Honorees

Governor Dennis Daugaard

Daugaard_Gala_Honoree
Governor Dennis Daugaard

Governor Dennis Daugaard has demonstrated tremendous leadership in increasing employment and other opportunities for South Dakotans with disabilities and their families. Through his support of policies and initiatives that reflect that commitment, the Governor has led the way to advance employment outcomes in the state. The Governor sought the input and feedback of all stakeholder groups through the establishment of a statewide strategic Employment Works Task Force to guide the state’s employment policies and practices. His innovative Ability for Hire campaign has increased awareness and education on the benefits of hiring workers with disabilities and engaged the public and private sectors in these efforts. During his tenure, Governor Daugaard has emphasized the state of South Dakota as an employment first state and has promoted this concept through leadership, advocacy, and modeling.


Rita Landgraf,
Delaware’s former Secretary of Health and Social Services

Landgraf_Gala_Honoree
Rita Landgraf, Delaware’s former Secretary of Health and Social Services

As Delaware’s former Secretary of Health and Social Services, Ms. Landgraf showed extraordinary leadership in support of people with disabilities and their families in the state of Delaware. Working under Governor Jack Martell, Secretary Landgraf helped expand community living for people with mental health and developmental disabilities and spearheaded cutting edge employment policies in Delaware as well as nationally through the National Governors Association. She has been heralded as spending a lifetime fighting for the rights of underrepresented groups. Ms. Landgraf now serves as the University of Delaware’s College of Health Sciences professor of practice and distinguished health and social services administrator in residence.