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DC Metro Business
Leadership Network


Monthly Newsletter: September 2015

Message from Katherine McCary, CEO and Executive Director, DC Metro BLN

Gala Time is Here 

September 17, 2015                                                                       6:30- 9:00pm

SunTrust Bank       

1445  New York Avenue, 9th Floor      

Washington, DC 20

We are so excited to celebrate at our GALA this month! The event will be a fantastic opportunity to meet our honored guest, Curtis Pride, former major league baseball player with the Expos, Tigers, Red Sox, Braves, Yankees, and Angels, diagnosed at 9 months as being profoundly deaf. A graduate of the College of William & Mary, Curtis became the first full-season deaf player in the modern history of major league baseball. Now Head Coach at Gallaudet University, proving again “it’s ability that counts!” Hear his incredible story of talent, ability, and determination resulting in a successful career with multiple honors, including the Tony Conigliaro Award, presented to players who overcome adversity through the attributes of spirit, courage, and determination. Check out the link to hear a part of Curtis’ story.

Here’s our line up of special guests who will be sharing their personal stories:

  • Dan O’Neill. President, SunTrust Bank Greater Washington/Maryland
  • Jennifer Sheehy, Acting Assistant Secretary, ODEP
  • The Hon. Neil Romano, former Assistant Secretary, ODEP
  • Juliette Rizzo, Emcee, US Department of Education

Our Silent Auction Items will support our Youth Transition Outreach, Education and Career Events! Come join us for this fun fundraiser!

$100 Ticket, $50 Guest

Purchase your tickets


Contact us to donate to the Silent Auction or become a Sponsor.

Table of Contents

Disability@Work - National Webinar Series

In our continued desire to engage all employers and in honor of the 25th ADA Anniversary, the DC Metro BLN offers the Fall Webinar Series free for all!!

Making It Happen: Fostering Success in the Workplace for Those Who are Deaf

September 9, 2015                                                                 11:30am – 1:00pm EST



John R. Macko

Director, Center on Employment

National Technical Institute for the Deaf

Rochester Institute of Technology

The National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) Center on Employment (NCE) provides services to help connect deaf and hard-of-hearing students and graduates with employers.  This presentation will cover these topics:

  • Understanding Hearing Loss and Deaf & Hard-of-Hearing Employees
  • Communication on the Job
  • Strategies to Help You Integrate Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Employees into the Workplace
  • Accommodations for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Employees

The presenters will involve participants in case studies which address key issues employers face when hiring and retaining deaf individuals.  Directly related to the new 503 regulations, participants will also learn about recruiting and integrating deaf and hard-of-hearing employees in the workplace, as well as, learn about training resources and support given to employers by NCE.

NTID is one of nine colleges of the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). Currently, 1, 300 deaf and hard-of-hearing students learn, live and socialize with more than 16, 000 hearing students on the RIT campus. Programs are offered at the Bachelor and Associate’s degree levels in Business, Computing, Engineering, Liberal Arts, Science, and Visual Arts.

Understanding Mobility in the Workplace 

October 7, 2015                                                                    11:30am – 1:00pm EST



Bill Fertig


United Spinal Association Resource Center

This session will discuss barriers to employing and retaining workers with mobility impairments and what employers can do to remove or reduce these barriers to improve recruiting, retention, return to work and productivity. Additionally, our speaker will share information regarding accommodations, disability etiquette and language and address myths and fears and share success stories at work and resources. 

Understanding Assistive Technology and Accommodations in the Workplace

Positively Me

Helping You to Embrace Your Authentic Self &

Fulfill Your Life's Purpose

October 28, 2015                                                    11:30am – 1:00pm EST



Dinah F. Cohen

Michele Magana

Eduardo Meza-Etienne

Dinah Cohen (Dinah F. Cohen Consulting), Michele Magana (Positively Me) and Eduardo Meza-Etienne (SSB BART Group) will offer recommendations and guidelines to ensure a productive workforce, answer your burning questions regarding making effective Reasonable Accommodations, and share best practices and address myths and fears often associated with Assistive Technology. The session will include basic understanding accessibility under Section 508 as a means to encourage a level playing field with regards to applicants, employees and customers. 

Save the Date!

October Program

"Back to the Future: The Why, What and How for Disability Inclusion" 

October 21, 2015                                                                8:30 am to 12:00 pm


Fairview Park Drive

Falls Church, VA 22042

Keynote: Candee Chambers

DirectEmployers VP of Compliance & Partnerships

Candee will share insight from hundreds of DirectEmployer members on their disability inclusion journey from the "newly engaged" to the "robust and engaged". Lessons learned and best practices will be shared. 


Join or "Up" Your Membership Today


Join today!

