Disability Matters

Joyce Bender


Competitive employment and empowerment for people with disabilities is the emphasis of this show. Broadcast live and captioned in real-time for individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing, we discuss how people with disabilities can secure career opportunities, and how employers, organizations and individuals can support employment and empowerment of people with disabilities.

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925 episodes

Isaac Zablocki: Making Films/Productions More Accessible

Joyce welcomes Isaac Zablocki, ReelAbilities Film Festival Co-Founder and New York Director. Mr. Zablocki will talk about this year’s ReelAbilities Film Festival and the festival’s mission to bring the community together to explore, embrace, and celebrate the diversity of shared human experience through film. He will speak to the importance of diversity in films and how the ReelAbilities Film Festival strives to make films and productions more accessible to the disabled and non-disabled communities.

1h 0m
Mar 14
A Tribute to Judy Heumann

Joyce and callers reflect on the life and disability rights work of the late Judy Heumann.

1h 0m
Mar 07
Samuel Estes: Mission of Athletes vs. Epilepsy

Joyce welcomes Samuel Estes, Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors at the Hundley Foundation and Board Director at the Bender Leadership Academy. Samuel will discuss advocacy for disenfranchised youth and children living with disabilities. We are so proud to have Sam Estes on the show, as we celebrate Black History Month.

Feb 28
Evan Frazier: Mission of TALI

In recognition of February as Black History Month, Joyce welcomes Evan Frazier, President, and CEO of The Advanced Leadership Institute back to the show. The Advanced Leadership Institute is an organization aimed at cultivating Black executive leadership to strengthen companies, institutions, and communities. Mr. Frazier will share the ways this organization works to build African American Leaders in the region.

1h 0m
Feb 21
Ardana Jefferson: Mission Of HCEF

Joyce welcomes Ardana Jefferson, Executive Director of the Homeless Children’s Education Fund (HCEF) to the show. The HCEF 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization was established in 1999 to support the educational needs of children experiencing homelessness in Allegheny County. Over the years, HCEF's role in the community has developed and expanded to meet these needs. HCEF relies on support from community foundations, corporations, and individuals and receives no governmental funding. Ms. Jefferson will share more about the mission of the nonprofit organization and its accomplishments under her leadership.

1h 0m
Feb 14
Doris Carson Williams: Mission Of AACCWP

Joyce welcomes Doris Carson Williams, President & CEO from the African American Chamber of Commerce of Western PA, (AACCWP) to the show. In celebration of Black History Month, Doris will discuss the mission of the African American Chamber of Commerce, and its role in helping advance the lives of African Americans.

Feb 07
Roberts/Braga: Mission of Egalite in South Brazil

Joyce is honored to bring back to the show, Richard Roberts, Deputy Cultural Affairs Officer and the American Presence Officer for Northern Brazil at the U.S. Embassy in Brasilia. Mr. Roberts will introduce Guilherme Braga, CEO and Founder (Employment of People with Disabilities) of Egalite. Egalite started as a small project inside a University in Porto Alegre in the south of Brazil. They provide recruitment and consulting services for companies that want to hire people with disabilities. Mr. Braga will explain their mission in detail and share his company’s experience with hiring people with disabilities.

1h 0m
Jan 31
Ted Kennedy Jr.: Power of DEI to Open Disability Employment Doors

Joyce is honored to bring back to the show, disability rights leader, Ted Kennedy, Jr. As an amputee and childhood bone cancer survivor, he has been an active leader in the disability rights and independent living movements nearly his entire life. Mr. Kennedy is Co-Chair of the Disability Equality Index (DEI), the leading corporate social responsibility, accountability, and ESG benchmarking tool that scores and tracks businesses on their disability inclusion policies and practices. During the show, he will discuss the power of the DEI, how investors have responded to studies about disability inclusion, and how the DEI continues to open the doors to employment for individuals with disabilities.

1h 0m
Jan 24
Alisa Smith/Scott Hammerstrom: Digital Accessibility Training

Joyce welcomes Alisa Smith, Accessibility Evangelist, at AudioEye and Scott Hammerstrom, Manager of Programs and Partnerships with Bender Leadership Academy. The guests will discuss AudioEye’s partnership with Bender Leadership Academy as a sponsor of the DigitalAccess@Work program to increase job opportunities in the field of digital accessibility for individuals with disabilities. DigitalAccess@Work provides students with disabilities an overview of the impact of digital accessibility on the lives of people living with disabilities, while offering an opportunity to explore digital accessibility testing as a career opportunity. DigitalAccess@Work is currently offered as a summer program to individuals living with disabilities.

