Lauren McAulay M.A.

Boehringer Ingelheim (BI) is an employer that is not only taking action in raising disability awareness, but also striving for inclusion for all in the work place. This was easily seen when attending BI’s Combining Abilities for Business Success (CABS) and Business Resource Group (BRG) event in December. From the moment you step onto the BI campus you can tell how they are looking at inclusion as a whole. You are greeted by a security guard who provides you with a high-lighted map of where you are going, the road signs are big and easily seen along with ample parking for all. During the event Sign Language interpreters were provided along with closed captions during a video that was shown.

The event started with Nancy Di Dia (Executive Director, U.S. Office of Diversity, Inclusion & Engagement) talking about the changes BI has been undergoing and what the goals are for the company with making continued adjustments for the campus. This was then followed by several members of CABS & BRG talking about their personal experiences with disability awareness and how those experiences brought them to create these groups within BI. Their goal is to make BI a more inclusive, accommodating, comfortable environment for all who not only work at BI, but also come to visit.

Tom Panek (President and CEO of Guiding Eyes for the Blind) was one of the guest speakers at the event. Tom talked about his personal experience from when he was twenty years old learning that he was losing his eyesight and the journey he was on to not allow his disability to stand in his way for being successful. Tom was accompanied by his cute service dog called Gus while he talked about the importance of a service dog and the dos and don’ts for people being around service dogs.

The event ended with the final guest speaker Deb Dagit, of Deb Dagit Diversity. Deb is a public speaker who engages the audience by talking about her 20+ years of professional and personal experience as a person with a disability. Throughout her presentation while she talked about her struggles, she brought humor to it because she learned from those experiences and she did not let her disability or anyone else stop her from becoming successful.

Over all the event was a great success! While disability was the overall topic, the main focus was geared towards the individuals abilities and how making a work place more inclusive by providing some accommodations can allow for a more enriching successful work environment for all.

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