DIAMOND EXECUTIVE MEMBER $5,000: Recognition as a Lead Employer on our Website, in all 12 Newsletters and at All Programs. Your organization will be prominently displayed in all our social media. As a Diamond Member, you may join the new DC Metro BLN Corporate Advisory Board.

GOLD EXECUTIVE MEMBER  $3,000: Recognition as a Lead Employer on our Website and for Six Newsletter Issues and six programs.

Each Executive Membership Level includes TWO full years of organizational membership (unlimited # of employees per organization). If you have already renewed for 2014, you will receive an additional two years of membership.

(Executive Membership is open to private sector corporate members only)


  • Corporate/Organizational
  • Small Business
  • Non-Profit
  • Government
  • Individual

Need to Renew? 

Want to “Up” Your Membership Level or need an Invoice? Email us.

Thank you to Our Executive Members 

Articles of Interest

National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Held each October, National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is a time to celebrate the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. The Theme of this year- which marks 70 years since the first observance- is “My Disability is One Part of Who I Am.” 

This year’s theme stems from the Campaign for Disability Employment’s  “Who I am” PSA, which features nine people with disabilities sharing the many ways they describe themselves, including their occupations. Rather than be defined by disability, these individuals are the sum of their many life roles, which includes working in jobs they love. Two of the nine individuals serve on the DC Metro BLN Board! The “Who I Am” public service announcement, produced by the ODEP-funded Campaign for Disability Employment, has topped 50,000 airings on 488 television stations and cable outlets nationwide. "Who I Am" features nine real people with disabilities. The PSA is available to the public on an accessible DVD that features a "talking menu" and in multiple formats on the web. Also available are a discussion guide and posters featuring the individuals in the PSA.

Learn more about NDEAM;s history and get materials and resources to help plan NDEAM observances by visiting

Program Trains and Equips Military Veterans For High-Growth Industries

Jobs 4 Veterans (J4VETS) is a targeted training and employment initiative for veterans disabilities.  Operated by a partnership between the ServiceSource Warrior Bridge program, The SkillSource Group, colleges/universities and employers, over three years J4VETS:

  • Provided employment and training to 70 veterans with disabilities in Northern Virginia;

  • Connected 54 veterans with disabilities to training programs which prepare them for high-demand industries; and

  • Placed 46 veterans with disabilities in community employment.

Below are two success stories from the J4VETS program.

Julie Hoyte, U.S. Army Veteran and Entrepreneur

After her extensive job search yielded no prospects, Julie Hoyte, attended a J4VETS program orientation. An Army veteran and laid off Deputy Project Manager, Hoyte sought job search, entrepreneurship, and training assistance.

Determined to pursue both, a project management position and start her own Health IT consulting business Hoyte enrolled in J4VETS. The Business Development Assistance Group provided entrepreneurship training. As a result she founded Health Information Technology Solutions, LLC., (HITS) and in February 2014, gathered other budding entrepreneurs to start “The Consortium of Federal Contractors.”

Hoyte praised the J4VETS program stating, “It not only provided employment tools and training but also provided access to veteran-focused professional and personal development.”

William Lee, U.S. Army Veteran and Project Management Professional

William Lee, a retired Army Veteran, was referred to the J4VETS program in November 2013, after being laid off. Lee immediately expressed interest in a Project Management Professional (PMP) preparation course, which he completed in January 2014. Three months later Lee obtained his PMP certification.

The J4VETS Veterans’ Job Developer assisted Lee with a job search and by June 2014 he was employed by TASC, Inc. as a Director of Capture Management. "The entire J4VETS Program commits to helping the Vet,“ stated Lee. “I felt as if the entire organization was working for my benefit. From assistance in obtaining training to actually finding job leads, J4VETS was there for me."

About J4VETS

J4VETS is a component of Warrior Bridge, a ServiceSource national initiative that creates vital connections to resources and support for veterans with disabilities. Headquartered in Oakton, Virginia, Warrior Bridge serves more than 670 veterans with disabilities annually. In FY15, Warrior Bridge placed 171 veterans with community employers and directly hired 66 veterans.

Get Involved with J4VETS

  • Take our 9-question Employer Training Needs Survey

  • Hire a military veteran with a disability. Contact Michael Costanzo, Warrior Bridge Program Manager, at (703) 944-8150 for more information.

  • Partner or volunteer with us. Contact Lenka Kneschke, Sr. Program Development Manager, at (703) 970-3695 for more information.

  • Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter and visit our website!  

Labor Department Posts New Section 503 Checklist Tool

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (DOL/OFCCP) has released a new interactive tool to help federal contractors assess their compliance with the affirmative action program (AAP) requirements of Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act. Developed by OFCCP in coordination with the Office of Disability Employment Policy, the Checklist for Compliance with Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 enables employers to answer a series of “yes/no” questions about their company’s practices and policies. While contractors are not required to use the checklist (and using it doesn’t ensure compliance), doing so may prove beneficial in enhancing awareness of AAP obligations and flagging potential problem areas in need of correction.

