Joyce welcomes Samantha Evans, Christopher Lee and Jay Wyant
December 1, 2020 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm

Joyce welcomes Samantha Evans, certification manager, for the International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP); Christopher Lee, managing director, IAAP; and Jay Wyant, member of IAAP Global Leadership Council to the show. IAAP’s mission is to define, promote and improve the accessibility profession globally through certification, education and networking in order to enable the creation of accessible products, content and services. The guests will discuss the importance of IAAP’s commitment to promote vendor responsibilities with respect to digital accessibility for those with disabilities.

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FINISHED FILE

 

DISABILITY MATTERS with Joyce Bender

1 DECEMBER 2020

1:00 PM CT

 

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     >> Welcome to "Disability Matters" with your host Joyce Bender.  Now the host of "Disability Matters," here is Joyce Bender.

     >> JOYCE BENDER: Hi, welcome to the show.  I have to start by saying tomorrow is International Day of Persons with Disabilities, and I'm honored to recently join the board of the World Institute on Disability.

     So that means I have to have a special shout out to my friend at the State Department in Japan.  Hello, Richard Roberts.  You know how I love you.  In South Korea.  Hello.  How could I forget Kazakhstan and my new friend Cheryl Harris in Tunisia.  Just a superstar. 

     Since it is International Day of Persons with Disabilities, I just had to have a special shout out tomorrow, December 3 is the day.  And hello, Yoshiko Dart.  How are you today?  Special shout out to you.  You know, I have countries all over the world that listen to the show no matter what country you are in, even if you are one person, there is power in one person.  I'm going to give you an example.

     65 years ago today, Rosa Parks said yes, I am sitting down in this bus.  65 years ago today.  The power of one.  The power of one.

     Hey, thank you.  Hi, Mark, Peoples, Wells Fargo, and the Employment Options for being sponsors of this show.

     So I was so excited about this show today because it is with members of the International Association of Accessibility Professionals.

     We have with us today Sam Evans, Certification Manager, Christopher Lee, who is the Managing Director, and Jay Wyant from the Global Leadership Council member on Strategic Leader and the Accessibility Task Force.  We've got some really smart people with us today!  And you know what I always say -- can't hire people if you don't have digital accessibility.

     So welcome to the show.  The trio of triumph.  Let's start here with Chris.  Chris, how about if you share with us the mission of IAAP, and what role you serve.

     >> CHRISTOPHER LEE: Hey, Joyce.  Thank you for having us.  We are very excited about being part of the show today.  A big day tomorrow.  Pretty exciting.

     So I'm Managing Director of the International Association of Accessibility Professionals.  We call it IAAP for short.

     We are part of the global initiative for inclusive ICT, communication technologies.  G3ICT.  It has been around since 2006 and started off on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability.  They promote and offer assistance around policy advocacy globally regarding digital accessibility as well as the built environment. 

     IAAP focuses on defining, promoting and including the diversity of accessibility through certification, being number one.  Education, number two, and networking.  The goal is to make sure that we have the products and contents and services as well as all environments are accessible to persons with disabilities.  That is a little bit about us.

     >> JOYCE BENDER: Okay.  And you work on a global basis?

     >> CHRISTOPHER LEE: That's correct.  We have -- the main office is in the U.S. based out of Atlanta, Georgia, which is where Sam is at.  I'm in North Carolina. 

     We have chapters that are international chapters that represent and feed us information globally so we can continue to serve our organizational members as well as individual professional members.

     You know, the information they need in order to be successful and be more inclusive.

     >> JOYCE BENDER: If I may ask, how did this all come to be, this organization?

     >> CHRISTOPHER LEE: Okay.  So I'm glad you did ask actually. 

     It started six years ago.  It was around July six years ago, six and a half years ago.  A group of individuals came out of the ATIA, which is the group down in Atlanta that has a big assistive technology conference.

