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DC Metro Business Leadership Network Monthly Newsletter: April 2017

What's New

The  DC Metro BLN is pleased to welcome two new Board members!

Emily Yee

Manager, Federal Consulting, Deloitte, joining the Board of Directors 

Carrie Schroder

PricewaterhouseCoopers, Assurance Human Capital Manager, joining the Advisory Board

Emily Yee is a leader in Deloitte’s efforts to advance diversity and inclusion both in the firm and for clients. In her client work, Emily leads teams delivering services and solutions for Federal agencies facing various challenges in managing their people. Emily is a leader in Deloitte’s Ability First Business Resource Group, developing strategies for improving Deloitte’s inclusion of people with disabilities and leading a team focused on research and analysis for the firm to better help clients seeking advice and support on this topic. Originally from Southern California, Emily moved to Washington D.C. after college to pursue a career in politics, eventually pursued a Master of Business Administration, and has been in management consulting for the Federal government for the past 7 years. She lives on Capitol Hill, is an active member of Capitol Hill Baptist Church, and enjoys both traveling to different parts of the world and neighborhood weekend training runs on the National Mall. 

Carrie Schroeder has over nine years of experience in human resources, and serves as a manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in McLean, VA. Carrie is an advocate for people with disabilities not only in the workplace, but also in the community and is a member of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB). In addition to her daily responsibilities around coaching and development, Carrie saw a need within the market for people with disabilities and caregivers of people with disabilities and she formed a group within PwC.  The group’s focus is to support, enable, and empower those who have disabilities at PwC as they continue their career progression.  As of today, the group has 15 members, and is the seventh group to be formed of its kind at PwC across the country. Carrie has also presented at two NFB state conventions on the topics of “What are Employers Really Looking For” and “Take Charge: Strategies for Success – It’s more than just about a paycheck.”  Carrie is active with international efforts for people with disabilities and was present when the Marrakesh Treaty was signed in 2013 to facilitate access to published works for persons who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print disabled.  She also has been an observer to the United Nations informal group on Quite Road Transport Vehicles.Carrie graduated from George Mason University in Fairfax, VA with her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband and daughter. 

Table of Contents

Webinar Announcements

May 4 Webinar

Accessibility Switchboard

Accessibility Switchboard
1:00 - 2:30 pm ET

In Spring 2017, the Accessibility Switchboard website went live. The resource site is a new connection portal for businesses and consumers. The site connects people by providing introductions to accessibility concepts, introducing case studies of successful practices, giving practical step-by-step guidance, and giving annotated links to publications that examine key topics in-depth.

The Switchboard project came about because of the need to provide easy-to-digest introductions for newcomers to topics relating to website accessibility, management and implementation of accessibility programs, dealing with work environment issues, the procurement of IT, responding to legal issues, and more.

Designed to expand over time, the Switchboard has been set up to easily include new audiences. In the first year of development, the development team focused on the needs of businesspersons working on the technical side of IT accessibility, as well as consumers with disabilities who are struggling to deal with IT accessibility problems. We believe that an additional audience need should be addressed, and can be incorporated as an expansion to the content. In our field there are two separate but overlapping ‘camps’: those who focus on IT accessibility issues; and those who focus on employment equity and diversity issues. It can be easy to become entrenched in one camp and inadvertently overlook the other aspects, making it harder to address accessibility as an organization-wide initiative.

In this webinar, we will introduce the Switchboard site, how it was developed, how the Community of Practice (a 20+ member group of accessibility consultants and other accessibility SMEs) was engaged, and introduce the current content of the site. We will then discuss and solicit feedback from BLN members on the concept of expanding the site by bridging the gap between the technical and non-technical sides of accessibility practices in business.


Chris M. Law, Accessibility Track Consulting, LLC

Eduardo Meza-Etienne, eSSENTIAL Accessibility

Due to system capacity, this registration is limited to one connection per registration only.

May 18 Webinar

ACE Assisting Caregiving EmployeesJohn Schall

Presenter: John Schall, CEO


We are pleased to welcome back John Schall, CEO at Caregiver Action Network to address  one of the top concerns of employers who understand that many of their employees are caregivers. Businesses  are seeking ways to support them to retain and help them to remain productive and engaged employees. Over 22 million Americans are working family caregivers – that is one out of five workers. The costs of caregiving to business and industry exceed over $50 billion annually. That is why Caregiver Action Network, in collaboration with Partners on the Path, developed ACE - Assisting Caregiving Employees - to help employers support employees to better manage their caregiving responsibilities.

