Generation Valuable connects C-levels with disabled workers

New opportunity for people with disabilities to create an inclusive workplace

How can companies help people with disabilities thrive in the workplace? To mark the 32nd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), The  Valuable 500  has launched Generation Valuable, a mentoring programme for people with disabilities, adopted by 28 member companies on four continents.

The Valuable 500 is a collective of CEOs from leading companies working to create a new system and corporate culture that values the disability community.

Generation Valuable was announced at the World Economic Forum, held in conjunction with the anniversary of ADA. This special day marks the law that gave people with disabilities access to buildings and equal education and made it illegal to discriminate against a qualified person in employment. 

Breaking down barriers

While it is important to recognise and celebrate the progress made in the inclusion of disabled people, society still needs to change its view of disability, dispelling the myth that disability is something to be pitied or feared. In this way, Generation Valuable offers a unique opportunity for people with disabilities to shape the future of the corporate C-Suite, promoting the inclusion of people with disabilities and revolutionising the boardrooms of tomorrow. 

The Valuable Generation programme brings together the six pillars of the Fortune 500 transformation programme: C-Suite, Culture, Customer, Reporting, Advocacy and Procurement. Each participant will be paired with a mentor at the C-Suite level of their organisation and will explore each of The Valuable’s 500 transformation pillars for one year. 

Build a community 

Overall, Generation Valuable’s goal is to create a community of disabled talent who will share their experiences to inform today’s leaders on how to make companies more inclusive.

This year, the first cohort will be made up of 75 rising stars with at least five years of management experience, announced to coincide with the International Day of Persons with Disabilities in December. It will represent 15% of the 500 people assessed, as it is estimated that 15% of the world’s population lives with a disability.

Caroline Casey, the founder of The Valuable 500, said: “The talent and insight of the participants in this competition are remarkable. This initiative proves that there is a wealth of talent with disabilities in business and that they are more than capable of holding positions of power and leadership. 

“Enabling disabled talent to flourish and reach their full potential by breaking through glass ceilings is a game changer. The Valuable 500 is working to radically change the disastrous results of a study conducted by Tortoise Media, which found that ‘no FTSE company had a senior manager or executive identified as disabled’.

“We know this can’t be true; the fact that no one feels comfortable identifying as disabled is part of the systematic problem Generation Valuable aims to dismantle.”

She added: “By changing this mindset, by recognising how people with disabilities enrich communities, society will be able to ensure the inclusion of people with disabilities.”

Senator Tom Harkin (Retd) continued: “32 years after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and 16 years after the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), too many disabled persons are still unemployed, and not contributing their talents, intellect, and insights in competitive, integrated employment.

Once again, Caroline Casey and the Valuable 500 have opened a new pathway for people with disabilities to be fully included in the workplace, not just on the “shop floor” but in the corporate structure and boardrooms. The ‘Generation Valuable’ mentoring program is so needed, and time to start having persons with disabilities in managerial and corporate decision-making positions.”

Here is the complete list of early adopters: 

Alstom; ATOS; AXA Group; Boston Consulting Group; Centrica; Channel 4; Clifford Chance; Coles Group; Deloitte; Enel; EY; Fidelity International; Nielsen; MSD; Omnicom Group;  

HSBC; ISS/AS; ITV ; L’Oréal; Macquarie Group; Mahindra; Ottobock; P&G; Reach PLC; Roche; Springer Nature; TD Bank Group; Telefónica. 

Carolyn McCall, CEO of ITV, said“ITV is delighted to be part of the inaugural Generation Valuable 500 programme. Employers cannot ignore the striking under-representation of Deaf, disabled and neurodiverse people in their workforce, and we at ITV are committed to taking action on a number of fronts to ensure that our culture is inclusive, attractive and accessible to top talent. Senior managers play an important role in culture, and leadership programmes such as this can have powerful knock-on effects.” 

Hank Prybylski, EY Global Vice President, Transformation and Global Executive Sponsor for Disability, added: “EY co-founder Arthur Young trained as a lawyer but was unable to practice after losing his hearing. Needing to use his talents in another way, he founded an accountancy firm, creating many of the fundamental accounting principles still used today. On the occasion of the ADA’s anniversary, we are proud to honour his legacy of innovation through diversity by joining Generation Valuable. Through leadership mentoring, we will accelerate disability inclusion and sustainable change.”

Alex Mahon, CEO of Channel 4, concluded: “We know that as an industry, we are sorely lacking in disabled people in senior decision-making positions. Generation Valuable will be an unprecedented opportunity for established disabled talent to be supported by some of the best executives in the industry to take the next step in their careers”. 

She added: “At Channel 4, the home of the Paralympic Games, as well as The Last Leg and Born to Be Different; we are very proud of our track record in supporting disabled talent both on and off the screen and within our workforce.”

In this article, you learned that:

  • On the 32nd anniversary of the passage of the American Disabilities Act and Disability Pride Month, the Valuable 500 announced that 28 members from four continents have already embraced its disability mentoring program.
  • The Valuable Generation participants will be matched with a mentor at the C-Suite level of their organisation. They will complete an in-depth review of each of the Valuable 500’s transformational pillars over the year.
  • The first cohort of 75 individuals will be announced on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities in December.
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