JJ Hanley is Founder and Executive Director of JJ’s List, a not-for-profit organization, based in the Chicago area that helps people with disabilities live lives of independence and self-direction by using the Internet to self-advocate. With a group of volunteers with and without disabilities, she operates the website www.jjslist.com as an interactive review service where individuals with disabilities and their supporters share information about community businesses, services and professionals that make disability awareness part of their service and/or workplace – or don’t. She speaks locally, regionally and nationally on disability and the Internet.
She was inspired to build the organization after producing Refrigerator Mothers, a multiple award-winning PBS documentary about mothers of the 50s, 60s and 70s who were blamed for supposedly causing their children’s autism. The film was the result of her personal experience of being blamed for her then 3-year-old son’s autistic behaviors in 1996. Produced with Kartemquin Films, the Academy Award-nominated producer of Hoop Dreams, her film won the Grand Jury Prizes at the Florida, Indiana and Sedona Film Festivals, along with the National Media Award from the Autism Society of America, First Place in the National Association on Mental Retardation Media Awards, and First Prize from the National Council on Family Relations Media Awards, among others.
JJ develops, writes and produces original video and print content for the web on the social issues of our day. A centerpiece call-to-action web clip for a Washington-based global development organization drew attention to the issue of global poverty during the 2008 presidential election. The story of Chicago’s Interfaith Youth Core and its visionary founder and leader Eboo Patel on his mission to promote religious pluralism in a post-9/11 world was broadcast on the web and on the Hallmark Channel.
JJ’s organization management expertise is complemented and enriched by her work as a project manager for a national PBS business series at WTTW Communications in Chicago, and her portfolio of feature stories written for The Pioneer Press, Chicago Parent, Real Estate Today, Living Without and other publications.
Prior to becoming a media producer, JJ was a Vice President at Bankers Trust Company in International Capital Markets, New York and London.
JJ speaks conversational Spanish and is a cum laude graduate of Dartmouth College.