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The Bottom Line of Disabilities

Friday, March 23, 2018
Columbus Community Center, Salt Lake City, UT

Registration is now open for GIC's annual program, The Bottom Line of Disabilities, in partnership with Columbus Community Center, on March 23, 2018.

Event Detail

The Bottom Line of Disabilities

This symposium convenes expert panelists, corporate and civic leaders, advocates, and industry professionals to discuss the impact disabilities have in our communities. It is an opportunity to have candid conversations about the innovative ways we can tackle the pressing social, financial, and economic issues related to disabilities. Panelists will include a cross section of business and community leaders to discuss the role that governmental entities, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, researchers, businesses, educators, the media, and nonprofits play in facilitating and advancing opportunities for individuals with disabilities.

New this year! Join us Thursday evening, March 22nd for the Peek Award for Disability in Media.
The Bottom Line of Disabilities symposium will be held in conjunction with the Utah Film Society for the Peek Award for Disability in Media. The award is named after Kim Peek, who was the inspiration for Dustin Hoffman’s character in the Oscar-winning move Rain Man. Kim Peek was a Salt Lake resident, and his father Fran Peek was a founding parent of Columbus. The annual award honors a subject, director, or actor in a film that has helped to improve the public’s understanding of disability in society.


Event Contacts



7:30 – 8 a.m. | Registration and Continental Breakfast

8:00 – 8:10 a.m. | Welcome

  • Michael Drury, Past President, Global Interdependence Center
  • Kristy Chambers, CEO, Columbus

8:10 – 8:30 a.m. | Keynote Address

  • Barry Morrow, Oscar-award winning screenwriter of the Rain Main. How the Rain Man Changed the Discussion of Disabilities.
    In 1988, Barry Morrow won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for Rain Main. Several of Morrow’s scripts are inspired by real people, especially people with disabilities and/or extraordinary talents. These include the savant played by Dustin Hoffman in the film Rain Man, inspired by the real savant Kim Peek, and mentally disabled Bill Sackter, played by Mickey Rooney in the TV movie Bill. Both works received writing Oscar, Emmy and other awards for Morrow and for the actors who portrayed them. Morrow gave his Oscar statuette as a gift to Kim Peek. Morrow wrote CBS’s Bill: On His Own (1983), and his relationship with Sackter is presented in the feature length 2008 documentary A Friend Indeed – The Bill Sackter Story.

8:30 – 9:30 a.m. | Session I: Looking at the Past and Future of Families, Parenting, and Disabilities
There is a long and storied history of disability rights beginning in the early fifties when families began challenging the status quo of institutionalizing children and adults with disabilities. Families have ultimately been the strongest voices in advocating for their children, which in turn has been codified into laws, regulations, and practices that have protected some of the most vulnerable among us. This session looks at the difference families have made in past decades and some of the challenges they face in years to come.

  • Stephanie Mackay, Chief Innovation Officer, Columbus Community Center: Columbus a History of Disability Services in Utah and the Lessons We Can Learn from the Past
  • Terrell Dougan, author of That Went Well: Adventures Caring for My Sister, When Siblings Become the Caretakers: Multi-Generational Challenges for Families
  • Carmen Pingree, Parent and Autism Advocate, A Model of Education for Families and Communities: Lesson I’ve Learned as a Parent, Advocate, and Educator
  • Jordan and Heather Callister, Parents: “Negotiating the Landscape of Disabilities Services as a New Parent”

9:30 a.m. – 9:45 a.m. | Break

9:45 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. | Session II: Tax Reform and the Economy: An Update from Top Economic and Financial Experts
Tax reform and the impact on the economy and our communities is headline news, and as the tax reform package continues to unfold, individuals, businesses, and communities will have a better idea of the impacts both positive and negative. Join this distinguished panel of economists who will have timely updates on tax reform and the economy.