Access the Section 503 Checklist

Disability Equality Index Celebrates Inaugural Reception on Capitol Hill

Late last month, the American Association of People with Disabilities and the U.S. Business Leadership Network—an Employer TA Center partner—hosted a reception on Capitol Hill to recognize those companies that scored 80 points or higher on the inaugural Disability Equality Index (DEI), which is sponsored by both organizations. The DEI survey assesses inclusion across the workplace, marketplace and supply chain, awarding points in four major categories. This first year, 80 Fortune 1000 companies participated. The second annual DEI is scheduled to launch in December.

Read the DEI press release

Job Accommodation Network Publishes "Workplace Accommodations: Low Cost, High Impact"          Update for 2015

The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) has updated its “Workplace Accommodations: Low Cost, High Impact” publication for 2015. It reports the results of a JAN study, ongoing since 2004, that shows that the benefits employers receive from making workplace accommodations far outweigh the low cost. Employers reported that providing accommodations resulted in such benefits as retaining valuable employees, improving productivity and morale, reducing workers’ compensation and training costs, and improving company diversity. These benefits were obtained with little investment. The employers in the study reported that a high percentage (58%) of accommodations cost absolutely nothing to make, while the rest typically cost only $500.

Read “Workplace Accommodations: Low Cost, High Impact”

We are happy to publish newsworthy articles that address the business perspective of disability issues.

Share your news via email for the

October 2015 Newsletter no later than September 21, 2015

Upcoming Events in the DC Metro Area & Beyond

 Institute on HIV and Employment


The Institute on HIV and Employment for USCA 2015 in Washington, DC on September 9, 2015.

The National Working Positive Coalition has been invited by NMAC to plan and present a full-day, pre-conference Institute on HIV and Employment for the 2015 U.S. Conference on AIDS on September 9 in Washington, DC.

The Institute will take place in the Equality Forum of the Human Rights Campaign from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

To register for the Institute on HIV and Employment, click here 

For information about Sponsorship Packages, click here 

The Institute on HIV and Employment represents an extraordinary opportunity for HIV, vocational rehabilitation and workforce development service providers, policymakers and advocates to explore:

  1. The role employment and employment services can play in enhancing health outcomes and quality of life for people living with HIV;
  2. The tangible intersection between income insecurity, lack of employment and HIV as a focus for addressing the prevention needs of people at-risk for HIV;
  3. How communities can reduce health disparities by building an integrated service system which better assesses and addresses the vocational rehabilitation and employment service needs of people living with or at-risk for HIV; and
  4. How to use these new connections and strengthen collaborations across service systems that will last beyond the Institute.

22nd Annual Mid-Atlantic ADA Update

The Mid-Atlantic ADA Center presents: 22nd Annual Mid-Atlantic ADA Update


Thursday, September 17 & Friday, September 18

BWI Airport Marriott Hotel

Baltimore, Maryland

Don't miss the region's leading conference on the Americans with Disabilities Act!    

Learn the latest information on the Americans with Disabilities Act at our 22nd annual conference featuring representatives from: 

  • U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
  • U.S. Department of Justice
  • United States Access Board
  • Federal Transportation Administration

Pre-Conference Session "ADA Overview"  

Wednesday, September 16 1:00 - 4:30 PM

No additional charge!

This year's breakout sessions will include tracks on:

  • Accessibility & Design
  • ADA & Employment
  • General ADA Topics
  • Title II - ADA Coordinator

Continuing Education Credits

Applications for continuing education credits will be submitted to these organizations:

  • American Institute of Architects (AIA)
  • Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC)
  • HR Certification Institute (HRCI)
  • ADA Coordinator Training Certification Program (ACTCP)

Stay current with government and regional practices and policies, hone your skills, and expand your network!

Registration fee is $325

(includes 2 full days, 2 continental breakfasts, 2 lunches)

For room reservations contact the BWI Airport Marriott

CEO COUNCIL FORUM: Bridging the Gap | Recruiting and Developing Professional Talent Disabilities

Friday, October 16, 2015

Business Roundtable

300 New Jersey Avenue, NW, Suite 800

Washington, DC 20001

9:00 a.m. | Networking 

9:30 - 1:00 p.m. | Presentation, Luncheon and Discussion


Photo of Patricia A. Shiu

Patricia A. Shiu 

Director, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs

US Dept. of Labor

Photo of Tom Ridge

Thomas J. Ridge

Chairman, NOD

First Secretary, US Dept. of Homeland Security

Former Governor, 

Image of Calvin Butler 

Calvin Butler

Chief Executive Officer,

Baltimore Gas & Electric Company

Discussion Topics:

