About the Disability & Philanthropy Forum Team
Emily Harris is Principal of Harris Strategies, LLC, helping non-profit organizations, philanthropy, public agencies and business move their ideas to action. Among her major clients is the Presidents' Council for Disability Inclusion in Philanthropy, chaired by the Presidents of the Ford and Robert Wood Johnson Foundations. She was the founding Executive Director of ADA 25 Advancing Leadership, the nation’s first disability civic leadership program. As a Senior Director at the Chicago Community Trust she led the Disabilities Fund and other equity and inclusion initiatives. As Executive Director of ADA 25 Chicago, Emily engaged more than 200 program partners in advancing disability inclusion. As Vice President of Metropolis Strategies, she led programs focused on regional economic growth, open space conservation, early childhood education, and served as Executive Director of the Burnham Plan Centennial.
Emily earned a B.A. from Oberlin College and an M.A. from the University of Chicago. She serves on the Forest Preserves of Cook County Conservation and Policy Council, the Leadership Greater Chicago Fellows Association Board, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) Economic Development Committee, and is a previous Access Living board member Emily’s experience is informed by her hearing loss, acquired more than two decades ago. She is a member of ADA 25 Advancing Leadership, and proud to be a part of the disability community.
Emily Ladau is a passionate disability rights activist, writer, speaker, and digital communications consultant whose career began at the age of 10, when she appeared on several episodes of Sesame Street to educate children about her life with a physical disability. A native of Long Island, New York, Emily graduated with a B.A. in English from Adelphi University in 2013 and now serves on their Board of Trustees. In 2017, she was named as one of Adelphi’s 10 Under 10 Young Alumni. In 2018, she was awarded the Paul G. Hearne Emerging Leader Award from the American Association of People with Disabilities.
Emily is the Digital Content & Community Manager for Disability & Philanthropy Forum. In addition, she is Editor in Chief of the Rooted in Rights Blog, a platform dedicated to amplifying authentic narratives on the disability experience through an intersectional lens.
Emily’s writing has been published in outlets including The New York Times, SELF, Salon, Vice, and HuffPost and she has served as a source for outlets including NPR, Vox, and Washington Post. Emily has spoken before numerous audiences across the United States, from the U.S. Department of Education to the United Nations. At the core of her work is a focus on disability identity, sharing our stories, and harnessing the powers of communication and social media as tools for people to become engaged in disability and social justice issues.