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Getting to Know New Amputee Coalition Staff

By Whitney Doyle, Director of Government Relations & Advocacy

Kristin Mello Headshot

Photo of Kristin Mello, Peer Support Coordinator

The Amputee Coalition recently welcomed two new members to the team: Kristin Mello, Peer Support Coordinator, and Olivia Keller, Public Policy Manager. To welcome Olivia and Kristin to the Amputee Coalition community, I asked them to share a little bit about themselves with our inMotion readers.


Whitney: Welcome to the team! I want to start with a fun, easy question. Olivia, this first question is for you, what’s your favorite book and why is it special to you?

Olivia: My favorite book of all time is Alice in Wonderland. Partly due to nostalgia, my grandmother and I used to read it together when I was kid, but I also relate to Alice’s journey of self-discovery. She exists in a world where she feels unseen and unheard. Along the way she rejects the plans and life others have mapped out for her and decides to walk her own path. I think a lot of us within the disability community have experienced this journey of navigating spaces where we don’t fit. We’re either invisible or hyper visible and sometimes both at the same time. We’re expected to navigate the path our parents and professionals have laid out for us instead of finding our own path and journey.

Whitney: I love that comparison! Now, Kristin, what are you most excited about in your new role?

Kristin: I am excited to help connect Certified Peer Visitors to those who reach out in need of insight and support. As a member of the limb loss community myself, being able to interact with those who have lived experience and who are now willing to volunteer their time to have an impact on new members to the limb loss community is special.

Whitney: We have many incredible volunteers working with us and I’m looking forward to you meeting them. Olivia, what’s something new you learned about the Amputee Coalition that you didn’t know before working here?

Olivia headshot

Photo of Olivia Keller, Public Policy Manager

Olivia: I actually didn’t know much about the Amputee Coalition before I started researching to see if this was an organization where I’d want to work. I think I’ve been most surprised to learn about the youth camp. I wish something like this existed when I was growing up!

Whitney: I can imagine you aren’t alone there! As someone who was born with limb difference, I am right there with you, to have so many activities and opportunities to connect with peers is valuable at every age, perhaps most as youth. Can you both tell us a fun fact about yourselves?

Olivia: I am adventurous and like trying new things. I have been tandem ziplining in Costa Rica, gone swimming with dolphins in Mexico, snorkeling with sea turtles in Puerto Rico, and went skydiving for my birthday a few years ago.

Kristin: My current bucket list is to visit all 63 US National Parks, and since 2021 I’ve visited 23 parks.

Whitney: Wow! That’s incredible! Sounds like you are both adventurers. Olivia, what is something you are most proud of in your career?

Olivia: I think what I’m most proud of is that I have drafted bill and amendment language that is now part of Florida state statute. It’s a good feeling to know that your work product is a part of state law.

Whitney: Agreed. I think it can be very humbling as well as awe inspiring. Kristin, what about you?

Kristin: Regardless of the position or job I’ve had, I’m most proud of the relationships I’ve built with my colleagues and the connections I’ve made with those that I’ve been able to interact with and assist.

Whitney: That’s wonderful. Relationships are tremendously important. Here’s my last question for you two. Have you ever attended an Amputee Coalition National Conference before?

Kristin: My first conference was in Tucson back in 2018, and I’ve been every year since—although it was a challenge to juggle a busy work schedule and the virtual sessions of conference during the pandemic.

Olivia: I have not. The 2024 ACNC will be my first and I’m super excited!

Kristin’s background:

Kristin Mello was born and raised in California. She recently moved to Texas to be closer to her family. Growing up, she was active in sports and enjoyed letting her competitive nature run free—especially when it came to tennis.  After 7 years of hand issues, and 6 surgeries to make things better, she was finally diagnosed with Epithelioid Sarcoma and because of that diagnosis Kristin had a below elbow amputation in hopes to prevent spread and to save her life. Since 2016, Kristin has been cancer free and has actively been involved in both the limb loss and sarcoma communities.

Olivia’s background:

Prior to joining the Amputee Coalition, Olivia Keller was the Senior Public Policy Analyst at Disability Rights Florida where she worked with the rest of the Public Policy team to track and analyze the impact of relevant state and federal legislation on people with disabilities and helped set Disability Rights Florida’s legislative priorities. Being born with a physical disability herself, she previously assisted others with disabilities acquire independent living skills as the Peer Mentor at the Suncoast Center for Independent Living. Olivia was also a candidate for the Florida Senate in 2018 and is working towards her Master’s in Disability Studies through the City University of New York.