Building a more inclusive city is a design opportunity. Join us for a day of ignite talks and critical discussions presented in partnership with the NYC Mayor’s Office for Disabilities to explore the barriers that make cities inaccessible and the innovations that promote intentional user-focused design.


10:30am: Registration & Coffee

11:00am: Opening Remarks

11:20am: Ignite Talks

  • Keira Gwynn, Designer, R82 Scallop
  • Kat Holmes, Founder, KATA
  • Patricia Moore, President, MooreDesign Associates
  • Elise Roy, Inclusive Design Strategist

12:30pm – 1:30pm: Join speakers for informal breakout sessions during lunch

1:45pm – 3:00pm: Panel Conversation “Designing Accessible Cities”

Moderated by Victor Calise, Commissioner, Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities

  • Keira Gwynn, Designer, R82 Scallop
  • Kat Holmes, Founder, KATA
  • Patricia Moore, President, MooreDesign Associates
  • Elise Roy, Inclusive Design Strategist
  • Kleo King, Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities
  • Alex Elegudin, Wheeling Forward
  • Luke DuBois, NYU Tandon School of Engineering

3:00pm – 3:30pm: Q & A with Audience

4:00pm: Program Concludes

speaker bios

Victor Calise, Commissioner, Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities

While riding a mountain bike in in 1994, Victor sustained a spinal cord injury. He embraced this life altering challenge and became involved with disability sports through the United Spinal Association with a focus on sled hockey.  His dedication, passion and drive led to representing the United States on the 1998 Paralympics Sled Hockey team in Nagano, Japan.

Working initially as United Spinal’s Recreation Coordinator, he rose through the ranks reaching the title of Director of Sports Marketing. In October 2006, Victor joined the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation as their ADA Coordinator overseeing accessibility projects throughout the five boroughs.

In 2012, Victor was appointed the Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and then reappointed by Mayor Bill De Blasio in 2014. He advises the Mayor on issues affecting over 900,000 New Yorkers with a Disability and 6 million visitors with a disability. He is the liaison between the disabled community and City government, and he spearheads myriad projects, partnerships, and initiatives that better the lives of people with disabilities. He advocates for the passage of legislation to help the disabled community and is the Chair of NYC Building Code Accessibility Committee.

Luke DuBois, NYU Tandon School of Engineering

Luke DuBois is a composer, artist, and performer who explores the temporal, verbal, and visual structures of cultural and personal ephemera. He holds a doctorate in music composition from Columbia University, and has lectured and taught worldwide on interactive sound and video performance. He is the director of the Brooklyn Experimental Media Center at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering, and the co-director of the NYU Ability Project, an interdisciplinary research space dedicated to the intersection between disability and technology.

Alex Elegudin, Wheeling Forward

Alex has spent almost a decade working as an advocate and mentor in the disability community. In 2003, when Alex was a college sophomore, he was in a in a deer related car accident and sustained a C6 level spinal cord injury. He faced an uphill battle to reclaim his independence, managing his medical needs and working tirelessly to complete college. Alex continued on to Hofstra University Law School and became a successful patent attorney.

Alex co-founded Wheeling Forward in 2011 to help others like himself get the support and resources they need to lead active lives. Today, Alex uses his personal and professional experience to tackle challenging areas of need in the disability community and offer hope to those who turn to him as a mentor and role model.

Keira Gwynn, Designer, R82 Scallop

Image of Keira Gwynn in front of treesKeira Gwynn was born in Wales in 1993. In 2014 she earned a 1st Class Bachelor’s Degree with Honors in Product design from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. It was in her last year of University when she designed a sitting aid for children with disabilities, now called the Scallop. In 2014 she continued her studies for her Master’s Degree in Product Design and Innovation, developing her product further. Whilst completing her MA Degree in 2015, Keira entered into a partnership with a company called R82 to develop the Scallop further and prepare the product for global launch. R82 is a company based in Denmark that produces technical aids and appliances for children and young people with disabilities throughout the whole world. In 2016 she was offered a position at the company as a Creative Graphic’s and Product Designer. In 2017 she was promoted to Project Leader in Marketing.

