Lauren Appelbaum is the Communications Director at RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for and with people with disabilities. She oversees RespectAbility’s outreach to Hollywood to promote accurate, diverse and inclusive media portrayals on TV and in film. Working with more than 40 partners, she educates studio and network executives on the why and how to be more inclusive – both in front of and behind the camera. She is the author of The Hollywood Disability Inclusion Toolkit, which was created to help entertainment professionals to be as inclusive of people with disabilities as possible.
Drawing upon her background in broadcast journalism, Appelbaum has published hundreds of articles on the intersection of disability, employment, Hollywood and politics. She also supervises National Leadership Fellows interested in careers in journalism, public relations, social media or the entertainment industry through RespectAbility’s Fellowship Program. Born and raised in the Philadelphia area, Appelbaum has a master’s degree in Broadcast Journalism from Syracuse University; she also has undergraduate degrees from Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary. After graduation, she served as a digital researcher with the NBC News political unit. Appelbaum currently lives in Maryland with her husband, daughter and dog.