The USBLN just wrapped up the 20th Annual USBLN National Conference & Biz2Biz Expo, in Orlando, Florida. This year’s theme was “Disability: A Catalyst for Innovation.” From the Rising Leadership Academy Technology Innovation Lab to the newly formed Technology track, innovation was everywhere. If you were there, we hope you enjoyed yourselves and made connections to last a lifetime.
This year USBLN had 110 Rising Leadership Academy applicants who participated in the innovation lab, and matchmaking and interviews with employers. There was much buzz and excitement, thanks to companies like Northrop Grumman and PNC who offered a handful of the Rising Leaders job offers before the conference ended.
To reach beyond the 1,200 attendees present, we hosted our very first digital lounge. With the support of some partners, including Microsoft who generously provided charging stations for attendees, we hosted three Twitter chats. You can check out all the social media mentions by searching #USBLN17 on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
The days were filled with productive events, partner meetings, and informative panels. Our Biz2Biz Expo introduced the products and services companies and DOBEs within the USBLN network offer.
One of the key moments at the conference was the unveiling of the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) and the USBLN Disability Equality Index (DEI) Report, which analyzed three years’ worth of disability inclusion policies and practices from participating companies. Ninety-six top-scoring companies were announced as the “Best Places To Work for Disability Inclusion.” You can follow this link for the full list. Keep an eye out on social media for more details about each company on the list. Congratulations to all who participated, and let’s spread the word to recruit even more companies next year.
THANK YOU to our many partners, without whom this conference could not take place. It is because of the generosity of our partners that we can hold such a large event, providing Rising Leaders, DOBEs, Affiliates, Corporate Partners, Strategic Allies, and friends across all industries an opportunity to learn how to become more inclusive to people with disabilities. A special thanks to JW Marriott and Ritz Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes for accommodating our guests and making us feel right at home.
Nyle DiMarco from “Dancing With The Stars” delivered the Leadership Awards Dinner keynote speech. Nyle was inspiring, and urged everyone to continue advocating for the community. Eleven leadership awards were given out, with many surprise giveaways in between. The acceptance speeches were honest, and brought tears and laughter.
Thank you all for an amazing conference. For those of you who couldn’t make it this year, we hope you’ll join us in Vegas next year! The theme will be “NextGen Disability Inclusion.” Stay in touch with your USBLN family, and we hope to see you in Vegas!
USBLN Goes Global at the First Global Disability Employment Summit
Last month, the U.S. Business Leadership Network (USBLN) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce hosted the Global Disability Employment Summit in Washington D.C.
This inaugural summit was an opportunity for international businesses to come together to explore the benefits of disability inclusion, and discuss its importance in the workforce, marketplace and supply chain.
Those present attended several breakout sessions, and collaborated on ways to promote accessibility, supplier diversity and government regulations outside the U.S. Throughout the day, attendees gained valuable information.
- Representatives from Sprint, Comcast NBCUniversal, Bank of America Private Wealth Management, and United Technologies Corporation discussed the evolution of technology and its significance on accessibility.
- Executives from Bender Consulting Services, Wells Fargo, EY, and Accenture addressed the concerns associated with finding and tracking disability-owned businesses outside of the U.S. They also discussed different ways companies can further diversify their supply chains.
- Lastly, representatives from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, IBM, Facebook, 3M, and UPS offered their perspective on how companies are working to make their workforces more inclusive of people with disabilities.
Perhaps the day’s most impactful message came from Jill Houghton, President and CEO of USBLN, when she announced the launch of an on-line global self-registry for suppliers outside the United States.
The USBLN has been advocating for disability inclusion in the workplace and workforce for over 20 years. Throughout that time, its steadily growing corporate partnership network has requested the global expansion of the USBLN’s most successful programs, specifically the disability-owned business enterprise (DOBE) certification program. The on-line registry is a natural first step as the USBLN explores a global growth strategy for other signature programs, like the Disability Equality Index and the Disability Supplier Diversity Program.
The USBLN is working alongside the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), WEConnect International and others from the National Business Inclusion Consortium in order to expand various global diversity inclusion efforts.