Business, HR, and community leaders gathered bright and early on Wednesday, December 5 from 7:30 – 8:30 am for the quarterly Ann Arbor Area Business Leadership Network (A3BLN) to learn about best practices in promoting a positive dialogue for disability and diversity in employment in the Ann Arbor Area. The A3BLN was formed by the Ann Arbor Center for Independent Living over 2.5 years ago to help change the landscape of hiring practices and to create a positive dialogue in regards to the many benefits for hiring a person with a disability and has now grown to 100 members.
A special thanks to Kapnick Insurance for hosting the event at their facility. We rotate the meeting to a new business each quarter and are very grateful for the generous out pour of support from our many hosts.
Dr. Boyd Falconer, Executive Vice President & Managing Director at DHR International, spoke on “Diversity is the Key to Success in a Global Economy.” Dr. Falconer stated, “There is a war for talent that is only intensifying as the baby boomer generation retires. The global talent pool needs each and every employee that it can get its hands on – able and disabled employees. There’s an overwhelming business case for tapping into all ‘sectors’ of the diversity talent pool, and leveraging those employees’ skills for a more efficient, more far-reaching, more profitable business. This is a business opportunity of enormous potential – some have described it as akin to the awakening Chinese economy…where a large population is in the midst of waking to a global market that needs – not wants – but needs China’s human capital. The smarter business leaders among my clients are already tapping the ‘undiscovered’ intellectual capital of the employee with disabilities. It’s about competitive edge, and always will be.” Dr. Falconer has been a friend and support of the center for years and has recently opened up an office in downtown Ann Arbor. We are excited to see him continue to transform the community and global economy.
Tracie Wolfe, HR Manager, and Robby Griswold, Community Giving Coordinator, at Zingerman’s educated guests on “Hiring and Retaining Employees with Disabilities and Diverse Backgrounds. Zingerman’s employees shared, “At Zingerman’s, our commitment to diversity stems directly from our sense of responsibility to the community in which we do business. Our customers are a very diverse group, as are the folks who enable our commerce on every level – vendors, municipal services employees, and our own employees. Our leadership is becoming aware that being a welcoming and inclusive place to work for a diverse group of constituents means that we need training for reaching new networks, for learning to create an environment of belonging for new people, and to continually apply a critical eye to ourselves. Our mission states that we aim to “[show] love and care in all our actions to enrich as many lives as we possibly can.” Our work with diversity and inclusion is our way of forging along that path with more deliberate focus on providing an enriching and caring experience for minoritized members of our community, which include, as a start, people with disabilities and People of Color. Thank you, Ann Arbor CIL, for the wonderful and innovative work you do to ensure that everyone has a seat at the table.”
Tom Hoatlin, Vice President of Development at the Ann Arbor CIL, provided an overview on the programs offered at the Ann Arbor CIL to assist people with disability in becoming economically independent by becoming successful both in and out of the workplace. He transforms lives every day as a peer mentor and leader at the center. If you wish to learn more about hiring people with disabilities into your workforce, save the date for a training session for business owners and employers to hear from Tom Hoatlin and Carolyn Grawi of the Ann Arbor CIL and Angela Walker and David Blanchard of Nacht, Roumel, Salvatore, Blanchard & Walker P.C. This double feature session on “Disability Awareness and Understanding Training” as “The ADA: what Your Business Needs to Know” will be held on Wednesday, February 13, 2013 from 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm. Cost is $25 per person. Please register by February 6 to Carolyn Grawi at 734-971-0277 x 16 or Carolyn@aacil.org.
Ken Martin, CFO at the Ann Arbor CIL, informed guests on “Practicing What We Preach: Product & Service Innovation with a Diverse Workforce.” The Ann Arbor CIL is leading a fundamental change in how nonprofit organizations are operated going forward as a valued organization in the community. The nature of funding is shifting away from a more subjective model of performance to more objective outcomes that provide value to a greater number of people. This change affects the Ann Arbor CIL model of operations requiring us to organize into business units to be able to measure these outcomes. This requires the center to be more adept at providing valuable resources to a community dedicated to promoting the independent well-being of our constituents. Our current team consists of an exceptional blend of diversity with talent and skills that are consistent with providing a valuable resource to those organizations.
View Photos From the Event
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Upcoming A3BLN Details
March 2013 – stay tuned for updates!
7:30 am – 8:30 am
About the A3BLN
The A3BLN is a business-to-business networking and training initiative fostering positive dialogue about diversity and disability in the Ann Arbor business community. It is lead by Stephanie Stiles and part of the USBLN, a vibrant national network of over 5,000 companies promoting disability in business, both in hiring practices and in customer service and marketing practices. Through these efforts, more economic opportunity is created for people with disabilities, and more people are able to access the consumer marketplace. The USBLN has over 60 BLN affiliates across North America. If you are a member of the Ann Arbor area business community, A3BLN events are a great opportunity to connect your company with one of the leading diversity initiatives in the country and stay in the know about positive happenings in our local business community.