The Communication Service for the Deaf’s Social Venture Fund wants to support companies that create work opportunities for people who are deaf or hard of hearing
Melody Stein and her husband Russ co-own and operate Mozzeria, a wood-fired Neapolitan-style pizza restaurant in San Francisco’s Mission District. Since opening in late 2011, the place has become a critical darling with additional catering, delivery, and food truck services.
Also, the Steins and all of their 15 or so employees are deaf. The sad truth is that makes their operation very unique. More than 70% of deaf Americans have trouble gaining full-time employment. So in December 2017, Mozzeria secured backing from a new kind of investor to start franchising.
The company became the first of what are now three deaf-owned and deaf-run companies to earn investment and business support from the Communication Service for the Deaf’s new social venture fund–it’s called CSD SVF, for short. The CSD Social Venture Fund is a multi-million-dollar reserve that CSD will use to fund three to four companies a year, part of its effort to create more work opportunities for people who are deaf or hard of hearing
CSD and Mozzeria won’t specify the exact terms of the investment because it’s more complex than a standard franchise deal. Part of the challenge is to figure out together what exactly it takes to scale these businesses.
For instance, it took the Steins two years to open their initial restaurant because they had to navigate all of the classic financial, operational, and legal hurdles that entrepreneurs who aren’t deaf face, along with the built-in communication barrier. For example, once a city health inspector showed up during a remodel without a sign-language interpreter and continued to look around for someone who could understand him. “It was a much longer road for us to arrive at opening the business because those resources just were nonexistent,” Melody Stein tells Fast Company in sign language, which is relayed through an interpreter on a video conference call.
CSD has since backed two more companies. One is DeafTax.com, an online tax preparation service that works through videophone-based sign language and email. The owners plan to expand their deaf-owned bookkeeping services and develop a mobile app to more easily reach clients, among other things. The other is reFort, a Washington, D.C.-based startup that reduces waste by reclaiming and refurbishing what college students throw out on moving days. That company then resells the wares to other kids on campus. It’s an early stage company that needs capital and counsel to refine its concept and business model.
For CSD, this is part of an evolving social mission. The nonprofit started in 1975, and may be best known for pioneering and popularizing things like TV closed captioning, as well as numerous telecommunications and video-based remote interpretation services. At the same time, as the group makes clear in a mission statement, it has continued to expand job placement and training classes, as well as adult education services, and crucial safety nets like domestic violence support.
“We recognized that communication access by itself wasn’t going to be the solution to the ultimate goal of creating a world where there are no barriers, where everything is possible for people who are deaf,” says CEO Christopher Soukup while on the same video call as Stein. “I think that the challenge for many in the community is that they don’t know what they don’t know. [That includes] the basic fundamentals of what goes into a business, and for a lot of those fundamentals there really aren’t resources out there that are accessible for the deaf community.”
You know enough to regularly update you resume—so if you find a job posting you’re interested in, you’re halfway through the application process.The other half, of course, is your cover letter. If you have some time and are just rusty, you can make a game plan to write a draft, then take a break, and come back to it with fresh eyes.
But if you see the deadline to apply is just 30 minutes away, you don’t have any time to spare. Here’s how to write a cover letter that will bolster your application—in just half an hour. (And if you need to revamp your resume or prep for interview in the same amount time, look here and here.)
Minutes 1 Through 10: Write Down Your Main Points
Maybe it’s just me, but I often struggle the most on the opening line of a cover letter. I know I shouldn’t lead with “My name is…,” and I want something that’ll grab the hiring manager’s attention. But my quest for the perfect beginning can lead me to spend 15 minutes (or more) typing and deleting the same line over and over. (And at that rate, my 30-minute cover letter would be all of two sentences.)
So, skip the intro if need be, and just start writing about why you’re a great fit for the open position. Don’t stress about the very best way to phrase your current responsibilities. Just write down your main points.
Need a prompt? Answer these questions: What do you find most exciting (or interesting) about the position? What relevant experience do you have? What would you bring to the role (and/or company) that’s unique to you?
Definitely make sure to have your resume and the job description open or printed out next to you. That way you can glance over at both and make sure you’re highlighting the right experience.
Minutes 10 Through 20: Add in Examples
OK, so you’ve written out all of reasons why you’re perfect for the job. Now it’s time to make sure you’re on the same page as the hiring manager. How so? Go back to that job description.