Costs attributable to working employee caregivers include:

Higher employer-related health care costs, estimated to be $13.4 billion per year to U.S. employers

  •  8% more for caregiving employees overall
  • 11% more for blue-collar caregiver
  • 18% more for male caregivers

Expense of recruiting and retraining new employees to replace caregiving employees, estimated to be $6.6 billion

Productivity costs primarily due to

  • absenteeism ($5.1 billion
  • shifts from full-time to part-time work ($4.8 billion
  • workday interruptions ($6.3 billion)

2017 DC Metro BLN Programs


Lockheed Martin

5th Annual AAA (Accessibility, Accommodations and Assistive Technology) 
Symposium and Expo


April 26, 2017

8:30 am - 12:00 pm

Lockheed Martin Global Vision Center

2121 Crystal City Drive, Arlington, VA

Tim Creagan

Keynote: Tim Creagan, Senior Accessibility Specialist at the U.S. Access Board

  • Are you ready for the newly released Section 508 Refresh?
  • Does the standards impact you?
  • Things you can do to get ahead of the game
Come learn with us. In addition, we will have AT and Accessibility exhibitors.


6th Annual Wounded Warrior Program


June 20, 2017

8:30 am - 12:00 pm

General Dynamics

2491 Fairview Park Drive, Falls Church, VA


Veterans' Employment and Training Service (VETS) Invited 


Capital One

Autistic Talent: Recruiting, Interviewing and Retaining Top Talent


July 13, 2017

8:30 am - 12:00 pm

Capital One

1680 Capital One Drive, McLean, VA


Melanie Whetzel

Melanie Whetzel

Cognitive/Neurological Team 

Lou Orlesne

Lou Orslene


Job Accommodation Network


US Business Leadership Network

USBLN 20th Annual Conference


No DC Metro BLN Programming


evolver agents of progressive change

Mental Illness: Stay at Work/return to Work Strategies for Employers


September 12, 2017

8:30 am - 12:00 pm

Evolver, Inc.

1943 Isaac Newton Square E #260, Reston, VA


Anne Hirsh

Anne Hirsh


Job Accommodation Network


DC Metro Business Leadership Network

DC Metro BLN 3rd Annual Gala

Date and Location Pending

No DC Metro BLN Program


4th Annual Federal Updates: ODEP, OFCCP, EEOC, VETS

Host and Date Pending

If you want to host the November program, please contact Katherine McCary. Our programs feature the Host's Disability Leadership, a keynote speaker and a Share Forum. 

If you have suggestions for Webinar Speakers or 2017 Gala Speakers, please let us know!!

2017  Membership

2017 Annual Membership Levels

 Level  Annual Fee  Program Registration
 Platinum  $10,000 No Program Fees 
 Diamond  $5,000 $65 
 Gold  $3,000 $65 
 Corporate  $1,500 $65 
 Non-Profit  $750 $65 
 Small Business  $750 $65 
 Individual  $175 $65 
 Individual/SHRM  $150 $65 
 Student  $50 $30 

Virtual Program Registration (As Available):          $45

Webinar Attendee:                                                 $25

Webinar Attendee - Member :                                $15

Non-Member:                                                         $125

Effective 2017, Membership Dues may be combined with Gala Sponsorship* for ONE combined annual invoice! Contact us to receive an invoice!

Gala Sponsorships are available

  • Platinum $10,000
  • Diamond $5,000
  • Gold  $2,500
  • Silver $1000
  • Crystal $500

* The 2017 Gala will continue the work of the Millennial Employer Collaborative! Stay tuned for details! Sponsors receive Gala tickets and 2018 Program Passes.

2017 Discussion Board

We are looking for your Opinions and Ideas! 

All members have access to the Discussion Board where they can comment on topics including veterans, accommodations, youth and accessibility. Or add your own topic and start a discussion!

DC Metro BLN Discussion Board

In the News - Articles of Interest

Veterans Corner

Ron Drach
Ron Drach, President, Drach Consulting, LLC

Veterans Talent Index

A Survey of Disabled Veterans Employment


From the Disabled American Veterans

Last month I reported the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) released the results of a survey from November 2016. The survey was conducted in collaboration with Monster and (a subsidiary of Monster) and is tilted VETERANS TALENT INDEX Insights and Analysis from Veterans, Recruiters, and Hiring Managers. The entire report can be found at As part of that report there is a Special Report: Disabled Veterans Talent Survey. You can find that supplement by clicking on the link and then clicking on the section titled Special Report: Disabled Veterans Talent Survey. What follows is general information about this supplement.

