Virtual Ability, Inc.® presented the 12th Annual International Disability Rights Affirmation Conference (IDRAC) on Friday, Nov 10, 2023.

This annual professional conference was held online, and was free and open to the public.

The conference took place in Second Life®, and a full video transcript is available on YouTube.

Our theme this year was “Do, Create, Live”.  We experienced lively discussions and information sharing among presenters and our very interested and interactive audience.

Below is the schedule of the presenters from different parts of the world who shared what they are able to do, create, and live when their rights are respected.

IDRAC 2023 Schedule of Events

All times are Pacific Time Zone / SL Standard.
Friday, November 10
7:00 amJoseph EnglishQuadRebuildMy Journey: Life After a Spinal Cord InjuryEnglish Transcript
7:30 am Erin Willis and Daniel GarzaUniversity of Colorado, Boulder,
Lilmesican Productions, Inc.
Patient Influencers: The next frontier of direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical marketingWillis & Garza Transcript

8:30 amEmily WrightIt’ll Be AlwrightRebalancing the MindWright Transcript
9:30 amJohn and Mark CroninJohn’s Crazy SocksImagine the PossibilitiesCronin Transcript
10:30 am Education PanelThomas Swift (moderator)
Carla Heartsong
Itico Spectre
Timm Short
What "Do, Create, Live" means in Education
11:00 amBreak!
11:30 amKeri GrayKeri Gray Consulting GroupInterview: Keri GrayGray Transcript
NoonArts PanelItico Spectre (moderator)
Don Setzer
Tarquin Evermore
What "Do, Create, Live" means in the ArtsArts Panel Transcript
12:30 pmJudy MittagLymphies Get Ready, Get Set, FILE! How to Work the New Lymphedema Treatment Law on Medicare & Medicaid Claim Platforms Beginning January 2024Mittag Transcript
1:30 pmHeather MarkhamMaking Waves for GoodWords Matter: You can choose the title of your own storyMarkham Transcript

IDRAC 2023 Speaker Biographies

Biographies are listed in order of presentation.

Joseph English
Joseph English was a successful entrepreneur and an award-winning stone carver when his life changed dramatically in an instant. A car wreck left him fighting for his life.

As part of rebuilding his life as a quadriplegic, Joseph established the QuadRebuild charity. It assists persons with spinal cord injury to rebuild their lives and their homes in order to have a better future.

Erin Willis
Dr. Erin Willis is an Associate Professor in the College of Media, Communication and Information at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Dr. Willis’s research interest is how health messages influence people’s behaviors. She is particularly interested in how personal health behavior is shaped by everyday information and technology.

Daniel Garza
Daniel Garza is an actor, stand up comic, host, patient leader, and energy worker. He is the co-founder of Lilmesican Productions, Inc. and the author of Grumpy Bunny and the Colors Game.

Emily Wright
Writer, speaker, and mindfulness guru Emily Wright is a rising voice in their generation. Their work focuses on the psychology of discrimination and the power of the mind to enact great positive change, both on an individual and collective level.

John and Mark Cronin
John and Mark X. Cronin are the father-son team that created John’s Crazy Socks, a social enterprise with a mission to spread happiness. They bootstrapped their business into the world’s largest sock store earning them recognition as EY’s Entrepreneurs of the Year.

John is not only an entrepreneur, but he has also Down syndrome. Every day, John and Mark show what people with differing abilities can do – more than half their colleagues have a differing ability. They are fierce advocates for the rights of people with differing abilities having testified twice before the U.S. Congress, spoken at the United Nations and recorded two TEDx talks. They are members of the CEO Commission on Disability Employment. Their work has been featured on national broadcasts by CBS, ABC, CNBC, PBS, the BBC and Fox News.

They have built a business based on creating customer experiences and spreading happiness. John’s Crazy Socks has 240,000 Facebook followers and over 30,000 five-star reviews. John and Mark show their gratitude through their Giving Back program that has raised over $600,000 for their charity partners. Most of all, they are spreading happiness one pair of socks at a time.

Keri Gray
Keri Gray is a cancer survivor, entrepreneur, speaker, and facilitator. She is the CEO of the Keri Gray Consulting Group, LLC, where they strive to create professional communities of understanding through disability and racial justice education. She is also founder of the National Alliance of Melanin Disabled Advocates (the NAMED Advocates), which creates spaces for disabled leaders of color and BIPOC allies to gather, learn, connect, and grow around racial and disability justice.

Kirsten McLeod
Kirsten McLeod (aka Judy Mittag in the physical world) is not a medical professional or a legislative lawyer. She is an informed lymphie living successfully with advanced stage 2, lower body, bilateral lymphedema. She has been a passionate advocate for 12 very long years. She went to DC in person during legislative sessions to persuade her legislators to amend just a few phrases in the Medicare guidelines from the mid 90s to enable equal medical treatment according to specialized medical diagnosis and prescription, regardless of how the disease was acquired.

Heather Markham
Heather C. Markham is an engineer, assistive technology professional, public speaker, competitive Para Surfer, educator, ADA architectural barriers specialist, golfer, and award-winning photographer.
She is the CEO and Chief Creative Officer of Making Waves for Good, which consults on ADA Standards for Accessible Design compliance and going beyond that into ADA Usability; showing companies with physical locations that it doesn't have to be hard, scary, or expensive to achieve. Her company is also the umbrella for her book publishing and fine art photography.