Hearing Loss Association of America Convention 2008, June 12-15, in Reno, Nevada, will hold its Opening Session on Thursday, June 12, 5:30 p.m. Olegario "Ollie" D. Cantos, VII, special counsel to the acting assistant attorney general for Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Justice will be the keynote speaker. His engaging personal style and ability to convey thoughts have solidly established him as a national leader who is known throughout the world.
Mr. Cantos is well known in Washington, D.C., as one of the highest-placed persons with a disability in the federal government today. He began his work at the Justice Department in August 2004 when he was commissioned by Attorney General John D. Ashcroft. Mr. Cantos recently returned to this post after having served two consecutive terms as associate director for Domestic Policy at the White House, where he led the implementation of the President's New Freedom Initiative, the agenda for advancing equality of opportunity for people with all types of disabilities in information and assistive technology, education, employment, and every aspect of community living.
Blind since birth, Mr. Cantos is known well beyond the Nation's Capital boundaries for his ability to network and bring stakeholders together for a common purpose. He also collaborates with national leaders of disability rights organizations and high-ranking officials from the White House and various federal departments to provide consumer perspective on policies affecting the disability community.
Mr. Cantos is a sought-after speaker who is an example of how people with disabilities can reach the highest levels of success in every area of life by exercising both the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. He has appeared on radio, television, and in newspapers and magazines. Audiences have included business entrepreneurs, disability rights activists, attorneys and other legal professionals, school children of all ages, college and university students, press representatives at the National Press Club, meetings of the Congressional Black Caucus, gatherings of government officials, and civil rights leaders at national conferences. His vitae list numerous honors for his work and contributions, both within and outside the field of disability.
On the personal side, Mr. Cantos is an assistant scoutmaster in Troop 1780 of the National Capital Area Council of Boy Scouts of America, a three-time finisher of the 26.2-mile Los Angeles Marathon, and his hobbies include rollerblading, ice skating, and horseback riding. Mr. Cantos is also a science fiction fan and loves being involved with his church and community.
In the words of one who has spoken of him:
"Ollie is a truly remarkable individual for what he has managed to achieve, the obstacles he has overcome during the course of his life and career as an attorney, his work here at the Domestic Policy Council, and the contagious enthusiasm that he has." -- Gregory F. Jacob, Esq., Special Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy; Indian Treaty Room, the White House, March 26, 2007.
Join people with hearing loss from across the United States to meet Ollie Cantos and participate in Convention 2008. The four-day event includes workshops, Exhibit Hall and tradeshow, Research Symposium, and social events. For more information attending Convention 2008, becoming an exhibitor or sponsor, go to www.hearingloss.org.
About the Hearing Loss Association of America
The Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), founded in 1979 by Rocky Stone as Self Help for Hard of Hearing People, opens the world of communication to people with hearing loss through information, education, advocacy and support. HLAA publishes the bimonthly Hearing Loss Magazine, holds annual conventions, Walk4Hearing, hosts online learning with the Hearing Loss Academy, and more. HLAA has more than 200 chapters and 14 state organizations.
Information can be found at www.hearingloss.org. The national headquarters is located at 7910 Woodmont Avenue, Suite 1200, Bethesda, MD 20814. Phone: 301.657.2248 (Voice and TTY)