A few highlights of this report that may be of interest to our readers include:

  • Overall employers have had a positive experience hiring veterans
  • 73% of these employers say they have a commitment to hiring veterans
  • 81% believe their company offers a friendly work place for veterans with disabilities BUT 45% do not believe their work environment is appropriate for veterans with disabilities and 30% have concerns about veterans with PTSD* (NOTE:  This begs for more information)
  • 84% of veterans reported positive experiences with employers accommodating their disabilities
  • Only 38% have revealed their disabilities on a job application (NOTE: This brings up the subject of self disclosure. The high percentage of veterans with disabilities receiving a workplace accommodation establishes the value of self identification at least for those needing some form of accommodation)

Other than 65% of the veterans with a disability responding they believed their disability resulted in a needed career change overall findings were pretty positive. More than three-fourth (78%) of the veteran respondents believed their disability did not impact their value as an employee. Two-thirds (66%) said their disability only impacts their physical ability. Of those indicating they have a disability 66% say it is visibly apparent.

Overall employers had positives experiences hiring veterans with disabilities. Of the employer respondents 81% believed “their company is a positive and productive workplace” for veterans with disabilities AND 74% said hiring veterans with disabilities “has been a positive experience for the company”.

When employers were asked “What was your primary motivation to hire a Veteran” 51% said the veteran was the best qualified and 51% mentioned the veterans prior work experience. This work experience must be different from military experience because only 29% cited military experience. Tax credits were only 14% (NOTE: I have heard employers don’t apply for tax credits because the application process is burdensome, employers aren’t aware of them, and large employers don’t need/want them. What is your experience with tax credits?)

Eighty-seven percent of employers said they do not have a “formal commitment” to hire veterans but “our company supports hiring Veterans”. A full 90% indicated

”Our company hires the best talent regardless of Veteran status”.

When employers were asked “Do you have any of the following concerns when hiring veterans?” 30% mentioned PTSD (see earlier comment) and 30% responded “Fitting into corporate culture”. These were the second highest “concerns” following 38% saying “I do not have any concerns when hiring veterans”. Only 10% cited the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) by responding to “The laws concerning re-hiring of reintegrating Guard and Reserve employees” although 23% did have a concern about “Having to leave the job to serve”.

Employers reported that 81% of their veterans were performing at a full time capacity and others included paid internships (24%); unpaid internships (8%); part time (36%); contractor (17%). NOTE: I can be part of that 17% if you hire me as a contractor. I am a service disabled veteran owned small business. See description below).

Forty-nine percent of the veteran respondents indicated their disability was recognized by the VA; 20% said they have a disability that has not been recognized by the VA; and 31% said they do not have a disability recognized by the VA. (NOTE: the author assumes this last category identify as having a disability possibly meeting the ADA definition that is not directly related to their military service).

When veterans were asked “Please indicate if you have in the past or would in the future do any of the following” the responses were:


  • Disclose my disability to a prospective employer, 60% said yes
  • Disclose my disability on a job application, 38% said yes


  • Disclose my disability to a prospective employer, only 32% said yes (NOTE: What does this tell us?)
  • Disclose my disability on a job application, 47% said yes

Sixty-five percent said they have been asked about their disability in a job interview and 32% said no while 3% said they never had a job interview.

This report is very interesting and raises a lot of questions in my mind. It is difficult to determine the value of the responses without knowing if the reported results are directly related to the questions/issues outlined in the report or did the survey provide more detailed explanations to those who were surveyed.

I would appreciate any thoughts or comments.

* From the author’s experience this concern has little validity. In August of 2007 I was part of a DOL/ODEP/VETS initiative known as America’s Heroes at Work (AHaW). This effort lasted until late 2010 when VETS decided to eliminate it. AHaW was intended as an outreach and education effort to enlighten employers and veterans living with PTSD and/or TBI that these veterans and employers could have positive employment outcomes and experiences. A web site was developed that among other things contained success stories of veterans and employers as well as resources.

Drach Consulting, LLC is a service disabled veteran owned firm that was established after a successful career that includes 28 years with the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) and more than 8 years with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS).   Ron Drach, President of Drach Consulting, LLC has nearly 50 years experience working on veteran’s issues including employment, affirmative action, vocational rehabilitation, homelessness, transitioning service members, and disability issues. I am available to talk with you about the services Drach Consulting can provide your organization. Drach Consulting, LLC has provided services to 15 clients since October 2010. I can be contacted at or 240-413-3183

Millennials Corner

Olivia Liccione

Olivia Liccione

My mobility scooter’s name is Steve, as in Steve Rogers, alter ego of Captain America. I’m a big superhero fan, and I’ve decorated him with a shield, action figure, and various keychains, so the name was a natural choice. Steve is a bit of a celebrity on my small college campus. If I leave him on the sidewalk outside of a building, which I often do, friends will take pictures of him as they pass by paparazzi-style and send them to me. I even get compliments on his adornments from complete strangers.