     Several groups came together -- private industry, non-profit organizations, advocacy organizations for persons with disabilities -- came together and said we need to come up with something.  We don't know what it is exactly, that would actually, you know, provide companies trying to hire people with knowledge around digital accessibility that there would be some information out there, some professional education. 

     And what happened, these organizations the founding members of IAAP did a lot of research and several focus groups.  And what came out of that was the certification piece of it, the education and the networking.

     So the goal was to create and launch an international accessibility professional association, hence IAAP came out of that about six and a half years ago.

     >> JOYCE BENDER: Wow.  See, it's amazing how things happen with the small group of people.  That is awesome.

     >> CHRISTOPHER LEE: It really does.

     >> JOYCE BENDER: Sam, it is great to have you with us. 

     How about if you share with our listeners around the world the role you play with IAAP?  And also, what impact your area has had on the accessibility front.

     >> SAMANTHA EVANS: So this is Sam Evans.  I'm the Certification Manager at IAAP.

     And I have the great pleasure of working with subject matter experts around the world as they build content concepts and ideas for certification programs.

     So we build the certification programs built on public feedback with surveys to make sure that what we believe to be the important elements of accessibility roles and technical expertise are what the public holds true as well.

     Then we build the certification and programs.  But the programs don't just -- they are not created once.  They are living, breathing content pieces.  So we revisit the content several times a year.  We write new items and create new content for the exams as well as for the bodies of knowledge along the way.

     And out of our communities of practice, from shared interest areas where there is a call and a need for something, which Jay will speak to in a moment, we are able to develop new content areas for certification programs.

     So we started with CPACC being a core competency of accessibility as the first certified professional and core competence role.  And then the web accessibility specialist, an intermediate technical exam for persons that work on the web side.  A build environment program for the physical space that our bodies engage with for buildings and spaces.  That has three levels of expertise.

     And we are launching accessible document specialists, people who create documents and strategic leadership is a new role.

     So these are all pieces of import that have come to the fore from accessibility professionals around the world.  What is really exciting for me is I get to learn about all this work and build the benchmarks and community and industry and world at large and the business industry are starting to recognize.  We are starting to see, and I like to think for the good reasons, why accessibility has become a topic, an element of business and is of importance to businesses around the world.

     What we are seeing is that businesses are looking for ways to identify because some companies and hiring managers don't know what they need to have in these roles and these skills and these persons that they are hoping to bring to their teams. 

     Our accessibility certification programs establish a benchmark and set of standards and knowledge people can utilize in hiring and professional development in their own teams and as well as for individuals for their commitment to disability and inclusion.

     >> JOYCE BENDER: Some of our listeners may not understand.  What is CPACC, number one?  And number two, who do you certify?  Like what does that mean when you certify someone?

     >> SAMANTHA EVANS: So CPACC is the acronym of CPACC, the Certified Professional in Accessibility Core Competencies.  And this is our core foundational certification that represents broad cross-disciplinary knowledge about disabilities, assistive technology, accessibility, universal design, some web accessibility, accessible and disability-related law standards around the world and management strategies.

     So somebody who has this background and set of knowledge can think strategically and inclusively about accessibility and inclusion across all components of the business world.

     So as far as who we certify, we certify individuals.  And so each of our certifications is a credential that is issued to a person.  They are required to pass an exam and then also to continue professional development, continuing education or sharing their knowledge in the industry or in the community as well to be able to renew and maintain their certification.

     So they are not tied to a course because it is not a course completion; it is a professional certification that is an assessment of knowledge and understanding and concepts.

     >> JOYCE BENDER: So what do you have --

     >> SAMANTHA EVANS: For three years.  And if the continuing education works and is attained, the certifications can be renewed.

     >> JOYCE BENDER: What do you have to do to apply to take that test?  What do you have to do?

     >> SAMANTHA EVANS: So we do have an application and we ask people to consider having either some hands-on work experience and professional expertise behind them or as part of their goals for professional growth and development.  There is an application that is reviewed.

     We want to make sure that the people that are sitting for the exam for CPACC at least have a background and interest in accessibility and are working in the field or have an interest in research or development.

