“I believe programs like the Talent Accelerator will help breakdown the stigmas around disability…”
Disability:IN highlights various young leaders with disabilities in its NextGen Leader Spotlight Series. If you are a corporate partner (or potential partner), and would like more information on Disability:IN’s NextGen Leaders, please contact Liz ([email protected]). If you are a young leader with a disability, and would like more information on the Mentorship Exchange or the Talent Accelerator, please contact Keri ([email protected]).
Quality mentoring relationships have a powerful effect on young people in a variety of situations – personal, academically and professional. Initiatives like the Disability:IN Mentorship Exchange were created to further those opportunities. This six-month career mentoring strategy brings together employers and college students with disabilities or recent graduates with disabilities in a mutually beneficial way. Through the Disability:IN’s association with over 130 corporate partners, we match at least 70 individuals to business professionals that they wouldn’t otherwise have had the chance to meet. The Mentorship Exchange connects students like Bryan Stromer to experts that provide professional growth and development, and social and economic opportunities.
While Bryan believes most major companies recognize the importance of diversity in the workplace, he feels actively investing in programs such as the Rising Leader Academy underscores the commitment to diversity and inclusion. According to Bryan, the program exposes participating organizations to “a group of strong candidates that may be overlooked in the traditional recruitment process.”
Bryan sees the Talent Accelerator as a unique initiative that allows companies to transition from talking about hiring more people with disabilities, to actually hiring them. “I believe programs like the Talent Accelerator will help breakdown the stigmas around disability by showcasing talented candidates with disabilities who are looking to work.”
Bryan understands some disabilities are still heavily stigmatized because of a tendency to primarily focus on the challenges that people with disabilities face. However, he’s also encouraged by changes in attitudes as more and more companies recognize the innovations that disability and universal design can bring. “By actively recruiting, retaining, and promoting individuals with disabilities, [corporations are] not only empowering the company with great new talent, but also empowering individuals with disabilities to use their unique perspective to bring about the next technological innovation.”
For Bryan, that company is Microsoft. Bryan recently joined Microsoft as a Product Marketing Manager, and is excited to be working for a company whose mission is to “empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.” He considers their partnership with the Disability:IN as a prime example of how Microsoft reinforces this mission. He’s also hopeful that more companies will follow Microsoft’s lead, and take an active role in the recruitment of candidates with disabilities.
The Disability:IN Mentorship Exchange is designed to support students and recent graduates with disabilities as they navigate the professional world and answer unique questions that relate to entering the workforce. Visit disabilityin.org for more information about Mentorship Exchange, and the Talent Accelerator at the 2018 Disability:IN Conference.
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: 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.
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.