Re-read what the position calls for. Did you mention the experience and skills they’ll be screening for? To connect the dots in a way that’s clear—but wouldn’t be confused with a laundry list—add in an example or two.
If the job calls for people skills, swap out the line that reads, “I have excellent people skills” with a line that explains how in previous roles you’ve managed relationships with board members, which taught you about working with opinionated stakeholders. Does the position call for someone with sales experience? An anecdote about how you’ve been in sales since you set up your first lemonade stand when you were seven years old is memorable.
Microsoft, Bank of America and CVS are just a few big companies that profit from their proactive employment practices.
For years, companies have maintained low expectations about hiring people with disabilities. Most of these companies believed that employees with disabilities could not perform well in the workplace and that actively hiring them would drag company performance and profits down.
Thankfully, over time, many employers have come to understand that these perceptions are untrue. And new research strongly suggests that the opposite — that hiring people with disabilities is good for business.
A recent study has shown, for the first time, that companies that championed people with disabilities actually outperformed others — driving profitability and shareholder returns. Revenues were 28 percent higher, net income 200 percent higher, and profit margins 30 percent higher. Companies that improved internal practices for disability inclusion were also four times more likely to see higher total shareholder returns.
These findings, presented in a report from Accenture, in partnership with Disability: IN and the American Association of People with Disabilities, give companies a new reason to hire people with disabilities. The results are based on an analysis of the financial performance of 140 companies that averaged annual revenues of $43 billion and participated in the Disability Equality Index, an annual benchmarking tool that objectively rates company disability policies and practices.
What exactly are these exemplary companies doing?
Well, Bank of America brought together 300 people with intellectual disabilities to create a support services team to manage fulfillment services and external client engagement. Microsoft built a successful disability hiring program specifically for people on the autism spectrum. The program, designed to attract talent, is a multiday, hands-on academy that gives candidates an opportunity to meet hiring managers and learn about the company as an employer of choice. And CVS Health refocused its training programs to capitalize on characteristics — creativity, problem-solving ability and loyalty — that people with disabilities often demonstrate.
The new research identifies five common denominators among such organizations. First, they hire people with disabilities, ensuring that they’re represented in the workplace. Second, they carry out practices that encourage and advance those employees. Third, they provide accessible tools and technologies, paired with a formal accommodations program. Fourth, they generate awareness through recruitment efforts, disability education programs and grass-roots-led initiatives. Fifth, they create empowering environments through mentoring and coaching initiatives.
Employers are hiring more employees with disabilities — and for good reason. These workers are crucial to winning the war on talent since they can be highly skilled — and too often overlooked. Adding people with different experiences to a team can also have a positive impact on a company’s culture, and thus ultimately on its bottom line.
Some companies may already employ a number of workers with disabilities and not realize it. Joe Nuzzo, vice president-counsel of worldwide sales and marketing at ADP, believes organizations should understand that the concept of disabilities, as recognized by the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), comprises a wide range of conditions. These include physical disabilities, chronic illnesses, invisible disabilities, mental illnesses, cognitive disabilities, blindness and deafness.
The ADA covers an estimated 54 million Americans, Nuzzo said, citing the latest industry statistics.
“Almost any American at some point in their life may experience a condition that qualifies as a disability,” he said.
Yet disabled employees are often afraid to disclose their conditions. They can struggle to get proper accommodations and can face discrimination from colleagues. That in turn can lead to problems integrating into the workplace and lead to higher turnover.
How can organizations recruit and retain disabled employees and ensure that their workplaces are welcoming and safe environments? Here are four ways to become a top choice for workers with disabilities:
Know and follow the ADA and other disability rights legislation
The ADA protects employees with disabilities from discrimination in the workplace, so it’s crucial that organizations understand their obligations under the act.
But the ADA is not the only law your organization might need to follow.
“Most states have similar anti-discrimination laws that protect individuals with disabilities,” Nuzzo said. “Some have tighter requirements.”
When it comes to accessibility, it’s important to think broadly about what it means for your organization. Not having a wheelchair-access ramp is an obvious barrier, Nuzzo said, but an organization might be excluding or disadvantaging disabled people in unintended ways.
“Is your hiring process accessible to everybody, even to those applicants who might have hearing or vision impairments?” Nuzzo said.
Whenever an employee indicates a health need or discloses a disability, the ADA triggers obligations.