  • David Kotok, Chairman and Chief Investment Officer, Cumberland Advisors
  • Philippa Dunne, Co-Editor, The Liscio Report
  • Megan Greene, Managing Director and Chief Economist, Manulife
  • Thomas McLoughlin, Managing Director, UBS Financial Services
  • Juliette Tennert, Ph.D., Chief Economist, Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute

10:45 – 11:45 a.m. | Session III: Innovations in Social Impact Investing and Disabilities: What We are Learning from Employers
In July 2017, the Sorenson Impact Center awarded Columbus a “Pay for Success” feasibility study grant that is focused on employing individuals with autism, a demographic that is facing an 80% unemployment rate, the highest of any “at-risk” demographic. This is the first “Pay for Success” grant awarded nationally to an agency that is taking a closer look at the issue from the employers’ point of view—trying to achieve a better understanding of why employers aren’t tapping into the talent of this workforce during a time of low unemployment. The panel will give an update on research results and what the future might hold for employers and individuals with autism.

  • Tyler Hardy, Engagement Manager, Cicero Group: Employer Interviews: Initial Findings on How Employers View Disabilities and Autism in the Workplace
  • Genevieve Smith, Chief Data Manager, Columbus, How Data Translates in a Nonprofit: Columbus’s Use of Evidence-Based Methodology
  • Nick Fritz, Senior Associate, Sorenson Impact Center, A Summary of the Pay for Success Grant and the Collaboration with Columbus
  • John Davis, PhD, Assistant Professor, Educational Psychology, University of Utah, Bridging Applied Research and Pay for Success Projects

11:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. | Lunch

12:15 – 1:15 p.m. | Session IV: Business Leaders Share Their Social Enterprise Models
Individuals with disabilities face a 65% unemployment rate, and even in a robust economy with a very low unemployment rate, that statistic doesn’t vary in any significant way. Businesses, social entrepreneurs, and families are finding creative and innovative ways to employ individuals with disabilities—ranging from large corporations to neighborhood business owners. They will share their successes, challenges, and lessons learned.

Moderator: Ryan Nelson, Executive Director, Employers Council and Columbus Board Member

  • Kevin Williams, Columbus Board Member and Principal, RGK Innovations, When an Entrepreneur Partners with a Social Enterprise: Lessons Learned
  • Bill Morris, CEO and Founder, Blue Star Recyclers, When Mixing Missions Works: Electronic Recycling and Hiring Individuals with Disabilities
  • Cherissa Alldredge, Co-Chair, Utah Business Leaders Network: Best Practices for Inclusion of Individuals with Disabilities in the Competitive Workplace
  • Tara Cunningham, CEO, Specialisterne, How the Dandelion Model Helps Tech Companies Leverage the Talents of Individuals with Autism
  • Heidi Nelson, Founder and Owner, Howdy’s Homemade Ice Cream: It’s All in the Family: When Ice Cream Leads to Self-Esteem

1:15 to 2:00 p.m. | Closing Remarks

2:00 to 3:00 p.m. | Breakout Sessions


Hotel Information

Out of town guests will receive a special conference rate at the Red Lion Hotel in downtown Salt Lake City. Click here to make a reservation.

Event Location

Date: Friday, March 23, 2018 City: Salt Lake City Columbus Community Center

Thursday, March 22, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Screening of Dina, 2017 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize and Q&A with Antonio Santini and Dan Sickles, recipients of the Peek Award for Disability
Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center
138 Broadway (300 South), Salt Lake City, UT

Friday, March 23, 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Bottom Line of Disabilities Symposium
Columbus Community Center
3495 South West Temple, Salt Lake City, UT

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Cherissa Alldredge

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Compliance Officer, Utah Transit Authority (UTA)

Cherissa is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Compliance Officer for the Utah Transit Authority (UTA).  In this role, Cherissa works with UTA’s internal and external stakeholders to ensure compliance with both the letter and intent of the ADA. 

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Kristy Chambers

Chief Executive Officer, Columbus Community Center

Kristy Chambers is Chief Executive Officer of Columbus Community Center. Prior to joining Columbus, she served as CEO of Wasatch Homeless Health Care, Inc., better known as Fourth Street Clinic.

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Tara Cunningham

Co-CEO, Specialisterne

Tara Cunnigham is Co-CEO of Specialisterne, an international, award-winning social enterprise harnessing the untapped skills of autistic individuals by matching them with businesses who gain a competitive ROI advantage through employing autistic people in meaningful jobs. 

