Building Back Better: Advocating for disability inclusion today and all year long
Today marks the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD), with the theme “Building Back Better” in a post COVID-19 world. IDPD aims to promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society and development, and to increase awareness of the situation of personas with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, and economic and cultural life. At Adobe, with our employee network Access at Adobe in the lead, we’re celebrating our own employees with disabilities along with inspiring speakers from the community.
IDPD highlights today include best-selling author, entrepreneur and social media expert Peter Shankman discussing the unique superpowers of a neuroatypical brain and how we can leverage these differences to build better teams. We will host a guest panel discussion with leading disability advocates including Elana Duffy a Purple Heart recipient and entrepreneur leveraging AI to help Veterans connect to local support resources; John Young, multiple-marathoner and the first person with dwarfism to compete in an Ironman distance race; and Dr. Jennifer Hartstein, a psychotherapist and frequent media contributor on mental health, addiction and adolescent issues. And Adobe employees, with visible and invisible disabilities, will lead a discussion to learn more about the challenges and opportunities they’ve found at work and in the world.
Disability inclusion takes time and dedication and can’t be solved in one day. As part of our participation in The Valuable 500, we have committed to putting disability inclusion on our business leadership agenda and drive programs and awareness all year long. In addition to hosting employee engagement activities for National Disability Employment Awareness Month in October, one of the most powerful tools we have utilized this year has been highlighting our own employees’ stories. A few of my favorites have been:
- Profiling Rani Mani, Executive Chair for Adobe’s Access at Adobe employee network where she shared her personal journey of being born with a physical disability in a rural village in India, to her family’s immigration to the U.S., to working side-by-side with Mother Teresa in Calcutta.
- Featuring Anja Salinger-Carsley at our weeklong diversity and inclusion event, Adobe For All Week, where Anja shared her story of discovering her significant, congenital hearing impairment as an adult; and learning more about her journey in recognition for IDPD.
- Hosting a Q&A with Kira Dales, VP of Operations, Cloud Technology, who was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor and subsequently experienced a stroke resulting in short-term physical disabilities and speech limitations.
While International Day of Persons with Disabilities promotes disability inclusion on this special day, we’re committed to empowering our employees and colleagues every day of the year, along with our peers in The Valuable 500.