One Band One Sound – A Musical Path to Secure Your Brand’s Reputation

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By Kenton Clarke

Founder & Social Entrepreneur | Omnikal

A Unified Sound Develops a Lasting Memory

The topic on many corporate minds today and conversations inside corporate teams is one of brand reputation and brand rescue. The most recent examples of message confusion, message delusion and brand salvage have been seen in the form of national ad campaigns, employee communication and corporate leaders’ far-reaching statements. Diversity and Inclusion. These two words are the running theme for the examples mentioned.

I want to ask you to take a minute from this current important conversation-taking place and think about the sound or message you have heard that was the most unified. A sound correlates most easily to the best musical performance you have ever listened to. The end result of that magical work of art is typically the result of a group of talented musicians. The sound creating that feeling it invokes in yourself, whether it be emotion, joy or just beauty to your ears – was one sound coming from one band.

Now you may be asking yourself, what does this have to do with inclusion, branding, brand reputation, and overall company revenue?

There is a tremendous amount of news and activity regarding corporate policy on inclusion and diversity. A recent example involving Unilever’s multi-racial ad for Dove, created an uproar caused by inferences of cleanliness corresponding from darker to lighter skin. The video ad has caused a loss of brand loyalty and created a question in the minds of consumers across ethnic backgrounds. Apple, the Nation’s most valuable brand in the world, recently appeared in our news feed with a corporate executive in charge of instilling diversity and inclusion within the company, having to post an apology for statements made at an international business conference. In fact, you may be reading this with the responsibility of your own brand to manage, corporate message to be authentic and consistent, team to unify, revenue to be met or professional goal to incorporate inclusion in the realm of your own work responsibilities.

As the band now resides in your mind, we all know the sound comes from a combination of instruments, working together to form a renowned musical group, band or orchestra. Let’s take this analogy from band to corporation.

Those same individual contributors in that favorite musical performance that left you with that memorable impression are not dissimilar to the members of your own company you own, work for or buy products from.

“If your brand is to thrive in a competitive market, the enterprise must work in concert to identify, understand and create the behaviors across the corporation to drive repeatable, continuous and measurable inclusion initiatives.”

Be Count Basie

At the same time a unified band or corporation can often not – play or perform as one. The overconfident soloist, the communications department creating a disrupting branding message not corresponding to the company’s end goal are examples of a confusing sound and confusing message. This will result in a dissonance in brand reputation, have immediate impact on company revenue, and can create brand implosion. Such is the case of recent well-known brands  Google, PepsiCo, Unilever (Dove) and Apple whose recent employee statements and offensive ad campaigns have been nothing short of brand implosion and a PR nightmare.

In fact, let’s bring in a famous example of superior sound and a unified message. The Count Basie Orchestra was legendary in sound and recognized for the creation of famed artists under his direction. Count Basie was known for perfection of sound development with member orchestras of 20 or more and was an orchestra leader who developed legendary music still recognized as the foundation of orchestral perfection creating One Band One Sound.

Creating the Perfect Sound

There are key examples in today’s corporate America where the company functions as one with a unified message. I have highlighted HP in a prior post as a corporation who drives an Inclusion culture enterprise wide and demands that multi-culture is presented in national advertising. Just as the CMO, Antonio Lucio of HP faulted his own Advertising firms in failing to bring a multi-cultural team; corporations should follow this example with planning and seamless execution. Howard Schultz, CEO Starbucks is another great example of ensuring Diversity and Inclusion are driven throughout the entire enterprise.

It is imperative for brands to follow the role model of corporations like HP and Starbucks in using forethought, planning and professional guidance in creating a foundation of internal company inclusion and portraying that authentically to the public.

Just as the famous band highlighted here includes a unified group of performers, each company’s C-Suite team members must work together, share messaging plans, and highlight key initiatives through all branded national advertising and representation at any level.

Here at Omnikal, we have developed the Together We Are initiative to address these specific communication needs for large corporations and SMBs. This program provides strategic consulting, internal and external multi-media brand communications and overall company messaging to focus on aligning with the Inclusive Majority Market. Imagine the potential for your brand when your organization is transformed internally, in a way that extends through its leadership, workforce, customers, suppliers, community and stakeholders, creating an enduring, positive ripple effect.

