HDC Spotlight: Liz Gary

Trainees in the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) program are generally knowledgeable about their respective disciplines. However, many don’t realize the ways in which public policies directly affect families and individuals with disabilities (IWD). As the Policy Coordinator for the Human Development Center and Louisiana LEND program, Liz Gary educates LEND trainees on policy and helps them feel comfortable connecting with elected officials and policymakers. Liz teaches trainees to remain neutral while educating elected officials and policymakers about the perspectives and priorities of the disability community. That is, LEND trainees do not directly advocate; rather, they provide elected officials and policymakers with the information related to how public policies and/or legislation may impact members of the disability community.

Liz Gary

“A true leader is someone who can lead from all perspectives. LEND trainees do not control outcomes, but guide with the best, most factual information to create systems change.

Liz Gary, Policy Coordinator

This role is personal

Liz’s role with LEND is personal. She was a trainee in the very first Louisiana LEND cohort in 2010 and a parent living with the significance of advocacy every day. Her son was born with an intellectual disability 18-years ago, and Liz has advocated for families and IWD ever since. This personal experience is what provides such an excellent education for LEND trainees. Liz knows first-hand how to share her unique experience as a mother, but also keep her message to elected officials and policymakers neutral, professional, and factual.

Building Capacity. Inspiring Change.

Liz asks that you educate yourself and join HDC in becoming more aware of family support and disability rights and issues. In accordance with the Human Development Center motto Building Capacity – Inspiring Change, the more people we empower and educate about the needs and desires of families and IWD, the better opportunity we have to create systems change that positively impacts the entire community. 

“Awareness is the key to make sure all individuals are treated respectfully. An awareness of all individuals’ capabilities and wants ensures that everyone is treated equally.”

Liz Gary, Policy Coordinator

Before joining LEND as the Policy Coordinator, Liz worked with Northshore Families Helping Families and coordinated the national program Partners in Policymaking for 11 years.

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