     With the application, we do encourage people to spend a minimum of six to eight weeks studying and preparing to become familiar with the content and body of knowledge that's provided. 

     And then the exam is 100 questions multiple choice and those are available at test centers, online, remote, or with a private proctor in person or remote by webcam and telecommunications.

     >> JOYCE BENDER: You know, I love this.  I'm sorry, go ahead.

     >> SAMANTHA EVANS: I was going to say, and the requirement is 45 hours of continuing education across three years to maintain the CPACC.

     >> JOYCE BENDER: What I was going to say is when you explained this, I love the professionalism and I love the credibility.

     That is really awesome, Sam, how you have that in place.  Very good. 

     Jay, how about you, Jay?  How about if you share with the listeners what do you do in your day job as well as the important role you serve in as a member of developing the Strategic Leader in Accessibility certification?  That is a big job there.  So you have two big jobs, day.  What is the day job?

     >> JAY WYANT: Hi.  Thank you very much for having us here.  So again, my name is Jay Wyant.  And I have the privilege of being -- this is a great title -- the Chief Information Accessibility Officer for the state of Minnesota.

     >> JOYCE BENDER: Oh.

     >> JAY WYANT: And the acronym is CIAO.  Call me the CIAO for the State of Minnesota.

     >> JOYCE BENDER: That is great.  That is great that they have that.

     >> JAY WYANT: Yes, it is a great title.  And it is a privilege to be able to have and serve in that role for the state. 

     I work with all of the state agencies.  We have over 75 state agencies, boards and commissions and somewhere around 35,000 or more employees.

     And our role is to help the State be accessible, digital accessible for both employees internally and for everyone it serves.  In other words, all of the State citizens.

     And so that is my day job.  And one of the reasons why I really appreciate the opportunity to be in the Global Leadership Council of IAAP is you heard earlier that Chris was talking about how IAAP came out of a need certifying people who are qualified.

     And Sam talked about the fact this is an individual certification so the employee can know who they are hiring for.  At the State, one of the biggest challenges is finding accessibility technology and validating that the vendor we buy from knows anything about accessibility. 

     So it has been very important for us to try to increase the level of professionalism and the level of knowledge about accessibility among vendors as well as in government.

     So that way we are eager to support IAAP partnership and helping making sure that there is something that we can point to for vendors and say hey, vendor, do you know about accessibility and do you hire people for accessibility and what can you tell us about that?  That is why we work with the IAAP.  And all of the people they work with is volunteer. 

     The certification is from volunteer subject matter experts.  What are the strategic leaders in accessibility certification we can talk more about in a minute, because I know I'm talking a lot.

     >> JOYCE BENDER: No, no, that is okay.  I actually have a follow-up question. 

     That is, how did you get involved in this industry of accessibility?

     >> JAY WYANT: Well, this is Jay.  First of all, I was born deaf and I have bilateral cochlear implants. 

     And early on in my career as a college student and later working I was thinking how do I make, how do I get to do things?   There was no captioning when I was growing up and there was no CART when I was going to school.  So what are the resources to make technology to work for us.  But accessibility as a sideline.

     I wrote columns for several publications on how to make digital technology work for people who are deaf and hard of hearing.  So my day job and my life and my career current in one direction where I built the expertise in a different direction. 

     When this job came up, my past background and personal knowledge of accessibility culminated in doing this work.

     >> JOYCE BENDER: Wow, that is very good.  Very good.

     Well, Chris, this has been a big deal to me that this year is the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

     And we have made great progress in different areas over the past 30 years like braille elevators, closed caption, access to buildings, curb cuts, transportation, not able to ask someone in interview what is their disability.

     But there are two areas that I think we have a lot to do.  One is employment.  And that is the area that I work in at Bender Consulting Services which is a company that focuses on the employment of people with disabilities.  The other area, and we do work in this area, is digital accessibility.

     So I wanted to ask you what do you believe will be the imperative for the next 30 years?

