March 12, 2018

8:00 am - 5:00 pm

FIU GC Ballrooms


FIU Embrace is a university-wide initiative that promotes health, wellness and overall functioning for adults with developmental disabilities, such as autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disabilities, and other neurodevelopmental disorders.  In short, we seek to improve the lives of individuals and families affected by developmental disabilities

A key priority for FIU Embrace is to shed light on youth who have been largely marginalized and excluded from the workforce. Yet, some organizations across the country have “seen” beyond their disability and tapped into their ability- creating a “win win” for both the employee and their organization.

We have convened a group of employers who have implemented programs/initiatives within their organizations, and have been successful at maintaining longstanding employment of individuals affected by developmental disabilities. This conference will offer participants the opportunity to network with colleagues from various industries, connect with supported employment organizations, learn about various models for creating a diverse work force!

Sponsored By



Randy Lewis

MBA, Founder, No Greatness Without Goodness

[ Keynote Speaker ]

Randy Lewis, former Senior Vice-President of Walgreens, pioneered a model of employment for people with disabilities that has been recognized as the “gold standard of disability employment” by the National Governors Association. His experiences was detailed in the best selling book “No Greatness Without Goodness”, named by Fast Company magazine in 2014 as one of its “10 New Books You Need to Read This Year.” Mr. Lewis has testified on employment of people with disability to Congressional and Parliament committees of the U.S. and Canada. He is currently the Executive Director of the NOGWOG Disability Initiative, a foundation dedicated to employment diversity.

Rhys Ryan

Founder and CEO, Ekkobar

[ Keynote Speaker ]

A successful startup veteran, Rhys Ryan has been building product and companies for decades. Early in his career, he did groundbreaking work in mathematics and computer science for MCI to create interlinkable systems when none thought it possible. Rhys found his passion for the start-up world, and in the late 1990’s as CTO and Co-Founder of AudioBase, he and his team wrote the audio CODEC for Java before MP3 files existed. He pioneered multimedia delivery services creating methods for global distribution before CDNs.  After AudioBase, Rhys created Scenechronize, a production management system.

Faithe Raphael

[ Keynote Speaker ]

D. Raphael has built a career in the music industry through new business development beginning with the David Geffen Company, and for rock band, Aerosmith, as their director of tour marketing and promotion. One of the first female Senior Vice Presidents in the music industry, she helmed traditional, digital, and strategic marketing for Rhino Entertainment, Bertelsmann Music Group (now Sony Music), and Concord Records generating sponsorship and partnership licensing revenues, producing websites, television specials, and infomercials. Tapping into her unique ability to collaborate with quirky personalities, she executive produced the critically acclaimed theatrical release, DeRailroaded: The Wildman Fischer Story.

Joseph Murray

Mentor, Florida ABLE Trust Youth Leadership Forum

[ Keynote Speaker ]

Joseph Murray’s life exemplifies what it means to live and give, not simply seeking success for himself, but others as well. Determined not to allow himself to be defined by his disability, Joseph was accepted into the Gulfstream Goodwill Academy in Boynton Beach. Thanks to his training, Joseph is currently employed at the Boca Raton Resort and Club – a Waldorf Astoria Resort – located in Boca Raton, Florida, where he has worked for the past five years. A 2008 alum of the Florida Youth Leadership Forum (YLF), Joseph has been invited to return each year as a staff volunteer, serving first as a support staff member, and eventually becoming a coordinator of YLF travel and facilities; duties that he still performs.


Jill Houghton

President and CEO, USBLN

Mrs. Houghton oversees the strategic direction of the organization as well as provides guidance on international disability inclusion best practices to more than 130 USBLN corporate partners. Ms. Houghton has more than 25 years of diverse leadership experience at the federal, state and local levels working with business to advance the inclusion of persons with disabilities.

