Our Founder


Author, motivational speaker and Coach Ellen Shackelford is founder and President of Connections Access Consulting Services, LLC (CACS). As a person who has sustained a disability through injury, she is well aware of the many challenges and attitudinal barriers people with disabilities face daily. She also knows people with disabilities are often overlooked and underserved in social situations and not considered in economical statuses. It was no until she became disabled in a horrific auto crash which also caused the death of her youngest son Raymond in 1983, that she would realize how people’s attitudes are hindrances in the lives of people with disabilities.

Her consulting company provides services to raise awareness of the many facets of disability and how to foster inclusive environments for all. She has spoken to many groups, organizations, businesses, churches, schools, colleges, and individuals on related matters. Ms. Shackelford has authored 3 books on disability etiquette, which Words Matter Using appropriate words and communication with meaning; being her latest works.

Ellen is a native of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania and moved to Virginia in 1979. She graduated from Thomas Nelson Community College, Hampton Virginia earning an Associate’s Degree in Marketing, and a Bachelor’s degree in Communications Studies from Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia. She holds a Personal and Executive Coaching certificate from the International Coach Federation, as well as in Partners in Policy Making (PIP), sponsored by Virginia Board for People with Disabilities. Ellen is recognized by The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services of the U.S. Department of Education Rocky Mount Technical Assistance & Consulting Center and Dan Hopkins & Associates, Inc., with a leadership certification. She has participated in the Spinal Cord Injury Research Program (SCRIP) as a Consumer Reviewer and the Spinal Cord Injury and Disability Research program (SCIDR).

She is active with disability related issues and holds several leadership roles. She is the former Vice Chairperson for the Hampton Mayor’s Committee for People with Disabilities, where she serves a Chairperson of Accessibility. Ellen Volunteered for M.A.D.D (Mothers against Drunk Driving), and as a tutor for The Peninsula Literacy Council. She also held membership in several committees such as: The StateWide Independent Living Council (SILC), ToastMasters International, National Speakers Association, and the Citizens Unity Commission, as a liaison and Facilitator for Hampton Diversity College. Ellen received 1st runner up in the Ms. Wheelchair Virginia Pageant (2007-08) held in Fishersville, Virginia. In addition, she has been awarded the distinctive honor as Outstanding Citizens of the Year for 2013 by the Hampton Citizens Unity Commission. She has a daughter, who has graduated from Fordham University in Bronx, New York as well as three grandchildren, and 2 great-granddaughters, by her late son Jason R. Freeman.

Ms. Shackelford is available for in person, Zoom virtual learning, or micro-sessions via telephone communication. She travels from Virginia.

Also available: Custom Curriculum Creation for businesses, organizations, and government facilities.

You may reach Ms. Shackelford by email at: consultLN@cox.net or by phone: 757-827-0783 (office landline). You may also visit the web site at: www.cacsllc.info or www.increaseyourdisabilityawareness.com

The 2013 Citizens’ Unity Award Program Honors
Ellen Shackelford as Outstanding Citizen of the Year

Ms. Shackelford is a member of the National Speakers Association