Nicole LeBlanc is the coordinator of the Person-Centered Advisory and Leadership Group (PAL-Group) for the National Center on Advancing Person-Centered Practices and Systems (NCAPPS). She helps ensure that the PAL-Group informs and supports the direction of the efforts of NCAPPS and helps with the development of cognitively-accessible project materials and resources that reflect the experiences of people with disabilities.
Nicole has a keen ability and interest in public policy and excels at communicating the needs of people with developmental disabilities to public officials. She worked for 8-plus years at Green Mountain Self-Advocates (GMSA) in Montpelier, Vermont, as advocacy director, supporting her peers with disabilities to feel comfortable talking to elected officials about their needs. While at GMSA, Nicole served as the project assistant for the Inclusive Healthcare Partnership project, researching tools that would assist people with I/DD in getting their health care needs met. She also helped prepare the self-advocate team members for monthly meetings on topics such as transition from pediatric to adult health care providers, health and wellness, and healthcare policy.
Nicole is a natural leader chosen by her peers due to her unwavering commitment to speaking the truth to power. She has presented keynotes on the dignity of risk at statewide self-advocacy conferences in Alabama, Missouri, and Rhode Island. Since 2011, Nicole has consulted for Self-Advocates Becoming Empowered and the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network—developing self-advocacy tools and curriculums, presenting webinars and video blogs on the topics of healthcare, what is autism, presuming competence, self-managed services, voter access and employment of people with disabilities. Nicole moved to the D.C. suburb of Silver Spring, Maryland for a Paul Marchand Public Policy internship at AUCD that went from 2016-2017.
Nicole will not shy away from taking on big challenges and new adventures. In 2017, Nicole traveled to Iceland and Ireland as part of the AAIDD delegation. Since November 2017, Nicole has been the advocacy specialist for the Southern Region of Maryland where she assists self advocates in dealing with the challenges of the service system. From February 2018 to September 2018, Nicole served as the Dr. Ruth Sullivan policy fellow.
From March 2018 to March 2019, Nicole was the SARTAC-Self Advocacy Resource and Technical Assistance Center fellow for NDRN where she created a booklet on advocating for policies that promote Competitive Integrated Employment ("Real Jobs for Real Pay").