September 29, 2016
“Companies want to hire people with disabilities”

Guest blog: Robin Jenks Vanderlip, BA, MCBIET, MG, Rising Leadership Academy participant and George Washington University Fellow, Rehabilitation Counseling and Brain Injury Education

Robin Jenks Vanderlip photoThe most impactful thing that I heard at the 2016 USBLN conference was the following:

  1. Have fun!
  2. Make a difference!
  3. Don’t work for jerks!
  4. Provide practical help for others.

As I thought about this, I thought how real this is, and that life is meant to be lived. Everyone is meant to be happy, whether you have a disability or not.

I thought about my own personal career history.  The jobs where I have had people that were great mentors or had fun, and I was able to contribute and make a difference, were the jobs that I achieved the most success. This only makes sense, right? Because when we’re happy with what we’re doing, it isn’t work at all, it’s making a positive contribution to a long-range outcome.

As I got to know people at the conference and started working with other people in groups, the concepts of having fun and making a difference became real.

I had the opportunity to be part of the Rising Leaders Academy. I attended as part of the Rising Leaders Mentoring Program. It wasn’t until the conference nearly ended that I realized this was more than a networking event that brought people together who had disabilities to recruit them to work with companies that wanted to hire people with disabilities. It was so much more.

I toured the Disability Rights Museum on Wheels; it extremely impacts you, especially if you are not aware of the history of how people with disabilities have been treated. I learned about the relationship of people with disabilities and how they are supplying products and services to people and businesses that want to expand their disability inclusion and support other people.

The Disability Equality Index (DEI) was an unexpected subject that piqued my interest. I thought it was great that by using self-disclosure within a corporation companies would be able to evaluate themselves and their strategic partners in the areas of disability inclusion and support people that have disabilities. I also saw that the majority of the people at the conference had some disability, whether they disclose it or not, and that they had a very successful career and lived in the support system and network of friends and colleagues that they could rely on.

“#Morethanascore” is just what the name implies. It’s more important to help another person and to make a difference in their life. Companies believe in using mentorship and tools to find where people with disabilities can be most successful. This is more impactful then disability inclusion to just get a score.

At the end of the day, and when your life ends, you measure yourself by what you have done for others, and how it is impacted your life.

More from USBLN

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USBLN Highlights Disability Inclusion with Leadership Awards at Annual Conference
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