Our Mission: To drive up employment for people with disabilities, including Veterans.
The Sierra Group Foundation - Questions? Call 888.492.2402
Sierra Group Foundation - Faculty of Experts
Janet Fiore is an award-winning CEO of the minority owned Sierra Group, Inc., a disability management consultancy that serves individuals, government agencies, and corporations in their pursuit of Accessibility, Compliance and Diversity in the workforce and in education. Ms. Fiore has extensive experience consulting in public and private vocational rehabilitation, assistive technology, employment incentives, recruiting, legislation and policy affecting employment and disability. Ms. Fiore is a highly sought after speaker and has presented before Congress, published articles and has appeared on many television and radio interviews.
Jill Fisher Esquire, is Co-Chair of the Employment Law Practice at Zarwin Baum Devito Kaplan Schaer Toddy P.C., where she specializes in employment law and human resources management in support of both large and small companies. In addition to litigation, Ms. Fisher advises, educates and trains regarding issues surrounding the areas of harassment, discrimination and other employment issues. Ms. Fisher has drafted numerous employee handbooks, employment agreements and personnel policies for a wide range of industries. She has conducted seminars for various trade associations and seminar companies. She has authored articles on diverse topics including privacy in the workplace and the Family and Medical Leave Act. Working together with Janet Fiore, CEO of The Sierra Group, Ms. Fisher co-authored an article on The ADA Amendments Act which was published by COUNTERPOINT. To learn more about Ms. Fisher.
Matthew Murphy, is Senior Vice President of National Sales for RecruitMilitary. Mr. Murphy is responsible for Sales and new business development. Mr. Murphy was a Surface Warfare Officer in the U.S. Navy, after which he obtained his law degree and practiced law for the University of Pennsylvania. RecruitMilitary is the country's only nationwide, full-service military-to-civilian recruiting firm. The Company's mission is to connect Corporate America with military veterans, and it has worked with over 6,500 corporate clients since 1998, RecruitMilitray has a database of over 200,000 registered job-seeking veterans, including veterans with disabilities. Mr. Murphy has been instrumental in partnering with The Foundation to connect Corporate America to veterans with disabilities.
Kasey Kazakavich, is an Employment Coordinator for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment. Mr. Kazakavich is a Marine Corps Combat Veteran who served in Desert Shield and Desert Storm. He works on the front lines with veterans with disabilities in their challenges of preparing for employment. Mr. Kazakavich began working in the field of vocational rehabilitation in 1998, and earned his Master's Degree in Community Counseling from Shippensburg University in 2002. He is a Certified National Counselor, and is licensed to provide counseling services in the state of Pennsylvania.
Lisa Stern, has over 20 years of experience in education, workforce development and disability employment. She has focused her efforts on Veterans employment issues since 2004. Ms. Stern is currently a consultant to the Department of Labor for the America's Heroes at Work initiative, working to improve the employment outcomes for Veterans living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) in the workplace. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Sociology from the University of Maryland and a Masters in Education and Human Development from The George Washington University.
Meg Krause has served more than eight years in the U.S. Army, including a combat tour in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Now Ms. Krause supports the America's Heroes at Work project, a U.S. Department of Labor education campaign focused on improving employment outcomes of veterans with traumatic brain injury and/or post-traumatic stress disorder. She also works with the National Resource Directory, a Web site developed by the U.S. Departments of Defense, Labor and Veterans Affairs that provides information and assistance to wounded, ill and injured service members, veterans and their families. Ms. Krause is a graduate of Penn State University, where she earned a B.A. in Public Relations with a minor in Political Science.
Sally Hart recently retired as the National Military Recruiting Director for CINTAS Corporation, the Service Professionals. Ms. Hart has a BS in education from Miami University and joined CINTAS as a training specialist in 1998. She developed the military recruiting program and has recruited hundreds of veterans to the company. Named for four consecutive years by GIJOBS magazine as #20, #14, #15, and #11 of the Top 50 Military Friendly Employers, then named in 2010 as #8 of the top 100, CINTAS remains committed to helping our veterans find civilian career positions when their military commitment ends. Ms. Hart generously gives of her time coaching disabled veteran job applicants.
The Honorable Katherine O. McCary is Vice President, Accessing Community Talent Program for Diversity and Compliance, with SunTrust Banks, Inc. In her 20 years with SunTrust, her contributions to SunTrust's disability efforts have resulted in much recognition. In October 2008, Katherine was appointed by President Bush to the National Council on Disability. Her appointment was confirmed by the U.S. Senate, thereby conferring upon Ms. McCary the lifelong title of "The Honorable". The National Council on Disability (NCD) is an independent federal agency composed of members appointed by the President of the United States, by and with the advice and consent of the U.S. Senate. NCD provides advice to the President, Congress, and executive branch agencies to promote policies, programs, practices, and procedures that guarantee equal opportunity for all individuals with disabilities, to empower individuals with disabilities to achieve economic self-sufficiency, independent living, and inclusion and integration into all aspects of society. The Honorable Katherine McCary has also garnered private sector recognition including the SHRM HR Magazine 2000 Innovative Practice Award, the 2002 US Business Leadership Network (USBLN®) Exceptional Leadership Award and the US Department of Labor Secretary Elaine Chao's 2004 New Freedom Initiative Award.
