Speakers

Nicole & Christopher Jorwic
Nicole & Christopher Jorwic

Meet our Keynote Speakers.

 

Christopher Jorwic is 30 and has autism. Chris has presented all over the country about his lobbying experience at the state level alongside his sister, Nicole. Chris also discusses his experiences using augmentative communication to get those in state and local governments to see beyond his autism diagnosis and inability to use his voice to speak. Chris has seen the importance of being at the table when important decisions are being made and the consequences of decisions being made without people with disabilities present.

Nicole Jorwic is the Senior Director of Public Policy  at The Arc of the United States. Prior to joining The Arc policy team, Nicole served as Senior Policy Advisor for the state of Illinois. Prior to that appointment, Nicole served as the CEO/President of the Institute on Public Policy for People with Disabilities, where she continued the Institute’s mission to improve the lives of people with disabilities and assisted the leadership of the state of Illinois in developing public policy driven best practices in serving individuals with disabilities.

Nicole is also an accomplished special education attorney and an advocate for students with disabilities, with a focus on transition-aged youth. Nicole received her JD and Child and Family Law Certificate from Loyola University Chicago. She received her BS from the University of Illinois.  Nicole is also the proud sister of Chris.

Lunch Plenary Session: Dave Richard and Talley Wells

Dave Richard is the Deputy Secretary, NC Medicaid, where he leads North Carolina’s $14 billion Medicaid and NC Health Choice programs for the state’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

Richard’s vision for Medicaid is to ensure a sustainable, person-centered and innovative Medicaid program for more than two million North Carolinians who use Medicaid. As the programs undergo transformation to even better fit the needs of state and its residents, he is committed to the fundamental goal of improving the health and well-being of all residents. Richard believes the right way to achieve success is to work closely with stakeholders in all aspects of Medicaid.

Prior to leading Medicaid, Richard was the Deputy Secretary for DHHS Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability Services and the State Operated Healthcare Facilities divisions. He joined DHHS in May 2013 as the Director of the Division of Mental Health, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services. Richard joined DHHS after leading The Arc of North Carolina, an advocacy and service organization for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, as its Executive Director for 24 years.  Richard has a bachelor’s degree in education from Louisiana State University.

Talley Wells is the newly appointed Executive Director of the North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities.  Talley received the Sue Jamieson Olmstead Award at the 20th Anniversary Olmstead Conference in 2019.  He previously led the Georgia Appleseed Center for Law and Justice and the Disability Integration Project at the Atlanta Legal Aid Society.  He founded the Olmstead Disability Rights Clinic at Georgia State School of Law.  He and his wife were part of a small team that founded L’Arche Atlanta, which is a community where adults with and without disabilities share life together.

 Talley’s work has focused on the implementation of the United States Supreme Court’s Olmstead v. L.C. decision.  Olmstead, which was brought by Atlanta Legal Aid, held that individuals with disabilities have the right to live and receive supports in the community, rather than in institutions under the Americans with Disabilities Act.  Talley was also a key advocate in the implementation of a United States Justice Department Olmstead settlement with Georgia. 

 Talley created a national website on Olmstead, Olmsteadrights.org.  He has also written articles on Olmstead and legal services for publications such as Huffington Post, BillMoyers.com, and Making a Difference Magazine.  Talley was the lead author of a 2018 Georgia Companion Guide for Court Officials to Provide Accommodations for People with Mental Illness and Developmental Disabilities

 At Georgia Appleseed, Talley’s work focused on dismantling the school to prison pipeline, improving school climate, and building opportunities for children across Georgia to obtain behavioral supports and services.  He co-created a state guide on advocating for children with disabilities and led “Advocating for Your Child” presentations.

 Talley earned his Bachelor's degree from Duke University, a Master's in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a Juris Doctorate from the Duke University School of Law.

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