One Band One Sound

-Kenton

OMNIKAL is the Nation’s largest, inclusive business organization, built to empower all entrepreneurs, and small to medium sized businesses through “a powerful social B2B platform” that fuels real growth & success.

What kind of questions should you ask at the end of a job interview?

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man sitting at a desk being interviewed by a man and womanfor a job

It’s a scenario many of us have found ourselves in. You’re nearing the end of a job interview and finally, you can begin to relax a little. Despite the nerves, you’ve come across well and answered all the questions confidently – and with a little bit of luck, you may just be offered the position.

Before you can run out of the room, however, the interviewer wants to know if you have any questions for them.

It might be tempting to say no, so you can leave as quickly as possible – but asking questions can be of huge benefit when it comes to interviewing for a job.

Firstly, it’s important to remember that interviews should always be considered a two-way street. Yes, the recruiter is interested in finding out if your skills and abilities are suited to the role in question. But a job interview is also a chance for you to work out if this is the right job for you – and if you are going to fit in well at the company.

“As candidates, we can often get caught up in the whole process, particularly as we try to remember the answers we’ve prepared but it’s equally as important to take time towards the end of the interview to ask your own questions,” says Row Davies, HR business manager at the recruitment firm Macildowie.

While you’re preparing for your interview and imagining the kind of questions you might be asked, it’s also useful to think about any queries you might have too. However, don’t ask an interviewer anything you can find out easily yourself, either online or on the company’s social media channels.

“It’s crucial for you to assess whether the company is the right fit for you, as just like any relationship, both need to benefit and feel comfortable with the partnership,” Davies says.

“Not only does the process allow you to show your enthusiasm for the company, asking questions also gives you the opportunity to check your goals and values are aligned with the business. You don’t want to be a year or more down the line and find that the company is heading in a direction that you don’t want to or perhaps can’t follow.”

So what kind of questions should you be asking as an interview candidate?

Davies believes there are three key questions that should be on every job applicant’s list.

“The first, is asking the interviewer ‘is there anything regarding my experience you would like me to expand upon?’. Not only does this show that you are engaged, it also provides you with the opportunity to further emphasise your strengths and how you believe these will be an asset to the company’s objectives,” she says.

The second is about learning and development – and specifically, whether the company is actively investing in their employees. After all, you want to know that you’re going to move forward in a job.

“Ask, ‘how do you support the professional development of your employees?’. Answers to this question will give you an insight into how the business will support you as you progress up the career ladder,” Davies says.

“It also shows the interviewer you have aspirations and a drive to succeed in the organization.”

Finally, it’s a good idea to find out more about the company’s environment and whether they look after their employees.

“I would encourage any of my candidates to ask the interviewer, ‘what do you like most about working for the company?’ This is great for building a personal connection with the interviewer, giving them the opportunity to share their personal views and the passion they have for the company,” Davies says.

Continue on to Yahoo News to read the complete article.

Top 5 Tips for Job Seekers with Disabilities

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man in wheelchair talking with hiring manager

By Adam Kaplan

Despite an unemployment rate nearly double that of their non-disabled peers, people with disabilities can look forward to a bright jobs future—provided that they approach their career activities the right way.

Both experienced job seekers as well as those new to the world of employment can follow these five tips, culled from our conversations with hundreds of disabled individuals and other job seekers searching for work over the past few years.

1 Dare to Dream

When we speak to candidates who tell us they want a job, the first thing we ask is, “doing what?” Know what you want and why you want it before hitting the job market: this is essential to your eventual success. Most individuals have enough self-awareness to know what work activities they enjoy performing, and these usually correlate with what they are actually good at. When skill and interest are combined they are usually also accompanied with passion, which a recruiting or hiring manager can plainly see.

2 Identify In-Demand Skills

While perfecting your skills is essential, knowing how they fit in the market for talent is also important. Demand for certain skills is always evolving—yet some are consistently in higher demand than others. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reveals that such diverse jobs as computer programmer, actuary, and market research analyst fit the bill. Matching your interest to those of talent managers can be the key to getting a good job.

3 Let Everyone Know!

The best way to find a job is through networking. Tell your friends, families and people you meet about the job you are seeking. Go to networking events. Promote your interests on social media.