Carl L. Marshall, M.ED., CRC, LPC- is a Rehabilitation Consultant, with 38 years experience as a vocational rehabilitation administrator, manager and counselor. Prior to his retirement from the Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation in April 2007, he founded Bellevue Park Associates, a consulting firm that provides an array of employment and disability-related services and training for business, people with disabilities and rehabilitation professionals. Mr. Marshall is also on the consulting staff of The Sierra Group, Inc.
Seth Acosta holds a Master's of Science degree in Organizational Leadership, and is a Senior Rehabilitation Consultant with The Sierra Group, Inc. (a national consultancy with a mission of reversing the high unemployment rate for people with disabilities in America). Mr. Acosta is recognized and valued as a rehabilitation professional, trainer, classroom instructor, curriculum developer, public speaker, marketer and advocate. He is a highly sought after speaker on training and adaptive strategy evaluations for individuals with disabilities.
Mathew (Matt) Sapolin is Commissioner of the New York City Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD). MOPD works hand-in-hand with other City agencies to assure that the voice of the disabled community is represented and that City programs and policies address the needs of people with disabilities. Commissioner Sapolin also serves as an Adjunct Professor in the City University of New York's Graduate School of Professional Studies, teaching a course in the Certificate Program for Disability Studies. He created a curriculum that includes topics such as the economics and business of disability; quality management of disability organizations; and leadership in public policy issues. He serves on a variety of boards and advisory councils, and has been presented with numerous awards and accolades for his successes.
Michael Fiore, BSE, MBA, is the CFO of The Sierra Group, Inc., a consultancy operating in the areas of Workforce Strategy, Vocational Rehabilitation, and Candidate Sourcing. Mr. Fiore consults with the insurance industry and with businesses on the implications of disability to their bottom line goals and financial objects. He is renowned for his assessment work directly with individuals, as they endeavor to achieve their individual vocational goals. Mr. Fiore routinely publishes and speaks on issues of disability, accommodation and economic topics. He is on the Board of the Villanova University Ryan Center for the Study of Free Institutions and is a Founding Board Member of The Sierra Group Foundation and its Employment Incentives portal..
Joan McGovern, is Vice President, Commercial Card Product Risk, at J.P. Morgan Chase. She holds a Masters in Public/Healthcare Administration and is frequently asked to speak on behalf of the worker with a disability. Ms. McGovern has been quoted in the New York Times, profiled in Diversity Inc., heard on Voice of America, and seen at the New York Stock Exchange Opening Bell Ceremony for National Disability Awareness Month. In December 2009, Ms. McGovern continued to demonstrate her commitment to the movement of People with Disabilities as a founding member and Executive Director of the New York City Business Leadership Network (NYCBLN).
Terrie Nolinske, PH.D., is Principal and Managing Member of TNI Consultants LLC. Dr. Nolinske, develops evaluation protocol, designs instruments, creates databases, analyzes data and generates recommendations for change. Working with corporations, not-for-profits and small businesses, Dr. Nolinske has presented training programs in areas related to strategic planning, accessibility, diversity awareness, mentoring relations, and disability awareness. She has written over 150 human interest, feature stories and business articles for consumer magazines, technical publications, newspapers and more.
Doug Pilarski is a Talent Management Consultant and has had the privilege to work with some of the most respected corporations in the world. He started his firm, Sawyer TMS, in 1987.
Over the years, Doug has held senior HR positions with Fortune 500 companies and spent a number of years in Tokyo in a Global Recruitment role. He launched the popular strategicdiversity.com in 1994. Read his blog, Talent Manager’s Journal on WordPress.
Born and raised in Pittsburgh, he attended the University of Pittsburgh. Doug has traveled extensively and does speaking engagements and workshops on the topic of “Talent Management for the Disabled Workforce”. He resides in the Summerlin area of Las Vegas.
Courtney Bryant is an Equal Employment Opportunity Specialist at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA. Courtney has a Master's in Public Management from the Heinz College and has been with Carnegie Mellon University since 2002.
