Emily is smiling in a leafy outdoor setting. She is a white, disabled woman with brown wavy shoulder-length hair, and is wearing a pink and purple top with blue accents.

Emily Blum

Disability Lead
Executive Director

Emily Blum was named Executive Director of Disability Lead in 2019 when the organization was established as an independent 501C3. Believing disability leadership is essential to creating an inclusive and equitable Chicago region, she directs the organization’s efforts to develop and build and network of leaders with disabilities who lead with power and influence. A seasoned nonprofit leader, Emily has more than 20 years’ experience bringing stakeholders together to create and implement effective communications strategies around complex social and political issues.

Prior to joining Disability Lead, Emily held senior positions at some of Chicago’s leading nonprofits, including Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC), Chicago Humanities Festival (CHF) and Heartland Alliance. At all three organizations, she drove branding and strategic messaging campaigns that created new kinds of conversations with a wide variety of audiences.

Emily serves on the City of Chicago’s Mayor’s Advisory Council for Women, Fair Fight’s Action Disability Council, and is Sectary of the Board of Directors for Inspiration Corporation.

As a disabled woman, leading Disability Lead is both personal and professional. Emily is a Disability Lead Member (class of 2018), and that experience gave her additional tools to use her voice on behalf of those who experience disabilities.

Healthcare, Social Services, Policy and Advocacy
Marketing/Communications, Public Relations