Recap of the 2017 Leadership Awards Gala

March 21, 2017 | Zach Baldwin

Last week, on March 7th, AAPD hosted our 2017 Leadership Awards Gala at the Washington Hilton in Washington, DC. The Leadership Awards Gala provides a unique opportunity for AAPD’s partners, supporters, and colleagues to demonstrate their support of disability rights while bringing together the disability community with business and government leadership for one night each year.

The Honorable Elizabeth Dole (center) accepting the 2017 AAPD Leadership Award, standing next to AAPD’s President and CEO Helena Berger (left) and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (right).

This year, recognized the Honorable Elizabeth Dole with the AAPD Leadership Award and both Ola Ojewumi and Katherine Perez with the 2017 AAPD Paul G. Hearne Leadership Award.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi took the stage to present the AAPD Leadership Award to Senator Dole. During her remarks, Leader Pelosi noted Senator Dole’s continuous and tireless commitment to people with disabilities, particularly military families and caregivers.

Senator Dole graciously accepted the 2017 AAPD Leadership Award and recalled how she and her husband, Senator Bob Dole, worked to pass the Americans with Disabilities Act 27 years ago and reflected on how supporting and empowering people with disabilities was not only the right thing to do, but good for the economy and society. Senator Dole also expressed her commitment to continuing to push for ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). She then spoke about how she came to form the Dole Foundation and launch the Hidden Heroes campaign, which awards grants to nonprofit organizations to expand existing programs or create new services to support military caregivers.

The evening concluded with the presentation of the 2017 AAPD Paul G. Hearne Leadership Awards to Ola Ojewumi and Katherine Perez. Each award recipient was introduced by a video detailing their accomplishments (view Ola’s video here | view Katherine’s video here) before delivering brief remarks.

Check out AAPD’s Facebook album for photos from the event.


Thank you to the 2017 Leadership Awards Gala sponsors!


National Catalyst Sponsor

American Airlines


Comcast NBCUniversal

National Structured Settlements Trade Association


National Connector Sponsor

Bender Consulting Services, Inc.

Charter Communications

JPMorgan Chase


National Convener Sponsor




Northrop Grumman


Nancy Dorn & Will Ris


National Stakeholder

Amazon | Capital One | Centene | Colgate-Palmolive | Covestro | CVS Health | G2 | Goldman Sachs | IFS Group | JetStream Ground Services | Microsoft | National Association of Broadcasters | PhRMA | PNC Bank | Ringler Associates | UCB, Inc. | United Technologies Corporation


National Advocate

Alliant-Mesirow Financial Services | American Baptist Home Mission Societies | American General Life Companies | American Institutes for Research (AIR) | Anthem | Berkshire Hathaway | Consumer Technology Association | CTIA | Epilepsy Foundation | Fannie Mae | Kessler Foundation | Liberty Mutual | Metlife | NCTA – The Internet & Television Association | New York Life | Pacific Life | Prudential | Recording Industry Association of America | The Arc | Tracfone | United Spinal Association


National Ally

American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR) | Christine Griffin | Duane Morris LLP | Decoding Dyslexia | Elastic Band Company | Esquire Bank | Federal Relay | Knowbility | Mida Associates | Medivest | Ted Kennedy, Jr. | Senator Bob Dole | Sprint | The HSC Foundation | United States Olympic Committee | The Viscardi Center

Our Sponsors