Jan 17
Temple Grandin: Life's Passion to Help People with Disabilities

Joyce welcomes Temple Grandin, Professor at Colorado State University (CSU) within the Department of Animal Science to the show. Dr. Grandin is the most celebrated adult who is autistic in the world. She is an American academician, animal consultant to the livestock industry, and author. Among the topics she will discuss will be her latest book and her first breakthrough in the treatment of livestock in a humane way that made an international impact. She will also share her passion for helping young people with disabilities and her love of teaching for 30 years at CSU.

1h 0m
Jan 10
Highmark Continues Commitment to Hire People with Disabilities

Joyce is excited to start 2023 with the returning champion of competitive employment for Americans with disabilities, David Holmberg, President, and CEO of Highmark Health and Chairman of the Board, Highmark, Inc. Mr. Holmberg launched an initiative in 2020 to hire 30 people with disabilities from Bender Consulting Services to honor the 30th anniversary of the signing of the ADA, called the Highmark 30/30. He has continued this initiative, with an increased commitment for each anniversary, 31 in 2021 and 32 in 2022. During the show, David will talk about the initiative and how it happened. Additionally, David will discuss how the company plans to continue its unprecedented record of hiring people with disabilities in 2023. Highmark is a $19 Billion-dollar integrated health care delivery organization with headquarters in Pittsburgh, PA.

1h 0m
Jan 03
Year-end Reflections on Disability Advocacy

Joyce welcomes back to the show, Maria Town, President & CEO of the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD); Holly O’Donnell, President & CEO of the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law; and Peri Jude Radecic, CEO, of Disability Rights Pennsylvania. The guests will discuss disability rights in 2022.

1h 0m
Dec 27, 2022
Pastors Stevens, D’Angelo, Paskey: North Way Christian Community

Joyce welcomes Pastors Scott Stevens, David D’Angelo, and Ryan Paskey of North Way Christian Community Church in Wexford, PA to the show. These members of the clergy for this congregation of faith will discuss their new roles within the church. In addition, they will discuss why young adults feel that they do not feel close to God while at church and have left. Finally, they will also discuss why young adults feel that they can’t address some of life’s most pressing questions while at church and the times of services for Christmas in-person and online.

1h 0m
Dec 20, 2022
Charlie LaVallee: Mission of Variety the Children’s Charity

Joyce welcomes Charlie LaVallee, CEO of Variety the Children’s Charity, back to the show. With a mission to empower children with disabilities to live life to the fullest, Variety the Children’s Charity provides life-changing mobility and communication equipment to ensure its most vulnerable kids are no longer left out, behind, or excluded. Mr. LaVallee will share the programs and services of this non-profit organization for children with disabilities and their families and explain the importance of supporting this cause at the holidays and year-round.

1h 0m
Dec 13, 2022
Mary Mercer-Amy Smith: Ministry at North Way Christian Community

Joyce welcomes Mary Mercer, Ministry Leader, Spiritual Leader, Writer and Speaker and Amy Smith, Worship Director of North Way Christian Community to the show. Guests will discuss their individual contributions to the church and programs at the church sharing the gospel during the holiday season to children and adults who attend the campuses of North Way Christian Community.

1h 0m
Dec 06, 2022
Pat Crumrine: Advancements in Treating Children with Epilepsy

Joyce is honored to welcome Dr. Pat Crumrine, Epileptologist at UPMC’s Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, PA to the show. Dr. Crumrine will discuss the latest research and advancements in the care and treatment of children living with epilepsy happening at this renowned hospital.

Nov 29, 2022
Patricia Dean: Mission of Epilepsy Alliance America

Joyce welcomes Patricia Dean, Epilepsy Network Liaison for the Epilepsy Alliance America to the show. Epilepsy Alliance America is a growing national organization representing like-minded local, regional, statewide, and even other national agencies dedicated to serving the everyday needs of people who live with seizures and epilepsy. Ms. Dean will discuss their work in depth and share how the organization creates greater awareness of living with epilepsy.

