Founder and President
Dawn Oates is a former marketing and communications professional and college writing instructor whose corporate work ended after her third child, Harper, suffered a catastrophic spinal cord injury at birth, leaving her with substantial mobility limitations.
Dawn founded The Play Brigade after she realized the challenges of finding opportunities for her entire family to engage in the community in fun and meaningful ways. Despite her children’s differences in ability, they all had a shared desire to have fun.
The Play Brigade is dedicated to creating opportunities for play, recreation, and sports, where everyone participates and belongs, regardless of age or ability. They create universal opportunities for fun that are inclusive, rather than “specialized,” raising the bar beyond ADA compliant. They create awareness of inclusion as a social problem, illustrating how individuals and entire communities benefit when every person has the opportunity to participate and belong.
Prior to founding The Play Brigade, Dawn worked at publishing, financial services, and law firms to develop marketing strategy and brand identity. She is a disability advocate, and a supporter and mentor of parents who have children with complex medical conditions. She served as a member of the Children's Hospital Boston NICU Family Advisory Council and serves on design review committees in partnership with the City of Boston and the Town of Brookline that explore playground redevelopment using inclusive, universal design concepts that go beyond minimum ADA accessibility standards.
Dawn received an M.F.A. in creative writing from Emerson College and a B.S. in public relations from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications.
Dawn is an ultra-marathoner, a Scrabble enthusiast, and a believer that everyone needs to have fun.
Randall Bird joins The Play Brigade after three decades in Student Affairs in Higher Education. His work included developing all aspects of a Residence Life Program, including hiring, training supervising, discipline and residential education. Randall combines his passions of inclusion and innovation with creative problem solving, making him uniquely qualified to be the Play Brigade’s Administrative Director.
Co-host of the radio broadcast/podcast of “It’s the Liquor Talking,” Randall is an internationally recognized expert and lecturer in brown spirits (whiskies and brandies). He is also a builder, fabricator and avid collector as well as an inventor with several patents. Randall received a B.S. from Cortland College in Management Science and completed a graduate business degree at Harvard University with a focus on Organizational Structure.
Shannon Majumdar brings her background in advertising and client services to The Play Brigade. She began her career in advertising at AT&T Advertising Interactive, where she worked with small businesses on their online presence and promotion. After five years in client services in the Medical IT Industry, Shannon returned to the advertising technology field when she joined DataPoint Media, where she handles all marketing efforts in addition to dabbling in client relations. Shannon is earning her M.B.A. in the Professional Evening Program at Boston University. She holds a B.A. from Roanoke College in Virginia.
Adaptive Recreation Manager
Greg Rudolph oversees the adaptive hiking and canoeing programs for The Play Brigade. He founded the Adaptive Hiking Team in 2013, a universal recreation non-profit which uses off-road chairs and harnesses to help people with disabilities to enjoy nature through hiking and canoeing. Since its inaugural outing in Hingham, MA, the Adaptive Hiking Team completed over 20 hikes, including several summits of Blue Hill. Greg will continue to manage the Adaptive Hiking Team as part of The Play Brigade's accessible recreation program. When he's not creating ways for everyone to experience fun outdoors, Greg dedicates himself to the mental health field. He attended the University of Vermont medical school as well as Tufts University and Brown University.
Social Media Contributor
Along with a passion for inclusivity, Susanna brings her background in marketing to The Play Brigade. She began her career in public relations for Lilly Pulitzer, where she launched the company’s first official corporate presence on Facebook. The Lilly Pulitzer Facebook page has over 1 million likes. Susanna has contributed to social media at a number of companies including Hordon Health and Comprehensive Psychiatric Resources. She focuses on lead generation in her current Director level role and also serves as the company’s Community Manager. Susanna recently completed a graduate level Strategic Brand Marketing course at Harvard University where she holds a B.A. in Psychology. She enjoys lacrosse, running, and yoga.