From Applicant to Offer: 5 Steps for Securing Federal Employment
Friday, May 17, 2019 3:59pm EDT
In my role, I talk to many job seekers with disabilities interested in federal employment. After supporting federal recruitment strategies for agencies looking to tap into the labor pool of people with disabilities, I have determined that the following steps make a difference in advancing from applicant to offer.
Accommodations at Work for Recent College Grads
Thursday, May 9, 2019 1:49pm EDT
The question of when and how a person with a disability should request accommodations is often debated, with advice ranging from not doing so at all, to communicating everything before an interview is requested. For a recent college graduate entering the professional workforce for the first time, navigating this process is often tricky and different from past experiences in the educational system. The following tips can help build confidence in advocating for yourself in the workplace, while providing practical advice for how and when accommodations are appropriate.
Five Accommodations that Positively Impact the Workforce
Friday, May 3, 2019 11:31am EDT
For over 20 years, I have been working with employers to connect them to talent in the disability community. Each time I speak with a new company, department or team at a customer site about hiring people with disabilities, I ask the question, ‘Why?’
A Simple Message by Gerald Homme
Wednesday, April 24, 2019 8:10am EDT
When I was asked to share a message through Joyce’s blog about living with a learning disability, I spent a long time just thinking about what message I wanted to share with others living with learning disabilities. In the end, the message was simple, and I think I always knew what it would be, I just had to get it onto paper.
Celebrating Neurodiversity in the Workplace
Wednesday, April 17, 2019 8:16am EDT
One of the most common questions I receive from employers is how to successfully interview and hire candidates with autism. More and more, employers are understanding the need to be inclusive of the talents of people who are neurodiverse. The stumbling block is that, when employers use traditional interview techniques to identify candidates that best fit their jobs, neurodiverse candidates are often left out and passed over for candidates who may not be better for the job, but historically ‘interview better’ during the applicant screening process.
8 Tips for Engagement by Lisa Krause
Wednesday, April 10, 2019 10:38am EDT
This week, I am sharing a blog segment from one of my very favorite people, Lisa Krause. Lisa is an IT manager at Highmark Health Solutions and an ambassador for the Careers2B program. The Careers2B program addresses the systemic lack of work experience barrier to competitive employment for people with disabilities. The program allows participants to gain business competencies and demonstrate success through paid work experience. As an ambassador of the Careers2B program, Lisa has become an advocate for disability employment and a mentor for many of the individuals participating in the program. In her blog, Lisa shares with us some of the tips she provides to employees she mentors about how to become an engaged employee.
3 Reasons Why Universities and Colleges Need to be Prepared for Increased Conversations about Disability Inclusion
Thursday, April 4, 2019 2:54pm EDT
As we enter the second quarter of 2019, we are seeing more companies talking about disability inclusion and engagement than ever before. Whether its conversations about strategic planning, hiring and retention, or setting up demos for our iDisabilityTM product, it is easy to see that disability is a hot topic for businesses across the United States this year.
Harriet and Me
Friday, March 29, 2019 11:17am EDT
I have a special admiration for Harriet Tubman, known as the “Moses of her people,” for her work as the “conductor” of the Underground Railroad during the Civil War. She was born into a family of slaves and at the age of five was sent to do domestic work for various households. Many people do not know that she was the first African American that served in the military. She was a spy and a nurse for the Union Army.
Dream Too Much
Thursday, March 28, 2019 3:55pm EDT
As we continue to celebrate Women’s History Month at Bender Consulting Services, I wanted to share the following powerful message delivered by Sarah Blahovec upon acceptance of the 2019 AAPD Paul G. Hearne Emerging Leader Award for her work toward establishing the first campaign training curriculum for people with disabilities who want to run for elected office. Sarah is a phenomenal woman and advocate for disability rights.
Reflections on Life as a Risk Taker by Christine Griffin
Wednesday, March 13, 2019 12:00am EDT
It was only a few days after an accident in 1980 that caused my spinal cord injury when I noticed there were only two women on the spinal cord injury unit at Boston University Hospital.  I was one of the two.  When I mentioned it to my nurse, she said that men are more likely to sustain a spinal cord injury because they are risk takers, unlike most women.  I remember lying there thinking that I had just inadvertently joined another club that was dominated by men.  It all began when I was born into a family of 7; 5 boys and two girls.
Embracing Fire Power
Friday, March 8, 2019 9:20am EST
As many influential women I have known who have impacted the civil rights of others, when I started my career in executive search, it was not with the intent to become an advocate, not just for my own rights, but for the rights of others. Rather, becoming an advocate was an inevitable step with each decision to turn away from the status quo of stigma. For me, it was crucial to take action based on what I believed was right, fair and just and not embrace the convenient passivity of much of society.
Let Freedom Ring
Wednesday, March 6, 2019 11:02am EST
The following is a speech given by Greg Pollock about his personal experience in the wake of the Tree of Life Synagogue massacre. Greg is a good friend that I met at a Disability:IN conference several years ago and have worked with while he was at Dow and now PNC. The massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue was a horrific event that was devastating to all of Pittsburgh, regardless of faith. We must all make the decision to stand up against injustice and hate.