1h 0m
Nov 22, 2022
Tony Coelho-Coelho Center for Disability Law, Policy & Innovation

As we continue to recognize November as National Epilepsy Awareness Month, Joyce welcomes back to the show, The Honorable Tony Coelho, author of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Mr. Coelho will share his story of living with epilepsy and discuss the mission of The Coelho Center for Disability Law, Policy, and Innovation at the Loyola Law School to collaborate with the disability community to cultivate leadership and advocate innovative approaches to advance the lives of people with disabilities.

1h 0m
Nov 15, 2022
Ted Kennedy Jr.: Power of DEI to Open Disability Employment Doors

Joyce is honored to bring back to the show, disability rights leader, Ted Kennedy, Jr. As an amputee and childhood bone cancer survivor, he has been an active leader in the disability rights and independent living movements nearly his entire life. Mr. Kennedy is Co-Chair of the Disability Equality Index (DEI), the leading corporate social responsibility, accountability, and ESG benchmarking tool that scores and tracks businesses on their disability inclusion policies and practices. During the show, he will discuss the power of the DEI and how it continues to open the doors to employment for individuals with disabilities.

Nov 08, 2022
Beem-Jelley/Fulkerson: Services of EAWCP and 2023 Mardi Gras Gala

Joyce welcomes Peggy Beem-Jelley, President and CEO and Colleen Fulkerson, Special Events Coordinator of the Epilepsy Association of Western/Central, PA (EAWCP) to the show. The guests will discuss the programs and services of the EAWCP and plans for the 2023 Mardi Gras annual gala and fundraiser for the non-profit organization.

Nov 01, 2022
Marlene Sallo/J.J. Rico: Mission of NDRN

Joyce welcomes Marlene Sallo, newly appointed Executive Director of the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) and it’s President of the Board of Directors, J.J Rico to the show. The NDRN is the nonprofit membership organization for the federally mandated Protection and Advocacy (P&A) Systems and the Client Assistance Programs (CAP) for individuals with disabilities. Ms. Sallo will explain her history in disability advocacy and explain where she plans on taking the national organization under her leadership. Mr. Rico will share his insight into the mission of the organization and share his own story that led him to support NDRN’s cause and what it means to the Board of Directors to have Ms. Sallo as Executive Director of this vital organization.

1h 0m
Oct 25, 2022
National Disability Rights Leader, Jonathan Young

As we get ready to celebrate the 23rd year of Disability Mentoring Day (DMD), Joyce welcomes back National Disability Rights Leader and the originator of Disability Mentoring Day, Jonathan Young to the show. Disability Mentoring Day (DMD) is a large-scale national effort coordinated by AAPD to promote career development for students and jobseekers with disabilities through career exploration and ongoing mentoring relationships. While DMD has been and continues to be officially launched the third Wednesday of each October during National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), the foundation of the program has expanded from a one-day event to a year-round initiative across the country. Jonathan served at the White House during the Clinton administration as the Disability Liaison to the President. Currently, Jonathan is the Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder of Akero Therapeutics in South San Francisco. Akero Therapeutics is a clinical-stage cardio-metabolic company developing transformational treatments for non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), a disease without any approved therapies. Mr. Young will discuss the groundbreaking research that is being done at the company to treat this disease and share his advocacy work on behalf of people with disabilities prior to joining the company and his commitment to the same in his current role.

Oct 18, 2022
Lachi: Recording Artist, and Disability Rights Advocate

Joyce welcomes recording artist and disability rights advocate, Lachi to the show. Lachi will share her story about growing up as a person who is blind. She will share what inspired her to enter the music entertainment industry and what gave her the confidence to do so. Additionally, Lachi will share her work with the Grammy’s and offer advice to people with disabilities on how to overcome being ashamed of a disability and instead embrace it and pursue their dreams.

1h 0m
Oct 11, 2022
John Walsh: Committed to Hiring People with Disabilities

As October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, Joyce is kicking off the month by welcoming a very successful business leader and real advocate for employing people with disabilities, John Walsh, to the show. He has hired people with disabilities from Bender Consulting Services, Inc. for years. During the show, he will explain why he feels that it is important to hire people with disabilities and to have that commitment from the top down in an organization. Additionally, he will discuss his work on the Board of Directors for the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) and Bender Leadership Academy.