+ Understanding the Climate: Recruiting College Students with Disabilities

Featuring senior leaders from ExelonUniversity of MarylandAHEAD; and COSD

+ Corporate Culture and the Development of Employees with Disabilities

Featuring senior leaders from Northrop GrummanPNC BankPwC; and NACE 

+ OFCCP and the Changing Landscape of Disability Employment

Featuring Pat Shiu, Director, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, US Dept. of Labor

Who Should Attend:

  • HR and Diversity & Inclusion executives

  • Corporate diversity champions 

  • Talent Acquisition leaders

Seating is limited; please RSVP to | 212-860-8021

Presented in association with the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD);Career Opportunities for Students with Disabilities (COSD); and the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE)

Exelon is a national leader in diversity and inclusion and is the leading U.S. competitive energy provider, with one of the cleanest and the lowest-cost power generation fleets and largest retail customer bases in the country.

The National Organization on Disability is a 30-year-old nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding the participation of the 56 million Americans with disabilities. NOD helps leading companies include people with disabilities as part of a diverse and productive workforce.

Annual COSD Conference

November 5, 2015

Marriott O'Hare

Rosemont, IL

The COSD 16th Annual National Conference brings together about 100 representatives from major national employers and higher education professionals from Career Services and Disability Services offices to discuss the latest news surrounding the career employment of college graduates with disabilities.  This year’s Conference uses the theme of the ADA 25th Anniversary to show how far we have come and how far we still need to go toward improving the career employment of college graduates with disabilities.  Our Keynote Speaker is Ken Bouyer, America’s Director of Inclusiveness Recruiting weaving the need for disability inclusion into the Diversity all companies are working towards.


$400 registration fee for employers and $300 for college professionals

Career Opportunities for Students with Disabilities hosts a bi-annual FULL ACCESS Student Summit for college students and recent alumni with disabilities to meet with 11 major national employers, who are dedicated to disability inclusive diversity. One of the gems of the Student Summit is the Student Ambassador Program, which invites a previous attendee to the next Student Summit as a guide and mentor for current attendees. Each Student Ambassador has the opportunity to not only offer insight and friendship to attendees, but also participate in Summit events and programs. The Ambassador gets the best of both worlds, and often impresses employers and staff alike. The student ambassador program, which pays for all travel expenses for the selected student, is funded by the Terry Quammen Scholarship Fund. This Fund was established in memory of the husband of a longtime friend of COSD, Karen Quammen. Both Karen and Terry worked tirelessly for the benefit of students with disabilities and strongly support this unique opportunity for a student with a disability to gain leadership and mentoring experience at a prestigious national event.

Former Ambassadors said:

“The COSD Student Ambassador Program benefitted me in many ways… I met many bright individuals and was able to assist them in understanding that their disability should not outshine their skills and talent.”

 “Being a student ambassador was nothing less than amazing… it made me a stronger person” 

Student Veterans of America National Conference 2016

NatCon 2016 Registration Now Open! 

Early bird savings through August 31

SVA's 2016 National Conference is Jan. 7-10, 2016 at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort in Orlando, Fla.

Start the New Year by representing your chapter, building your network, and exploring how you can use your education to change the world.

Register by August 31 for early bird pricing.

Need assistance getting to Orlando?

SVA is awarding travel grants to hundreds of student veterans.

For more info on travel grants and to register, visit:

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


Mirelle King, Secretary

Lockheed Martin

Ellen de Bremond, Treasurer

The Choice, Inc.

Will White, Assistant Treasurer

Deloitte & Touche, LLP


• Michelle Crabtree, Hyatt 

• Donnielle DeMesme, Golden Key Group

• Denyse Gordon, CACI

• Dan Ellerman, Northrop Grumman

• Brandon Lyons, EY

• Eduardo Meza-Etienne, SSB BART Group

• Evelyn Miller, Raytheon

• Patricia Jackson, Booz Allen Hamilton

Advisory Council

• Tara Dunlap, General Dynamics

• Ron Drach, Drach Consulting, LLC (Chair, Wounded Warrior Committee)

• Sherif Ettefa, KPMG

• Mark Fitzgerald, KPMG

• Sue Werber, C5 Consulting, LLC (Marriott, ret)

• Jim Hammond, Deloitte

• Michele Magana, AT SME 

• Anne Rader, Former NCD

• Vinece Pastor, Blue Sky Consulting, LLC (former Board Chair)

• Kia Silver Hodge, Lockheed Martin

• Dinah Cohen, Dinah Cohen Consulting, LLC (CAP Director, retired)

• Rich Luecking, TransCen (retired)

Social Media Contact: Erica Brody, Deloitte

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

Copyright © 2015 {Organization_Name}. All rights reserved.
Contact email: {Organization_Contact_Email}
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