Astana, Kazahstan - Day 6
Saturday, September 8, 2018 1:28pm EDT
Veniamin’s colleague, Murat arranged a quick trip in the morning to see Bayterek Observation Tower. It is 105 meters in height, with the top floor at 97 meters, to signify the Independence of Kazakhstan in 1997. I did not go up, because of my fear of heights, but Mary did …back to my ferris wheels phobia of the past! 
Astana, Kazakhstan - Day 5
Tuesday, September 4, 2018 10:23am EDT
Today I am in Astana! This is the Capitol of Kazakhstan! After we arrived and checked in at the Hilton Garden Inn, we met Sabina Ismail, a human rights leader who studied in the ADA Program with Veniamin in 2017. She is now working at an NGO with children with disabilities. She explained how children with intellectual disabilities have been kept at home. The great discrimination comes from the Soviet Union days. She is working to change that stigma.
Pavlodar, Kazakhstan – Day 4
Friday, August 31, 2018 9:05pm EDT
The most important point, before I discuss the day, is to tell you today is a holiday in Kazakhstan. Today is Constitution Day! The day Kazakhstan adopted the Constitution as an independent country. I thought it was so amazing that Mary and I were here today and even more special is the name of the holiday—Constitution Day!
Pavlodar, Kazakhstan – Day 3
Thursday, August 30, 2018 7:00pm EDT
We have arrived in Pavlodar for our meetings and I am so excited to see another city in Kazakhstan, with more to come! We had breakfast in Almaty and flew to Pavlodar. When we arrived at the airport in Pavlodar, we were greeted at the airport by another employee of the NGO, Irina Bobkova an associate of Veniamin.
Almaty, Kazakhstan – Day 2
Wednesday, August 29, 2018 12:32pm EDT
Tuesday morning, we met Veniamin and our translator Lukerya after breakfast. Our first meeting of the day was with Mr. Kuanysh Ulasbekov at the National Chamber of Entrepreneurs.
Almaty, Kazakhstan - Day 1
Tuesday, August 28, 2018 1:18pm EDT
I have no words to convey how excited I am to spread the news about the employment of the people with disabilities on my first program day in Almaty, Kazakhstan. I am also proud of the U.S. State Department, working to break stigma that limits inclusion, employment, and engagement of people with disabilities around the world.
People with Disabilities are IN: Thoughts about the New Name of the USBLN
Tuesday, August 28, 2018 12:01pm EDT
In 1997, Tony Coelho served as Chair of the President’s Committee on the Employment of People with Disabilities. Tony was appointed to this position by President Clinton for his two terms in office. Tony quickly realized that more emphasis was placed on various types of vocational rehabilitation resources being offered through the federal and state government than addressing why companies were not hiring people with disabilities.
An Intern’s Story by Asha Dasari
Monday, August 20, 2018 9:04am EDT
Over the years I have met many wonderful, young people that show the promise of being business and disability rights leaders of the future. The following blog was written by one of my interns, Asha, about her time in our office. It has been a joy for me and my team here at Bender Consulting Services, Inc.
Taking the First Step to Becoming a Disability Leader
Wednesday, August 8, 2018 12:09pm EDT
Taking the First Step to Becoming a Disability Leader
Monday, July 2, 2018 11:44am EDT
#iDisabilitya11y When you look at this hashtag, what do you see? You may see the word “ally”. As it relates to disability employment and inclusion campaigns, this of course refers to a colleague who is supportive of a community, such as the LGBTQ community, the disability community or other diverse groups, but does not designate themselves as a member of that community. If you follow disability trends on twitter, you could see “a11y” as in #a11y
Japan - Day 9
Tuesday, April 24, 2018 8:48am EDT
This was our last day in Japan.  We certainly will miss our new and old friends.  These trips always remind me of how people with disabilities around the world all strive to end stigma and increase employment. As you know, I live with epilepsy. A seizure is a seizure no matter where you live, but the stigma is much more pronounced in Japan.
Japan - Day 8
Tuesday, April 24, 2018 8:46am EDT
Thursday, I had the great honor of speaking at the American Center - Japan. It is always so exciting to speak at the American Center when I speak in another country.