     >> CHRISTOPHER LEE: Wow.  It's a great question, Joyce. 

     And there is so many answers you could go, so many directions I would go with this.  In listening to all members and again, it is all tied to the U.S. but will there are also global members so I'm putting it from that standpoint so not just the ADA even though there has been a lot done in transportation and public accommodations and communications.  So much work has been done with that.

     Our members are saying we need to go deeper than just reasonable accommodations.  And this ties to what you are saying about digital accessibility and employment.  We need to ensure that we have people that know what accessibility is internally to work with internal employees and externally to pick up customers. 

     About 18 months ago we started working with Dan Goldstein who used to be with the Commission for the Blind.  We go and say do you have policies and procedures, statement on the website, HR, procurement and so on.  We started working with him and pulling together advocacy groups coming together to get feedback on accessibility vendors.

     Like your group, for example.  To see how we could flesh out a benchmarking tool for organizations.  There is a lot of maturity models out there that have been built, and that is great, and they are wonderful, and you need that.  But what we were hearing from the members is we need to go deeper.  We are engaged in really working on benchmarking tools, collaborating with advocacy groups with different partners throughout the globe to make this happen.  And I think that is really where we need to go.

     I mean we have done a lot, right?  We hit the surface of reasonable accommodations.  Built environment.  Some digital accessibility accommodations and there with the help of assistive technology.

     But I think universal design is too important.  And we need to give these organizations, as I'm sure you know, we need to give them tools to be able to make sure that they can make their environments fully inclusive for people with disabilities.

     >> JOYCE BENDER: Well, do you think that we will have enforcement with the federal government?  And also, why do so many companies that I talk to yeah, they want to do this, but they don't really see it as something they have to do.  Why do you think that is?

     >> CHRISTOPHER LEE: Well, employment question is a huge question mark.  The ADA, as great as it is, doesn't have the teeth behind to it to really make a difference. 

     We have Section 503, the Rehabilitation Act regarding employment hasn't gone where we want to go.  We have a long way to go with the federal government getting behind this.  And I think it is more that we are seeing with the organizations that we are serving as members that they are looking for their own path.  And it is not all of them, it is a small percentage of them.

     I do think it's, you know, slowly happening.  But, yeah, I think that is where -- you know, that is what I'm seeing right now from our organizational members.

     >> JOYCE BENDER: That's good.  Well, I hope to see it enforced also.

     We were talking --

     >> CHRISTOPHER LEE: Me, too.

     >> JOYCE BENDER: Yeah, right.  We were talking about certification. 

     I wanted to ask you, Sam, how does the global work that you do impact the certification process?

     You know, developing, getting input, marketing, supporting, training, and educating and facilitating the test and review?  This seems like wow.  Such a huge task and so daunting.  How does that work?

     >> SAMANTHA EVANS: So you know, the great -- Joyce, thanks for asking and for having us to talk about this.

     The great part about the global teams that I get to work with in the certification process is that everyone shares the same vision and the same mission and the same purpose.  So all of our energies are going towards accessibility, universal design and inclusion.

     So the challenge we have in some arenas aside from time zones and ensuring that our technology works for everyone, is to make sure that we are able to represent content that is reflective of best practices that are uniform and universal.  And if we do call out things that are regional in nature or geographic specific to make sure that we do that representative of lots of places around the world and not have it be U.S.-specific. 

     We started three years ago implementing an internationalization review of all of our content.  And that is going to be part of all of our programs so that we do our best work to make sure that we represent laws, regulations, standards and practices around the world.

     We -- there are some areas in procurement where processes are very different in Europe, the laws around procurement, or tenders, as they are called in some parts of the world, than they are in the process in U.S. and Canada and other parts of the world.  We do recognize some differences there.

     I would love to have the benefits of each reach all.  But facilitating often just takes some time and effort.  But we have subject matter experts and accessibility professionals who come to consensus very quickly. 

     And I think Jay could confirm that, he worked on several groups.  That is really a different dynamic and in other dynamics for development.  Everybody does have the same goal.  We're not trying to solve that challenge.

