Our Ability - We mentor, connect and inspire people with disabilities towards education and employment. We do this through our video stories, video production, HR work, public speaking, advocacy, job services and mentoring.
DEFNY - Disability Education Forum of New York (DEFNY) is our 501c3 non-profit that provides speakers to schools as well as produces short documentaries of 3-5 minutes in length. These documentaries identify and highlight successful people with disabilities who are achieving above and beyond expectations in life. Support for non-profit elements come from individual donations as well as a generous grant from the Kessler Foundation.
Get Off Your Knees (Documentary) short clip:
John Robinson is a motivational/inspirational speaker. In the past two years, Robinson has been from Australia to the White House discussing the Obstacles he has Overcome! John Robinson has spoken to Fortune 500 Corporations to high school students. Robinson can speak to audiences about Overcoming Obstacles in Life, Businesses or Sales!
John Robinson is the subject of a national documentary shown on Public Broadcasting Stations titled Get Off Your Knees: The John Robinson Story. He also authored the autobiography Get Off Your Knees: A Story of Faith, Courage, and Determination published by Syracuse University Press.
John has been married for over nineteen years and has three children. In 2001, he was selected to carry the Olympic torch as it passed through Albany, New York on its way to Salt Lake City for the 2002 games.
John Robinson graduated from The Derryfield School in Manchester, New Hampshire and Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York. He has lived in Toronto, Ontario; Manchester, New Hampshire; Syracuse, New York and now Albany, New York.
"John is a great human being. He is as caring and warm as he is courageous and persistent. A strong motivator, John has but one goal in sharing his life story as a congenital amputee – to dispense hope and inspiration to those who can use it most. John spoke to the leadership team of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield at a recent off-site meeting. The meeting was held shortly after the passage of the federal health care reform bill. The spirits of the leadership team were pretty low. John's message of hope and the ability we all possess to overcome major obstacles in life resonated with the team. After hearing John speak, they felt a renewed sense of purpose and mission, ready to rise up and meet the challenge of reform, as well as other challenges in their personal lives. I would recommend John as a speaker to anyone in business, or to someone simply seeking hope and inspiration in life."
- Douglas Wenners, President and General Manager, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield New Hampshire
"John Robinson is an inspiration to all. He has proven that if you continue to have faith in yourself anything can be accomplished. If you set goals for yourself and stay the course, you will achieve all things."
- Donovan McNabb, NFL Quarterback
"There is no such thing as ‘it can't be done' in John Robinson's inspirational story, one that should be on every book shelf as a glowing example of achieving one's goals despite the obstacles we are born with or the hurdles we encounter along the way. In the face of adversity, he displays courage, conviction, and an unstoppable positive attitude. John Robinson is a true hero."
-Dick MacPherson "Coach Mac", Syracuse University Football Hall of Fame Coach & retired New England Patriots Football Coach
Doug Hamlin spent over 27 years at Versatrans (now part of Tyler Technologies). Fifteen years in both technical and marketing roles prepared Doug for executive leadership of this 80-person software company dedicated to providing exceptional products and service to the K-12 education industry.
As President and CEO he traveled extensively throughout North America to understand the needs of clients and translate them into effective business solutions. Doug takes pride in developing corporate strategy and aligning the organization to execute that strategy. Doug has presented at numerous K-12 transportation and administration conferences on the value of leveraging technology to drive efficiency through the organization.
Doug has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Geography and a Masters Degree in Urban and Regional Planning. He lives in upstate New York with his wife Pam.
Suzanne Filippone has been an educational consultant, educator and school administrator for over fifteen years. She has worked in both public and private educational institutions. Suzanne’s past employers include Berwick Academy in South Berwick, Maine, the State University of New York Oneonta and The Doane Stuart School in Rensselaer, NY. Suzanne has written curriculum for adults and organized professional development opportunities for educators. Her experience with and appreciation for schools, families and children is evident in her years of commitment to education.
After graduating from Berwick Academy she attended Providence College and later earned her Masters in Education from the University of New Hampshire. While in college she competed as a professional mountain biker and raced for TREK New England. She currently lives in New York with her two children and husband where she runs, hikes and canoes with her family.