On June 1, 2023, the Starkloff Disability Institute Board Chair Steve Degnan announced that Lori Becker has been selected to serve as the new CEO of Starkloff Disability Institute after acting as our interim leader since December 2022.
“The board and I believe Lori has demonstrated the right leadership attributes and capabilities to take us into the next phase of organizational growth,” said Degnan. “Lori brings with her tremendous experience in a variety of fields and is a graduate of one of our signature programs, the Starkloff Career Academy. Her demonstrated leadership in development and program execution will serve her well. Over the years, Lori has demonstrated courage, resilience and strong leadership, which is essential to the future of this organization.”
Lori joined the Starkloff Disability Institute in 2013 as the Director of Development and Communications, after she completed the Career Academy program. She was promoted to Chief Operating Officer in 2017 and ran day-to-day operations. Lori has more than 15 years in public policy, political strategy, and community engagement experience. She worked on a variety of high profile ballot initiatives and campaigns utilizing her successful public relations and strategic fundraising acumen.
A professional with a disability, Lori is legally blind due to a condition called Stargardt’s Disease, which is a juvenile form of macular degeneration (experienced mostly in older adults). She began losing her vision at eight years old, when she realized she couldn’t see the chalkboard in school, even from the front row.
“It is important to our mission and to the community that our organization is disability-led,” said Lori. “‘Nothing about us, without us.’ is our mantra. Being a person with a disability has assisted me in my development as a leader because I’ve had to become a problem-solver, innovative, agile, and resilient – all qualities a I believe leader should possess. I’ve never been able to obtain a driver’s license, and I use adaptive technology (Zoom text and Fusion) to perform my work. I also use several apps including ‘Be My Eyes,’ which has been very helpful.
“As a graduate of one of Starkoff’s programs that assisted me in advancing my career, I am committed to helping individuals, companies and the community see the potential in every person with a disability.”
As we celebrate our 20th year of building inclusion where we live, learn, work, and play through disability-led programs that advance economic opportunity and transform lives, we know in many ways the party is just getting started. The Starkloff Disability Institute community enthusiastically welcomes Lori to this new role. Together, working at the micro and macro levels, Starkloff is changing hearts and minds and building a community where disabled people can thrive.