NextGen Spotlight: Grayson Shor
Grayson Shor is a graduate student in the Masters of Arts in International Affairs (MAIA)at George Washington University. He will graduate this spring when he returns from Taiwan where he’s on a U.S. Government fellowship studying at the National Taiwan University. Grayson learned about Disability:IN and its career development programs through a mentor at the U.S. State Department. In 2017, he applied and participated in the Mentorship Exchange Program, a six-month initiative that develops the next generation of leaders with disabilities, and gives them access to business professionals from Disability:IN partner companies.
Grayson describes his experience with the Disability:IN career and leadership development program as educational and rewarding and credits the Disability:IN NextGen Leaders Program for allowing him the opportunity to meet people he would not have otherwise met. “I’ve benefited immensely by listening and sharing with these folks,and have learned how to better understand my own visual disability and the disabilities and challenges (as well as opportunities!) of others.” Interacting with fellow NextGen Leaders rewarded him one other unforeseen lesson: “I learned to both appreciate my visual disability, as it has gifted me with a different way to see the world; a perspective I now view as valuable, adding a much-needed diverse approach to solving the complex issues of the 21st century.”
Through personal experiences and the Disability:IN Mentorship Exchange Program,Grayson has come into contact with several companies aiming to be employers of choice for candidates with disabilities. His advice for attracting young talent would be to formulate a well-communicated and thought-out mission that is reasonably aspirational, admirable, and environmentally and socially conscious. “Millennials are less concerned with making tons of money or having job security. We want to make a positive impact on our planet and those around us.” As for his current employer, he believes “the State Department is leading the way! They have an entire department set up for hiring folks with disabilities, and providing them with all the accommodations they need.”
As for other students with disabilities interested in participating in the Disability:IN NextGen Programs, Grayson has this to say: “Do it! You have nothing to lose and so much to gain. Disabilities come in all shapes and sizes, seen and unseen. Don’t NOT apply just because you think you may not be ‘disabled enough,’ or that this program isn’t for you. At the end of the day, the Disability:IN NextGen Program is about what’s in your head and heart- diversity of mindsets and ideas, not about your physical state of being.”
Grayson was paired with a business leader at Merck Pharmaceutical for the Mentorship Exchange. His mentor taught him how to build a personal brand and connected him with inspiring leaders across the country. Along with this, Grayson was also able to take part in the inaugural Merck Leadership Day. While at the company’s New Jersey headquarters, Grayson toured the bio-labs where lifesaving medications and vaccines are developed, and learned about the newest innovations to combat the sale of fake drugs. He also spent time with Merck’s senior management team, learning about their career journey, and what it’s like to meet the Board of Director’s expectations while maintaining accountability to investors.
With access to the Disability:IN NextGen Leaders Programs more students like Grayson can develop into great professional leaders. Each program is designed to support students and graduates as they navigate the professional world, and tackle challenges unique to people with disabilities in the workforce. Visit disabilityin.org for more information about the programs.
NextGen Spotlight: Tasha Bolden
Willette Natasha Bolden – Tasha - navigated life for 40 years as an African American lesbian woman. However, when she also became a person with a disability, her professional story took a new and fulfilling path.
NextGen Spotlight: Taylor Mickelson
Through our signature education initiatives, we aim to help businesses develop enduring leaders for a more disability inclusive workplace. They are NextGen Leaders. Learn more about how the programs have impacted the life and career of one recent program alumna, Taylor Mickelson.
NextGen Spotlight: Isaac “Ike” Tallerine
Though Ike Tallerine was born with vision disabilities, his parents had the same high expectations for him as they did for his eight siblings.
Student Spotlight: Chris Gaines
Chris wants students with disabilities to appreciate disability in the context of intersectionality. As a Black man with a disability, he has had two societal challenges and is proud to share both selves.
Student Spotlight – Danny Tanchez
The Mentorship Exchange Program connects students like Daniel Tanchez to experts that can provide professional growth and development, and social and economic opportunities.