | MetLife | National Industries for the Blind | New York Life | Pacific Life | Prudential | United Spinal Association


National Ally


Allsup | American Network of Community Options and Resources | Amtrak | BAE Systems Inc. | Capital One | Concepts, Inc. | Duane Morris LLP | DCI Group | Envision, Inc. | Epstein Becker Green | Motor Coach Industries | National Association of Broadcasters | PJM Interconnection | The Arc | United Technologies Corporation | United States Olympic Committee | Walmart | Weber Shandwick | WITH Foundation


To learn more about becoming a sponsor please contact Jason Mida at jason@midaassociates.com.


The 2017 Leadership Awards Gala was held on March 7, 2017 at the Washington Hilton in Washington, DC.

Our Sponsors