Speaker Biographies

Del Corazon can arrange for a “Speaker Series” for your Middle School or High School. The idea is to have individuals who have overcome significant disabilities to have distinguished and interesting careers speak to your students. The Speaker Series can be conducted throughout the year or during a particular month and is usually given to Leadership or AVID Students. To arrange for the Speaker Series please contact Don at don@del-corazon.org.

(Nicaragua – 2007)

Don Routh

Don is retired from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) where he was a Senior Partner in the Management Consulting Services group.  During his career he was also an executive at Wells Fargo Bank and IBM.

When his son Josh was born with Cerebral Palsy Don quickly became an advocate for people with disabilities.  Over the past 30+ years he has served on the Board of several nonprofit agencies including his time as President of the Board of Directors of United Cerebral Palsy of the Golden Gate.   In 1981 he helped write a California Senate Bill to insure early intervention services for children with disabilities.

Since his retirement in 2006 Don has dedicated his time to raising money for, and providing services to, several nonprofit organizations including the Wheelchair Foundation.

Josh Routh

Josh was born with Cerebral Palsy and uses a wheelchair.  When Josh was a year old the Doctors told his father Don that he would be a quadriplegic, not be able to talk nor go to public school.  Now 35, Josh graduated from San Ramon High in 1997, lives independently in his own home, drives a car, works and is a contributing member of the Tri Valley community.

An avid sports enthusiast, Josh has been the California State Wheelchair Bowling champion three times and he snow skis, jet skis, played competitive wheelchair basketball, has run the Bay to Breakers race ten times, and is the first wheelchair user to reach the Serrano Glacier at the southern tip of Chile.

Don and Josh have personally delivered over 7,800 wheelchairs on twenty four trips to sixteen countries in Latin America.  Their interactive presentation focuses on educating students about the need for wheelchairs around the world and describing the life changing experiences they have encountered while providing mobility.

Lateef McLeod

Lateef is a phenomenal black poet with cerebral palsy who published his first poetry book entitled A Declaration Of A Body Of Love in 2010. Although he uses an electronic speaking device to communicate verbally he has the gift of being able to communicate eloquently through his writings.

Lateef works at United Cerebral Palsy of the Golden Gate as a grant writer and blogger at http://bit.ly/lateefsview and for Sins Invalid as an intern. He also dedicates his time to being a member of the Oakland Mayor’s Commission for People with Disabilities, being a member of Hand in Hand: The Domestic Employers Association, and being the Vice President of People who use AAC for the United States Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (USSAAC). He is also the main goalie for his power soccer team the BORP Bay Earthquakes. He has a BA in English from UC Berkeley and a MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College.

Trooper Johnson

Trooper was paralyzed in a car accident when he was 17 years old as a result of a drinking and driving accident. Since then he has been a member of the United States National wheelchair basketball team for 15 years, has competed in four Paralympic Games, became the 2nd paraplegic to climb El Capitan in Yosemite Valley, pushed his wheelchair from San Francisco to Los Angeles, and is the Youth Sports Program Coordinator for BORP, a Berkeley based organization providing sports and recreation opportunities for kids with physical disabilities.

Trooper’s interactive wheelchair basketball presentations challenge students to understand the abilities of a person in a wheelchair.  These presentations include information to break down stereotypes associated with individuals using wheelchairs, and offer frank discussion related to drug and alcohol prevention.

Trooper is a professional speaker and there is a speaker fee of $350 (However, he will donate $150 of his fee to the Wheelchair Foundation).

Neil Jacobson

Neil retired in 2008 from Wells Fargo Bank after 29 years, most recently serving as Senior Vice President in charge of their System Automation Management and Wireless Technology Divisions, and previously as Chief Systems Architect for the retail business.

Born with quadriplegia Cerebral Palsy nearly 60 years ago, Neil has been a longtime advocate for the economic development of people with disabilities.  In 1975 he co-founded the CIL Computer Training Program, a nationally recognized training program, enabling people with significant disabilities to become computer programmers

Neil has continued his work on economic development for people with disabilities as a Board member and past Chair of the World Institute on Disability (WID).  He was also the Vice-Chair of the President’s Committee on Employment for People with Disabilities under the Clinton Administration. He now co-chairs WID’s Center for Economic Growth.

Neil received a BS in Mathematics from Hofstra University and completed his MBA at Golden Gate University.  In 1991, Neil was inducted into the California Hall of Fame.  He has received many awards for his contributions, including the Independence Award from CIL, the Murray Award from the American Academy for Cerebral Palsy, and Alumnae of the Year at Golden Gate University.