     >> JOYCE BENDER: What is great about that when you said about everyone working together, focused on the same goal, oh, that is so much more productive.  And you can get so much more done.  So that is really a good thing.

     Now something I was really interested in, Jay, that you are doing, is exploring this strategic leader in accessibility certification that will have different parts to it.  That is really exciting.  That is really exciting. 

     Would you speak to the developments to date, the completed job task analysis survey, and confirmation of the role’s knowledge domains, establishment of the Community of Practice?  Also, on the work currently building out a dedicated body of knowledge and coordinating a four-part webinar series?  Oh, my God, when are you going to do all of this?

     First you have the day job and now this seems like a very, very big project that you are working on or that you are leading.  I can't possibly know how you have time to do this.

     But you share with us how you have time to do it and what it is going to be.

     >> JAY WYANT: Thank you, Joyce.  That's a big question.

     So I will try to address it in bite sized chunks. 

     First, I would like to go back to the question with Chris about the ADA.  Not -- and the ADA, like Chris pointed out, we are talking about the international scope so there are many countries that don't really have an ADA.  What we are trying to do here at IAAP, if you equate to basically a word, professionalize the field of accessibility.

     You asked me how I got into it, and I got into the field organically because it is really to develop the skills became known about this and kind of grew into it.  And that is what most people in the field are self-taught.  They are kind of leaning to it from whatever they were doing.  And that's great.  These people are dedicated, motivated, interested.

     But we need to find pathways for people if we build it as a profession to take classes in college and incorporate accessibility into what they do with their job.  That could be the key to growing awareness to accessibility.  So that is what I wanted to say about that.

     Now to answer your question.  We have been working almost a year on the Strategic Leader in Accessibility or SLIA certification.  We divided this into four areas or domains of content.  That is a popular word.

     So the four domains are strategic leadership, accessibility expertise, partnership customers, and resource engagement.

     We established the four domains based on feedback of the job analysis survey work.  We said we have an idea for the job title, Strategic Leader in Accessibility is a role, a job.  And we said what do you think should be in that?  How should the job work?  What kind of skills should the job have? 

     And we sent the survey out to many people in as many fields in as many countries as we could find.  And it was based on their feedback that we created the four domains.

     The certification is also different from a previous IAAP certificate in that in addition to requiring technical knowledge -- you know, Sam talked about the CPACC, that is about accessibility, the technology accessibility and others like web accessibility.  But this is different in that we are requiring a technical knowledge and you have to know what accessibility is and so forth. 

     We also ask the candidates to look at how the successful practice of accessibility in an organization integrates with other organizational goals.  You are an employee in a large organization that makes stuff or delivers stuff or creates stuff.

     How accessible is the work goal?  How do you meet the work?  We want them to think about that in a broader sense.  And also require the candidates to understand how those internal and external factors impact and are impacted by the organization opposed to accessibility. 

     So instead of just a job on accessibility, we are asking the certificate to talk about how to correlate with other things.  It is very important, and we do it, Joyce.

     And then the body and knowledge, we use the data from the job analysis survey as well as the diverse knowledge of the committee members to look at what needs to be in the BLK and then flashing out and backtracking from those elements and discipline. 

     There are many disciplines.  And those are strategic planning and all of these other things.  How do we meet those policies?  We have been hosting live discussions with the IAAP Community of Practice and the leadership and the people who are interested in this in our field. 

     That has been a webinar series that is basically a series of concentration about the certificate.  A more informal but great way to track how we are developing a program.

     And then we are supplementing this with a more formal four-part webinar series this coming year that dives into each of the domains, okay.

     And you asked how am I doing all of this?  Well, I'm not.  I'm just one of many volunteers.  Sam and Tracy Shipman, who also works with IAAP, and Chris and other people are herding.  We are the cats, and they are herding us cats working a full-time job to make sure that we can do all this.  They are making sure that we can do all this work. 