“Once an employee identifies that they have a disability and might need an accommodation, the employer needs to have that individualized discussion with them,” Nuzzo said. “You have to make sure that you fully understand their needs and fully explore possible solutions.”
There can be significant consequences for discriminating against employees with disabilities, who may sue organizations that violate the law.
Proactively recruit employees with disabilities
Given the sheer number of workers with disabilities and the current low unemployment rate, organizations not actively recruiting this group are more likely to struggle when it comes to hiring qualified people.
“If you’re not reaching out and connecting with that portion of the population,” Nuzzo said, “then you’re really limiting your reach.”
He suggests sending employment listings to job listservs that target the disability community and ensuring the descriptions are written in a way that appeals to people with disabilities. Offering flexible hours or the ability to telecommute can be particularly attractive.
“I think the companies that do a great job of employing individuals with disabilities find an employee population that is incredibly determined, has much higher employee retention than their peers, and has an innate ability to innovate and problem solve,” Nuzzo said.
Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.
Resumes get a bad rap. We write them begrudgingly, usually during periods of transition, or tumult. We fiddle with phrasing and format, agonizing over how to craft our qualifications into the best resume possible. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
For smart job seekers, resumes are an opportunity — to make a case for their candidacy, to get the salary they’ve earned, and to convince any hiring manager she would be crazy not to hire them.
Yahoo MONEY teamed up with Dana Leavy-Detrick, founder of Brooklyn Resume Studio, to help you become one of those job seekers. Here’s how to write the perfect resume — and a free resume template that you can download and use for your next job interview.
When it comes to resume format and design, opt for a clean layout. A recent study from the job site Ladders found that resumes with so-called F-pattern and E-pattern layouts, which mimic how our eyes tend to scan web pages, hold a recruiter’s attention for longer than those aligned down the center, or from right to left.
There is no one specific “best” font for resumes. You should use the same font style throughout, Leavy-Detrick says, but play with different weights and sizes to draw a recruiter’s eye to key parts of your resume. Sans serif fonts usually work best — Franklin Gothic, Calibri, and Avenir (the last of which we used for the attached template) are three of Leavy-Detrick’s favorites.
 Make Your Resume Stand Out
If you’re applying for an investment banking job, a hot-pink resume probably won’t do you any favors. But subtle pops of color, like the orange used here, will work for just about everyone.
“It’s very minimal, and gives a bit of a design element,” Leavy-Detrick says.
If you do use color, “Use it sparingly,” she warns. “Stick to one color, and one color that’s going to print well.”
 Add a Skills Section in Your Resume
Lead with the good stuff. The top of your resume should include “critical keywords and a quick snapshot of your core strengths,” Leavy-Detrick says.
Hard skills, tangible attributes that can easily be measured, take precedence here, so highlight them accordingly. If you’re in a tech-driven field, software and programming expertise is what employers want to see on your resume. If you’re in a creative industry, design and communication skills might be your best bet.
 Make a Resume That Shows Impact
To prove you’re worth a hiring manager’s time, highlight recent examples of what you bring to the table. Statistics that build upon your skills section are most impactful — bonus points if they show a track record of growth, revenue, and profitability, Leavy-Detrick says.
If you’re drawing a blank, she suggests adding resume skills that can help solve a “problem area” for the company you’re applying to.
“Impact doesn’t always have to be measured by metrics,” she says. “Cultural improvements, special projects, customer growth … anything that showed success can work.”
 What to Leave Off a Resume
Be discerning with the content—don’t list salary requirements, use tables or columns, or tick off every job you’ve ever had. The same goes for social media profiles. Unless your Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook feeds are relevant to the job you’re applying for, it’s probably best to leave those off your resume.
“Only include them if they add value in some way,” Leavy-Detrick says. “If you have zero followers, you may not want to advertise that.”
Continue on to Yahoo MONEY to read the complete article.
Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) has received the highest ranking for the fourth year in a row on the Disability Equality Index (DEI), and it received the Employer of the Year: Inspire Award, recognizing the company for its exemplary policies, strategies and initiatives that have resulted in measureable results in the areas of disability inclusiveness in the workplace, marketplace and supply chain.
The DEI is an initiative between the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) and Disability:IN (formerly the US Business Leadership Network), jointly designed by disability advocates and business leaders and it is a trusted, comprehensive benchmarking tool for disability inclusion. The Index measures key performance indicators across organizational culture, leadership, accessibility, employment, community engagement, support services and supplier diversity.