Japan - Day 7
Friday, April 20, 2018 2:40pm EDT
The first thing I found out when I met Fujiwara from the US Consulate was that yesterday’s presentation was picked up by Chunichi Shimbun. This is the most influential media outlet in Nagoya, and they published an article about our presentation.
Japan – Day 6
Wednesday, April 18, 2018 11:47am EDT
Today was such an exciting day, as it was my first program in Nagoya, Japan!  I spoke at the International Center, at an event arranged by the US Consulate and Aichi Disability Forum. My presentation was “The Economic Benefits of Meaningful Employment for People with Disabilities.” I was introduced by the Principal Officer from the U.S. Consulate, Gary Schaefer.
Japan – Day 5
Tuesday, April 17, 2018 2:32pm EDT
This was my last day of work in Okinawa with Richard and Makiko; it is always sad to see it end. I love the people with disabilities I have met during my time in Okinawa!
Japan – Day 4
Tuesday, April 17, 2018 2:20pm EDT
We had an exciting visit today to the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST). OIST is an Interdisciplinary Graduate School with a Post Graduate five-year PhD Program in Science. The university recruit students and faculty worldwide and the language used at the university is English. OIST is so impressive and it is in a magnificent setting!
Japan - Day 3
Monday, April 16, 2018 1:58pm EDT
We met Richard and Makiko in the morning, and traveled to meet Yutaka Takamine, the president of Empowerment Okinawa, and eight other members from various organizations related to social welfare and disability.
Japan - Day 2
Friday, April 13, 2018 12:37pm EDT
This was a great day!  I especially loved it because I spent time with high school students with disabilities, and everyone knows how I love young people with disabilities!
Japan – Day 1
Thursday, April 12, 2018 2:21pm EDT
Today is my first full day in Okinawa to begin our program with the US Embassy on the Economic Benefits of Employing People with Disabilities in Japan.
Bender Consulting Services and Highmark Health to Partner in Innovative Pennsylvania Mentor Protégé Program
Monday, April 9, 2018 1:56pm EDT
When Robert James, Supplier Diversity Manager from Highmark, called and told me Bender Consulting was selected by Highmark as a Protégé in Governor Wolf’s newly launched Mentor Protégé program, I was thrilled.  What a great honor to be selected as Protégé by the company that helped me found Bender Consulting Services.  Launched by Governor Wolf, this program levels the playing field for diverse, small businesses in Pennsylvania as they compete for state contracts.
Indonesia - Day Six
Monday, October 9, 2017 9:16am EDT
On day six, we met Karen, the Cultural Attache, and Caroline in the morning in the hotel lobby.  We then went to a coffee shop for a breakfast meeting with the media to discuss the program in Indonesia and my personal story.  At first, we were worried about the reporters not showing up since it is the rainy season, but
Medan, Sumatra - Indonesia - Day Five
Monday, October 9, 2017 8:40am EDT
Friday morning we went with Caroline to a brunch at a restaurant in a very upscale part of Medan. We met with government officials and business organizations to discuss disability employment. If I have not mentioned this before, the main language of Indonesia is Bahasa Indonesia.
Medan, Sumatra - Indonesia - Day Four
Monday, October 9, 2017 8:29am EDT
It was time to leave the island of Java and the two cities we visited, Yogyakarta and Jakarta ,and fly to Medan, Sumatra. Sumatra is the fifth most populous island in the world. It is the sixth largest island in the world with rain forests, elephants, orangutans, tigers, and active volcanoes.
Jakarta, Indonesia - Day Three
Monday, October 9, 2017 8:25am EDT
I left Yogyakarta early in the morning and flew in to the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. Jakarta is the capitol of Indonesia and the U.S.
Yogyakarta, Java - Indonesia - Day Two
Friday, October 6, 2017 9:40am EDT
This was another exciting day in Indonesia. We met with Jed Dornburg and Pira Vindiartha from the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, in the city of Yogyakarta, Java.  They are two more wonderful people!