NDEAM 2017: Staff Reflections

When we sat down to plan our activities for National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), we asked staff to think about this year’s theme of Inclusion Drives Innovation and what it means to them. Director Mark Odum shared his thoughts in a post at the beginning of October. Here are some more reflections from members of the NARIC team.

“I know my team brings several perspectives to the discussion on disability and community living,” said Media and Information Services Manager Jess Chaiken. “We all have some experience with disability, either directly or through our relationships with family and friends with disabilities. We’ve been advocates and self-advocates, caregivers and colleagues. As a result, we can put together engaging and informative resources that the community can really use.”

For some staff members, the topic is personal.

Lead writer Arielle Silverman said “I am a person with a disability, and I often find that when I request accommodations, my colleagues and I find innovative solutions that help our entire team work better. For me, inclusion at work means incorporating more than one way to get things done, and merging people’s strengths into an effective team.”

Media Specialist Catherine Graves shared “Working in an environment where my invisible disabilities are understood, and my uniqueness is appreciated has led to continued success personally and professionally.  At NARIC we build on each other’s unique strengths and work together to promote our and NIDILRR’s mission.”

At NARIC, inclusion and diversity make us stronger as a team.

“To me, an inclusive workplace has organizational practices and goals where every employee is welcomed and treated equally, “ Bilingual Information Specialist Marta Garcia pointed out. “NARIC is a great example of that! We are a very diverse team of people of different backgrounds, abilities, and experiences. Yet, we are all equal.”

How is your team celebrating National Disability Employment Awareness Month? Visit the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) for ideas and materials!

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