Valerie Baker

“I was in a room with 900+ people who all were interested in increasing their inclusion and diversity”

With a few days post-conference, to digest and process the events of the past five days. It really hit me what an amazing experience attending the USBLN’s 19th Annual Conference was. The Rising Leader Academy was an incredible experience!

Chidera Oku in front of the Marriott hotel in Orlando

“I can unequivocally say that it has changed my life. I feel liberated.”

The first time I got information on the USBLN Rising Leaders mentoring program I was on the verge of breaking down emotionally. I felt like there was nothing out there for me despite how hard I have worked to get to where I am. I will tell a little bit of my story in the hope that it motivates or inspires anyone that reads it.

Photo of Joe Brown

“They truly believe an individual with a disability brings much value to their company”

I am a recent graduate, who went through college without knowing many of the service resources or employment accommodations available. I attended classes with every other student being able-bodied. Something that crossed my mind many times, and I’m sure others with disabilities have thought same thing: “What company would want to hire me?” But then came the RLA.

Duvall headshot

“For STEM positions, people with disabilities should actually be considered MORE qualified than their peers without disabilities”

After completing the Rising Leadership Academy, it warms my heart and inspires me to see so many students and recent graduates with disabilities who have achieved so much success at their schools and universities.