I’m a dual American-Israeli citizen and an attorney, policy advisor, and communications specialist. I have a B.B.A. and J.D. from Emory University and an M.P.A. from the Harvard Kennedy School, where I was a John F. Kennedy Fellow with a full merit scholarship. I have worked across the public, social and private sectors in the U.S. and Israel, fiercely advocating for my clients and communities in the areas of employment discrimination, antisemitism and disability rights.
I’m the child of an immigrant and a single mother and a first-generation college graduate. I was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy at the age of three and lost the ability to walk at the age of eleven, the same year the Americans with Disabilities Act was enacted. Living in an inaccessible world as a wheelchair-user, I quickly became a disability advocate to accomplish the American Dream. From her public-school system and small rural NC hometown, her university and law school, to NYC courthouses and Israeli coffee houses, she paved an accessible path to the future.
After law school, I became an Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of New York, where I continue to defend high-profile constitutional, employment discrimination and labor law claims in State, Federal, and appellate court. As a result of my work, policy within the City has changed. The NYPD began randomly drug testing officers for illegal steroids; English-only work policies are now forbidden; city-run prisons were made more accessible; disabled employees requesting an accommodation have been allowed alternative criteria for advancement; the NYPD issued a policy prohibiting officers from parking vehicles on sidewalks or curb-cuts, obstructing accessible pathways; and NY state courthouses became more accessible.
In 2008, I emigrated to Israel. I continued working as an attorney, while advocating for Israelis with disabilities to have a more accessible state. I sat on accessibility committees, wrote for the Jerusalem Post, and encouraged various entities to make their properties accessible. As a result of my advocacy, many private businesses, synagogues and government properties became accessible. And in 2011, I was named one of Israel’s top 50 bachelorettes.
After returning to the States in 2012, Barker began working in disability policy and advocacy, both independently as Ms. Wheelchair NC and for RespectAbility, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization fighting stigma and advancing opportunities for people with disabilities.
I have worked with and consulted for producers and major television networks, including Fox, Netflix, and the Oprah Winfrey Network to accurately depict characters with disabilities on television and film.
I have traveled around the world, speaking at conferences, places of worship, schools, universities, members of Congress, government offices, and for ambassadors about disability rights or antisemitism. I have advised local, state and federal politicians as well as political campaigns, including most recently the 2020 Bloomberg for President campaign, on disability issues. And I have published articles on issues of disability, antisemitism, religion, and politics in the Boston Globe, the Times Union, the Charlotte Observer, the Jerusalem Post, Garnet News, PushLiving, Daily Kos, Grok Nation, Kol Ha’Birah, the Mighty and others.
I carried the 1996 Paralympic Torch, modeled for Permobil and have been the subject of several documentaries and news articles. I played flute for the Charlotte Youth Symphony, going on to be first chair in the Emory University Wind Ensemble. While I no longer plays for audiences, I consider music a necessity of happy life. You can often find me singing or humming along to my favorite song on loop. I’m also an avid non-fiction reader, with the exception of my obsession for George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” fantasy series, the basis for HBO’s hit series “Game of Thrones.” And I’m a total fashionista, who is certain that heaven is a cross between a giant library and the Vogue accessories closet.
Education & Degrees
After graduating from the top ten of my high school class, I went on to obtain several degrees from the following elite universities.
Gouizuetta Business School
In 2002, I graduated with a Bachelor's in Business & Administration with a concentration in Communications, Marketing, & International Business from Emory University's Gouizuetta Business School with a near full merit scholarship from the Bank of America.
School of Law
In 2005, I graduated with a Juris Doctorate from the Emory University School of Law as a Willard DeWitt Scholar.
Kennedy School of Government
In 2020, I graduated with a Mid-Career Master's in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School where I was a John F. Kennedy Fellow on a full merit scholarship.
Recommendations & Reviews
Over the years, I’ve had the privilege to receive various accolades from colleagues and clients I admire greatly. Here are a few examples:
“She’s a tenacious attorney. She’s a clear thinker and advocated for her clients remarkably well.”
William S.J. Fraenkel
Senior Counsel at the New York City Law Department
“Ariella has the ability to combine intelligence, emotion, and depth into her writing. She has provided PUSHliving.com with many wonderful and well received articles.”
What Can I Do for You?
Creating justice through storytelling, legal advocacy, and policy development.
I’m a seasoned attorney, policy advisor, and communications specialist, who has provided legal counsel, policy guidance, and communications expertise internationally across the public, private and social sectors for over 15 years.
If you’re hoping to win an election, make policy change, or simply improve your brand, then I can help. With the right messaging, campaign tactics, and necessary skills, we can make change together!
I have advised political campaigns, government offices, foundations, NGOs, and private companies on how to achieve policy changes through litigation, strategic communications, targeted messaging, and leadership training.
Change requires meeting people where they are through the use of storytelling, data translation via infographics, and messaging that reaches the opposition, as preaching to the choir never achieves success.
Not everyone is a good communicator, let alone a good writer. If that describes you, don’t worry. I can help! I can create an individualized communication plan, policy analysis, or simply provide ghost writing services for purposes of obtaining earned media. If it’s public skills you lack, I can provide you with effective communication tactics, which I’ve developed over the years through oral arguments in court, lobbying members of Congress and motivational speaking.
If you’re interested in a consultation, please email me using the button to the right, and we can get started on building your plan for change!
Want to leave the world better than you found it? Send me an email, and we can get started on a campaign plan today!