Kat Holmes, Founder, KATA

Kat Holmes is the founder of Kata, a company that helps leaders build equitable digital experiences. Named one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business for 2017, Kat is best known for her leadership in reexamining disability and diversity as a source of innovation. Previously, as Director of Inclusive Design at Microsoft, she led a team of designers, strategists, and researchers to improve the inclusivity of products like Windows, Cortana, Xbox, and Office. She currently works with teams across the industry on recognizing who’s excluded from using their products and redesigning solutions in collaboration with people who have a range of abilities and disabilities.

She led the development of the Microsoft Inclusive Design toolkit, described in the February 2016 issue of Fast Company as a “radical” evolution of design thinking and practices. Unlike traditional approaches to accessibility, Holmes emphasizes studying the way people interact with each other as an analog for better interactions between people and technology. Her aim is to create solutions that are adaptive, personal, and accessible.

Kleo King, Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities

Kleo King serves as Deputy Commissioner and General Counsel for the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities.  Prior to joining MOPD, Kleo was Senior Vice President for Accessibility Services for the United Spinal Association.  Kleo has worked in the accessibility field for 30 years as a legal advisor and attorney.  Kleo served as the Vice-Chair of the American Bar Association’s Committee on Delivery of Legal Services to the Disabled, the New York City Bar Association’s Committee on Legal Issues Affecting People with Disabilities where she served as Chairperson for three years, the United States Access Board’s Courthouse Access Advisory Committee, and the Access Board’s Durable Medical Equipment Advisory Committee. Kleo received her law degree from George Mason University School of Law and is admitted to the Virginia and New York State Bars.

Patricia Moore, President, ‎MooreDesign Associates

Patricia Moore is an internationally renowned gerontologist and designer, serving as a leading authority on consumer lifespan behaviors and requirements. In an exceptional and daring experiment, Moore traveled for three years throughout the United States and Canada disguised as a woman more than eighty years of age. With her body altered to simulate changes associated with aging, she was able to respond to people, products, and environments as an elder.

Her broad range of experience includes Communication, Product, Environmental, Package, and Transportation Design, as well as Research, and Market Analysis. She has designed numerous Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Environments for healthcare facilities around the world. Moore is an international lecturer, media guest, and author, including of the books DISGUISED: A True Story, The Business of Aging (2017), and OUCH! Why Bad Design Hurts [in works].

For more than 20 years, Moore has been recognized for her many contributions, including recently being named one of The Most Notable American Industrial Designers in the history of the field (2016). Moore has been called a “guiding force for a more humane and livable world, blazing a path for inclusiveness, as a true leader in the movement of Universal Design” (Syracuse University).

Elise Roy, Inclusive Design Strategist

Image of Elise Roy in black and whiteElise Roy is a deaf, inclusive design strategist who helps companies analyze products, services, and programs from the vantage point of people with disabilities. She believes that the unique experiences of people with disabilities help us uncover hidden needs, wherein lie the most profound solutions for everyone. Roy draws on her 15+ years of working with the disability community, and her diverse career path as a lawyer who worked on the United Nations Disability Treaty, marketing manager, and product designer to shape solutions for her clients. An internationally recognized speaker, Roy has given talks at Microsoft, AIGA, NASA, the United Nations, and the World Bank. Her TEDx talk, “When We Design for Disability, We All Benefit,” has over 1.1 million views. Her company, Elise Roy & Associates was founded in 2016 and even though it is still in its infancy, it has attracted clients from both the tech and development worlds including USAID, the OECD, and the Center for Discovery.


This program will be ASL Interpreted and Real-Time Captioned. Find out about Cooper Hewitt’s accessibility services.

Cooper Hewitt Lab: Design Access is a free programming series taking place in the first two weeks of February 2018, activating the Barbara and Morton Mandel Design Gallery as a collaborative space for learning and experimentation through interactive activities, workshops, discussions, and more for visitors of all ages and communities. Presented in partnership with New York City’s Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, collaborators include the San Francisco-based studio Creative Growth, Columbia University Digital Storytelling Lab, Google, Mark Morris Dance Group’s Dance for PD, and ReelAbilities Film Festival.


Cooper Hewitt Lab Design Access is made possible by major support from AARP and Ford Foundation.