Former Congressman Jack Fields is the Chief Executive Officer of the Twenty-First Century Group in Washington, D.C., where he advocates for legislative change on many diverse issues, including legislation designed to increase employment for Americans with disabilities. From 1980 to 1997, Jack represented the 8th Congressional District of Texas in the U.S. House of Representatives. During his time in Congress, Jack served on the Committee on Energy and Commerce and in 1995 he became Chairman of the Subcommittee on Telecommunications and Finance. Under the leadership of Chairman Fields, The Telecommunications Act of 1996 was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in February 1996. Jack was also deeply involved in national maritime, fisheries, energy, and environmental policy while serving as the Ranking Minority Member on the Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries. Jack has built and maintained a wide network of personal friendships and professional relationships among government officials of both parties.
Alan D. Muir is the Executive Director of Career Opportunities for Students with Disabilities, a major national association of more than 600 colleges and universities and 400 major employers all focused on the career employment of college graduates with disabilities. Mr. Muir plans and executes the Annual Conference of the professionals representing the college and employer constituencies. He also supervises the operation of Career Gateway, the first and only nationwide job posting and college student resume database that is specifically focused on college students and recent graduates with disabilities. Mr. Muir presents and speaks nationwide at universities, businesses and conferences on the benefits of collaboration between Disability Services and Career Services on college campuses and the importance of recruiting college graduates with disabilities.
Beth Loy, Ph. D. is Principal Consultant with the Job Accommodation Network (JAN), a free consulting service funded by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy. In this capacity, she leads JAN's external evaluation process and internal continuous improvement process, providing leadership to JAN's teams of service delivery and information systems. This includes JAN's outreach and education, training programs, and Website development. Dr. Loy is a national researcher and speaker in the disability field and has her Ph.D. in Resource Economics with a specialization in social policy. Beth presents several national trainings throughout the United States and she also works as an adjunct assistant professor teaching graduate and doctorate level introductory statistics, advanced statistics, and research methods for West Virginia University.
Vickie Peirano-Thompson is Branch Manager for UCB, Inc. in its Columbus, Ohio Office. UCB (United Collection Bureau, Inc.) is recognized as the market leader in providing Intelligent Solutions designed to improve financial performance and customer relations. Vickie has gone above and beyond the call of duty to embrace both the human and return on investment benefits derived through this diversity hiring initiative. Ms. Peirano-Thompson is an active member of the Ohio BLN, a professional and personal champion for people with disabilities, and a sought after speaker on the topic of corporate benefits for hiring workers with disabilities. Vickie's company, UCB, Inc. won the 2009 Employer of the Year by the Ohio Governor's Council on People with Disabilities. She now serves as Ohio's Business Ambassador to Sierra Group Foundation's national One More Way Collaborative.
Kristen Willard is the Mental Health Specialist for the Social Security Ticket to Work Program at CESSI, SSA's Program Manager for Recruitment and Outreach (PMRO). As the CESSI Mental Health Team lead, Ms. Willard works to ensure adequate support for those with psychiatric disabilities - the largest percentage of SSA beneficiaries - and the service providers who reach them. Prior to working at CEEI, Ms. Willard managed a veterans' services project at Inverness Technologies under the DVA Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Service (VR&E) division to provide a range of rehabilitation and employment services to service members and veterans with service-connected disabilities. She has a master's degree in clinical psychology and extensive experience conducting individual and group therapy as well as psychological testing in both in- and out- patient environments.
Joseph Dowling, M.S., LPC is a specialist in peak performance psychology. Over the past 18 years, he has worked extensively with corporate professionals, athletes, and performing artists providing individual therapy/coaching and group seminars. Joe utilizes a strength based, future focused approach in his work with clients. He has facilitated workshops throughout the United States, including 'How to Become Smart Enough To Know When To Stop Thinking,' and 'The Handbook of Habit Control.' Joe has published articles in a number of professional journals. He conducts his private practice out of his home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. www.joepdowling.com/
Alexandra Kielty is the Program Manager of the Older Worker and Disability Unit overseeing disability workforce policy issues. Ms. Kielty led the implementation of the Disability Program Navigator initiative that was jointly sponsored with the Social Security Administration. She is currently engaged in the Employment and Training Administration and Office of Disability Employment Policy administration of the jointly funded Disability Employment Initiative that provides cooperative agreements to states and local workforce investment areas. Ms. Kielty is also responsible for the management of the Senior Community Employment Service Program (SCSEP). Her government tenure of thirty two years has included service delivery at the local level as well as programmatic and fiscal oversight of several national employment and training programs, including the Employment Service, Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA), Job Training and Partnership Act (JTPA), and Job Corps programs. Ms. Kielty has a BA in Psychology and MA in Guidance and Counseling.