4 Getting a Job Is a Job; Treat it as Such

Getting a good job is usually a marathon, not a sprint, especially for recent graduates and those who have been out of the job market for a while or are making a career change. Set aside certain hours for networking and research. Filling out applications is OK, too—just remember that answering help-wanted ads is usually the least effective way to find work. Use job boards to identify open positions, then network to identify the hiring manager.

5 Practice Makes Perfect

If you follow the first four tips correctly, you will have good leads to jobs that will lead to interviews. To have the best chance of translating those interviews into job offers, you need to practice, practice, practice. In fact, never go to a job interview without practicing beforehand. Ask the recruiter what to expect on interview day. Have someone you trust play the interviewer. Give him or her some questions to ask or have them ask their own. See where you can improve your answers. Use the practice interview to ace the real one, and get the job you want!

About the Author
Adam Kaplan founded Kaplan Executive Search, a retained executive search company.  He partners with CEOs of middle market and emerging growth companies to recruit top talent, including COOs (Integrators), CFOs and VPs of Sales.

Adam also has a personal passion for workforce diversity, especially in creating opportunities for talented professionals with hidden and visible disabilities.  He was appointed by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder to serve on the Michigan Council for Rehabilitation Services.

Meet Arthur Edge of GSK

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Arthur Edge is a biopharmaceutical Technology Manager at GSK and his challenge at the company is to strengthen GSK’s manufacturing processes and launch new products in the fight to cure Lupus.

He is proud to be a part of the team to gain approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the new self-injectable formulation of Benlysta (belimumab), which treats systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) in adult patients.

This became a really personal matter to him, when a close friend was diagnosed with Lupus.

For Arthur, recruiting and retaining a diverse team is important, especially in the pharmaceutical industry where there’s a lack of diversity.

Arthur Edge GSK headshot
Arthur Edge GSK-Glaxo Smith Kline

At GSK, he had the most productive and rewarding career experiences working on global teams where each individual is unique and their uniqueness is recognized.

He has a passion for learning and a desire to continuously improve. He believes he is bigger than his career, and his life is bigger than himself. GSK helps him to live this reality through its Modern Employer culture.

Arthur is active in leadership roles within the biotech community and in community service. He is the president of the Manufacturing, Engineering, & Technology advisory board for Maryland’s Montgomery County Public Schools, and he has leveraged GSK employee volunteers to work with him and support student success.

Finally, Arthur list three points of advice for young professionals: find an area of expertise and build a career platform around that area; be mentored and be a mentor; and work on problems that interest you.

Friendship Over Business’: Coffee Shop Owner Helps Competitor Stay Open During Hospice Treatment

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coffee shop owner is pouring a cup of coffee alongside competitor

OAK GROVE, Ore. – After the owner of an Oak Grove coffee shop was diagnosed with terminal cancer, his cross-town competitor is stepping in to help cover his medical expenses.

Dave McAdams runs The Local Coffee Company with his wife, Tina McAdams. He’s currently in hospice care with a terminal cancer diagnosis.

December marks the couple’s first full year of business in the parking lot outside of The Bomber, just off of SE McLoughlin Boulevard.

Sadly, Dave will be celebrating the occasion from hospice care.

“He was diagnosed with cancer for the third time– this time unfortunately was in operable. Unfortunately, he’ll be leaving in a few weeks,” said Tina McAdams.

Dave’s a Rotarian, is involved with a non-profit, and coaches youth baseball. He’s a well-known and well-loved member of the community.

In an incredible act of kindness, the owner of Moonlight CoffeeCoffee shop owner and his wife are pictured smiling next to their drive thru coffee shop stepped away from her own business to help the McAdams family keep their stand open.

“It’s supposed to be friendship over business, community over competition,” said Pixie Adams of Moonlight Coffee.

She is working at the stand with Tina – for free – to help them cover medical bills and expenses.

“I am here supporting them trying to generate attention for their business,” she continued, “to help make sure that after Dave is gone, they still have the ability to keep the coffee place open.”

Continue on to KATU to read the complete article.

With ‘Drama,’ Victoria Canal Could Raise Bar For Disabled Artists In Pop Music

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Victoria Canal is on stage singing in to mic with a male guitarist by her side

The ever-evolving entertainment industry can be daunting for any young, up-and-coming artist in pursuit of creative fulfillment. For her new song and music video, however, Victoria Canal found herself looking inward to address the most formidable obstacle of all: herself.

