All of us face challenges. At school. At work. In our relationships. Linda has met those challenges head-on.
Diagnosed with cerebral palsy at the age of 3, she is a force to be reckoned with—personally and professionally. Linda takes audiences on a journey of encountering and dismantling barriers one after another to achieve success—on the athletic field, in the courts and in life. Linda’s presentations will educate and inspire--teaching audiences how to eradicate their barriers to success.
Linda’s depth of knowledge together with her dynamic and exciting approach will leave audiences informed, enlightened, and wanting more.
Linda Mastandrea is a Paralympic gold and silver medalist, civil rights attorney, and passionate communicator. Born with cerebral palsy, Linda grew up with her twin sister Laura. They did everything together—except play sports or participate in physical education class, opportunities that were not available to her then.
Linda graduated in the top ten in her class at Bolingbrook High School, earned a B.A. in Speech Communication from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and followed that with a J.D. from Chicago-Kent College of Law.
An introduction to wheelchair sports during her undergraduate years led Linda to a storied career as a Paralympic, World, Pan American, and national champion and world record holder in wheelchair track. She won 15 gold and 5 silver medals in international competitions, setting world and Paralympic records along the way.
Off the track, Linda became an attorney focused on civil rights and disability issues, lending her expertise at the state, local, and federal levels to ensure people with disabilities are integrated into the fabric of society and can live, work, and play alongside their families and friends. A sought-after subject matter expert, she’s taught audiences nation and worldwide on topics related to disability law, integration, and inclusion as well as Paralympic and disability sports.
Career highlights include working with the Chicago 2016 bid effort to bring the Olympic and Paralympic Games to Chicago where she served as an ambassador for the bid, presenting on stage alongside President and Mrs. Obama. She spent seven years with FEMA, advising the FEMA Administrator on helping people with disabilities impacted by disasters.
She’s received numerous awards and accolades during her career, becoming the first female Paralympian inducted into the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame and the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame. And a desire to give back led to her appointment to numerous boards and commissions at the local, national, and international levels including Access Living and Variety, the Children’s Charity of Illinois, as well as chairing the Legal and Ethics Committee of the International Paralympic Committee.
Select from these three presentation options or contact Linda to discuss a customized presentation to meet your organization’s needs
Busting Barriers to Success
An engaging and invigorating presentation using lessons from Linda’s own journey to educate and inspire. Audiences will come away with the tools they need to bust their own internal and external barriers to success—at home, at work, and in life.
How to Live, Work and Play Together
How to Live, Work and Play Together is a dynamic and interactive presentation on what it means to have a disability. Audiences will learn social and legal concepts in an easy-to-understand way and come away with tips to better engage with and integrate people with disabilities into their lives.
The Case for Integrating Disability into Diversity
The Case for Integrating Disability into Diversity presents an enlightening look at how corporations, government entities, and nonprofit organizations can benefit from including disability considerations in their DEI planning and execution.
“I had the pleasure of serving as Ms. Mastandrea’s Executive Coach during her time in the Excellence in Government leadership program through the Partnership for Public Service. At the conclusion of the program, to no one’s surprise, she was selected as the graduation speaker representing over 250 graduates. Her presence, empathy and all-around superb manner made hers the best and most celebrated end-of-program remarks by a graduate in more than twenty years of the program. It is one of her gifts to engage you, whether in one-on-one conversation, an audience of hundreds, or a national broadcast.”
Felicita Sola Carter, Executive Coach/Former Senior Service Executive