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DC Metro Business Leadership Network Monthly Newsletter: December 2017

Thank you for yet another great year!

Looking back in 2017, we have much to thank you all for as we celebrate the success of being named Affiliate of the Year 2017  and building on the third year of our Gala with members, supporters and friends. Yet more importantly, we believe, is the continued strength of our programs which continue to address employer focused topics including Millennials, Veterans and our Community Partners as well as Mental Health, Autism and Caregivers in the Workplace and important conversations on Accessibility and Accommodations. 

We are finalizing our 2018 calendar which will be announced in the 

January newsletter.

  Lots of GREAT Member Benefits! 

We are launching a new webinar series focused on recruiter training, 2018 Virtual Career Fair, our ME Collaborative cloud-based college series, our Incredible Disability Supplier Diversity Initiative (remember that $3,000 Wells Fargo Check?) as well as offering 10 in person programs that address current employer best practices! (These will also continue to be offered virtually as often as possible!)

On behalf of the Board of Directors and Advisory Board, 
we wish you a Joyous Holiday Season!


Your Holiday Shopping Supports the DC Metro BLN!

Amazon smile. You shop

Amazon elves hard at  work to create an incredible holiday shopping experience just for you!  Be sure to shop on AMAZON SMILE and select DC Metro Business Leadership Network as your charity

AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support your favorite charitable organization every time you shop, at no cost to you. When you shop at, you’ll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to your favorite charitable organization, theDC Metro BLN. 

How do I shop at AmazonSmile?

To shop at AmazonSmile simply go to from the web browser on your computer or mobile device. You may also want to add a bookmark to to make it even easier to return and start your shopping at AmazonSmile.

Which products on AmazonSmile are eligible for charitable donations?

Tens of millions of products on AmazonSmile are eligible for donations. You will see eligible products marked “Eligible for AmazonSmile donation” on their product detail pages. Recurring Subscribe-and-Save purchases and subscription renewals are not currently eligible.

Can I use my existing account on AmazonSmile?

Yes, you use the same account on and AmazonSmile. Your shopping cart, Wish List, wedding or baby registry, and other account settings are also the same.

How do I select a charitable organization to support when shopping on AmazonSmile?

On your first visit to AmazonSmile, you need to select a charitable organization to receive donations from eligible purchases before you begin shopping. We will remember your selection, and then every eligible purchase you make at will result in a donation.



audioeye  Concepts - Passion, Creativity, Results

Deloitte  Dinah F. Cohen Consulting, LLC

eSSENTIAL Accessibility EY Building a better working world

Gallaudet University General Dynamics

JBG Smith Lockheed Martin

Northrop Grumman

In-Kind Sponsors

Herson Family Vineyards TCS Interpreting TCS Associates

Table of Contents



 Do You Need to Renew?

Annual Membership Levels

Not a Member? Become One Today! 
Open Membership offers 12 months of benefits and supports our mission.
New Member Benefit! 
Looking for 2018  In-House Training? Members enjoy SME training at 50% savings! Contact Katherine McCary to learn more!

DC Metro BLN Organizational Members will soon have the opportunity to schedule in-house training at 50% savings! This in-house training (1.5-3 hours) is for your organization exclusively delivered by C5 Consulting, LLC team of experts.  Ideal for your Senior Leadership or Disability ERG, topics include:

  • Disability 101
  • Accessibility
  • The Business Case for Disability Inclusion
  • Building the Talent Pipeline
  • Making Reasonable Accommodations Successful
  • Hiring Managers: What You Need to Know
  • Building an Inclusive Culture
  • Self-ID Benefits Everyone
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 Program Fee:                                  $125

DC Metro BLN Board News

DC Metro BLN Discussion Board

It's all about the MEMBER NETWORK! All members have access to the Discussion Board where they can comment on topics including veterans, accommodations, Millennials, community partners and accessibility. We have just added a Supplier Diversity Discussion Board- Log on to join the discussion!