HuffPost got an exclusive first look at “Drama,” viewable above. In the video, Canal plays both a “light” and “dark” version of herself. Each persona, she said, “casts a different energy and puts out a different reality into the world.”

“The concept came about as I was starting to enter the music industry space more and really putting myself on display more than ever before,” said the Spanish American singer-songwriter, who is based in Los Angeles. “I sat down to write a song about the inner voice in my head, the self-critic who tries to make me feel small and tries to make me feel like anything other than what I know is my highest self. I wanted to really brush off that voice.”

Canal is hopeful that the self-empowering message of “Drama” will encourage all listeners to “embrace the best version” of themselves. The song also speaks to the 21-year-old’s personal experiences as a bisexual woman who was born without her right forearm.

The singer-songwriter ― who lived in Germany, China, Japan, Dubai and Spain before settling in the U.S. ― said her global upbringing has influenced her music as much as her disability and sexuality have. At the same time, she’s also conscious of the fact that mainstream pop has been slow to spotlight both LGBTQ artists and artists with disabilities.

“I’ve always seen [my identity] as a unique opportunity, really,” Canal said. “I used to shy away from the word [‘disabled’] and all the things it implied. But as I’ve grown up and lived a few more years, I’ve met a community of people who embody strength. ‘Disabled,’ to me, actually has a totally different connotation. To me, it means strong or resilient, determined, hopeful.”

Continue on to Huffington Post to read the complete article.

Bank Began Hiring People With Disabilities 20 Years Ago, And It Paid Off

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Patricia Saucier is seated at her desk at Bank of America

When Patricia Saucier was a teenager, she felt as if her life story would be defined by what she could not do.As a child, she was diagnosed with an intellectual disability. By the time she was 16, her parents signed her up to receive Supplemental Security Income from the government. They wanted to make sure she would be financially OK, but it made her feel different — and not in a good way. (Pictured: Patricia Saucier)

“I felt like they were saying I couldn’t do anything,” she said. But Saucier, now 43 and living in Searsport, has found a way to rewrite her story. For 20 years, she and her twin sister, Latricia, have worked for Bank of America’s 48-person Support Services team in Belfast. Nearly 40 of the team members have an intellectual disability — the others are managers — and both sisters have thrived there. They are paid well, get along with their coworkers and like the work. Patricia Saucier was even named employee of the quarter this year.

“I love working here. Even though each of us has intellectual disabilities, the managers never talk down to us. They talk to us. They know we’re adults — we just learn differently,” Saucier said. “I wish there were more jobs like this out there.”

The idea for the Support Services team began 30 years ago in Delaware. That’s when Charles Cawley, the founder of credit card giant MBNA, learned that one of his managers was concerned about the future of his son, who had a disability.

“Mr. Cawley said, ‘Don’t worry about it,’” and started the program, Brian Bragg, the head of Support Services in Belfast, said. There was a need. According to Special Olympics, approximately 6.5 million Americans have an intellectual disability, such as autism, Down syndrome or limited intellectual capacity. Most such adults are unemployed or underemployed, with about a third working full time, according to a 2014 survey by the sports organization. But the study also showed that people with disabilities can stick with competitive jobs.

Continue on to Bangor Daily News to read the complete article.

Making a Difference and Influence through Diverse Abilities at TIAA

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TIAA employees pose for a group photo in an office setting

This October, TIAA employees celebrated National Disability Employment Awareness Month by giving back to the community and candidly sharing the triumphs and challenges of living with disabilities and helping those with disabilities.

TIAA’s Diverse Abilities Business Resource Group (BRG), formed for associates with disabilities and caregivers of those with disabilities, held multiple events companywide in honor of Disability Employment Awareness Month, to grow awareness and support of diverse abilities and how it affects colleagues and people in the community. The events educated TIAA employees on diverse abilities and how to be more inclusive to everyone.

One of the events included a visit from Hendrick Motorsports’ Richie Parker, who shared his unique story of overcoming obstacles and facing adversity. Richie Parker was born with bilateral amelia, a non-genetic birth defect in which limbs are not formed. He is a renowned speaker on overcoming adversity, and has been profiled by ESPN. Parker is the contributor to six NASCAR Sprint Cup championships, and currently serves as a chief engineer of government and military projects.