     But I would like to remind you why IAAP developed the certificate and body of knowledge.  We are relying on third-party vendors to create to prepare for the certificate.  We create the framework and body of knowledge and then invite people to build courses on that.  Hopefully that answered all of your questions you had.

     >> JOYCE BENDER: Yes, it did.  Thank you very much. 

     When do you think this big project will be completed, Jay?  What do you think?

     >> JAY WYANT: This is Jay.  Our goal is -- and this is where Sam can add on this -- to try to have the body of knowledge completed early this year.  And then the four webinars through the winter and early spring. 

     We will kind of lay out of basics what the program is and what the knowledge required to do it and how it will work.

     And then we will start rolling out the certificate itself, I believe late summer/early fall.  Am I right, Sam?

     >> SAMANTHA EVANS: This is Sam.  We would like to see this come together probably in fall of 2021 to make sure that we have got enough time to do the build and development process.

     >> JOYCE BENDER: Well, that will be so -- you will have to keep us up to date on that because we have many listeners that are very interested in digital accessibility.  Plus, businesses need to know about this.  So you will have to keep us tuned in so we know what is going on. 

     Speaking of businesses listening to the show, Chris, Sam and Jay, this is the strategic role.

     How are you going to market the credibility and the value of this to C-Level executives and encourage their team to move forward with this?  I noticed a lot of people at the C-suite level, it is just they are not aware of all of this.  They aren't as knowledgeable of all of this.  That is nothing wrong with them, they just -- this is not their area.

     So what do you think you are going to do to change that?  We'll start with you, Chris.

     >> CHRISTOPHER LEE: Sure.  Well, I think it is a good question, Joyce.  And one of the things that we have been trying to do over the last really two years now is get the pulse on what Fortune 500 companies or organizations that are part of our membership base, what they need.  As I talked about earlier with the benchmarking tool.

     We aligned ourselves now with a few partners I guess you could say to do surveys.  And recently this year we did two surveys.  One was focused on the state of digital accessibility.  And we partnered with Level Access, which is one of our accessibility vendor members. 

     And we sent out kind of a, you know, survey that looked at, you know, what is the state of accessibility programs?  What are the risks?  What are the challenges?  What are the motivations towards these organizations?  What product development design and testing?  We talked about some of the questions focused on, you know, content creation.

     What we are trying to do is from that survey is strip out the information that we need when we go to the C-Level executives to say this is what we are seeing globally is happening and what the needs are.

     So we are talking at their level, not just as an association standpoint, you know, coming back from the government or nonprofit standpoint, but when we talk about the private corporations we are trying to approach it a little differently. 

     I think that is going to be crucial.  And what you heard already from Jay from the Strategic Leadership, that came from Barclays Bank and Shell Oil and Acos.  These are companies that said we need something regarding the strategic leadership.

     We know there is something happening there.  And then the benchmarking tool also has kind of bubbled up to the top.  So we are seeing all of the services that we need to put together holistically partnering with groups to do that and not doing it alone.  We couldn't do that, there is too much work to be done. 

     I think that is where we are really going about it, listening to the professionals in these organizations telling us what we need to do in order to brand it the right way and move forward.

     >> JOYCE BENDER: Yeah.  And it is a tough thing.  With the right presentation, when they see one thing, or non-investment, it isn't a charity, it is a business imperative. 

     How about you, Sam, what is your opinion?

     >> SAMANTHA EVANS: ,So, I think that, you know, one of the great groups of people I get to work with are these senior members of the accessibility community as far as they have been leading and mentoring and developing all of the great works for many years, but there is nothing in place to reflect what happens when you are the expert, the leader.

     So I think that this is an opportunity to establish and to separate and to elevate these experts and leaders in strategic accessibility which is different than just leading an accessibility initiative.

     So I think that this will be an opportunity to highlight these great leaders and people who want to be that accessibility champion in their organization and establish a way that many other professional groups have what they call fellows or, you know, they have some other designations for people that are making the change in the world that is going to remove the need for litigation to make the change but inclusive by design to make the change by intention for all of the right reasons.

