Building communities where people with disabilities feel included – through internal retention, promotion and inclusion programs. Discussion of what companies are doing to entice their employees with disabilities to stay on board, feel safe to disclose, and seek accommodations from a human resources, ERG leadership and employee perspective.
David Ortiz, Senior Diversity & Inclusion Consultant, Oracle
David is a Senior Diversity & Inclusion Consultant working as part of the Oracle Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) team, which manages all aspects of D&I for Oracle US. As part of the D&I team, David delivers integrated solutions to help embed D&I and employee engagement competencies, concepts, thinking, systems, and processes into the business. In this role, David engages individuals as part of the organization’s disability inclusion strategy and manages strategic partnerships.
As the past Corporate Diversity Consultant at BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, based in Chattanooga, TN, David was responsible for the research, development and implementation of enterprise diversity initiatives. In this role he educated employees on the business case for diversity to help develop a culture of inclusion. He also provided diversity training, career counseling and community outreach advocacy to address health care disparity.
David has served on the La Paz Chattanooga Board of Directors, the Chattanooga area’s Latino advocacy agency. As chairman, he spearheaded efforts to revitalize the agency through an intensive and highly collaborative strategy development session that led to increased funding, growth in staff, a new location, enhanced brand and sought-after expertise. He formerly served as Chair on the Advisory Board for Youth Leadership Chattanooga, a youth development program of the YMCA. He is a past-president and charter member of the BlueCross Toastmasters Club.
David earned his Masters of Management in Human Resources Management from the University of Phoenix and holds a Bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in Journalism from Montclair State University.
Cortnee Jensen, Director of Development & Community Relations, Mind Shift
Cortnee Jensen is the Director of Development and Community Relations for Mind Shift, an innovative social business focused on adding the unique and substantial talents of those on the autism spectrum to the job market.
Cortnee is also a founding member of Lift UpLift, the first global alliance of women-owned businesses dedicated to creating more opportunities for women worldwide. Additionally, she the Co-Founder of BOLD, an initiative to combine the experience and align the objectives of the non-profit and for profit sectors. Additionally, she serves on the Board of Directors for the Red River Valley Autism Aspergers Network.
Mostly importantly, Cortnee is shaping the thoughts, characteristics and knowledge of her three young children, the oldest of which has Asperger’s, a form of autism. She feels that it is her job, in all of her positions, to help people appreciate the unique talents and value of all people.
John E. Moore, Customer Relations Branch Manager, Sprint Relay
John facilitates customer communications, manages state and federal contract compliance, and manages a team of Customer Relations Managers in the U.S. and New Zealand, and the Care Support Team in Denver, Colorado.
John coordinates and develops marketing strategies to the deaf, hard of hearing and speech disabled communities. In addition to John’s role, he leads the Blind/Low Vision national marketing of wireless services and customer care support.
John began his career with Sprint in 1993 as a Telecommunication Relay Services Operations Supervisor. After two years, he was promoted to Account Manager for the state of California. John, who is hard of hearing and fluent in American Sign Language (ASL), is an active member of the deaf and hard of hearing community.
In 2000, John was the co-founder of the Northeast Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Services in Concord, New Hampshire, and he also served as the first chairman of the board.
John is the President of Sprint’s REAL DEAL Employee Resource Group for persons with disabilities.
He received a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Science from San Jose State University and currently resides in Denver, Colorado.
Michael Coyle, Principal Program Manager for Diversity & Inclusion, Pacific Gas and Electric
Michael is the Principal Program Manager for Diversity and Inclusion at Pacific Gas and Electric Company. He designs and delivers the company’s enterprise Diversity and Inclusion strategy and oversees a network of executive champions. Workforce Diversity and Inclusion at PG&E encompasses the full employee lifecycle from workforce development to retention and leadership development. Inclusive Leadership has been embedded through the program’s efforts into the company’s learning curriculum at the leadership and front line field level. Three quarters of PG&E’s employee population of 23,000 is considered field based and is covered by a collective bargaining agreement. Michael earned his Bachelors of Science in International Business from Ithaca College and holds a Master’s degree in International Employment Relations from the London School of Economics.
Michael started the company’s first internship program for individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities, Project Search in partnership with the Arc San Francisco. The program is now in its fifth year. Michael is a passionate proponent for cross cultural mentoring and creative collaboration for hard to find solutions. He has chaired Out & Equal’s Regional Leadership Affiliate from 2010-2014 and served as advisor to the company’s LGBT Employee Resource group since 2009.
Sumayyah Emeh Edu, Consultant, Change Catalyst (Moderator)
Sumayyah Emeh-Edu has almost 15 years’ experience within the K12, Higher Education and Corporate sectors directing diversity and professional development objectives. Serving in a variety of capacities including business development, program management and training, Sumayyah also has extensive leadership experience. Overall, her expertise lies in driving results for career and organizational development.
Hailing from organizations such as Laureate Education, Kaplan Test Prep and the Keller Center for Corporate Learning, Sumayyah noted systemic inequities throughout the education-workforce pipeline, increasing her desire to create change. Serving now as the VP of Strategy and Programming for Tech Inclusion (a Change Catalyst initiative), she is able to drive diversity and inclusion support in the tech community through her responsibilities of conference planning, building strategic alliances and consulting.
Sumayyah holds a BA in Communications and has completed coursework for a Masters in HR Management. She is a member and active supporter of ASTD Golden Gate Chapter and National Diversity Council, and DpointI. She also has volunteered with various community organizations that widen access for disadvantaged youth to access education such as CollegeBound, AVID and UpwardBound.