Lisa D.

Founder, Disability Inclusion Consultant & Speaker at MERGE Diverse Abilities Inclusion Consulting

Disabilities/Disability Awareness

Education: Saint Michael's College, Vermont
Pembroke, MA, USA


Lisa's career reflects a deep commitment to promoting inclusion and enhancing the lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. At New England Village, in Pembroke, MA, Lisa demonstrated her passion for community engagement and recreational activities tailored to individuals with developmental disabilities.
The establishment of the Sollar Wellness Center marked a milestone in Lisa's career, as she spearheaded the creation of a unique facility offering aquatics, fitness, music, art, and education specifically designed for persons with disabilities. This initiative showcased her innovative approach to promoting holistic well-being.
Lisa's transition to the South Shore YMCA as the Association Director of Inclusion in 2014 reflects her desire to broaden her impact. In this role, she not only developed innovative programs but also played a crucial role in staff training, emphasizing the importance of social and recreational inclusion. Her recognition as a leader in the field and appointment as the National Co-Chairperson of Y-USA’s Diverse Abilities Working Group underscore her influence and commitment on a national level.
The establishment of MERGE Inclusion Consulting in 2018 allowed Lisa to extend her expertise beyond the YMCA, offering consultation, staff training, and systems implementation to various community entities committed to disability inclusion. This move highlights her desire to share best practices and contribute to the broader mission of creating inclusive environments.
In summary, Lisa's career trajectory showcases her evolution from a hands-on professional to a national advocate for disability inclusion. Her work has not only impacted the lives of individuals with disabilities but has also influenced organizations and communities to adopt more inclusive practices.


When an individual with a disability is welcomed, engaged and supported to belong as a valued member of our community.

Featured Video

I am willing to travel

More than 100 miles

When it comes to payments

I generally get paid for speaking but make exceptions


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Best Story

Hear the story of Lisa’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, that turned into a very good and unexpected lesson of inclusion. You won’t believe how participating in a fitness endurance event led to a recognition of the connection to the principles of inclusion. You’ll be inspired to considered the places in your community, personal and professional life where inclusion can be explored, enhanced and achieved!

Origin Story

My "aha moment" came in 2014 as a new Association Director of Inclusion for my local YMCA. After 30 years of providing support for individuals with disabilities to lived enriched lives through recreation programming, I had a huge awakening that we had been doing it all wrong. Our programs were designed specifically for these individuals and they participated only with other people with disabilities, run by instructors who were trained to work with this specific population.

Working at the YMCA, I was teaching typical instructors and coaches and counselors how to include in community members with disabilities in to their existing programs. There was a moment where I realized, this is what is missing in our world. We need to teach "the rest of the world" (those who may not have experience working with individuals with disabilities) how to be more comfortable and confident to welcome, engage and support ALL to be valued members of our community. That was the precipitant to me starting MERGE.