Tolerance has an Expiration Date by John Register
Monday, February 25, 2019 8:58am EST
I have learned a lot in my role as a disability sports and disability rights activist. I also looked back in my life to see where my resolve comes from. I am amazed by the links to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Remembering the Dreamer by Afrika Williams
Wednesday, February 20, 2019 2:56pm EST
Growing up as a little girl in Memphis, I often heard the grown folks speak about how Dr. King came to help black sanitation workers in their stand for equality. The black sanitation workers had long endured racial discrimination, severely inequitable pay, and unsafe working conditions. They had attempted to organize a labor union and negotiate fair pay, but those efforts were unsuccessful, because alone they were not strong enough to stand up to the city officials who helped uphold the inequities.
Ending Adult Filters and the Can’t Mentality
Wednesday, February 13, 2019 10:24am EST
When I work with my students in the Bender Leadership Academy programs, one of the key things I try to instill in them is the importance for people with disabilities to be independent. Many who have heard me speak know that my motto, when it comes to disability inclusion and employment, is Paychecks Not PityTM. For young people with disabilities, it is crucial to develop a strong sense of independence. People with disabilities face both physical and attitudinal barriers to inclusion and employment throughout their lives due to ignorance, stigma and fear.
How to Answer Tough Interview Questions – Installment 2
Friday, February 8, 2019 11:54am EST
Let’s take a look at the three categories of interview questions (traditional, scenario-based, and behavioral interview questions) we mentioned earlier this week, to determine what they reveal about an applicant and how to apply the principles from our previous installment when answering all three types of questions.
How to Answer Tough Interview Questions – Installment 1
Wednesday, February 6, 2019 10:05am EST
As we all know, interviewing well can mean the difference between being a hiring manager’s first or second choice – unfortunately being a hiring manager’s second choice does not include a job offer. This month, I want to take time to talk about the art of interviewing and address some of the common questions that are posed to my recruitment team members, by applicants with disabilities. For people with disabilities who already have so much stacked against them when fighting stigma and discrimination, it is crucial to understand how to interview well.
Great Things Happen When We Listen with Open Minds
Wednesday, January 30, 2019 10:26am EST
Over the years I have heard many stories from people within the disability community about discrimination they have faced in many facets of their lives. One of the most common mistakes that people make when they interact with people with disabilities is to assume the person isn’t capable because of their disability.
Adulting is Hard: The Bender Self-Advocacy Challenge
Tuesday, January 15, 2019 12:00am EST
Everyone knows that “adulting” is hard; the good news is that learning to become a self-advocate now makes the transition to adulthood easier and builds key strengths that will help you to be successful as a student, an employee, and in your personal life.
Generosity in the Workplace
Friday, January 11, 2019 9:00am EST
What does it mean to be generous in the workplace? Is that generosity measured in dollars and cents, donations to the corporate sponsored nonprofits, or participation in office collections for a colleague’s birthday or the office pot luck holiday celebration? Or is workplace generosity something more than that?
Happy 2019!
Thursday, December 27, 2018 2:36pm EST
I have seen so many great things this year at Bender Consulting Services that encourage me about the future for people with disabilities. We saw an increase for our services in recruitment, digital accessibility, our software product iDisability and management consulting. An increased demand for employing people with disabilities in competitive employment is something that really excites me, but we still have a long way to go in this country.
Not Just the Winter Blues
Wednesday, December 19, 2018 3:06pm EST
According to the World Health Organization, more than 300 million people across the globe have depression, making it the leading cause of disability worldwide. Yet, less than half of those affected around the world receive treatment even though there are known, effective treatments for individuals with depression. In many countries, fewer than 10% of those with depression receive treatment.
5 Ways to Support Family, Friends and Colleagues with PTSD during the Holiday Season
Thursday, December 13, 2018 9:32am EST
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a disability that typically occurs after exposure to a traumatic experience such as combat, assault, natural disaster, the threat of death to oneself or a loved one or a sudden, unexpected, loss of a loved one. The holidays can be a difficult time for people with mental health disabilities, including individuals with PTSD, even if the traumatic event didn’t occur during this season.
The Reality of Living with Anxiety and Panic Attacks
Thursday, December 6, 2018 3:45pm EST
Last month, I shared a blog about epilepsy and what it means to be really aware when it comes to understanding this disability. This month, I would like to take some time to talk about mental health disabilities, another area of disability that although unseen, has great impact on those with the disability but is rarely understood by those who do not have a mental health disability.
Epilepsy and “Real” Awareness
Wednesday, November 21, 2018 3:44pm EST
Every November, we celebrate Epilepsy Awareness Month on a national basis. The key to this month is embracing real awareness; not just a poster. Many people in the U.S. do not understand epilepsy and there are many myths people with epilepsy and advocates are working to dispel.

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