“Hannah loves working with a group of people dedicated to promoting disability rights…”
Disability:IN highlights various young leaders with disabilities in the NextGen Leader Spotlight Series. If you are a corporate partner (or potential partner), and would like more information our Disability:IN’s NextGen Leaders, please contact Liz (email@example.com). 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The number of students with disabilities attending higher education in the United States now represents 6% of the student body. As with any graduate, their professional success will stem from a number of things, including work ethic, opportunity, and, for some, having a mentor to guide them.
Quality mentoring relationships have a powerful effect on young people in a variety of situations – personally, academically and professionally. Initiatives like the Disability:IN Mentorship Exchange were created to further those opportunities. This six-month career mentoring strategy brings together employers with college students with disabilities and 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 in their field of study, area of interest, and to whom they would not otherwise have access. The Mentorship Exchange connects students like Hannah Chadwick to experts that can provide professional growth and development, and social and economic opportunities.
Hannah Chadwick graduated from the University of California Davis in 2016, with a double major in International Relations and Mandarin Chinese. After graduation, though, Hannah found she wasn’t sure a position in the International Relations field was exactly what she wanted and worked with several companies to find a good fit.
A turning point came when she secured a summer internship with US International Council on Disabilities, in collaboration with World Learning. During this internship, Hannah had the opportunity to meet many global professionals who worked in various fields associated with human rights, including disability equality and inclusion. After being exposed to multiple movements and realizing the depth of issues that plague our world, Hannah was determined to continue to work in the advocacy field. While at World Learning, she learned about Hidden Army, a social media disability community group. Little did she know, Hidden Army would lead her to the US Business Leadership Network.
Early in 2017, Hannah was browsing through Facebook, and came across a social media post in the Hidden Army group that piqued her interest. It was about the Talent Accelerator. She liked the idea of a program dedicated towards diversity and inclusion and thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to connect with mentors who might help point her in the right direction. Hannah attended the 2017 Disability:IN Annual Conference, and was excited to find so many programs, opportunities and companies specifically geared toward helping people with disabilities find their career path. Hannah eagerly took advantage of all the information presented and connected with several members from Disability:IN.
After gaining a deeper level of exposure to the diversity and inclusion field, Hannah knew she’d found something she felt passionate about, and realized it was where she wished to focus her energy. Disability:IN was instrumental in helping Hannah figure out her career path, connecting her with the right people who were interested in actively seeking to incorporate diversity and inclusion into their companies, and ultimately landing her a job doing what she wanted to do.
Hannah recently accepted a position as Program Coordinator for Disability:IN, where she gets to work on a number of projects. As a NextGen Leader alum, Hannah’s assistance with the NextGen Leaders Initiatives will be invaluable. And her expertise in international relations will greatly benefit the growing Global Disability Supplier Diversity Program. Hannah loves working with a group of people dedicated to promoting disability rights, and creating an environment that promotes diversity and inclusion in the workplace. She’s looking forward to learning from their unique experiences, and eventually managing larger projects.
The Disability:IN Mentorship Exchange is designed to support students and recent graduates as they navigate the professional world, and answer unique questions that relate to being a person with a disability in the workforce. Visit disabilityin.org for more information about Mentorship Exchange, and the Talent Accelerator at the 2018 Disability:IN Conference.
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.
“I believe programs like the Talent Accelerator will help breakdown the stigmas around disability…”
While Bryan believes most major companies recognize the importance of diversity in the workplace, he feels actively investing in programs such as the Talent Accelerator underscores the commitment to diversity and inclusion.
“Become part of a group that is a great source for networking and launching a spectacular career…”
The Disability:IN Mentorship Exchange connects students like Paul Trevino to experts that can provide professional growth and development, and social and economic opportunities.
“Our company was able to connect with high potential talent like Ally”
Ally’s story is a true win-win, both for her and BAE Systems. She is engaged in company activities, such as BAE Systems' disability employee resource group, which enhance the company’s opportunities to attract top talent who also happen to have disabilities.