The LEAD Center national staff includes team members with decades of experience in delivering policy, employment, research & demonstration, economic advancement and communications strategies to advance individual and systems level change for people with disabilities and their families.

Professional headshot of Shajira Brown, a Black woman with curly hair, wearing silver hoop earrings, a silver necklace and a black top.Shajira Brown
Director, Equity and Inclusion

Shajira Brown has over a decade of experience working in the human services. Shajira brings a wealth of grassroots knowledge to her role and has a successful professional background navigating roles such as Psychiatric Rehabilitation Worker, Manager of Special Projects and Director of Social Services. In her current position at NDI, Shajira spearheads the Equity and Inclusion Initiative, ensuring that both internal and external endeavors reflect fairness and inclusivity. Shajira earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Professional Studies from the City University of New York- Medgar Evers College and furthered her education with a Graduate degree in Public Administration from the University of Baltimore.

elizabeth jennings headshot

Elizabeth Jennings
Strategic Advisor/Financial Capability Subject Matter Expert

Elizabeth Jennings is Strategic Advisor/Financial Capability Subject Matter Expert on the LEAD Center and is the Deputy Director of National Disability Institute. She was Assistant Director of the LEAD Center since 2012. Ms. Jennings has 20 years of experience managing grants and contracts and providing training and technical assistance to a range of service providers as well as youth and adults with disabilities and their informal supports. She is skilled in multi-modal training and technical assistance with an eye on customizing materials and approach to meet the learner where they are towards increased knowledge gains and capacity building.

Ms. Jennings is recognized nationally for her knowledge on financial literacy education activities and strategies that improve the economic advancement of people with disabilities and the interplay of those strategies with Social Security disability benefits, including applicable work incentives and other SSA tools to mitigate barriers to full participation.

Ms. Jennings holds a Master of Applied Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania and is crafting new material to address the internal barriers that job seekers face and positive interventions that support both service providers and their customers to improve the well-being of the disability community at-large.

laura gleneckLaura Gleneck
Project Director

Laura Gleneck is Division Director, Employment Projects, National Disability Institute (NDI). In her role as Division Director, Laura serves as the lead director of employment project staff. Laura also serves as the co-Project Director for the ODEP-funded WIOA Policy Development Center/LEAD Center. She brings more than 19 years of demonstrated and dedicated experience in the areas of project management and project coordination of both small and large federally-funded contracts and more than 25 years of experience working with national disability organizations. Laura has served as the Project Manager for Training and Technical Assistance activities to help states implement U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) funded Work Incentive Grants, the Disability Program Navigator (DPN) initiative and currently serves in this role under the Disability Employment Initiative (DEI). She is the lead coordinator/supervisor of the key technical assistance staff focused on supporting disability and workforce state grantees, manages material development, coordinates all training and technical assistance directing capacity building efforts on WIOA from a disability perspective and works closely with the national DOL Program Office. Laura has expertise in facilitating cross-project/team activities to identify commonalities and build on interconnectedness with demonstrated outcomes. She holds a master’s degree in Child Study and Human Development from Tufts University.

A professional headshot of Yvonne Wright against a dark blue background and the American flag.Yvonne Wright
Co-Project Director

Yvonne Wright serves as the LEAD WIOA Policy Development Center Co-Project Director at National Disability Institute. In this capacity, she manages projects and provides guidance and expertise to multiple teams at NDI.

Yvonne has worked in support of the disability and workforce development community for over 30 years. Highlights of her work include developing the first statewide business outreach services team for Vocational Rehabilitation, serving as Deputy Director for the Missouri Office of Workforce Development, serving as Chair of the Governor’s Council on Disability, and participating in the writing of five WIOA Combined State plans and modifications.

Yvonne has a Bachelor’s of Science in Rehabilitation Psychology from the University of Central Missouri and a Master’s of Public Administration from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She is passionate about how meaningful partnering and collaboration can positively impact the lives of professionals and people with disabilities.

Dr. Rebecca SalonDr. Rebecca Salon
Senior Strategist

Dr. Salon, National Disability Institute’s Principal Investigator, will serve as a Senior Strategist on this project lending her expertise to all activities, as needed. She has over 30 years of experience with management of federally funded projects and has more than 40 years of experience working with people across the spectrum of disability, along with their families, staff and allies. Dr. Salon served on the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities (PCPID). Previously, she was Executive Director of the Kennedy Institute in Washington, DC, where she worked for 20 years in a number of positions and was both Community Living and School Director for an Arc in upstate NY. Dr. Salon holds a Ph.D. from Syracuse University, with an emphasis on Disability Policy Studies best practices to promote employment and community inclusion, including work on related issues at the Center on Human Policy.

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