1h 0m
Oct 04, 2022
Bender Consulting’s Disability Inclusion Assessment Product

Joyce welcomes Christine Griffin, Principal Consultant and Sr. Search Consultant, and Sherry Lapaglia, Director of Talent Programs and Product Innovation, for Bender Consulting Services, Inc. to the show. The guests will highlight Bender’s disability inclusion assessment and strategic planning services available to corporations seeking to be inclusive of people with disabilities. Bender’s disability inclusion assessments and strategic planning explore processes and policies to identify barriers and areas of compliance concern, while building a brand of inclusion.

1h 0m
Sep 27, 2022
Ellen Duffield: Highmark Wholecare Hires People with Disabilities

Joyce welcomes Ellen Duffield, President and CEO of Highmark Wholecare, to the show. Highmark Wholecare is a health insurance provider caring for the whole person - physically, mentally, and financially. It is committed to connecting its members with the right resources to meet health needs. Ms. Duffield will share with the listeners her story of how she reached President and CEO of Highmark Wholecare, and the personal reason she supports the commitment that Highmark Wholecare places on hiring people with disabilities in its workforce.

1h 0m
Sep 20, 2022
DMD/Bender Leadership Academy/Bender Student Leaders Program

Joyce welcomes Laina Fusarelli, Advisor, Decision & Risk Analyst, Nova Chemicals, and Jenny Homme, a Lead Business Process Engineer at enGen, a technology subsidiary of Highmark Health and Chair of the Abilities Business Resource Group to Disability Matters, along with Scott Hammerstrom, Manager of Programs and Partnerships, with the Bender Leadership Academy. As we approach October, Disability Employment Awareness Month, and the celebration of Disability Mentoring Day (DMD), on Wednesday, October 19, 2022, the guests will discuss their company’s role in the Bender Student Leaders Program, as all three guests represent host sites for the program. Additionally, the guests will share how their prospective organizations locally support the Bender Leadership Academy and the DMD initiative, which gives students with disabilities the opportunity to job shadow around the country annually.?They will review plans for this year’s kick-off reception, Monday, October 17, 2022, at Pittsburgh’s Heinz History Center and the unique partnership that Bender Leadership Academy has established with Pittsburgh’s CLO.

1h 0m
Sep 13, 2022
Gary Dick/Gerald Homme: Mission of the Careers 2B Program

Joyce welcomes Gary Dick, Chief Information Officer (CIO) at enGen, and Gerald Homme, Manager of Talent Acquisition and Technology, at Bender Consulting Services, Inc. to the show. They will be discussing The Careers 2B™ Program. The Careers2B™ Program was established in 2007 and serves as a national workforce development model to address the lack of professional work experience barrier to competitive employment for people with disabilities and improve employment outcomes for talented professionals with disabilities. Careers2B™ provides paid work experience at sponsor companies to candidates with disabilities, after which participants are eligible to be hired as a direct associate at the sponsor company or to promote their skills in the open marketplace. Careers2B™ participants add value, meeting critical business needs in early-career roles designated for Careers2B™ reserved positions.

Sep 06, 2022
Mark Fleischer: Partnership Between Bender Leadership Academy/CLO

Joyce welcomes Mark Fleischer, Executive Producer for the Civic Light Opera (CLO) of Pittsburgh to the show. Mark will share his passion for the theater and an update on what has been happening at the CLO. Mark will also discuss the exciting new partnership between the CLO and Bender Leadership Academy to support young people with disabilities.

1h 0m
Aug 30, 2022
Mick Malec: enGen’s Commitment to Hire People with Disabilities

Joyce welcomes Mick Malec, CEO of enGen and Enterprise Technology and Operations Officer for Highmark Health, back to the show. enGen’s dynamic ecosystem of smart automation and technology supports streamlines complex operations for health plans and their provider partners. Founded in 2014 as HM Health Solutions (HMHS), enGen is a wholly owned subsidiary of Highmark Health. enGen has more than 3,500 employees and works with health care plans serving more than 10 million members nationwide. Mr. Malec will discuss enGen’s continued commitment to hire people with disabilities as part of a diverse workforce.

1h 0m
Aug 23, 2022