Just yesterday, I was running to the CVS to pick up a few necessities when I received such a compliment. A woman approached me and said she loved the Captain America theme. I thanked her, and she said that she and her four-year- old son were out the other day and spotted him and that her son was absolutely mesmerized by the action figure. We chatted briefly and parted ways. It was a really lovely exchange.

More than just making kids smile (although that is very valuable), I think the decorations on my scooter do something important – they allow people to acknowledge the presence of my disability in a way that isn’t awkward. It’s hard to pretend not to notice that a twenty-year- old woman is using a mobility scooter. But often, people feel forced to do just that. I think they feel that acknowledging a disability whatsoever might be offensive or upsetting. And I don’t blame them – disability is a tricky topic and everyone is wary of saying the wrong thing. But Steve’s decorations open the door. They start the conversation. They say “Hi, I have a mobility aid, but it’s playful and cute. It’s an important object in my life, one I care about enough to decorate.

I’m okay with people looking at me. And I’m also more than happy to talk about the latest Marvel movie.” Just that is enough to put people at ease and open the door for connection.

The Future Workforce: Report from the ME Committee

Carolyn Jeppsen

Carolyn Jeppsen, BroadFutures 

I wanted to provide a summary of the discussion that we had at our first Millennial Employer (ME) Collaborative Meeting. We will be meeting again on May 30th at noon at the NYTC.  Please contact either myself or Sue Werber, DC Metro BLN ME Chair to provide comments- we would like to hear from you! 

After making introductions, we entered into a group brainstorming session on the critical issues facing both millennials trying to enter and progress in the workplace, as well as the ability of employers to recruit and retain millennials. We  broke into two groups. Within our two groups, we each came up with our top 4 critical issues facing both millennials and employers.  We then came together again as a group and agreed on the top 4 categories. 

Below is a list of the agreed upon top 4 categories and the sub categories or further explanation of the categories.  We will have some work to do at the next meeting to discuss where the sub categories go and if they can/should all be addressed.

1) Accessibility & Accommodations Resources & Inclusiveness

  • What is out there, what is required from a company perspective – what is legal
  • Communication w/manager
  • Inclusive policy vs. culture
  • Work/Life Balance – flexibility in work environment
  • Policies can inform culture – can encourage self-care culture
  • Ability to pioneer change – shifting of a pattern

2) The Selfs

  • Learning vs. Working style
  • Branding – WHO AM I – how am I going to compete – knowing work style
    • How sell yourself – why you want to be doing what you are doing
  • When and to what extent to disclose
  • Financial implications of having a disability – and being on SSI – benefits for PCAs.

3) Resources

  • What and where to access
  • Networking

4) Unconscious bias - Stigmas

Mentoring Program Provides Rising Leaders with Disabilities a Connection to Corporate Mentors


The US Business Leadership Network (USBLN) is excited to announce Deloitte as a founding partner of the Rising Leaders Mentoring Program. 

This innovative program is a six-month career mentoring opportunity for college students and recent graduates with disabilities to be connected with business professionals from USBLN partner companies.

The Rising Leaders Mentoring Program develops the pipeline of qualified college students with disabilities by bringing together employers and college students with disabilities, including veterans, in a mutually beneficial way. Mentees meet and interact with business professionals in their field of study or area of interest and whom they would not otherwise have access to.

“Mentoring is an important function for any young person,” said Jill Houghton, President and CEO, USBLN. “This program will help young people with disabilities gain the skills they need to compete for jobs and internships. We are grateful to Deloitte for joining Microsoft and NGC in supporting this important initiative.”

“Diversity is an essential part of our business practices that contribute to Deloitte’s innovation and solutions for our customers,” said Michael Bernard, National Recruiting Manager, Deloitte. “We are proud to have the opportunity to support the diverse talents of students with disabilities.”

The outcomes and connections from Rising Leaders Mentoring Program will power young people with disabilities to achieve their dreams. Interested in investing in a pipeline of qualified talent with disabilities?  Contact Liz Taub at

Upcoming Events in the DC Metro Area & Beyond

All About Access: The Business Case for Using Accessible Websites and Other Workplace Technologies

April 13, 2017 - 2:00 - 3:30 pm ET

Technology is one of the central drivers of productivity and success in today’s workplace, for all workers. But when the technology in your workplace is inaccessible to people with disabilities, it impedes employees from performing to their fullest potential. Worse yet, if your online job application platform is not accessible, a qualified candidate may not even be able to apply for a position at your company in the first place.