    In the News - Articles of Interest

    Disability Supplier Diversity Program - DSOP US Business Leadership Network

    Disability Supplier Diversity Corner 

    Katherine McCary
    The Hon. Katherine McCaryC5 Consulting, LLC
    WBENC Certified Woman- Owned Business Enterprise
    USBLN Certified Disability-Owned Business Enterprise
    DC Metro BLN CEO

    Do You Know of a Disability-owned Business in the DMV?

    The DC Metro BLN Three-year Disability Supplier Diversity Initiative Committee is planning our 2018 Events! We are looking for disability owned businesses in the Metro area. Please help us to connect! 
    Committee Co-Chairs

    Boeing                   The Resource Network

    Accessibility Corner 

    Eduardo Meza-Etienne

    Eduardo Meza-Etienne, Certified Professional in Accessibility Core Competencies
     DC Metro BLN Accessibility Chair

    What You Need to Know for 2018: Upcoming Digital Accessibility Compliance Deadlines and Milestones

    Whether your organization is in the public or private sector, there are anti-discrimination laws that you are obligated to comply with in the course of doing business. Several of these laws protect the rights of people with disabilities. It’s important that you stay up to date on these laws and their regulations, because occasionally they’re updated, and new compliance deadlines are set. These milestones creep closer before you know it.

    When civil rights laws are created and updated, these aren’t arbitrary decisions. They are carefully researched and planned in order to keep up with an increased understanding of how the rights of people with disabilities can and should be guarded. In many cases, they are also intended to address advancements in technology.

    Are there upcoming deadlines in 2018 that could affect your organization? Here are two dates that you may need to know for the new year.

    January 18, 2018: Section 508 Refresh Compliance

    Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act requires all electronic information and communication technology (ICT) used or maintained by the federal government to be accessible. This applies to suppliers as well, since government agencies must procure only ICT that is accessible.

    Last January, the Section 508 standards were refreshed to update the ICT accessibility requirements.1 One of the most significant changes was to incorporate the technical requirements of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 in reference to accessibility of websites and other digital content such as software applications and electronic documents.

    This was important, because the previous Section 508 standards, issued back in 2000, were incomplete and did not take into account evolving technologies. It meant that websites, software programs and documents that complied with Section 508 could still contain numerous barriers for people with disabilities – both government employees and members of the public – who tried to use them. The updated standards do a better job of eliminating most barriers in new technologies, and are more consistent with other accessibility standards used in this country and abroad.

    This final rule came into effect on March 20, 2017. The deadline for compliance with the updated Section 508 standards is January 18, 2018. The delayed deadline was to allow time for government agencies to bring their ICT up to speed. Now, of course, that date is just around the corner.

    Mid-2018: WCAG 2.1 Release

    The technical requirements included in Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 have become universally adopted as the best way to ensure that a website, program or electronic document is fully accessible. This current version of WCAG was published in 2008. It replaced the older 1.0 version of WCAG, which came out in 1999.

    Now, however, the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) of the World Wide Web Consortium – the organization that develops WCAG – has announced that WCAG 2.1 is on the way. A working draft was already published this year.4 Publication of the final version of WCAG 2.1 is expected by mid-2018.

    Why a new version? The aim of WCAG 2.1 is to expand accessibility for a wider variety of people with disabilities, such as people with low vision, learning disabilities, speech disabilities and multiple disabilities, all of whom potentially have more opportunities online than ever, thanks to advanced technology.

    The guidelines are also intended to enhance accessibility on small screens, touch screens and other features common to mobile devices and tablets, as these become more widely used to go online.

    And since we’re expected to use more and more web-connected technologies in our day-to-day lives, such as driverless cars and cashless payments, WCAG 2.1 also ensures that these technologies are designed to be barrier-free for people with disabilities.

    What Does WCAG 2.1 Mean for ADA Compliance?

