Nicole LeBlanc has a keen ability and interest in public policy and excels at communicating the needs of people with developmental disabilities to public officials. She worked for 8+ years at Green Mountain Self-Advocates (GMSA) in Montpelier, VT as Advocacy Director supporting her peers with disabilities to feel comfortable talking to their elected officials about what they need. While at GMSA, Nicole served as the Project Assistant for the Inclusive Healthcare Partnership project. For this initiative Nicole researched tools that would assist people with I/DD in getting their healthcare needs met. She additionally helped prepare the self-advocate team members for monthly meetings on topics such as transition from pediatric to adult healthcare providers, health and wellness, and healthcare policy. In 2012, Nicole completed a 10-week internship at the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities through the Washington Center in Washington, DC and has earned a certificate of professional studies from the University of Vermont. In 2018 Nicole graduated the VT LEND program. She was the 1st self advocate to complete it. Nicole is a natural leader chosen by her peers due to her unwavering commitment to speaking the truth to power. She has presented keynotes on the dignity of risk at statewide self-advocacy conferences in Alabama, Missouri and Rhode Island. Since 2011, Nicole has consulted for Self-Advocates Becoming Empowered and the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network developing self-advocacy tools and curriculums, presenting webinars and video blogs on the topics of healthcare, what is Autism, presuming competence, self-managed services, voter access and employment of people with disabilities. In August 2016 Nicole moved to the DC Suburb of Silver Spring MD to for a 6 month Paul Marchand Public Policy internship at AUCD . Ever since the day she set foot in Washington DC with her mentor Chester Finn she has always wanted to live in the political universe. Hobbies include politics, ice skating, reading, going to conferences, hiking, exercising at the gym, traveling, hanging out with best friends and alternative medicine.
Nicole is one who is not willing to shy away from taking on big challenges and new adventures. In 2017 Nicole traveled to Iceland & Ireland as part of the AAIDD delegation. From November 15 2017 to Oct , 29th Nicole was the Advocacy specialist for the Southern Region of MD where she assists self advocates in dealing with the challenges of the service system. From February 2018 to September 2018 Nicole served as the Dr Ruth Sullivan policy fellow. From March 1 2018 to March 2019 Nicole was the SARTAC-Self Advocacy Resource and Technical Assistance Center fellow for NDRN where she created a booklet on advocating for policies that promote Competitive Integrated Employment . Otherwise known as Real Jobs for Real Pay. In April 2019 Nicole joined HSRI as the coordinator of the Person-Centered Advisory and Leadership Group (PAL-Group) in the National Center on Advancing Person Centered Practices. She will help to ensure that the PAL group informs and supports the direction of the efforts of the NCAPPS. In addition to supporting communication with the PAL Group, she will help with the development of cognitively accessible project materials and resources that reflect the experiences of people with disabilities. In the past few months Nicole has been part of the Social Media team putting on Facebook events for ADA30 and National Disability employment awareness month. In Oct 2020 Nicole presented at Inclusion Works conference on “Turning Challenge into opportunity getting People with I/DD work from home jobs in light of COVID19. Nicole has just recently accepted a contract role with Not Dead Yet to lobby the MD/VA legislature to defeat Doctor Assisted Suicide. Her Motto is Control Your Own Destiny or Someone Else Will.