CAN Talk Speakers

Check Out Our Amazing Speakers…

Special Guest, Ryan Niemiller
Ryan began his comedy career in Los Angeles, California, and hasn’t looked back since, performing in clubs and colleges across the country. Covering topics such as dating, trying to find employment, and attempting to find acceptance in a world not designed for him, Ryan tackles the issues in a way that makes you think while laughing the entire time. Ryan just finished in the top three on Americas Got Talent.

Erica Powell

Erica is the Co-Founder and Co- Owner of Booty Bar, a boutique fitness studio downtown Greenville. Erica graduated from Clemson in 2015 where she was an athlete on the cheerleading team. She is now competing for a spot on Team USA’s Paralympic track team as a 100 and 400 meter sprinter. Erica is 26 years old, a national keynote speaker, and enjoys fitness, travel, and playing with crazy lab pup named Grant!

Carmen Hightower

Carmen is caring, funny and hard working. She has worked with Lunches of Love for more than 10 years. She has been a big part in helping to prepare thousands of lunches for homeless women in recovery and children in After School programs. Carmen always wants to help where there is a need. Carmen is a member of the The Aktion Club and a big Backstreet Boys fan. With a lot of hard work, Carmen has become a very a very strong women. If you know Carmen you are more than likely one of her biggest fans.

Taylor Krulac

Taylor is a business owner of Uplift Counseling Services, LLC, where she works as a mental health clinician in private practice. Her specialty is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder using Exposure Response Prevention, ERP, and has certification in EMDR, a modality used to treat trauma. She has her undergraduate degree from Clemson University and a Master’s Degree from Boston College. Taylor is passionate about relationally connecting with people. She enjoys spending time with her Goldendoodle, Coolidge, learning new things, and considers herself a ‘foodie,’ partaking often in the local food scene. Taylor strives to live by the motto, “CP does not define me, I define it.” 

Callie Sharon

Callie is 35 years old, originally from High Point, NC but has called Greenville home for the past 5 years. She graduated from Western Carolina University and currently has a career in finance. In 2017, Callie was asked to be a patient representative speaker at the National Epileptologist Convention in Philadelphia, PA. In an effort to live a low stress life, she spends her free time doing comedic improv at Alchemy Comedy Theater but mostly she loves training and riding her adorable four year old horse, Buddy. 

Jason Hurdich

Jason has instructed college-level ASL and interpreting classes since 1993. Mr. Hurdich attended and received a B.A. degree in Political Science from Boston University in 1997. Mr. Hurdich received his M.Ed. degree in Signed Language Interpreting from the University of North Florida in 2013. Mr. Hurdich has native proficiency in American Sign Language. In 1996, he received the Boston’s Citizen Award: “For Outstanding Contributions Towards the Quality of Life for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Youth; and for Promoting Deaf Awareness in the City of Boston,” Presented by Mayor Thomas M. Menino. He has also been called a “Rock Star interpreter,” by Her Honorable Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina for his role during Hurricane Matthew in 2016. He is currently a Lecturer of American Sign Language at Clemson University and is a nationally Certified Deaf Interpreter (CDI) by Registry of Interpreters of the Deaf (RID)

Chris Sparrow

Chris is a native of Greenville, and works at the local Center for Independent Living. He loves taking his dog Moose out for walks and to the dog park. Photography is something very close to Chris’s heart and he loves taking photos, especially of Moose. Chris is eager to make an impact on his community by helping to strengthen the disability voice in the community. One day Chris hopes to live on a farm where he can rescue dogs in need of a home. Chris works with Greenville CAN’s volunteer/advocacy group for people with disabilities, GVL Ability. Just over 7 years ago, Chris’s life changed forever. He experienced a rare neurological event that resulted in him being paralyzed below the waist. He was determined not to let the loss of his ability to walk deviate him from his life’s goals. Whereas so many people would view Chris’s paralysis as an inhibitor or restrictive, he has refused to let it hold him back. Chris has always wanted to demonstrate that people with disabilities are just as capable as people without disabilities.

People under 65 in Greenville County with a Disability: Census 2012 - 2016

Your Opportunity to Make a Difference has never been better...

People under 65 in Greenville County with a Disability: Census 2012 - 2016

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Within our generation, people with disabilities were locked away from society with a belief that they had nothing useful to contribute.  Although much progress has been made in the past fifty years, individuals with disabilities still struggle to be seen, heard, valued, and included.

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