Back row, L-R: Andy Imparato, AUCD; Crosby Cromwell, Flexability; Caroline Casey from Valuable 500; Teresa Danso-Danquah from Disability:IN. Middle row, L-R: Fred Schroeder, NFB and WBU, Tyrone Giordano, CSD; Amir Rahimi, AFB; Debra Ruh from Ruh Global; and Melody Goodspeed from AFB Front row, L-R: Maria Town, AAPD; Kelly Buckland, NCIL; Hamza Wazeery, a Mandela Fellow at NCIL.

A big thank you to the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) for hosting a wonderful event with Caroline Casey on August 30! Caroline is a disability advocate from Ireland who has been named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, an Ashoka Fellow, an Eisenhower Fellow, and a past advisor for the Clinton Global Initiative. Her latest campaign, the Valuable 500, is pushing global businesses to take disability inclusion more seriously.

Caroline is currently working on getting 500 of the world's most influential business leaders to participate in the campaign, elevate a conversation about disability inclusion to the board level, and commit to action. So far, she has teamed up with over 100 companies around the globe with another 200 in the pipeline.

I loved talking to this feisty, charismatic advocate. Her campaign aligns so perfectly with AFB’s mission to change the way employers see job seekers and employees who are blind or low vision. We all had a really open conversation about disability inclusion efforts, about why there’s frequently pushback, and why it’s complicated for people to commit.

A few of the themes that emerged from the conversation were:

  • We are all looking for leaders that are honest about what they don’t know, and are open to learning
  • We need to look at both a culture and system reboot — the change isn’t happening fast enough
  • Stereotypes are still alive and kicking and need our attention — we have to confront the underlying fears

We look forward to partnering with Caroline to promote stronger business leadership on disability inclusion!

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