September 27, 2016
USBLN Highlights Disability Inclusion with Leadership Awards at Annual Conference

Annual Leadership Awards

USBLN Highlights Disability Inclusion with Leadership Awards at Annual Conference

Winners include EY, AT&T, PNC and Wells Fargo

The US Business Leadership Network (USBLN) presented top awards on Sept. 21 during the annual conference Leadership Awards in Orlando, Fla. Recognition was given to four companies, three individuals and an affiliate network for their outstanding commitment to and work in the disability inclusion community.

The eight 2016 USBLN Leadership Award categories and winners are:

  • Global Disability Leadership Award – The Honorable Tony Coelho
  • The John D. Kemp Leadership Award – Mary Sipes, Retired Vice President-Global Portfolio Planning, GM
  • Affiliate of the Year – Greater Kansas City Business Leadership Network
  • Advocate of the Year-Supply Chain Inclusion – CaSondra Devine, Wells Fargo & Company
  • Supplier of the Year – Joyce Bender, President, Bender Consulting Services, Inc., DOBE®
  • Top Corporation for Disability-Owned Businesses – PNC Financial Services Group
  • Marketplace Innovator of the Year, Disability Inclusive Advertisement – AT&T
  • Employer of the Year – EY

One of the pillars of the USBLN is supply chain. Part of the success of the Disability Supplier Diversity Program® (DSDP) and the promotion of disability suppliers in corporate supply chains is the recognition of the USBLN as the leading national third-party certifier of disability-owned firms, including service-disabled veteran disability-owned business enterprises (SDV-DOBEs™).

The Top Corporation for Disability-Owned Businesses award was given to PNC Financial Services Group because they have demonstrated outstanding inclusion of USBLN-certified disability-owned businesses, including businesses owned by service-disabled veterans.

“PNC is humbled and honored to be recognized as USBLN’s 2016 Top Corporation for Disability-Owned Businesses,” said Maureen Seskey, Director, Supplier Diversity, PNC Financial Services Group. “As our relationship with the USBLN has grown, so has our commitment to the intentional inclusion of USBLN-certified disability-owned businesses, including those businesses owned by service disabled veterans, within our supply chain.”

The Advocate of the Year – Supply Chain Inclusion award recognizes the individual advocate and/or procurement champion, who has provided exceptional support in the development of USBLN-certified Disability-Owned Business Enterprises (DOBEs) and the USBLN’s Disability Supplier Diversity Program (DSDP). CaSondra Devine, Wells Fargo & Company, was recognized for her outstanding commitment to the utilization and growth of disability-owned businesses.

“I am so honored and humbled by this recognition from the USBLN, our long-time partner in the great cause of supporting, nurturing, and opening doors for people with disabilities,” said CaSondra Devine, Wells Fargo’s internal sustainability leader. “Diversity and inclusion is one of our five core values at Wells Fargo, and we are firmly committed to ensuring that our supplier base mirrors the customers and communities that we serve. We believe that collaborating with organizations like USBLN to develop certified diverse suppliers is crucial in strengthening our supplier base and increasing the economic impact that our suppliers have on their communities.”

The 2016 Supplier of the Year was awarded to Bender Consulting Services, Inc. for its commitment to services that align individuals with disabilities with employment in STEM, finance, accounting, human resources, customer service and general business positions.

“I am excited to receive the Supplier of the Year Award,” said Joyce Bender, President and CEO, Bender Consulting. “As a disability employment advocate and business leader, it is a great honor to be recognized by such a powerful organization. The USBLN is the leader in advancing the economic capacity of disability-owned business enterprises. Their leadership opens doors once closed to business owners with disabilities.”

The 2016 USBLN Employer of the Year was awarded to EY for its commitment to building a better working world through its actions and engaging with like-minded organizations and individuals.

“EY is honored to receive this recognition from USBLN. At EY, we strive to create and foster a culture that includes people of all abilities and enables each of them to do their best work,” said Meghan Hobson, EY Partner. “Specifically, we are committed to providing an accessible workplace environment for our professionals of all abilities, which helps our firm drive innovation and deliver exceptional service to our clients.”

AT&T took home the Marketplace Innovator of the Year, Disability Inclusive Advertising/Marketing award for its ConnectAbility Challenge campaign.

“The ConnectAbility Challenge is one example of AT&T’s commitment to digital inclusion and was very successful,” said Dr. Aaron Bangor, AT&T Corporate Accessibility Technology Office. “Our innovative use of an Exemplar model plus a requirement that people with disabilities participate in the design of the proposed technology solutions helped developers more fully understand the needs and perspectives of these users.”

Additional highlights include the John D. Kemp Leadership Award and the Affiliate of the Year Award. The John D. Kemp Leadership Award, which is presented to an individual who has developed or influenced the development of significant company disability employment programs and services that result in measurable, tangible and positive outcomes, dramatically improving disability employment opportunities.

Mary Sipes, recently retired Vice President-Global Portfolio Planning, General Motors Company and Executive Champion-GM People with Disabilities Employee Resource Group is this year’s awardee for the John D. Kemp Leadership Award.

“I am deeply honored to receive the prestigious John D. Kemp award,” said Mary Sipes, recently retired Vice President, Global Portfolio Planning, General Motors Company and Executive Champion-GM People with Disabilities Employee Resource Group. “At GM, we are privileged to be able to leverage the invaluable guidance and powerful expertise of the USBLN community. GM’s participation in the USBLN Going for the Gold program and learnings from the Disability Equality Index tool have resulted in significant advances in disability inclusion for GM’s employees, suppliers and customers with disabilities. I’m proud to have been able to champion those efforts and share this honor with my fellow GM leaders who were integral to this achievement.”

The 2016 Affiliate of the Year went to the Greater Kansas City Business Leadership Network (GKCBLN).

“We are extremely honored to receive USBLN’s Affiliate of the Year Award,” said Rob Hoffman, Executive Director, Greater Kansas City Business Leadership Network. “This recognition is a testament to the incredible passion and dedication of our Board of Directors, staff, and member companies to advance disability inclusion in the Greater Kansas City area. We look forward to continuing to engage Kansas City businesses and assisting them to capitalize on disability inclusion as a proven strategy to drive success.”

Paul Louden, autism advocate, was the event key note speaker. Paul’s goal is to bridge the gap between those on the spectrum and those who are not. He was a witty, insightful and engaging presenter.

“We are thrilled to honor these amazing companies and individuals for the work they are doing in the disability inclusion space,” said Jill Houghton, President and CEO, USBLN. “We are grateful for their partnership and it’s a fantastic way to lead in to National Disability Employment Awareness Month.”

The sold out conference concluded Sept. 22.

 About the US Business Leadership Network (USBLN)
The US Business Leadership Network (USBLN) is a national non-profit that helps business drive performance by leveraging disability inclusion in the workplace, supply chain and marketplace. The USBLN serves as the collective voice of nearly 50 Business Leadership Network affiliates across the United States, representing more than 5,000 businesses. Additionally, the USBLN Disability Supplier Diversity Program® (DSDP) is the nation’s leading third party certification program for disability-owned businesses, including businesses owned by service-disabled veterans.


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