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Susan Diegelman Named New Board Chair of American Association of People with Disabilities

by | Jul 22, 2021 | Press Release

An advocate in the business community that will lead capacity building initiatives to ensure a sustainable and resilient organization for the future. 

Headshot of Susan Diegelman, a white woman with blond hair with blue eyes, smiling into the camera while wearing a gray and black blazer.

For Immediate Release: July 22, 2021
Contact: Rachita Singh, rsingh@aapd.com

Washington, D.C. –  The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) announced today that Susan Diegelman, an advocate for the inclusion of people with disabilities in the business community, has been selected to Chair the Board of Directors. AAPD is one of the nation’s leading cross-disability civil rights groups dedicated to building the economic and political power of the more than 61 million people with disabilities across the United States.

As Board Chair, Susan’s primary focus will be leading the organization’s growth and capacity-building initiatives; concentrating on strategic planning, priority setting, and creating a roadmap for ongoing execution and continued growth in years to come. Susan will also continue to be a tireless advocate within the business community for AAPD and opportunities the organization creates for leadership development and inclusion in the workforce for all disabled people.

Susan has been a member of the AAPD Board of Directors since 2014 and has been deeply involved in several initiatives to promote AAPD’s growth and impact. Most recently, Susan was instrumental in the formation of the AAPD Disability Advisory Roundtable. This group of national advocates, corporate and organizational leaders, allies from Capitol Hill, and community activists will gather regularly to learn more about issues impacting the disability community and how, as partners, they can be allies in the fight for full inclusion for Americans with disabilities.

“I am proud of the competent and trustworthy organization the AAPD Board and team have built in recent years,” said Susan. “I’m so hopeful about the work ahead but remain grounded in the reality that we’ll always be fighting for a society in which people with disabilities are valued equally and participate fully. I want to ensure that AAPD is positioned to be a strong voice for disabled people in Washington D.C. and across the nation, for years to come.”

At age 23, Susan was diagnosed with clinical depression. For many years she did not share information about her mental health disability, especially in workplace settings. “Working alongside professionals with many kinds of disabilities has broadened my view of what disability is and encouraged me to speak more openly about my own experiences,” Susan said. Diegleman continued, “My own experiences witnessing the transformation that can occur when disability is visible within the workforce and beyond make me deeply passionate about AAPD’s initiatives to increase disability employment and community participation. I am deeply humbled by the opportunity to lead this board, bolstered by so many prominent community leaders, and look forward to our continued work together.”

Currently, Susan is a director in the External & Legislative Affairs organization at AT&T. She works with national advocacy organizations representing every corner of the disability community to interpret the impact of technology policy on people with disabilities. Susan works with advocates to make their voices heard by policymakers on the Hill and within the Federal Communications Commission on the challenges and opportunities that connected technologies can bring to bear for people with disabilities.

“Susan is an outstanding advocate for justice and inclusion of people with disabilities. With her diverse network, respect among disability activists, business background, and expertise in telecommunications and accessible technology policy, Susan will continue to solidify AAPD’s role as one of our nation’s leading disability civil rights organizations. Although my 4-year term as AAPD Chair has come to an end, I plan to remain on the Board and work closely with Susan in our fight for equality and full participation for people with disabilities,” said Ted Kennedy, Jr., outgoing AAPD Board Chair.

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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 61 million Americans with disabilities by promoting equal opportunity, economic power, independent living, and political participation. To learn more, visit the AAPD Web site: www.aapd.com.