“I believe this program hit a grand slam”
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 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]).
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 – 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 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 whom they would not otherwise have access to. The Mentorship Exchange connects students like Russell Goodacre to experts that can provide professional growth and development, and social and economic opportunities.
Russell’s ultimate goal has always been a career in sports. Since meeting his mentor, Russell has also grown to love the production aspects of the business. Amy Bennett works for Disney as a recruiter for ESPN.
Russell recently toured the ESPN studios, and gained valuable insight on the company, its culture and employees. Russell received a close-up look at several studios and sets, and got to experience the production side of one of ESPN’s signature radio shows. He was able to sit in the control room of Mike and Mike. Russell co-hosts his own radio show at Shepherd University, and knows it takes a lot of hard work to produce a successful sports show.
While Russell enjoyed being privy to how the hosts prepare for segments during commercial breaks, his time on the set was not his most memorable. He left ESPN with a great appreciation for the way the staff treated him and each other. Russell was very impressed with each employee’s “team effort” approach to his or her job, just like in sports.
Through his connection with Amy, Russell has gained useful information about working in the sports industry. “This mentorship program has helped me realize all I need to do to reach my goals is find the right people who are willing and able to help me succeed,” he said, and added, “I believe this program hit a grand slam in partnering me up with Ms. Amy Bennett.”
After being mentored by Amy, Russell is enthusiastic about the prospect of getting his foot in the door in sports, and making it his lifelong career.
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. The Disability:IN will be accepting mentee applications for the 2018 Mentorship Exchange starting October 18th. Visit disabilityin.org for more information about the Mentorship Exchange and to submit an application.
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.