    Currently, when the Department of Justice addresses digital accessibility in terms of compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, it refers to WCAG 2.0. What will the release of WCAG 2.1 in 2018 mean for businesses that want to ensure they aren’t violating the ADA? Will their web accessibility requirements change?

    According to the WCAG working group behind the new release, the 2.1 version should actually make it easier to make digital properties fully accessible. It is also designed to be backwards-compatible. If you follow the additional requirements of WCAG 2.1 after applying WCAG 2.0, you are still certain to be in compliance with the ADA.

    It’s worth noting that the current federal administration has placed the Department of Justice’s rulemakings around web accessibility on an inactive list.5 What this likely means is that no regulations can be expected anytime soon that will address this particular area of compliance with the ADA and spell out what is required.

    Putting those regulations on hold won’t stop lawsuits and complaints of discrimination, however, so your best bet is to refer to the most up-to-date technical requirements available. And that – as of about mid-2018, anyway – will be WCAG 2.1.

    Veterans Corner

    Ron Drach

    Ron Drach, President, Drach Consulting, LLC


    On November 8, 2017, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report "TRANSITIONING VETERANS: DOD Needs to Improve Performance Reporting and Monitoring for the Transition Assistance Program".


    This report focuses mainly on the DOD overall responsibilities to administer the Transition Assistance Program (TAP) provided to transitioning service members through the respective military branches (Army, Navy, Marine and Air Force).

    I regret to say GAO did not report on any of the services’ transition assistance for wounded warriors but focused on the broader group of all transitioning service members. However, they did report that a priority goal of DOD is “accelerating the transition of recovering Service members into Veteran status by reducing the disability evaluation processing time…” but there was no discussion if this is being accomplished.

    I know many of our DCBLN members are involved in or interested in TAP so you may find this information valuable. You can access the entire report using the link above.

    GAO was critical of DOD in that for the reporting period FY 2016 DOD “lacked data for 48 percent of National Guard and Reserve members and 12 percent of active duty…which resulted in DOD potentially misstating performance…”  In other words their report did not include ALL eligible transitioning servicemembers.

    DOD reported that 94 percent of Guard and Reserve members participated in TAP but GAO reports that because of incomplete data that percentage may be as low as 47 percent.

    Transition Assistance Program (TAP)

    The aforementioned GAO report had very little to say about the DOL/VETS employment workshop conducted by VETS’ contractors. This module of TAP is currently under review and it is not known when the report or any changes will be announced.

    At a recent meeting VETS provided some DRAFT information on their FY 2018-2020 goals. These draft goals are taken directly from a handout that was provided and include:

    • Transitioning Service Members (TSM) will participate in the DOL/VETS Employment Workshop (EW) and Career Technical Training Track (CTTT) in the first six months of their 12 month transition period. (NOTE: the GAO report mentioned above reveals that all too many TSMs start their transition 90 or fewer days out).
    • Increase participation in the CTTT to educate TSMs about career paths associated with apprenticeships and industry recognized certification opportunities.
    • Engage employers to increase apprenticeship* opportunities for TSMs.
    • Connect employers with TSMs to increase apprenticeship* and industry recognized certification opportunities to increase the supply of “skilled” workers
    • Leverage  Veterans' Data Exchange Initiative (VDEI) ( to improve TSM employment outcomes
    • Increase military spouse participation in DOL-EW to improve the overall wellness of military families

    *See Apprenticeships, long common in blue-collar industries, are coming to white-collar office work (Washington Post October 20, 2017)

    HIRE VETS Medallion Program

    As reported in the July, 2017 DCBLN newsletter, on May 5, 2017 the President signed the Honoring Investments in Recruiting and Employing American Military Veterans Act or better known as the HIRE VETS ACT (Public Law 115-31).

