As we come to the end of October, I wanted to write a note about National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). We celebrate NDEAM every October and this year’s theme is “Inclusion Drives Innovation.” This theme means a lot to me as I reflect on my roles as an entrepreneur and a disability advocate.
We all bring unique skills and experiences to any team or organization. The best teams I have been a part of throughout my career have had diverse perspectives. When teams are working together on complex problems, diverse perspectives lead to more creative solutions. This creativity comes from every team member contributing their unique skills and perspective.
Our world is built to tailor to the able-bodied majority and is not always inclusive for people with disabilities. People with disabilities have to problem solve every day to come up with creative solutions to adapt in our society. The creative solutions we come up with daily are small innovations in our personal lives. When we join a team, we apply this creative problem solving to the challenges that the team is working to solve. Our inclusion in teams and organizations drive innovation because we practice these skills to some degree every day.
Throughout my life, I have learned to adapt to the environment around me. My Cerebral Palsy affects my balance, fine motor movement, and speech. These weaknesses that my disability created have helped boost one of my biggest strengths: creative problem-solving. Throughout my life, I have had to find new ways to adapt tasks that able-bodied people don’t even think about.
My love of travel has always had a pain point – finding a hotel with an accessible room. I want to help build a more inclusive world, so I am applying my practice to innovation to finding that creative solution. I want more people with disabilities to be able to enjoy the joy of travel without facing significant barriers. Check out my previous blog post, “My Entrepreneurship Story” to learn more about my journey.
Let’s hire more people with disabilities and create innovative workplaces to drive innovation at our companies. Let’s drive more innovation by creating an inclusive society!