DPS is owned and operated by Ilene Zeitzer, an internationally recognized expert on comparative disability policy. In 2002, Ms. Zeitzer retired from the U.S. government after 29 years of service. Prior to her retirement, she was the Social Security Administration's Special Assistant to the Deputy Commissioner for Disability & Income Security Programs and the Agency's expert on international disability programs and rehabilitation issues.
Ms. Zeitzer has studied the disability policies of countries around the world, and is the author of numerous articles on comparative disability policies and practices. She is also a frequent speaker in both domestic and international forums concerning U.S. and foreign public policy.
Ms. Zeitzer has worked in 70 countries on various disability-related issues including: eligibility criteria for benefits; problems of pension adequacy, efficacy and program integrity; human rights and social inclusion; poverty reduction strategies; employment promotion and workforce integration; and the specific problems related to women and children with disabilities. She has also consulted on related topics such as sickness benefit and work injury benefit programs. Ms. Zeitzer was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Social Insurance in 2004 and served on the Board of Directors for two leading international non-profit organizations: GLADNET (the Global Applied Disability Research & Information Network on Employment & Training) and GAATES (the Global Alliance on Accessible Technologies & Environments).
Ms. Zeitzer received a Bachelor of Arts degree in French with a Journalism minor from Pennsylvania State University and a Master of Arts in Sociology from the University of Notre Dame of Maryland.
DPS Associates Fernando Botelho, Technology Expert
Fernando Botelho is the president of F123, a Brazilian organization that creates high quality technologies and strategies that are low-cost and scalable for people who are blind or have low vision. The software allows them to use the Internet, e-mail and instant messaging and work with documents and spreadsheets so that they can have access to educational and employment opportunities. The software’s low cost is particularly well-suited to people in developing countries, where such technology is often too expensive for most individuals to afford. The F123 initiative is a service that provides the software, training and technical support to foundations and organizations that help persons who are blind access educational and employment opportunities.
An Ashoka Fellow, Fernando has extensive experience managing projects dealing with poverty reduction, technology and disability. His experience includes managing the Visionaris Award, a partnership between Ashoka and UBS AG, in Argentina, Brazil and Mexico.Before his work for UBS Philanthropy Services in Zurich, Fernando worked for the International Trade Center (ITC) United Nations Conference on Trade and Development/World Trade Organization (UNCTAD/WTO), an agency of the United Nations in Geneva. At ITC, Fernando led the development of the first methodology for the integration of professionals with disabilities in the service export sector.Prior to joining the ITC, Fernando was Director of Technology at a New York NGO where he led the development of eSight Careers Network, a ground-breaking online community for the professional advancement of people with disabilities.
Fernando has an undergraduate degree from Cornell University and a Master of Science in Foreign Service, International Relations from Georgetown University. He also has over two decades of first-hand experience in blindness.
Reem Labib, M.Ed., Education Expert
Reem Labib, M.Ed., an urban educational leader in Washington, D.C., has demonstrated knowledge, commitment and passion in developing quality education programs for students, teachers and families. Reem is an independent consultant focused on school improvement and school reform efforts both in the United States and the Middle East. Her specialties include school transformation, leadership development, charter school and special education.
For the past nine years, Reem has participated as a team member in quality reviews of schools serving students in grades PreK-12. She has served as a head of schools, supervising multiple principals, and as the deputy director of professional development for a school district. She also served as the principal of an inclusive arts-infused elementary school.
Reem's passion for education and experiences extends across cultures. Prior to serving as a school leader, Reem taught and supported educational programs overseas at American/International schools in Cairo, Egypt and Beirut, Lebanon. These experiences broadened her perspective in understanding the value in developing student competencies for living in a multicultural society.
A lifelong learner who is committed to the possibilities that education provides, Reem earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from The George Washington University and a master’s in education specializing in curriculum and instruction with a focus on multicultural education from George Mason University. Read more about Reem on her website www.edspired.wordpress.com.
Diana Zeitzer, Communications Expert
Diana Zeitzer is a disability policy and communications consultant with more than 15 years of experience in the areas of partnership development, communications and social media strategies. Her area of expertise is developing and implementing disability-focused public education and awareness campaigns. Diana is based in the Washington, D.C. area where she works as a Disability Content Manager at Concepts, Inc., a communications firm specializing in disability and employment issues.
At Concepts, she helps create, plan and execute public education and awareness campaigns that promote the employment of people with disabilities, including the Campaign for Disability Employment, a U.S. Department of Labor initiative that is working to change attitudes about disability and employment. Her works includes developing and implementing communications campaigns; managing social media platforms and website content; building partnerships with federal, state and local government agencies and nonprofit organizations; and creating outreach materials such as brochures and fact sheets.
Prior to joining Concepts, Diana acted as a communications consultant for the United States International Council on Disabilities (USICD), a nonprofit disability rights organization based in Washington, D.C.
Earlier in her career, Diana spent four years as an account manager at Widmeyer Communications, an independent public relations firm in Washington, D.C. At Widmeyer, she supported nonprofit and government clients, including the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs.
Prior to that, Diana worked as a press assistant for the public affairs department of the Corporation for National and Community Service, the U.S. government agency responsible for overseeing the AmeriCorps, Senior Corps and Learn and Serve America volunteer programs. Diana began her career as a production assistant for Idea Television, the Washington, D.C., affiliate of the Brazilian news network, O Globo.
Diana graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor of Arts in media studies with a concentration in film and television studies.