Northrop Grumman received the Employer of the Year: Inspire Award for being a top employer for advancing its disability inclusion journey and strategies and practices that have produced measurable success in many areas. The award recognized the leadership of Wes Bush, Northrop Grumman chairman and chief executive officer and the company’s self-identification campaign launched in 2014, the centralized workplace accommodations online request portal and the case management system program started in 2015.
In the 2017 DEI ranking, the company’s Victory Over Impairment and Challenge Enterprise (VOICE) employee resource group was recognized with a Disability:IN leadership award as the program which most exemplifies strategies and initiatives that have resulted in measurable results in the area of disability inclusion in the workplace. Northrop Grumman’s VOICE organization strives to develop a sense of community and empowerment among individuals with disabilities (both apparent and non-apparent), advocates and employees with family members with a disability.
“We are very pleased with our progress on disability inclusion and the success of our programs,” said Sandra Evers-Manly, Northrop Grumman’s vice president of global corporate responsibility, and president of the Northrop Grumman Foundation. “Our senior leadership commitment and the involvement of our employees have helped us to create a work environment that values diversity and inclusion and employees with disabilities are an important component of our diverse population.”
Northrop Grumman actively seeks to attract and retain employees of all abilities because of the value they bring to the workplace. Some initiatives include an online accommodation tool for requests and case tracking; increased accessibility of our website, including the careers section; expanded accessibility at our locations; and adoption of a more focused approach for posting job requisitions with disability related job boards.
Additionally, Northrop Grumman’s Operation IMPACT (Injured Military Pursuing Assisted Career Transition) program, which was created in 2005, provides personalized placement assistance, community outreach and workplace accommodations for severely injured service members transitioning to civilian employment. In 2009 Northrop Grumman established the Operation IMPACT Network of Champions, a group of more than 110 companies and partners that share job candidates, best practices and create wider opportunities for veterans with disabilities.
Third year in a row Northrop Grumman has been recognized by the National Organization on Disability (NOD) for its exemplary disability hiring and employment practices
Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) has been named a 2018 National Organization on Disability Leading Disability Employer™ for its leadership in disability hiring and its commitment to building a disability inclusive workforce.
NOD Leading Disability Employers are chosen based on data furnished by the companies in response to the NOD Disability Employment Tracker™, a confidential assessment that benchmarks companies’ disability inclusion programs for climate and culture; people practices; talent sourcing; workplace and technology; and strategy and metrics. Results from the tracker are prioritized based on historic disability employment outcomes and percentage of people with disabilities in their workforce.
“Technology companies succeed or fail based on the intellectual capital we recruit and retain,” said Wes Bush, chairman and chief executive officer, Northrop Grumman. “Individuals with disabilities comprise a resource of incredible value and they add an important aspect to the diversity of the global workforce. It is vital for the business community to understand the extraordinary value of this talent pool.”
In August, Northrop Grumman received the highest ranking for the fourth year in a row on the Disability Equality Index, a ranking produced by the American Association of People with Disabilities and Disability:IN. The company also received their Employer of the Year award for significant policies, strategies and initiatives that have resulted in measureable results in disability inclusiveness in the workplace.
“Northrop Grumman actively seeks to attract and retain employees of all abilities because of the value they bring to the workplace,” said Sandra Evers-Manly, Northrop Grumman’s vice president of global corporate responsibility, and president of the Northrop Grumman Foundation. “Our senior leadership commitment and the involvement of our employees have helped us to create a work environment that values diversity and inclusion and employees with disabilities are an important component of our diverse population.”
Some Northrop Grumman initiatives supporting employees with disabilities include an online accommodation tool for requests and case tracking; increased accessibility of our website, including the careers section; expanded accessibility at our locations; and adoption of a more focused approach for posting job requisitions with disability related job boards.
Additionally, Northrop Grumman’s Operation IMPACT (Injured Military Pursuing Assisted Career Transition) program, which was created in 2005, provides personalized placement assistance, community outreach and workplace accommodations for severely injured service members transitioning to civilian employment. In 2009, Northrop Grumman established the Operation IMPACT Network of Champions, a group of 90 companies and partners that share job candidates, best practices and create wider opportunities for veterans with disabilities.
