Leaders Share Practices to Increase Workplace Inclusivity

Leadership Council Learning Speakers from AbilityPath (L to R): Erin Montgomery, COO, Greg Gonzalez, Operations, Manager, and Keara Sternberg, Diversity and Culture Manager

During a Leadership Council Learning lunchtime event, "Inclusive Employment Practices for a Diverse Workforce” on March 30, 2023, leaders from AbilityPath, a local nonprofit serving individuals with developmental disabilities, guided participants through an exploration of inclusive practices in the workplace.

The program, hosted by Leadership Council San Mateo County as part of Healthy Communities Month, was an hour-long interactive, online session presented by the AbilityPath team including Erin Montgomery, Chief Operating Officer, Greg Gonzalez, Operations Manager, and Keara Sternberg, Diversity and Culture Manager.

They began the session with a very powerful “accessibility check-in” during which participants were invited to consider anything they needed to fully participate in the session; sharing with the group was optional. By modeling this practice in a warm and welcoming way, participants immediately felt the value of putting this into practice. What a great way to be inclusive and help ensure that every person feels supported to do their best and thrive. This simple practice can be implemented in any activity, gathering, environment, or group.

The team then built on this discussion. The agenda included short presentations by each team member, a quick employment case study, and several opportunities for participants to reflect in small breakout groups. 

The event prompted participants to consider how they can be a leader who advocates for and models an inclusive workplace for all. In addition to access needs, after watching a video describing invisible disabilities, participants discussed and reflected on built-in assumptions that people carry around. In another exercise participants were asked to consider what positions could be a good fit for hiring an individual with disabilities in their organizations. What accommodations and support could be provided to set them up for success? Are there barriers that exist that can be foreseen, and if so, can they be addressed, both for a new hire and for current employees? How can communication and teamwork create a positive impact?

Leadership Council San Mateo County is grateful to Erin, Greg, and Keara for offering "Inclusive Employment Practices to our community, and for sharing the ways AbilityPath has designed its diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) practices. We appreciated learning how AbilityPath has articulated DEIB goals in both the delivery of their services and across their organization, and how this inspires them to be proactive, solutions-oriented, and people-focused.

It was an interactive, informative, and thought-provoking event!