Leadership Awards Gala

  • Photo of Sarah Blahovec and Kathy Martinez of Wells Fargo standing on a stage in front of a gold backdrop. They both are holding a clear circular award.

    Sarah Blahovec, 2019 AAPD Paul G. Hearne Emerging Leader Award Recipient, with Kathy Martinez of Wells Fargo

  • Photo of Dustin Gibson and Keri Gray, they both are holding a clear circular award

    Dustin Gibson, 2019 AAPD Paul G. Hearne Emerging Leader Award Recipient, with Keri Gray, AAPD's Senior Director of Stakeholder Engagement and Strategic Communications


2020 Leadership Awards Gala

March 10, 2020

This event is sold out and tickets are no longer available.


The AAPD Leadership Awards Gala is the one night a year that the disability community comes together with business and government leadership to celebrate the progress of disability rights. This year’s Gala will provide a unique opportunity for AAPD’s partners, supporters, and colleagues to commemorate 30 years of the Americans with Disabilities Act and demonstrate their continued support for accessibility inclusion. 

6:30pm: Cocktail Reception

7:30pm: Evening Program

9:30pm – 10:15pm: Dessert Reception

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

AAPD strives to make all of its events fragrance-free. We ask that you arrive as scent and fragrance-free as possible in order to accommodate all guests.

AAPD Leadership Awards Gala Committee

Ted Kennedy, Jr., Chair

Tony Coelho, Co-Chair

Susan Diegelman, Co-Chair

Jill Houghton, Co-Chair

Eric Vaughn, Co-Chair


AAPD ADA Legacy Award

Photo of Tammy Duckworth. She is wearing a black blazer and is standing in front of a white column.

Senator Tammy Duckworth

AAPD will honor Senator Tammy Duckworth with the ADA Legacy Award for her efforts to protect the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and her continued advocacy to ensure access and equality for all Americans with disabilities.


AAPD Lifetime Impact Award

Photo of Bob Dole. Dole is wearing a dark blue suit, white shirt and light blue tie. He is sitting in front of a dark blue background.

Senator Robert J. Dole

Due to his role in the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the formation of AAPD, and his tireless advocacy for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), AAPD is recognizing Bob Dole with the Lifetime Impact Award.


AAPD Corporate Ally Award

Image of Bank of America's logo. Text is bold blue with a US flag image to the right.

AAPD will honor Bank of America with the Corporate Ally Award for their leadership on disability inclusion on behalf of their employees and customers with disabilities. Bank of America has consistently scored 100 percent on the Disability Equality Index (DEI), the leading corporate benchmarking tool for disability equality.


AAPD Capitol Hill Champion Award

Photo of Jim Sensenbrenner. Congressman Sensenbrenner is wearing a black suit, red and black striped tie, and white shirt and is sitting in front of a blue background with an US flag on the left.

Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner

AAPD will recognize Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner with the Capitol Hill Champion Award for his critical support for community integration for people with disabilities and leadership on the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act.


AAPD Gala Special Guests

Photo of Bob Casey. Casey is wearing a dark gray suit, white shirt, and light blue tie and is standing in front of the Capitol building.

Senator Bob Casey


Photo of Tom Harkin. Harkin is wearing a dark blue suit with light blue shirt and is standing in front of a brick wall.

Senator Tom Harkin


2020 AAPD Paul G. Hearne Emerging Leader Award Recipients


2020 AAPD Leadership Awards Gala Emcee

Photo of Amna Nawaz. Amna is wearing a white dress standing in front of a gray colored backdrop.

Amna Nawaz, Senior National Correspondent and
Primary Substitute Anchor, PBS Newshour




To learn more about becoming a sponsor, please email us at development@www.aapd.com.


The 2019 Leadership Awards Gala was held on March 12, 2019 at the Washington Hilton in Washington, DC.



Thank you to our 2020 sponsors!

National Catalyst Sponsors



National Connector Sponsors



National Convener Sponsors

Nancy Dorn & Will Ris

National Stakeholder Sponsors


Accenture | American International Group (AIG) | Anthem | Arcadia | Bank of America | Bristol-Myers Squibb | Centene | Charter Communications | Clear2Connect Coalition | CVS Health | G2 Secure Staff, LLC | Goldman Sachs | Independent Life | JetStream | Microsoft | Senator Robert J. Dole | Service Corporation International (SCI) | Ted Kennedy, Jr. | Uber | UCB | Wells Fargo


National Advocate Sponsors


American Baptist Home Mission Societies | Anonymous | Berkshire Hathaway Structured Settlements Division | Brink | Civic Nation | Coca-Cola | CTIA | Forge Consulting | MetLife | NCTA – The Internet and Television Association | New York Life | NFP Structured Settlements | Pacific Life | Prudential | Ringler Associates | Sage Settlements | Sprint Accessibility | T-Mobile | When We All Vote | United Spinal Association | U.S. Department of State


National Ally Sponsors


Alliant Financial | Allsup | Ametros Foundation | Amtrak | Suzanne Boda and George Grindahl | Continental Trust Services | Duane Morris | Epstein Becker Green | Esquire Bank | Family Network on Disabilities | IFS Group | JMW Settlements | Kessler Foundation | League of Women Voters | Medivest | National Industries for the Blind (NIB) | National Partnership for Women and Families | Partnership to Improve Patient Care (PIPC) | PJM Interconnection | Structures | The Arc | Tracfone | WITH Foundation 


AAPD Gala Accessibility Sponsor

PNC logo


Our Sponsors