NOD is a private, nonprofit organization that seeks to increase employment opportunities for the 80 percent of working-age Americans with disabilities who are not employed. To achieve this goal, NOD offers a suite of employment solutions, tailored to meet leading companies’ workforce needs. For more information visit www.NOD.org.
Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions in autonomous systems, cyber, C4ISR, space, strike, and logistics and modernization to customers worldwide. Please visit news.northropgrumman.com and follow us on Twitter, @NGCNews, for more information.
Statistics show that the average employee will change jobs at least 11 times in their working life and, for most people, moving into a new role is a fairly manageable transition. But what happens when you change course completely and launch a brand-new career?
Laurence Favier had spent more than 30 years in senior corporate IT roles when she decided it was time for an entirely new vocation. “As retirement approached, I knew it was time for a more fulfilling career. Something that would nurture me as I transitioned into retirement,” Laurence explains.
Drawing upon her decades of executive experience, Laurence is committed to becoming a business and career mentor and Joy of Business company facilitator. But even with her highly relevant background and extensive corporate knowledge, she felt the anxiety that comes with stepping into the unknown.
“Career change brings great fear – particularly the fear of being without a job. But fear is not something to avoid and you can’t let it hold you back from your dreams,” Laurence advises. Workforce experts estimate that every modern worker will make a complete career change at least once in their life. If you are looking to move in an entirely different career direction, Laurence offers the following advice.
Prepare yourself for change
“When you start actively looking for change, you will begin to see and create opportunities. It may be a conversation with an old friend, or an advertisement that suddenly catches your eye – when you are committed to your new career, you will notice possibilities when they present themselves. Also, don’t hesitate to talk openly about your plans and your needs. You may be surprised how willing others are to help you.
Engage Human Resources
“If you work in a large company, it’s quite easy to change careers simply by moving from one department to another. Human Resources teams often identify employees who have the right skills, attitude and willingness to move into a new career, so don’t hesitate to talk about your desires with your manager or HR representative.”
Network, Network, Network
“If you don’t have the opportunities of a large company, all you need is a great network. Make connections with the people you meet – clients, competitors, suppliers, co-workers. All of these people will know you, appreciate your skills and attributes, and trust you. Speak to your network about your career desires and help them, where you can, to obtain theirs.”
Use Social Media
“Social media is a great way to express your desire for a career change and get the advice and assistance you need. Let your personal connections know what your plans are, but also use social media sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook to reach out to professionals who can help you in your new endeavor.”
Importantly, Laurence says “Don’t wait for things to be perfect before taking the leap into a new career. Be confident, ask for help and resources when you need them, but don’t hesitate. And don’t listen to the nay-sayers around you – they will often judge you for the things they’re not capable of doing. In the end, I have found, they will admire you.”
WHILL, Inc. recently announced their Model Ci personal electric vehicle (EV) received top accolades from one of the nation’s most esteemed publications, TIME, as one of the “50 Best Inventions of 2018.” The annual list hit newsstands, Friday, November 16.
TIME noted that the Model Ci “Empowers its users,” and was selected out of hundreds of editor and expert submissions from around the world including online applications. To choose the top 50 best inventions for the annual list, TIME carefully evaluated each contender on key factors, including originality, creativity, influence, ambition and effectiveness. According to the publication, the list highlights groundbreaking inventions that are changing the way we live, work, play and think about what’s possible.
Debuted in January 2018 at Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, the Model Ci enables people who have difficulty walking to experience movement in a new way, gaining newfound freedom and confidence to further participate and engage in the activities they love. This innovative personal EV disassembles in seconds for easy transport, offers best-in-class indoor/outdoor versatility, provides a variety of adjustments for maximum comfort, and is equipped with the latest in technology, such as Bluetooth and mobile data connectivity, creating additional peace-of-mind for both the user and their loved ones.
This year, the Model Ci also received the CES 2018 “Best of Innovation Award” in the Accessibility Tech category, and was an Engadget “Best of CES 2018” finalist. Additionally, WHILL was recognized by Fast Company as one of the Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Robotics for 2018.
The Model Ci’s MSRP is $3,999 USD and is available nationwide and in Canada through WHILL’s premier reseller network, as well as through online partners such as shop.scootaround.com and spinlife.com. The Model Ci is also available for conference, land and cruise rentals at major metros and ports through scootaround.com.