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John L. Davis

Assistant Professor, Dept. of Educational Psychology, University of Utah

John L. Davis is an Assistant Professor in the School Psychology Program, Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Utah. Dr. Davis received a B.A. in Psychology from University of Texas at Austin, an M.A. in School Psychology from Texas State University and a Doctoral Degree in School Psychology from Texas A&M College Station.

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Terrell Dougan


Born September 26, 1939, Terrell Harris Dougan grew up in Salt Lake City. Her first published work appeared when she was in third grade, reporting news from her elementary school for the local newspaper. The book “We Have Been There: A Guide for Families of People with Mental Retardation”, which she co-edited with Pat Vyas and Lyn Isbell, is a collection of stories from the heart from families all over Utah, and by the mentally disabled themselves. It was eventually picked up by Abingdon Press and is still used in some college classrooms in special education around the country.

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Michael Drury

Chief Economist, McVean Trading & Investments

Michael Drury is the chief economist for McVean Trading & Investments, LLC. He joined the firm in 1992, after serving for five years as senior economist with Allen Sinai at Shearson Lehman Brothers and its successor firms. Michael began his career in New York in 1982 as senior economist at A. Gary Shilling and Company. He received his B.S. in economics from the Georgia Institute of Technology and did his graduate work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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Philippa Dunne

Co-Editor, The Liscio Report and Sightlines Bulletin

Philippa Dunne is co-editor of two independent macro-economic newsletters: The Liscio Report, with a trading focus, and Sightlines Bulletin, which takes a longer perspective.

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Nick Fritz

Senior Associate, Sorenson Impact Center

Nick Fritz is a Senior Associate for the Sorenson Impact Center. He works primarily in impact measurement, working with nonprofits and foundations to quantify the social benefits of individual intervention programs, as well as individual and portfolio-wide investments.

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Megan E. Greene

Managing Director and Chief Economist, Manulife Asset Management

Megan E. Greene is a managing director and chief economist at Manulife Asset Management, responsible for forecasting global macro-economic and financial trends and analyzing the potential opportunities and impacts to support the firm’s investment teams around the world. Previously, Megan ran her own London-based economics consulting practice, Maverick Intelligence, serving clients who leveraged her analysis of economic, political, policy and social developments and the impact these were likely to have on the global economy.

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Tyler Hardy

Engagement Manager, Cicero Group

Tyler Hardy is an Engagement Manager at Cicero Group. In this role, Tyler has provided strategic insight and direction to major public and private entities in the Technology, Entertainment, Retail, and Healthcare industries.

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David Kotok

CIO of Cumberland Advisors

David R. Kotok cofounded Cumberland Advisors in 1973 and has been its chief investment officer since inception. He holds a B.S. in economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, an M.S. in organizational dynamics from the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania, and a master’s in philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania.

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Stephanie Mackay

Chief Innovation Officer, Columbus Community Center

Stephanie is the chief innovation officer for Columbus Community Center, a Salt Lake County-based nonprofit organization that provides programs and services for 430 individuals who have developmental and physical disabilities. Stephanie joined Columbus in 2004, and in her role, she is involved in fundraising, donor relations, board development, strategic planning, community events, marketing, and public relations.

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Bill Morris

Co-Founder, Blue Star Recyclers

Bill Morris co-founded Blue Star Recyclers in 2009 after discovering people with autism and other disabilities possess innate talent for tasks involved in the recycling and refurbishing of electronics.

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Ryan Nelson

President, Employers Council

Ryan Nelson is Utah president of the Employers Council, now part of Mountain States Employers Council (MSEC), which meets the employment law and human resources needs of employers throughout Utah and the surrounding region.

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Carmen B. Pingree

Founder, Carmen B. Pingree Autism Center of Learning

Carmen B. Pingree received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Utah, in History and Special Education/Political Science respectively. Her master’s degree thesis was the Identification of Previously-Unidentified Individuals with Autism in Utah. She has numerous national publications on the topic of autism.

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Genevieve Smith

Chief Data Management Officer, Columbus Community Center

Genevieve Smith is Chief Data Management Officer at Columbus Community Center. Genevieve is also the project manager for Columbus’s Pay For Success Feasibility Study, based on a grant from Sorenson Impact Center.

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Kevin Williams

Kevin Williams is a global marketing and operations executive with a deep understanding of new venture management, social entrepreneurship and global development strategy.

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