Dave Kearon

Director of Adult Services at Autism Speaks

As the Director of Adult Services at Autism Speaks, Dave Kearon helps manage the organization’s mission to promote solutions, across the spectrum and throughout the lifespan, for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. He works to increase the quality and quantity of opportunities and resources available to adults with autism related to employment, housing and residential supports, postsecondary education and community integration. Prior to joining the Adult Services team, Dave worked at Autism Speaks in the role of Psychometrician for the Autism Genetic Resource Exchange (AGRE).

Adriene McCoy

Corporate VP and Chief Human Resources Officer, Baptist Health South Florida

Mrs. McCoy is responsible for overseeing all of Baptist Health’s Human Resources functions, including Benefits and Compensation, Employee and Leadership Development, HR Operations, Talent Management and Recruitment. Mrs. McCoy has more than 20 years of experience in healthcare human resources management.  She joined Baptist Health in 2007 as Assistant Vice President, Human Resources.


Sarah Crump

Diversity Senior Consultant, Freddie Mac

Sarah has been employed with Freddie Mac for six years and possesses over fifteen years of human resources experience in various roles to include, talent acquisition, health benefits, retirement planning and Diversity & Inclusion.  Her current role as a Diversity Senior Consultant enables her to contribute her passion around diverse hiring, specifically focused on disability.  She manages the Neurodiversity at Work and Year Up Programs as well as, advises decision-makers on diversity inclusive recruitment strategies, employee integration, and professional development initiatives.

Kristen Buck

Senior Loan Processing, Freddie Mac

Kristen provides quality loan processing for adherence to underwriting standards. She processes complex loan files verifying the accuracy of documents received. Working closely with internal and external customers, she ensures quality service including obtaining any necessary documentation and providing resolutions to an extensive range of complicated problems.

Marc Senia

Field Inclusion Champion, Walgreens

Marc is responsible for implementing training programs for people with disabilities for seven Walgreens Distribution Centers across the division. He builds strong partnerships with state and local agencies that support people with disabilities throughout the country, training and educating them on the Walgreens Transitional Work Group (TWG). Within this role, he also provides support for managers, conducts in-house inclusion trainings, collaborates with HR on accommodations and shares the Walgreens TWG model with other interested companies.


Kyle Hahn

General Warehouse Employee, Walgreens

Kyle started with the company on September 18, 2008 and came through one of the first Transitional Work Group (TWG) programs with support from the State Department of Developmental Services and Viability. Kyle’s famous for being the person to unload the first truck in the distribution center when they started receiving product. With three successful department moves over the years, and several other opportunities to work in different areas of the building, Kyle has become an “expert” at many roles in the warehouse.

Carla Gaouette

Associate VP of National Job Training and Placement, Viability

Carla is responsible the Business Development of Corporate Inclusion Solutions. Working in Employment Services for Individuals with Disabilities for her entire career, Carla has spent the last 10 years becoming an expert in Job Training and Placement Programs in major national companies. In doing this she has developed these training programs with more than 10 employers within the areas that Viability provides services.

Laura Berry

Deputy Director of Jobs, Best Buddies International

Laura Berry moved to Nashville from Southeast Michigan. She studied Psychology at Grand Valley State University and received her Master’s in Social Work at the University of Michigan. Passionate about connecting businesses to the untapped talent of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, Laura joined the Best Buddies Tennessee team in 2015. After two years of jump-starting and evolving the Jobs Program in Nashville, Laura joined Best Buddies International Inc.’s team as their Deputy Director of Jobs.


Tim Weiler

Co-Founder, Hidden Talent LLC

Tim started the Willis Towers Watson (WTW) Autism at Work program that led to full time seasonal employment for 18 individuals in the Global Data Surveys unit and full time regular employment for 5 individuals in the Benefits Operations Center and the Actuarial Service Center.  He collaborated with Ernst and Young resulting in 5 additional full time regular employment placements. Tim is currently assisting WTW with Autism Employment programs in three locations in the UK.

