Deb Russell started as a service provider and advocate for people with disabilities to get jobs. She thought businesses should employ people with disabilities because it was a nice thing to do. She didn’t know any better.
Then she created the world’s most successful large-scale disability inclusive employment initiative. On her first day she whispered, “Do you really think they can do it?” a year later she was analyzing the data that defended the answer “Yes, they can!” Since then, she has helped over 100 businesses reap the benefits of hiring people with disabilities.
Everyone has the ability to uncover the talents and value of people with disabilities in the workforce. The key is in a careful match between the individual and the needs of the job. Use the resources on this site to learn more.
Excited to Announce!!!
Joe Wendover is joining the team as EVP of Employer Initiatives and Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer. Here is more about Joe!
Joe Wendover is the former Chief Human Resources and Diversity Officer for Viability Inc., where he oversaw all aspects of human resources and diversity, supporting over 500 employees in 37 different location in 6 different states around the country. In his previous role as the Corporate Field Inclusion Manager for Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA), Joe was responsible for an initiative to recruit, hire, and retain individuals with disabilities in the company’s workforce. With over 15 years HR and Diversity experience, he is an expert in how behaviors and attitudes can be improved through hiring practices, training programs, and feedback systems. He has worked with a variety of clients representing academic, not-for-profit, and for-profit sector. While at Walgreens, Joe successfully placed over 250 people with disabilities into the company’s Connecticut based New England Distribution Center and developed a program that he replicated throughout the division in 18 other centers which resulted in increasing the number of people with disabilities hired nationally. Joe’s interests revolve around diversity and inclusion, equity and equality, training and development, work/life balance, motivation, and organizational climate. Joe also currently serves as the President of the Board for Disability:IN Connecticut and has been appointed as member of the Connecticut State Rehabilitation Council and The CT Governor’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities.
Disability Inclusive Employment is the connection between people with disabilities and businesses. It is a practice that facilitates the evolution of workplace culture to encourage current employees with disabilities to be comfortable enough to bring their whole selves to work and welcomes candidates with disabilities to join the workforce.
Unfortunately, it rarely happens by accident. It requires intention on both sides: Companies can develop effective outreach to people with disabilities and assess and improve their inclusive culture. People with disabilities can ensure they are ready to meet the demands of the workplace and add value each and every day.
Deb is determined to integrate two commonly misconceived spheres and integrate them together - not for goodwill, but for proven business results. This is why she integrated these colors in her logo, and uses the tagline "bridging the gap".
Her experience is that when the business AND the disability communities create partnerships:
Companies get better employees
People with disabilities get jobs
It's a winning partnership cemented in commitment to understand and serve each other's needs, everybody wins!