Disability Inclusion Dialogue Series

The first recommendation from the paper is to create a series of dialogues with experts with the outcome being a series of concrete, actionable recommendations to link disability inclusion with value creation – for investors and society alike.

Working in partnership with Global Goals Advisory and Goal 17 Partners, The Harkin Institute launched a seven-part dialogue throughout 2021 that brings together investors, leaders from the disability community, and private sector executives.

The dialogues will foster greater understanding of the challenges faced by persons with disabilities in the employment space while recognizing the value creating opportunity for the private sector when it achieves competitive, integrated employment. We will better understand how investors engage with companies in which they invest and identify areas of collaboration between the investor and disability communities to achieve employment outcomes.

Dialogue One

Disability Inclusion: A Key Ingredient in a Diverse and Inclusive Workforce
  • Senator Tom Harkin, The Harkin Institute for Public Policy & Citizen Engagement
  • Susanne Bruyère, Yang-Tan Institute on Employment and Disability, Cornell University
  • Caroline Casey, Founder & Creator, The Valuable 500
  • Merrill Friedman, Senior Director, Disability Policy Engagement, Anthem, Inc.
  • James Rhee, Impact Investor, Founder, CEO and Educator

Dialogue Three

Disability Inclusion: The Role of Investors at the Intersection of Disability Inclusion and ESG Performance
  • Merrill Friedman, RVP, Inclusive Policy & Advocacy, Anthem, Inc.
  • Eddie Ndopu, UN SDG Advocate, Activist and Humanitarian
  • Carol Nolan Drake, CEO and Founder, Carlow Consulting, LLC
  • Charles Spearman, Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion and Co-Head of Human Resources Strategic Operations, Guggenheim Partners, LLC
  • Lisa Woll, CEO, US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment

Dialogue Four

Disability Inclusion: Connecting the Finance and Private Sectors to Drive Disability Inclusion
  • Merrill Friedman, RVP, Inclusive Policy & Advocacy, Anthem, Inc.
  • Amy Friedrich, President, U.S. Insurance Solutions, Principal Financial Group
  • Mike Hess, Founder and Executive Director, Blind Institute of Technology
  • Jessica Tuman, Head of Voya Cares Center for Excellence, Voya Financial

Fireside Chat between Eddie Ndopu and Rose Kirk

On September 22, 2021, Eddie Ndopu, our friend and co-collaborator in the panel series and Rose Kirk, Verizon’s Chief Corporate Social Responsibility Officer, talked about the value creating possibilities of disability inclusion. Their conversation covered important topics such as:

  • Can we reimagine the discourse pertaining to “building back better” in a way that centers disability justice and intersectionality?
  • Is there any through-line between DEI, environment, social, and governance investment practices and the UN Sustainable Development Goals? If so, can “it” be leveraged to drive systems change?

Dialogue Five

Disability Inclusion: Entrepreneurs, Startups, and Integrating DI into Tomorrow’s Companies
  • Merrill Friedman, RVP, Inclusive Policy & Advocacy, Anthem, Inc.
  • Daniel Abadie, Founder, Vivid Vocals
  • Regina Kline, Founder and CEO, SmartJob, LLC
  • Aarti Sahgal, Founder, Synergies Work

Dialogue Six

Disability Inclusion: A Driver of Long-Term Value Creation
  • Merrill Friedman, RVP, Inclusive Policy and Advocacy, Anthem, Inc. (moderator)
  • Rachel Cohen, Senior ESG Consultant, Aon
  • Tracy J. Edmonds, Author and Owner of TJE Coaching and Consulting, LLC
  • Caroline Mailloux, Senior Director, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Sarepta Therapeutics

Disability Inclusion Dialogue Series Sponsors

The Disability Inclusion Dialogue Series was produced in partnership with Goal 17 Partners.

Sponsors for this event include:

  • Global Goals Advisory
  • Verizon
  • Guggenheim
  • Anthem

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