Michael Reardon is a Supervisory Policy Advisor for the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) at the Department of Labor. He directs ODEP’s Employment Supports Policy Team, which addresses a wide range of issues effecting the employment of people with disabilities, including transportation, housing, assistive technology, personal assistance, and health care. He previously served as the Disability Program Manager for the Department of Transportation’s Office of Civil Rights and as Policy Advisor for the Presidential Task Force on Employment of Adults with Disabilities. He moved to Washington, DC from Columbus, OH, where he was Director of the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Alliance, a state-level advocacy organization for people with disabilities. He has a Master’s in Public Policy degree from Ohio State University, and also attended the law school there.
Dr. Richard Horne currently serves as the Director for the Division of Policy Planning and Research at the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). Richard’s positions in ODEP include Supervisory Research Analyst and Team Leader for Research and Evaluation and as the Senior Policy Advisor for ODEP’s Youth Policy Team. Prior to working for ODEP, Richard served as Deputy Director on the Presidential Task Force on the Employment of Adults with Disabilities. In addition, Richard was the Deputy Director of the Disabilities Studies and Services Center, at the Academy for Educational Development, a non-profit organization, headquartered in Washington, DC. Richard began his career in the field of disabilities as a Special Education Teacher in Montgomery County, Maryland. He earned his Doctorate at George Washington University, has written and presented extensively in the areas of public policy, systems reform, information utilization, school to work transition, personnel development, rehabilitation, international development, and employment of individuals with disabilities.
Mr. Ronald Drach, a Vietnam veteran, medically retired from the U.S. Army in 1967 after losing his leg in combat. He currently serves as the President of the Board of Directors for the Wounded Warrior Project, a non-profit organization whose mission is to “honor and empower wounded warriors.” He was employed by the Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) from April 2002 until his retirement in September 2010 from the position of Director of Government and Legislative Affairs. Mr. Drach also helped develop the America’s Heroes at Work project, a DOL initiative that addresses the employment needs of veterans with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He served on the Governance Board of the National Resource Directory, a collaborative effort between DoD, VA and DOL. For 28 years, Mr. Drach worked with the Disabled American Veterans (DAV), 23 of these years as the DAV’s National Employment Director. He is currently President of Drach Consulting.
Dr. David Hall: A teacher by training and profession, Dr. Hall is a nationally recognized educator, author and distinguished corporate trainer. Dr. Hall specializes in creating an inclusive work environment that is reflective of our culturally rich and diversified workforce. Dr. Hall creates programs that are individually designed to meet a company's needs. These programs include affective, cognitive and behavioral development, three domains that are necessary to address if changing corporate culture.
Sue Hansen is a nationally recognized speaker, trainer, consultant as well as a noted author. Sue holds an undergraduate degree in Psychology and post graduate work in business. Ms. Hansen's certification as a behavioral analyst as well as a growth curve specialist offers her many clients credible access to a broad and fresh perspective on issues facing the workforce and its leaders. Her business expertise combined with her experience as a member of the Orion Communities Employment Committee has put Sue on the frontline working with a variety of industry sectors. Sue Hansen's involvement with clients ranges from keynote speaking to board level training as well as executive conferences and events. Sue travels regularly to speak for corporations all over the United States.
Matthew Camardella is a Partner in Long Island, New York, office of Jackson Lewis LLP, and a member of the Firm's Affirmative Action Practice Group. He directs the preparation of more than 400 AAPs each year and has defended hundreds of OFCCP audits for a broad range of employers across the country. In addition, Mr. Camardella serves as the Practice Group lead on responding to OFCCP allegations of class-based discrimination. He spends significant time counseling clients about the design and implementation of company-wide AAP structures, applicant flow tracking systems, compensation practices and other complex "real world" compliance issues.
Mr. Camardella also is General Counsel to the American Association for Affirmative Action (AAAA) and serves as Vice-Chair of the Philadelphia "Liberty" Industry Liaison Group (ILG). His work with the AAAA and ILG keeps him abreast of OFCCP enforcement trends.
Jeff Horner is Chief Development Officer of UCB, Inc. a Toledo, Ohio based, top-5 firm in the Accounts Receivable Management services industry. UCB employs nearly 1200 employees in six (6) office locations in the U.S. and Central America. The company serves the Banking, Government, Healthcare, Telecommunications, Utilities, and Commercial markets.
Mr. Horner has 28 years of experience in the financial services industry. At UCB, he has served as Vice President Business Development, Executive V.P. Government Relations, Senior V.P. of the Government Services Division, & Chief Development Officer. He is responsible for internal and external company development necessary to achieve aggressive growth in the areas service development, new markets, and regulatory compliance. He directly runs the Government Services Division business unit. He leads the appraisal and advancement of company infrastructure as related to service objectives, market infiltration, new market ingress - strategy mapping, physical, technology, and human resource acquisitions, and business architectural alignment for multiple existing and emerging service functions and verticals. He is award winning in his industry, including the Ohio Governor's Award for Employment & People with Disabilities.
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