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Learn more about our keynote speakers for John Slatin AccessU 2024.

Meryl Evans - Monday, May 13, 2024 7:00 PM CT

Community, Championing, and Compassion: An Accessibility Journey

Meryl is a professional speaker, trainer, author, and disability inclusion and accessibility consultant. Meryl is a proud native Texan who grew up in Fort Worth and has lived in Plano since 1996. Born profoundly deaf and learning advocacy from her parents, she has been advocating for disabled people for most of her life. However, she ramped up this role beginning in 2019 after attending John Slatin AccessU, her first conference focused on accessibility. It was at this conference where she found her ikigai (reason for being), her why.

    Headshot of Meryl Evans


Since then, Meryl has received many speaking invitations to educate, entertain, and encourage action in disability inclusion and accessibility. She is a highly regarded speaker who shares her stories and lived experiences. She has spoken at TEDx, sxsw, and many other events.

Meryl has authored and appeared in multiple books, The Wall Street Journal, Morning Brew, AdWeek, AdAge, and The Dallas Morning News.

Meryl's disability inclusion and accessibility experience focuses on education, marketing, advocacy, process management, and product development, helping companies expand their reach, boost engagement, and ensure employees and customers feel included.

Meryl is a LinkedIn Top Voice in disability advocacy, the inaugural recipient and namesake of the Meryl Evans self-advocacy award from the North Texas Disability Chamber, a board member at My Possibilities serving the IDD community, and a Certified Professional in Accessibility Core Competencies (CPACC).

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John Samuel - Tuesday, May 14, 2024 1:00 PM CT

Futureproofing DEI + Accessibility

Co-Founder + CEO of Ablr, John focuses on helping organizations be more inclusive by removing the barriers that have hindered people with disabilities from accessing education, retail, entertainment, and employment.

    John Samuel Headshot


John’s passion for his work is very personal as he is blind and wants to make sure the obstacles he has faced are removed for others. Over the past two decades, John has held leadership roles domestically and internationally.

While launching and serving as the CEO for Aster Cameroon, a global telecom infrastructure Joint Venture, he built a $45 million business bringing internet access across Africa. Afterward, he became an early member of Homestrings, a USAID backed crowdfunding platform, where he helped raise capital for startups in emerging markets.

Widely recognized as an award-winning diversity leader and motivational speaker, Mr. Samuel has delivered a TEDx talk and authored published works – including his book, Don’t Ask the Blind Guy for Directions.

John holds an MBA from George Washington University and a BS in Accounting from North Carolina State University.

He lives in Cary, North Carolina with his wife Nicole and two children.

Homer Gaines - Wednesday, May 15, 2024 1:00 PM CT

The Role of Cognitive, Emotional, and Compassionate Empathy in Product Design

    Homer Gaines headshot


Homer is a Front-end Developer with over 30 years of experience in the field and an independent recording artist. With a background in Behavioral Psychology, specializing in Neurology and Graphic Design, he brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to his role. As a Staff UI Engineer, certified accessibility professional, and international speaker, Homer focuses on advancing accessible front-end development.

Thanks to our AccessU 2024 Sponsors!

    Meta, Visa, St. Edwards University, Fable, Microsoft, International Association of Accessibility Professionals, Evinced