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As D&I professionals and people who care about this space, we can’t afford to let our knowledge grow stale. Here are some key insights from my disability inclusion experience, and ways you can ensure the 56 million Americans who live with a disability are seen as real assets to their employers.

#1

Inclusion for people with disabilities benefits all of us. Find ways to get involved in and out of the office.

Just this month, I participated in a Northern Trust Bank Disability Inclusion event, featuring the Hadley Institute for the Blind. The very same day, I was invited to a private reception with Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, who announced a partnership with Chicago to make the city more accessible for people with disabilities.

You can find opportunities to get involved and learn more through Disability:IN.


#2

Working with people with disabilities can be a learning experience, but is never a charitable contribution.

Read more about Getting Yourself Closer to Disability Inclusion.


#3

Ensure disability inclusion is as prominent in your D&I Strategy as gender, race, sexual orientation, and other dimensions of diversity. But remember, disability itself is a diverse field. 

Disability inclusion often takes a backseat in the broader diversity conversation. Working with people with disabilities forced me to check the social and cultural baggage I was carrying—my assumptions, my stereotypes, and let’s be honest, my anxieties. But it would be a mistake for me to think that just because I had better insight into one person’s disability, that I now know about all disabilities. Inclusion in this field is a constant learning process, and an eye-opening experience.


In the months that follow, I encourage everyone to embrace this year’s theme for Disability Employment Awareness Month – “Empowering All” – by making your workplaces fully accessible and inclusive.