Since its founding in 2012, WHILL’s mission is to transform today’s antiquated power wheelchair and scooter experiences into a new kind of empowering devices, intelligent personal electric vehicles (EVs). WHILL is reinventing the personal mobility industry with personal EVs that focus on an approachable and aesthetically pleasing powered vehicles that boosts confidence and pushes the boundaries of personal transportation. Headquartered in Yokohama, Japan with offices in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taiwan and EU, WHILL is focused on enabling everyone to explore the world in comfort and style.
Make a difference The work of government employees impacts the lives of every American and the lives of people around the world. Federal employees can play a vital role in addressing pressing issues, from homelessness to homeland security. Students interested in working in government can engage in high-impact work, such as helping disrupt the laundering of billions of dollars derived from illicit U.S. drug deals.
Great benefits/competitive pay Average government salaries are competitive with the private and nonprofit sectors. Recent graduates can expect a starting salary from $32,415 to $42,631 a year. Pay can also increase fairly quickly for top candidates with experience and a strong education. Federal benefits, including health insurance, retirement and vacation, are extremely competitive with, if not superior to, other sectors.
The government is hiring The Bureau of Labor Statistics projected an employment increase of ten percent through 2018 in federal employment.
Location, location, location Federal opportunities are not only found in the D.C area. Eighty-four percent of federal government jobs are outside of Washington, D.C. If students are interested in international job opportunities, more than 50,000 federal employees work abroad.
Jobs for every major
Working in the federal government is not just for political science majors. In fact, 28.4 percent of federal employees work in STEM fields. There are federal jobs for every interest and skill, from art history to zoology.
Opportunities for advancement and professional development Federal employees have many opportunities for career advancement in government. An internal Merit Promotion Program helps ensure that new employees succeeding in their job have easy access to information about job openings within government. The government also offers excellent training and development opportunities and has human resources personnel to help connect current employees with these opportunities.
Interesting and challenging work Today’s government workers are leading and innovating on issues, such as developing vaccines for deadly diseases, fighting sexual and racial discrimination, and keeping our massive systems of transportation safe.
Work-life balance Flexible work schedules, including telework, are a major plus for those with busy schedules or long commute. Competitive benefits also include generous vacation time combined with federal holidays and sick leave. All of these packaged together make government an attractive employer for students looking to successfully balance their work and personal lives.
Government work is steady and secure, an attractive selling point, especially during difficult economic times.
The federal government can help pay for school loans Some federal agencies can help pay back up to $10,000 per year in student loans, up to a total of $60,000.
When it comes to conversation, you’re a natural. You can chat up a storm with just about anyone, you’re a pro at listening, and you love meeting and connecting with new people.
But when it comes to starting that networking conversation? That’s a different story.
This is one of the most common concerns we hear about networking: How do you just walk up to someone you don’t know at an event—and start talking?
Well, it’s a tad easier than it sounds. Fact is, no one’s going to turn you away if you walk up, smile, and say, “I’m so-and-so. Nice to meet you.” In fact, others will probably be relieved that someone else started the conversation!
But, the process is definitely a lot easier when you have a few go-to icebreakers in your back pocket. So, we’ve put together a handy list to refer to before your next event—some of our own lines, a few favorites from our career expert friends, and icebreakers our Twitter and Facebook followers have used, too!
When in doubt, just try the basics: asking what someone does, inquiring why he or she is at the event, or even just reaching out your hand and saying hi.
1. “What’s your favorite conversation starter at a networking event?” – Connie B.
2. “So, what do you do?” It gets them talking first and you can think about how to approach the conversation or how you could possibly work together. – @GrowSouthwest
4. “Hi there! I’m Michelle. What are you passionate about?” – Michelle E.
5. “What’s your story?” It always sparks a fascinating and non-generic conversation. – @leslieforman
Location, Location, Location
No matter what, you’ve got at least a couple things in common with every person in the room: the event you’re attending, the place it’s being held at, and the food and drink you’re consuming. Use that to your advantage by striking up conversation about what’s going on around you.
6. If I’m at an event with food, I’ll often use that as a conversation starter, à la “I can’t stop eating these meatballs. Have you tried them?” – @erinaceously
8. “It’s so hot (or cold) in here.” Hey, maybe it is, maybe it isn’t, but the person will either agree or disagree, and pretty soon you’re talking about weather patterns, your best umbrella, and then your career goals. – Jessica Gordon for The Muse
9. “I’m feeling pretty overwhelmed by the deluge of info that’s being firehosed at us today. Is there one nugget of brilliance that’s really resonating with you?” – Alexandra Franzen
10. “What a beautiful venue. Have you been here before?”
