Event Recap

Disability Leadership Summit: Event Recap

Brittney Grant
March 29, 2024

Disability Lead rang in the year with a successful new program designed to support the leadership and advancement of disabled professionals. The Disability Leadership Summit is an online conference for building meaningful professional connections and sharing best practices for strengthening inclusion in the workplace.

We welcomed 100 people from across the country and throughout various sectors with about 91% of participants identifying as disabled. Additionally, we were pleased to see many familiar faces as we had many of our Disability Lead members join the first annual Summit.

Below are some additional key highlights:  


A primary goal of the Summit, that we achieved this year and want to continue to cultivate, is creating a space designed by and for working professionals with disabilities and to provide participants with numerous opportunities to network with like-minded peers and allies. To develop the content of the Summit, we assembled an Advisory Group comprised of professionals with disabilities and allies who lead employee disability resource groups working in DEI and other relevant professional spheres.  We want to thank the Advisory Group members for lending their expertise and time to shape this year’s Summit. Read more about this year's Summit and the Advisory Group on our Stories page.

"This was above and beyond one of the most engaging professional experiences I have had." Josh Fletcher, Senior Project Delivery Specialist, BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois


ID: On top of a purple background, there are two rows of 5 speakers. Underneath the last row of speakers reads, "Disability Leadership Summit Speakers"

We were proud to attract an incredible roster of experienced speakers and session leaders this year including:

  • Kareem Dale, Discover Financial Services
    Keynote Speaker: Lessons in Disability: From White House to Corporate America
  • Jessica Rafuse, Microsoft
    Keynote Speaker: Building A Culture Of Accessibility: Practical Advice To Take Back To Your Organization
  • Kim Holmes, Kim B Holmes Consulting
    What Makes A Successful E/BRG
  • Angie Keister, Attune Collective
    Unlocking Your Career Advancement Advantage and Leading Organizational Change
  • Emily Voorde, Into Strategies
    Centering Disabilities: Engaging Allies; Define An Inclusive Workplace

To read more about this year's Summit and to access a full list of this year's amazing speakers, visit our Summit Page HERE.

One great takeaway message came from Keynote Speaker Jessica Rafuse.. When she was asked by one of the Summit participants “What do I do when I feel like I’m the only advocate for accessibility?” Jessica shared:

“Sometimes it does feel lonely. But I discovered communities. Communities outside of the organization. I discovered nonprofit organizations and people with lived experience. I learned a lot from leaders with disabilities when I was new to my own understanding of my identity. So, my recommendation is to find those communities. Secondly, you may have to create some. There are people with disabilities in your organization, whether they have shared that yet. I find that once I start having conversations about disability, and accessibility, I find allies. They might be parents or someone with a favorite uncle who has diabetes, but these folks will become your community as you work to build to learn from other people.”

As a working professional, whether you find community in your organization or you have to lead the creation, drawing on that community can be a powerful tool and source of support for advancing your career.

A purple and orange background with white text reads, "This was so fulfe personally, the felt connection I had between other leaders with disabilities was a new and lovely experience." Quote is by Angie Keister, Founder and President for Attune Collective  2024 Summit Speaker.


To meet our goal of continued participant connection, we created a private LinkedIn group for Summit participants and are seeking ways to engage with this newfound community throughout the year. As we work towards next year’s Summit, we will be keeping top of mind the themes that attendees shared with us:

  • Advocacy without fear
  • Storytelling as a method of education
  • Addressing my own internalized ableism
  • Finding my voice
  • Enhancing our visibility - self-identification, invisible disabilities, confidence
  • Going beyond compliance
  • Cross-disability and intersectional work
  • Connecting across different organizations
  • Building and sustaining allyship
A white background reads, "2024 Disability Leadership Summit Sponsors" Listed underneath are the three logos of the following sponsors: ComCast NBC Universal, HCSC (Health Case Service Corporation) and AARP
2025 Summit sponsorship opportunities are available now! Contact Anne Renna, Development Manager, for more information.

Event Recap