Thursday May 3rd - 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM
One in every five Americans is living with a disability, making it the largest minority population today. Yet far too often, their important and varied stories go untold. Join us for an important conversation, among several entertainment industry professional panelists, with experience in front of and behind the scenes, who are championing disability inclusion.
Becky Curran serves as the Disability Equality Index (DEI) Program Manager at USBLN. In her current role, she’s responsible for managing the overall DEI program.
Becky received her Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Providence College, where she gained a passion for influencing change behind the scenes in the entertainment industry. Upon graduation and after 100 job interviews, Becky started working in the Entertainment Marketing department, followed by the Comedy Touring department, at Creative Artists Agency, the world’s leading entertainment and sports agency. Five years later, she worked at CBS Television Studios, where she assisted with the casting of pilots and television series. During this transition, she also served as the Marketing Director and Co-Founding Board Member of the Catalina Film Festival. She also founded DisABILITY In Media, which focuses on positive disability inclusion storytelling through social media.
After her six and a half years of working in the entertainment industry, Becky launched a public speaking business. A prolific public speaker and advocate for disability inclusion on a global scale, she has spoken at over 100 venues, including schools, corporations, nonprofit organizations and government agencies, throughout the United States and Kenya. She’s really passionate about disability inclusion in schools, the workplace, and everywhere else.
More recently, she spent three and a half years working in the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) & Diversity department at Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), the world’s largest entertainment union. At SAG-AFTRA, she supported the implementation of a national diversity plan of action to achieve accurate representation of those groups historically excluded from the entertainment and news media.
In addition, Becky serves on the Board of Advisors for the National Center For Disability Journalism (NCDJ) at Arizona State University.
Katy Sullivan is an actress, producer, athlete and bilateral above knee amputee. Katy grew up performing in theatre and received a BFA in acting from Webster University’s Conservatory in St. Louis. She has worked on many stages in Chicago, including THE LONG RED ROAD at the Goodman Theatre directed by the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, before making the journey west to try her luck at TV and film. She has appeared in numerous television shows and independent films including the award winning documentary, WALK ON. She has appeared on NBC’s MY NAME IS EARL, ABC’s LAST MAN STANDING with Tim Allen, FX’s Comedy LEGIT and CBS’ hit NCIS: NEW ORLEANS. She is starred in the World Premiere of the play COST OF LIVING at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, a show that moved to Manhattan Theatre Club’s Off-Broadway theatre in the summer of 2017. The production just received the Champions of Change award from the Mayor of New York City’s office.
She co-created SulliFlinn Productions with fellow Webster Grad, Becca Flinn. They produce online comedy content, short films and are developing a sitcom, LEGS, loosely based on their life experiences. They were 2015 Fellows at the Producer’s Guild of America in their Power of Diversity program.
Katy is also a three time US Champion in the 100m. She was among the first bilateral above the knee amputees to compete in the Paralympics in ambulatory track when she ran in the 100m at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, setting a new American record of 17.33s and finished 6th in the World. Katy was featured as an NBC Sports Analyst for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Brazil.
Gail Williamson joined the KMR Diversity Department in 2013 focusing on clients with disabilities. She challenged herself to grow the department and make a positive impact on the entertainment media’s inclusion of characters with disabilities in television, film, theatre, commercials and print. Gail’s vision for inclusion comes from assisting her own son in his career. Blair, who was born with Down syndrome, became an actor at the age of 11 in a national commercial. As a teen and adult, Blair’s resume grew with some very respectable credits. While Blair’s career was growing, Gail found employment with the California Governor’s Committee for Employment of People with Disabilities in their Media Access Office and the Down Syndrome Association of Los Angeles where she honed her skills working with talent.
Gail helped to develop and grow the careers of many new actors with various disabilities; perhaps the most recognizable bringing Lauren Potter (Becky Jackson on GLEE), Jamie Brewer (Adelaide, Nan & Marjory on AMERICAN HORROR STORY) and JLouis Mills (Forrester on HEARTBEAT premiering on NBC next week 3.22) to the attention of casting directors.
Gail is a popular public speaker/moderator on the subject of Disability in the Media and has been producing and presenting film festivals with disability themes for conventions and non-profit organizations since 2004.