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Shenna Metal Experience, March 1, 2012

Featuring one hour with DSiAM’s Gail Williamson and David Zimmerman on actors with Down Syndrome, with call from Lauren Potter and Robin Trocki of GLEE and Jamie Brewer from AMERICAN HORROR STORY.


Sponsored in part by:

Entertainment Weekly

See the Entertainment Weekly story featuring actors with down Syndrome in the March 2, 2012 edition.

Gail Williamson

Speaking
Appearances
Honors
Bio

Speaking
Gail Williamson is known internationally for her work with people with Down syndrome and other developmental disabilities in the entertainment industry.  Gail is available to speak and share with your audience what the current atmosphere is like for people with DS and other developmental disabilities in the entertainment industry.  Her many contributions include providing talent for television shows: GLEE, AMERICAN HORROR STORY, SHAMLESS, PRIVATE PRACTICE, NIP/TUCK, ER, LAW AND ORDER:SVU, THE GUARDIAN, SCRUBS, CSI, FAMILY LAW, TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL and more, as well as countless films, commercials and shorts.

Gail is funny and entertaining as she shares how the media impacts societal change.  She also brings along a great clip reel to share.  If you book Gail to speak for a gala or fundraiser, she will also give you a “meet and greet” with your local talent so they can share their abilities and dreams with her and get registered in the DSiAM talent files.  Gail’s speaking engagements support her work as a casting liaison and media advocate enabling her to provide the free services of DSiAM to the community with Down syndrome and other developmental disabilities.

To book Gail for your next event contact:
Marc Goldman, Damon Brooks Associates
805-604-9017
marc@damonbrooks.com

Appearances

Past (including, but not limited to):
2012 University Wiosconsin La Crosse
2012 Children of the Heart, La Crosse, WI
2012 South Dakota Council for Exceptional Children, Chamberlin SD
2012 Down Syndrome Association of Roanoke, VA
2011 Canadian Down Syndrome Conference, Vancouver, Canada
2010 Developmental Disability Awareness Day Buffalo, NY
2010 Special Education Multicultural Advisory Committee Parents LA, CA
2007 Disability Career Day, Honolulu, Hawaii
2004 Respectability Conference, Los Angeles, CA
2002 Buena Park Mayors’ Prayer Breakfast, Buena Park, CA
2000 California Governor’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities, San Pedro, CA
2000 Best Buddies International Conference, Loyola University, Chicago, IL
2000 Mayors’ Committee, Santa Clarita, CA
2000 Screen Actors Guild Performers with Disabilities, New York, NY
1999 Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA
1999 VSA Arts Careers Convention, Los Angeles, CA
1999 Best Buddies International Conference, Georgetown University, Washington D.C.
1999 Screen Actors Guild EEOC Career Day, Hollywood, CA
1999 Jewish Association for Residential Care, Detroit, MI
1999 Association for Theatre Accessibility

Television Appearances:
2010 The Doctors
2007 Morning News, Hawaii
2001 Sally Jessie Rafael Show
2000 The Leeza Show
1999 The Donny and Marie Show
1999 Fox Detroit News
1999 KTLA Morning News

Honors
2004  Tri Union, SAG, AFTRA, Equity                        “Ivy” Diversity Award
2001 Goodwill Industries, Orange County, CA Walter Knott Woman of Hope
1999 Named one of Family Circle Magazine’s  Women Who Make a Difference
1999 Changing Images in America                                Outstanding Merit Award
1999 American Mother’s Inc.   National                      National Mother of the Year
1999 American Mother’s Inc. California                       California State Mother of the Year

Bio
Gail Williamson is a well known public speaker and advocate for performers with disabilities. She has established herself as the “go to person” in Hollywood and elsewhere when a project includes characters with Down syndrome and other disabilities. She has assisted many television shows over the years. Some of the most notable include: TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL, ER, FAMILY LAW, LAW AND ORDER: SVU and THE GUARDIAN.

Gail’s connections in the entertainment industry along with her past position as president of the Media Image Coalition – A project of the L.A. Commission on Human Relations, gives her a realistic view of what media depiction can do for diverse groups. She continues to use her expertise to advocate for more, and authentic, characterizations of individuals with disabilities and Down syndrome.

Gail and her husband Tommie have been married for 40 years and are the proud parents of two adult sons. Tim, the oldest is married to a wonderful woman and they have two children together, Blair the youngest, was born with disabilities from Down syndrome and started acting professionally at the age of 11. As an adult, Blair has some very impressive credits on his resume. Gail and Tommie also opened their home for many years as the legal guardians to 6 nieces. Today the girls are all grown and living independent lives. Most are married and raising children of their own.

Gail’s work, as well as her personal life, has been recognized by several organizations. With 5 children in her home at the time, she was recognized as the 1999 California State and National Mother of the Year by American Mother’s, Inc. the national organization that sponsors Mother’s Day. The Hollywood based organization Changing Images in America, recognized Gail with their 1999 Chia Awards Media Image Award for her “tireless efforts in pursuing and promoting increased employment opportunities and more balances images of people with disabilities in the Entertainment Industry.” Goodwill Industries in Buena Park, CA also named Gail as one of their “Women of Hope” and honored her with the William Knott Service Award in 2000. In 2004 the acting unions, Actor’s Equity (AEA), Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and Actors Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) recognized Gail with a diversity award at their annual event. In July 2005 she was honored by the National Down Syndrome Congress at their annual convention for her work in the media industry.

Gail continues to travel for speaking engagements addressing issues like: “The Importance of Images of People with Disabilities in the Media,” “Media Advocacy,” “The Business of Show Business,” “Images of Down Syndrome in the Media,” and her and Tommie’s personal story of raising two sons, one with a disability, and opening their home to their six nieces.

 


Blair & Gail Williamson

Blair & Gail Williamson