Six years ago, a few determined people frustrated with the lack of people with disabilities in leadership positions created a groundbreaking program—the first of its kind in the nation—to bring greater disability inclusion to tables of power and influence in the Chicago region.
What started as one weekend, grew in 2019 into an independent 501C3. And today we reveal to you our new name and brand: Disability Lead.
Our new name—Disability Lead—was not only born out of a long and thoughtful process, but it marks a significant milestone in our journey, and provides us an opportunity to reflect on everything that we believe in and everything that we aspire to become as we move forward into an exciting future.
And it is not just our name and logo that changed, but we’ve also changed our website, our social media, and our messaging to better reflect our core belief: that the experiences, ideas and leadership of people with disabilities is powerful and vital to achieving justice.
I want to provide some detail about the name and logo, but first, I want to start with how it was developed.
Back in 2019, when I became the organization’s first full-time Executive Director, we began the process of identifying a new brand. Knowing that a good brand reflects the needs of the audiences it serves, we convened a rebrand committee made up of Members, Board, and staff to help guide the process. We also hired the stellar team at Kym Abrams Design and they embarked in an in-depth research process to help us create an accessible, emotionally resonant, and sustainable brand.
We gathered a lot of insights from friends and supporters but what resonated most is that our stakeholders told us:
1. We need to be bold.
2. We need to showcase an authentic feeling of belonging.
3. We need to center having a strong disability identity as valuable perspective and lifelong journey.
4. We must remove the stigma of disability and show that it is a needed and natural aspect of diversity.
5. We must work across sectors and partners—both within the disability community and out of it—to make our vision real.
With those guiding principles in mind, we considered a lot of names…like a lot of names. But it was at one of those intense brainstorm sessions that Brian Heyburn, Member, Fellow of 2017, and rebrand committee member offered the name Disability Lead. The Zoom meeting grew quiet as we played the option around in our collective heads, and within minutes, and unanimously, we had our name selected.
And truly, there is nothing better than the fact that our name was ideated by one of our Members for our more than 170 leaders with disabilities.
Once we had our name selected, we began the process of creating our logo. The Disability Lead logo is a one lined typeface made up of text that reads “Disability Lead” and the “t” in Disability is a plus sign made up of three distinct colors (orange, pink, and purple) coming together. The plus sign symbolizes the positive impact that people with disabilities have in leadership roles and the importance of intersectional perspectives coming together as one. In some instances, the logo is accompanied by the tagline,“Power. Influence. Change.”, which we upload as pillars of our organization. We also rigorously evaluated the colors and made several adjustments to ensure they were accessible and provided high color contrast.
Our new brand most vividly comes to life on our new website—expertly designed by Bivins Brothers Creative—and we are so proud that it is designed in a way that is accessible, beautiful, and easy to navigate.
We are so excited to reintroduce ourselves to the world as Disability Lead and we welcome your input along the way. And while we may look different, rest assured, we are still the same people and program you have come to trust and love.
Follow along, invest, and stay engaged: