John D. Kemp, Esq., is an accomplished executive widely respected for his many achievements in the corporate and nonprofit worlds. He has decades of experience in the disability movement as a disabled leader. His previous leadership roles include serving as the National Executive Director of United Cerebral Palsy Associations, President and CEO of VAS Arts and VSA Arts International, and as General Counsel and Vice President of Development for the National Easter Seal Society, among others. In 1995, he co-founded the American Association of People with Disabilities. He recently served as president and CEO of the Viscardi Center and Henry Viscard School.
John is a recipient of the Henry B. Betts Award, widely regarded as America’s highest honor for disability leadership and service, and the Dole Leadership Prize from the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas, whose recipients include Nelson Mandela and former U.S. Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
As board chair/member or partner, John has supported numerous leading disability and nonprofit organizations. In 2001, he became a partner in the Washington, DC law firm of Powers, Pyles, Sutter & Verville, P.C., where he developed an active federal legislative and lobbying practice. A much sought-after global speaker, in 2019 John spoke at the inaugural Symposium on Disability Rights, co-sponsored by Lakeshore and the UAB Institute for Human Rights.
John graduated from Georgetown University and Washburn University School of Law. He has received two Honorary Doctorate degrees, the first an Honorary Doctorate of Law from Washburn University School of Law, and the second, an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Connecticut, while serving as the Graduate School Commencement Speaker.