Electronic Press Kit

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Geri Mariano Headshot
Portrait of Geri Mariano, inspirational DEI speaker
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I was born October, 1967 with Diastrophic Dysplasia (Dwarfism), a hereditary condition affecting bones and cartilage. Abandoned by birth parents at the hospital, social workers placed me with a family in March 1969 after my picture in the local newspaper garnered several applications.

My new family instilled in me the will to succeed. I attended public schools and went on to earn a Bachelor’s in American Studies from Smith College in 1989. In 2007, I received my Master’s in Therapeutic Recreation from Lehman College.

I have always felt that talking with young students and introducing them to people with differences dispels stigmas. Over the past 20 years, I have expanded my presentations to a variety of audiences.

My life experiences have undoubtedly shaped the person I am today. Though I have received acceptance and encouragement, I have also been subjected to the behaviors others exhibit when they are uncomfortable with differences. And while I have benefited from inclusion, I have also suffered the pain of being dismissed, excluded, and discriminated against.

Because of all this, I am uniquely qualified to address bias, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of society.

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