TIAA is also passionate about making a difference in local communities, and additionally in recognition of Disability Awareness Month, the Diverse Abilities BRG and TIAA’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) team partnered to facilitate a community service project with seven local offices. The teams assembled sensory kits for children with autism and other similar developmental disorders. The Diverse Abilities BRG office chapters came together via video conference in offices to pack sensory kits that included ‘squeezy’ and fidgety type toys and kinetic sand designed to calm children.

“We’ve had a need for things like this particularly in the eastern part of North Carolina these past few years due to hurricanes,” said Jessica Otto from the Autism Society of North Carolina. “As you can imagine, it’s very traumatic for a person with autism to deal with the power going out.  These kits will be a comfort for lots of kiddos!”

TIAA’s Diverse Abilities BRG virtual coast to coast event began with a Kinetic Sand Packing Race, where each site selected two members to pack the small bags of kinetic sand the fastest. In total, they packed 50 small bags of kinetic sand.  In Jacksonville, the Diverse Abilities BRG and TIAA Bank employees brought the effort full circle by volunteering at the Mount Herman Exceptional Student Center to hand out the sensory kits to the students, and helped with other tasks at the center. TIAA employees from Charlotte, Dallas, Denver, Iselin, Jacksonville, New York and Waltham packed over 930 kits for four local nonprofits that support and help with autism.

TIAA values and practices diversity and inclusion, as well as philanthropy and giving back. Providing numerous opportunities for employees and their families to learn, share, and help those with diverse abilities advances inclusiveness in the workplace and in communities.

Lyft is Giving Free Rides to People On Their Way to Job Interviews and Training

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pink Lyft logo pictured in an iPhone

Affordable transportation can be a huge obstacle for low-income workers pursuing new employment—which is why Lyft is now offering free and discounted rides to passengers who are starting at new jobs.

The company’s newly-launched Jobs Access Program will help to facilitate free transportation for unemployed people who are attending job interviews, job training, or their first three weeks of work prior to receiving their first pay check.

“Everyone needs access to reliable, affordable transportation—to get to work, visit the doctor, make it to school, or simply participate in city life,” the company wrote in a blog post. “In fact, a recent study pinpoints commuting time as the single strongest factor in the odds of escaping poverty. Our own study shows that 44% of Lyft rides start or end in low income areas, and that our passengers saved 178 million hours compared to other transportation modes.

“So we’ve partnered with several leading national and local organizations dedicated to workforce development in order to deliver free or discounted rides to people making their way through the employment pipeline.”

With the help of various nonprofit partners, the $50 million program is launching in more than 35 US and Canadian cities.

The program will also pay particular attention to vulnerable populations such as veterans and people with disabilities.

One of Lyft’s program partners is the National Down Syndrome Society. According to Ashley Helsing, NDSS’ Director of Government Relations: “There are roughly two million people living with disabilities in the United States. Of those two million, nearly 30 percent, or 560,000 people, are unable to leave their home because of transportation barriers.

Continue on to the Good News Network to read the complete article.

Verizon: Changing the Way People with Disabilities are Viewed

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Verizon's collage of updated images that show way people with disabilities are viewed

By Jaeson “Doc” Parsons

Verizon has created an employee resource group (ERG) that utilizes diverse perspectives to put out products that are critically needed in our world today and tomorrow.

DIVERSEability Magazine recently spoke with Verizon at the CSUN Conference in Anaheim regarding one of the products created by their ERG that has already begun to dramatically change the way the world sees the disability community.

For years, the disability community has been asking for a more realistic representation of images featuring individuals with disabilities. But now the wait is over. Verizon, in partnership with Getty Images and the National Disability Leadership Alliance, has created a solution—Disability Collection.

Over the years, Verizon puts out a tremendous amount of media, and when they tried to present people with disabilities using photos from stock image libraries, they had difficulty finding images and especially finding images that portray individuals with disabilities accurately.

“Any time we tried to find an image of someone with a disability, it would either be a pitiful image or a heroic image, neither of them really reflecting reality”, said Larry Goldberg, the senior director of media accessibility at Verizon.