Another thing you have in common with, well, everyone? What happened in your city or the world today. While you don’t want to start up any hot political debates, some light-hearted headline sharing is a great way to break the ice.
11.“What do you think about [insert topic germane to the event or person here]?” I’m biased: News is a great engagement tool. – @thatsportsgirl
12. “Wow, I just can’t believe all the crazy news headlines today. What a week!”
13. “Any chance you read the news today? I missed it, and I’m dying to know what’s happening with [insert news topic here].”
14. “So, was it a pain for you to get here?” The mode of transportation and location in the city are always on peoples’ minds. There’s bound to be a story about it. – Jessica Gordon for The Muse
15. “Did you catch the game last night?” It’s a classic, but it’s a classic for a reason
Continue on to The Muse to read the complete article.
What do you think of when you hear the word disability? If you are an employer, the words compliance, leave management, accommodations or liability—all of which focus on the negative (read: the cost of) employing people with disabilities—may come to mind first. But if you are one of 23 million people of working age who is living with a disability, and you want to find a job, use your talents and have a rewarding career, you are focused on one thing: your abilities.
Can you see the disability mindset gap here? It’s alarmingly wide. People living with a disability—whether it be low vision, cerebral palsy, chronic pain, ADHD, working memory issues or hundreds of other diagnoses—are highly capable employees. The problem is that too many potential employers see or think of their disability first. That inherent bias cuts short opportunities to hire an incredible pool of untapped talent and grow their businesses.
There are several possible reasons for that disconnect. First, Americans have had it drilled into our brains that physical, emotional and cognitive disabilities are linked to liability, even poverty—but not job success. Second, we have an insatiable appetite for stories that objectify people with disabilities making them our heroes and inspiration. Problem is, people with disabilities don’t want to be your job inspiration. They want a job.
The good news is it’s completely possible to bridge the divide. Here are four ways to assess your disability mindset, get your organization in sync and bring a wealth of talent to your organization:
Listen Up. Are people in your organization in the habit of joking about mental health or learning disabilities? Stop. Thirty percent of people in one survey admitted to making casual jokes about having a learning disorder when someone makes a reading, writing or math mistake. Nearly one-third believe that it is appropriate and lawful for an employer to ask an interviewee if they have a learning disability, which in fact is against the law, according to the National Center for Learning Disabilities. One employer I interviewed with told me that she had read about people (including me), openly discussing their learning disabilities. She said she thought that was incredibly brave. My response was, and still is, that one of the best reasons to discuss your learning disabilities is to share your strengths and stop stigma. I don’t think of myself as brave, nor do I think of myself as disabled.
Think About How You React To Mistakes. If you have a common belief that people with attention and learning issues are incapable, then you will never gain their trust. They will go all out to hide the ways they work differently from you and when they make mistakes at work, they will lose a lot of sleep over them. It’s not they think they’re unintelligent or lazy, but they think you do. (It doesn’t help that Betty in accounting texts snide remarks about you to her colleagues every time you hand in an expense sheet that doesn’t add up. Hey, you don’t correct her spelling or grammar! Workplaces that aren’t safe spaces, or in other words, where people stay silent, stifle productivity. In a study of high performing teams, psychological safety was the key factor to group success. Fundamental to psychological safety, according to the study, is the belief that team members won’t be punished for making mistakes.
Assess How Well You Know Your Employees. You get a round of applause if your human resources department is tracking staff absences, who recently took family medical leave and who participated in your most recent employee wellness program. But do you know what young employees are really anxious about?In the U.S., anxiety, and depression requiring medical treatment are at an all-time high, which means it’s likely that your employees arrive, do their work and leave for home with some feeling of anxiety balled up in their stomach. Jake Melton, author of Minimalize to Maximize Your Happiness: Cut the Crap, who consults with employers on handling mental health issues, suggests starting with one key question: “How can we be a better resource or support to you? Those questions open a door for your organization to act as a supporting resource for your people in a way that is truly meaningful. It demonstrates to them that you care and that you willing to do something about it.” Communicating with employees also helps to bridge the disability mindset gap. With fewer gray areas about expectations and resources, the more you engender trust. When that happens, everyone loosens up and shows their strengths.
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