July Premier: Neurodiversity and Inclusive Workplaces: Insights from Park and Recreation Professionals
During this panel discussion we’ll hear from park and recreation professionals who identify as neurodiverse and have firsthand experience working in the field!. This conversation explores how to find workplace champions and allies, individual strengths neurodiverse professionals bring to their work, and the strategies and accommodations that have helped them succeed. They also offer suggestions for how organizations can better support and include neurodiverse individuals in the field, from hiring and training practices to workplace accommodations and accessibility.
Join us whether you’re a park and recreation professional who identifies as neurodiverse or an organization seeking to create a more inclusive workplace!
This talk features:
- John McGovern, Partner, Principal in Charge; Accessibility Practice at the W-T Group, LLC (WTG)
- Kande Jones, Director of Development for Mulvane Recreation Commission in Mulvane, KS
- Tammy Schwab, Manager of Education and Outreach for Resource Management Division, Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA)
As a result of attending, participants will be able to:
1. Identify challenges, strengths and accommodations associated with neurodiverse individuals working in a park and recreation setting.
2. Learn ways to build a more welcoming space for hiring and retaining neurodiverse individuals.
John McGovern (he/him)
Partner, Principal in Charge
The WT Group, LLC Accessibility Practice
John N. McGovern leads the Accessibility Practice at The W-T Group, LLC (WTG). WTG is an MBE that is the NRPA preferred provider of accessibility consulting to NRPA members. He began his parks and recreation career in Albuquerque, starting as a center director and eventually starting the Therapeutic Recreation Program. He then moved to Illinois to helm two of the local government partnerships that provide services for people with disabilities. Always interested in civil rights, he went to law school at night while working in parks and recreation and is one of the foremost authorities on the implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. His ADA work is sharpened by his career parks and recreation experience, his own disability, and his service on behalf of NRPA on the three federal advisory committees that developed the parks content of the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design.
Director of Development
Mulvane Recreation Commission in Mulvane, KS
Kande Jones is currently the Director of Development for the Mulvane Recreation Commission in Mulvane, KS. She has been with the Mulvane Rec for 5 years, having worked previously as the Youth Program Director for 4 years. Currently, as Director of Development, she works with the Mulvane Recreation Foundation and the Community Alliance for Mulvane Families to foster lasting relationships with community members and organizations. Kande believes that this is an amazing time to be involved with Parks and Recreation with increased access to funding and greater awareness of the importance of outdoor spaces, conservation and restoration, and community programming. She holds a National Center Director Credential from McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership and CPRE through NRPA. She also holds a B.S. in Biology, from Abilene Christian University, Abilene, TX, and an M.S. in Biology from the University of Colorado- Colorado Springs, CO. She identifies as Aspie and ADHD.
Manager of Education and Outreach
Resource Management Division, Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA)
Tammy Schwab is currently the Manager of Education and Outreach for the Resource Management Division, Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA), in Fairfax, VA. She is a eighteen-year veteran with Fairfax County Parks having worked as a Naturalist/Historian Senior Interpreter for Sully Woodlands at Cub Run RECenter, where she originated and developed the first nature program at a county recreation center. Currently, as Program Branch Manager, she coordinates the work of frontline interpreters and their nature and history programs at three lake front parks, five nature centers, two historic sites, an Observatory, a working farm and a public garden. She is a National Association for Interpretation Certified Interpretive Guide Trainer. She also holds a B.S. in Biology, from Shippensburg University, PA, and an M.S. in Zoology from, Miami University, Oxford, OH. She Identifies as Dyslexic and ADHD.
Danielle Lucas (she/her)
Hybrid Learning Coordinator
National Recreation and Park Association
Danielle Lucas serves on NRPA's Professional Development team as the Hybrid Learning Coordinator. Her career has focused on creating, implementing, and sustaining positive experiences that participants can take to share with someone else. She’s been a part of the education and recreation teams at a number of organizations, including but not limited to Kentucky State Parks, Wilson's Nurseries Butterfly Greenhouse, Georgetown-Scott County Parks and Recreation, and the University of Kentucky.
Danielle earned a Bachelor’s in Recreation and Park Administration, triple concentrating in Natural Resource Recreation Management, Tourism/Resort Recreation Management, and Event Planning Recreation Management from Eastern Kentucky University.
Taylor Jeromos (she/her)
Manager of Learning Production
National Recreation and Park Association
Taylor Jeromos serves on NRPA's Professional Development team as the Manager of Learning Production. Her career has focused on creating accessible programming, centering diverse narratives, and facilitating informal learning opportunities for people of all ages. She’s been a part of the education teams at a number of cultural organizations, including Frank Lloyd Wright's Martin House, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, and the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis.
Taylor earned a Master’s in Museum Studies and Public History at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and holds a Bachelor’s in Medieval and Gender History from Earlham College.
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