Goldberg said he himself has a hearing loss and his career started with closed captioning on TV, “so this is my community. Currently, I am part of a great team at Verizon — a group within Verizon called Verizon Media — which is all about content and apps and how to make them accessible for people with disabilities,” he added.

Margaux Joffee, Verizon’s associate director of accessibility, went to Getty Images, one of the largest stock image libraries in the world, to jumpstart this solution. But first, she approached the National Disability Leadership Alliance to ensure that people with disabilities had a strong voice in how they are being represented. This led to the joint creation of the first ever guidelines for photographers on how to accurately represent people with disabilities in photography. Those guidelines have now been distributed to over 250,000 Getty Images photographers worldwide, resulting in set of truly accurate, diverse and dignified images.

“Getty Images, the National Disability Leadership Alliance and Verizon has put out this amazing collection of images. It has touched everyone in disability leadership groups, but also inside Verizon,” Joffe said. “When we launched this project in D.C., the disability community loved this, but what was really cool was that Verizon’s staff and executives fell in love with the project too because it was tangible and real. “The new Disability Collection is a culmination of the efforts of companies like Verizon who are focused on portraying people with disabilities by breaking through stereotypical images, and providing a more realistic picture of this community.

The development of this image library will continue to change how the world views the disability community, and will challenge other companies to follow suit in the future. Learn more about the Disability Collection and how to view and download the images at DisabilityCollection.com

How to Build on Being a Disability-Owned Business

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Andy is pictured sitting in his wheelchair happily smiling

By Andrew Houghton

When I was 20 years old, I experienced a life altering motorcycle accident, which resulted in paraplegia and the need to use a wheelchair for mobility. In the years that followed, I struggled with my disability until being introduced to adaptive sports and recreation. Adaptive sports helped me to regain my self-confidence and created an opportunity to “pay it forward.”

Motivating others via public speaking engagements became a daily endeavor. My efforts were featured in numerous newspaper and magazine articles and, as a result, I was invited to help produce a series of short video segments on adaptive sports and lifestyle. This quickly blossomed into the start of a new venture, Disability Inclusion Solutions, for clients seeking high quality, accessible multimedia production.

Years later, in order to expand my opportunities and have access to greater resources, I became a certified Disability-Owned Business Enterprise (DOBE) through Disability:IN, the leading national third-party certifier of disability-owned business enterprises.

Being a DOBE has created opportunities for direct dialogue with corporations interested in forming diverse supply chains, resulting in some fantastic professional relationships.

But while DOBE certification may open the door to supplier diversity channels, having core capabilities, scalability and established relationships is what lands contracts. Being a small business, I quickly realized the importance of collaborating with other small businesses, both to enhance my capabilities and to develop innovative services and products that meet the demands of prospective global customers.

For example, in 2013, I recognized an opportunity to expand our offerings and began the development of an enterprise-wide e-learning software solution to ensure employers at every level have the knowledge required to effectively communicate, interview, hire, accommodate, and engage with people with disabilities. The goal was to create a series of 15-minute disability inclusion modules that we could license to customers,

But after nearly three years of research and development, I realized we needed to expand our capabilities in order to offer the highest quality product to the broadest possible audience. Our ideal partner would have a strong brand with extensive reach across the corporate landscape and expertise in digital accessibility so our product would meet prevailing accessibility standards.

Fortunately, I knew another certified DOBE—longtime friend and colleague, Joyce Bender, founder and CEO of Bender Consulting Services, Inc.—who became our partner. In 2016, Disability Inclusion Solutions joined together with Bender Consulting Services to develop iDisability™, an enterprise-wide e-learning solution. iDisability™ provides 15-minute fully accessible vignettes that can be viewed across multiple devices, including laptops, tablets and smartphones. It’s very gratifying to be able to say that our partnership has already benefitted nearly 2.5 million users across a variety of professional industries.

The business case for employing people with disabilities has never been stronger, thanks in part to recent research by Accenture, in partnership with Disability:IN and the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), that reaffirms the fact that companies benefit when they prioritize strategies that embrace disability inclusion.

I never imagined during the fragile aftermath of my accident that I would one day embrace my disability, have a family and be a small business owner. Building Disability Inclusion Solutions and partnering with other DOBEs allows me to advance disability inclusion, equality and belonging—all while growing the bottom line in my business.