    Since that time DOL/VETS solicited and received comments from employers and others. VETS recently announced some key dates for this program:

    • November 2017 – the final rule will be available and program details made public
    • 2018 – a demonstration program will begin
    • January 31, 2019 - the application period begins for the full program
    • Veterans Day 2019 – award recipients will be notified in the fall and announced around Veterans Day

    VETS is asking employers to become involved by checking out where you can find fact sheets, program details, and important announcements.

    At a recent meeting VETS announced that full and part time employees who are veterans will be included. Retention will also be looked at. What you are doing in coaching and mentoring is a factor.

    Educating Disabled Veterans and Employers about Workplace Rights and Responsibilities Online Dialogue Deadline Nov 30

    Information about this joint effort was sent to DCBLN members on November 22, 2017 and was posted on the DCBLN Facebook page and DCBLN’s chat room for members only. I know this was short notice but I hope you had an opportunity to provide thoughts and ideas.

    About Drach Consulting, LLC

    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. Ron is available to provide consulting services on the issues mentioned above or other issues related to veterans, wounded warriors, or people with disabilities

    US Business Leadership Network

    Rising Leaders Mentoring Program - US Business Leadership Network

    The USBLN is currently recruiting college students and recent graduates with disabilities for our 2018 Rising Leaders Initiatives! 

    Applications are now open for the 2018 Rising Leaders Mentoring Program and Rising Leadership AcademyDeadline to apply is December 18th, and the application can be found through this link:

     2018 Rising Leaders Mentoring Program and Rising Leadership Academy Application Form. 

    Mentorship has a big impact on students transitioning from school to work and employment. So far, 40% of our mentees from the 2017 Mentoring Program have gained employment since starting our program. We also had 17 job offers extended to our students by the end of the week at the 2017 Rising Leadership Academy. A flyer of the programs can be seen here: Rising Leaders Initiatives Flyer.

    Disability Equality Index

     Registration is now open for the 2018 

    Disability Equality Index (DEI). 

    Get Registered! DC Metro BLN Members rely on this evaluation tool- Don't miss out!

    Upcoming Events in the Area and Beyond 


    PEAT - Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology

    PEAT Featured in Webinar on Employer Engagement

    December 11, 2017                                                                            3:00-4:00 PM ET

    Register for the ETA webinar

    The U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration will be presenting a webinar focused on strategies to improve coordination between the public workforce system and employers to help businesses overcome barriers to recruiting, hiring, and training individuals with disabilities. Josh Christianson, PEAT Project Director, will be a featured speaker, sharing insights on best practices related to different technologies currently being applied to help individuals with disabilities thrive and succeed in the workplace. 

    PEAT Talks is a monthly virtual speaker series to showcase organizations and individuals whose work is advancing accessible technology in the workplace. Held the third Thursday of every month at 2pm ET, these events are designed to be energetic and interactive discussions highlighting a spectrum of exciting work. To see upcoming events in this series, please visit our calendar.

    Mid-Atlantic ADA Center

    Upcoming Webinars

    Universal Accessibility, Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Response

     December 12, 2017                                                                           2:00 pm ET


    Since Hurricane Harvey made landfall in August 2017, followed by hurricanes Irma and Maria and then the Napa, CA wildfires, there has been increased awareness of the disproportionate impact of disasters on people with disabilities and their communities. Equal access throughout the emergency management cycle is required and universal accessibility is an imperative for effective emergency preparedness and disaster response, optimizing limited resources throughout response and recovery. When communities begin the process of recovery after a disaster, they have an unprecedented opportunity for investing in universal design throughout all aspects of their recovery and mitigation strategy.
    This session will address obligations, opportunities and strategies for achieving true community disaster resilience through civil rights compliance requirements and universal design approaches benefiting the whole community.


