This morning I was excited to co-host the 4th Georgetown University Conference on Employment of People with Disabilities at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, DC with two other Georgetown alumni, friends and mentors, John D. Kemp (’71) and Mike Marshall (’95, ’05). This year’s conference was themed "Wounded Warriors - Employing Vets with Disabilities” and focused on the importance of hiring individuals with disabilities and more specifically, what can be done to improve the hiring and retention of the Veterans with disabilities returning to civilian life.
John, Mike and I were honored to present the Georgetown University Human Spirit Award to two female members of the U.S. House of Representatives, Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Cathy McMorris Rogers (R-WA). Rep. McMorris Rogers, the fourth highest ranking Republican in the House, was present to accept the award and share some personal insight about her commitment to helping people with disabilities.
We were honored that Tom Donohue, President & CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, wanted to speak about the need for the United States to take the lead on the passage of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities and discuss the unique skill-sets that businesses would acquire if they hired and retained more individuals with disabilities.
The conference was highlighted by two fascinating panels. Frances West, Chief Accessibility Officer at IBM, moderated the first panel, which examined the need for accessible assistive technology, and had panelists from Barclays Capital, Rutgers University and Accessibility Partners LLC. The second panel, moderated by Justin Ford with the Truman National Security Project and General Manager of Dog Tag Bakery, focused on the role of the recent federal contracting regulations promulgated by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. Panelists included the Deputy Assistant Secretary from the U.S. Department of Labor, a representative from Northrop Grumman the Vice President of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce & Executive Director, Hiring Our Heroes.
Thank you to Georgetown University, our award recipients, sponsors, expert panelists and everyone that attended for making this conference as successful as it was!