This webinar will address the basics of employer responsibilities and opportunities related to accessibility of websites, online systems, mobile applications, and other forms of information and communication technology (ICT) in the workplace. Presenters will explore the business case for ensuring the workplace ICT you buy and use is accessible to all job applicants and employees, as well as the workplace implications of recent updates to rules implementing Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act (federal sector), Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (government contractors and private sector). As part of the discussion, leading employers will also share their first-hand experiences adopting an accessibility mindset.

Panelists include:

  • Brett Sheats (Moderator), National Project Director, Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion
  • Josh Christianson, Project Director, Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT) 
  • Bobby Silverstein, Principal, Powers Pyles Sutter & Verville PC

20th National USBLN Conference

Orlando -USBLN 20th National Conference & Biz2Biz Expo


2017 USBLN 20th Annual Conference and Biz2Biz EXPO

Orlando, August 21-24

We are excited to announce that the preliminary agenda for the 2017 Conference and Biz2Biz Expo has been posted on our website! You will find descriptions for our five tracks of breakout sessions, workplace, marketplace, supply chain, professional development and technology and the Rising Leaders Academy. Please note, additional information about events marked “private” will be made available to USBLN corporate partners in the coming months.  

24th Annual Mid-Atlantic ADA Update

Mid-Atlantic ADA Center

September 13, 2017 1:00pm to September 15, 2017 3:00pm

Sheraton Tysons Hotel
8661 Leesburg Pike
Tysons, Virginia 22182

The Mid-Atlantic ADA Update is the region's leading conference on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), traditionally featuring speakers from federal agencies such as the U.S. Departments of Justice and Transportation, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the Access Board.

The program offers a variety of breakout sessions on topics ranging from accessible design to inclusive program planning and disability employment issues.

This exceptional event offers networking and professional development opportunities for:

  • ADA Coordinators
  • Disability Advocates
  • Architects
  • Business Leaders
  • Building Code Officials
  • Educators
  • Government Officials
  • Human Resource Specialists
  • Service Providers
The Mid-Atlantic ADA Center invites corporations, organizations and agencies to become sponsors, exhibitors or advertisers at the Mid-Atlantic ADA Update. Download our Sponsor-Exhibitor-Advertiser Package for more information and an application. Questions? Contact the Mid-Atlantic ADA Center at or call 301-217-0124.

About Us

The DC Metro Business Leadership Network is an employer led non-profit that uses a business-to business model offering education, training programs and resources to change attitudes and address concerns of businesses so that they learn how to proactively include people with disabilities in the workforce, marketplace and supplier diversity.

Myra Wilder, Chair

Marriott International

Andrea Hall, Vice Chair

DXC technology

Brooke Thomas, Secretary

Lockheed Martin

Ellen de Bremond, Treasurer

The Choice, Inc.


  • Jenn Bassett, JBG Companies
  • Karen Cook, Gallaudet University
  • Michelle Crabtree, Hyatt 
  • Dan Ellerman, Northrop Grumman
  • Sophie Howard, General Dynamics IT
  • Patricia Jackson, Booz Allen Hamilton
  • Misty Koper, EY
  • Charlesiah McLean, Leidos
  • Eduardo Meza-Etienne, eSSENTIAL Accessibility
  • Dan Sullivan, KPMG
  • Emily Yee, Deloitte

Advisory Board

  • Dinah Cohen, Dinah Cohen Consulting, LLC (CAP Director, retired)
  • Ron Drach, Drach Consulting, LLC (Chair, Wounded Warrior Committee)
  • Donnielle DeMesme, Golden Key Group
  • Rikki Epstein, The Arc of Northern Virginia
  • Denyse Gordon, CACI
  • Tisha Herne, AudioEye
  • Karen Herson, Concepts, Inc.
  • Dorothy Meekins, Evolver, Inc.
  • Bryan Moseley, TCS Associates
  • Chrissone Palmer, EY
  • Ann Rader, Healthcare Transformation, Strategy Execution & Management Consultant Leading Innovative Solutions
  • Carrie Schroeder, PwC
  • Jenn Sharp, KPMG
  • Kia Silver Hodge, Lockheed Martin
  • Sue Werber, C5 Consulting, LLC (Chair, ME Committee)

CEO, Executive Director: The Honorable Katherine O. McCary, C5 Consulting, LLC

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