    • Paul Timmons, Board Chair, Portlight Inclusive Disaster Strategies
    • Marcie Roth, CEO, Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies
    • Melissa Marshall, Esq. Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies

    Everybody Rides: One County's Approach to Safe, Accessible Bus Stops

    December 14, 2017                                                                            2:00 pm ET


    Montgomery County, MD is a county of nearly 1 million residents and 507 square miles of urban, suburban and rural communities served by Ride-on (link is external), a fixed route transit service. Stacy Coletta, the Manager of the Customer Amenities Unit for the County’s Transit Services Division, and Nancy Greene, County’s ADA Coordinator, will discuss how the County implemented a multi-year project to create accessible bus stops throughout the community.  Stacy will share the process used, lessons learned and issues resolved throughout this challenging project.

    For upcoming webinars in 2018 please visit ADA Mid-Atlantic Center's calendar.

    EARN - Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion Advancing Workforce Diversity

    Online Course: Introduction to Inclusive Talent Acquisition

    This free, self-paced online course co-developed by Perkins School for the Blind and Harvard Extension School is currently open and available through December 12. It educates about how to identify barriers to employment; recruit, interview and onboard candidates of diverse backgrounds and abilities; and improve workplace accessibility to support candidates with disabilities. read more

    Webinar - Tapping the Talents of America's Heroes: 

    Hiring & Retaining Disabled Veterans

    December 14, 2017                                                                        1:00 pm – 2:30 pm


    Veterans, including those with disabilities, offer skills that any smart employer would be eager to tap into, including the ability to adapt and learn quickly, work as part of a team and get the job done. This webinar will bring together experts from the Federal Government, Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs) and private industry to discuss effective strategies employers can use to recruit, hire, advance and retain disabled veterans. Speakers will highlight recruitment tools and resources as well as proactive steps employers can take to make sure veterans can thrive on the job. Information shared will be applicable to all employers, but may be of particular interest to federal contractors seeking strategies for achieving their goals under the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act and Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act.


    • Brett Sheats (Moderator), National Project Director, EARN
    • Jeffrey C. Hall, National Employment Director, Disabled American Veterans 
    • Roxann Griffith, Regional Veterans’ Employment Coordinator, U.S. Department of Labor Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (DOL/VETS)
    • Tiffany Daugherty, Program Director, Military and Veteran Affairs, First Data


    It's Not Too Late to Participate! 

    Educating Disabled Veterans and Employers Online Dialogue Extended until December 15

    Join the Veterans and Employers online dialogue

    The “Educating Disabled Veterans and Employers about Workplace Rights and Responsibilities Online Dialogue” has been extended until December 15. ODEP and the U.S. Department of Labor's Veterans' Employment and Training Service have teamed up with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to host this crowdsourcing event through the ePolicyWorks initiative on ways to ensure that disabled veterans and their employers understand their workplace rights and responsibilities under federal employment laws. Input collected from this dialogue will play an integral role in the federal government's efforts to develop resources and materials to enhance the understanding of workplace protections for disabled veterans.


    3rd Annual Veterans Awards

    The Vetty Awards

    January 20, 2018 | The Mayflower Hotel | Washington, D.C.  

    \Academy of US Veterans
    We are grateful for everyone who has supported our mission up to this point and hope they are as encouraged as we are moving forward. Please join us for the 3rd Annual Veterans Awards (Vettys) as we honor those who have served our country while we serve its people in need. 

    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.

    Andrea Hall, Chair

    DXC Technology

    Dan Ellerman, Vice Chair


    Brooke Thomas, Secretary

    Lockheed Martin

    Ellen de Bremond, Treasurer


    • Jenn Bassett, JBG SMITH 
    • Karen Cook, Gallaudet University
    • Michelle Crabtree, Hyatt 
    • Sophie Howard, General Dynamics IT
    • Misty Koper, EY
    • Charlesiah McLean, Leidos
    • Eduardo Meza-Etienne, eSSENTIAL Accessibility
    • Dan Sullivan, KPMG
    • Bob Vetere, Northrop Grumman 
    • Myra Wilder, Marriott International
    • 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.
    • Patricia Jackson, Booz Allen Hamilton
    • 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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