Mary Partin

Chief Executive Officer, The Dan Marino Foundation

Mary Partin has served as the Chief Executive Officer of The Dan Marino Foundation since 1998, leading it from a small family foundation created by Dan and Claire Marino, to a prominent national resource to improve the lives of people with autism. Since its inception in 1992, the Dan Marino Foundation has invested more than $62 million into quality-of-life programming, and the majority of these resources where raised and distributed during Mary’s tenure.

Milton Vescovacci

Shareholder, GrayRobinson, P.A.

Milton is a shareholder in GrayRobinson’s Miami office and chairs the Miami office’s Corporate Practice. Milton concentrates in general corporate, corporate and structured finance, lending, mortgage banking, securities, venture capital, private equity, mergers and acquisitions, and corporate governance and compliance. He has experience in various industries, including banking, finance, mortgage (residential, multifamily and commercial), real estate, automobile, aviation, and more.


Kenny Hernandez

Sterilization Technician, Baptist Health South Florida

Kenny’s journey began with his participation in the ASPIRE internship program, which began with a mentoring day in October 2014.  Kenny completed his three month paid internship as a sterilization intern in 2015.  Later in 2015, Kenny was hired part-time and by 2016 became a full-time employee.  He completed the course requirements to take and pass the international sterilization certification exam in 2017.


  • Welcome and Opening Remarks

    8:30 – 8:40 a.m.

    Mark B. Rosenberg, Ph.D., President, Florida International University

  • FIU Embrace Overview

    8:45 – 8:55 a.m.

    Milton Vescovacci, Esq., Shareholder, GrayRobinson, P.A.

  • Are We Truly Inclusive?

    9:00 – 9:20 a.m.

    Jill Houghton, President and CEO, USBLN

  • Employment Initiative

    9:25 – 9:35 p.m.

    David Kearon, Director of Adult Services, Autism Speaks

  • Why I Hired a Workforce Others Overlook

    [ KEYNOTE ]

    9:40 – 10:20 a.m.

    Randy Lewis, MBA, Founder No Greatness Without Goodness (“NOGWOG”)

  • Networking Session

    10:20 – 10:40 a.m.

  • Creating and Sustaining Systemic Change Within An Organization

    [ PANEL ]

    10:40 – 11:40 a.m.

    Adriene McCoy, Corporate VP and Chief HR Officer, Baptist Health South Florida

    Sarah Crump, SHRM-SCP, Diversity Senior Consultant, Freddie Mac

    Kristen Buck, Employee, Freddie Mac

    (Moderator: Emily Gresham)

  • Keynote Speaker

    [ KEYNOTE ]

    11:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

    Joseph Murray, Mentor, Florida ABLE Trust Youth Leadership Forum; Employee, Boca Raton Resort and Club

  • Lunch

    [ KEYNOTE ]

    12:15 – 1:40 p.m.

    Rhys Ryan, Founder and CEO, Ekkobar

    Faithe Raphael, Author, The Rock Stars of Neuroscience, CEO & Consultant, Big Posse, LLC

  • Supporting and Building a Diverse Workforce

    [ PANEL ]

    1:30 – 2:30 p.m.

    Marc Senia, Field Inclusion Champion, Walgreens

    Kyle Hahn, Employee, Walgreens

    Carla Gaouette, Associate VP of National Job Training and Placement, Viability

    Robert Friedman, Esq., Holland and Knight

    Laura Berry, Deputy Director, Jobs Program, Best Buddies International

    (Moderator: Milton Vescovacci)

  • Networking Session

    2:30 – 3:00 p.m.

  • The Evolution of Employment Practices

    [ PANEL ]

    3:00 – 4:00 p.m.

    Tim Weiler, Co-Founder, Hidden Talent LLC

    Mary Partin, CEO, The Dan Marino Foundation

    (Moderator: Luis Navas)

  • Closing Remarks and Call to Action

    4:10 – 4:45 p.m.

    Yogi Hernandez Suarez, MD, MBA, VP & Chief Medical Officer, Care Delivery Organization, Humana Inc.

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