     I think if we have the opportunity to highlight these people and that unique set of skills as it just doesn't exist right now, and I think it will be a great way to recognize and establish the goals and a pathway for people who aren't there yet but give them a pathway of skills and challenges and understanding that will let them become that strategic leader in accessibility for their organization and for organizations to set the goal for somebody within their teams as well.

     >> JOYCE BENDER: Well, you know, a question I have, Sam, is when you go to these different companies, what percentage would you say have a Chief Accessibility Officer?  You know, because for a long time, if you would say Chief Accessibility Officer, I would think Jenny Lay-Flurrie at Microsoft.  That is what I would say.  With the companies, how many have you seen that have a chief accessibility officer?

     >> SAMANTHA EVANS: Not many.  Large organizations that have a commitment may have an accessibility officer but fewer accessibility officers and more DI, diversity and inclusion officers.  Jay, Christopher, maybe 2% to 5% at the most?

     >> CHRISTOPHER LEE: Sam, this is Chris.  I would agree with you. 

     And we did a study where we looked at the Fortune 500 companies out there and looked at the titles tied to accessibility, and it was always D&I.  There were a handful of them, so I think you are right on track.  Maybe 2%.

     >> JOYCE BENDER: Yeah, I say that because -- I'm sorry, go ahead.

     >> JAY WYANT: I don't want to interrupt.  I will wait my time.

     >> JOYCE BENDER: No, go ahead.  Go ahead.

     >> JAY WYANT: Okay.  Well, I just want to say it is a great question about Chief Accessibility Officer. 

     And if you look back as recent as 10 years ago, there were a lot of companies that were not even having a Chief Information Security Officer with systems.  And those were rare, and now everybody has to have a CISO because the top leadership has seen how important security is for the organization.

     And I think we are at the same kind of -- similar situation now with the accessibility.  More and more companies are realizing diversity and inclusion is important, but they don't know what that means.  They are still trying to learn what -- what diversity is.  And people with disabilities are a key part of that diversity and inclusion and that is becoming more apparent today.

     So I see what we -- to answer your question about how do we share this with the C-suite?  Personally I talk about like security, we are a risk mitigation enterprise.  We help people understand what the risk level is with accessibility, or lack thereof.  And then just like a Chief Information Security Officer, the Chief Accessibility Officer helps your whole organization in their accessibility to what they do. 

     Just like a CISO teaches people about phishing and then all of the different roles about internet security.  Same thing with accessibility.  We kind of fall in the same track or trajectory that security was 10-15 years ago.

     >> JOYCE BENDER: Yeah, you know, I say that because of when Sam and Chris were talking you know, if you have a Chief Accessibility Officer, that makes it so much easier. 

     And so, you know, that is something that I hope we see happen.  My friend does that at PNC.  But just as you said, there are some, but it is in the lower percentage.  So and if you are listening to the show and you are a business, you need to change that.

     Sam, Jay, Christopher, we will start with you, Sam, what would you characterize as your most significant accomplishment so far?

     >> SAMANTHA EVANS: Wow.  That's tough.  This is Sam Evans. 

     I think watching our certification programs come together with a pattern that is repeatable and sustainable, that is crossing different roles is really a tremendous accomplishment for an organization as young as IAAP is.  But I think that is simply because we are the keepers of the passion and mission of many decades of people's drive towards accessibility.

     So granted, my role is certification, but I work with other certification professionals around the world.  And none of my colleagues have developed what we have to the depth and acceptance in as short a time period.  I think it is really a credit to the volunteers and professionals in accessibility that they identified a need and a role that is valued and respected and I'm proud to be able to support that work.

     >> JOYCE BENDER: Well, I mean that is something you should be proud of.  That is all -- remember what I said, the power of one.

     Chris, how about you?

     >> CHRISTOPHER LEE: You know, it is a tough question.  And we have done so many great things over the last six years.

     But kind of on the flip side of what Sam just said, it is also the power of many, right?

     Also and you know I think about all of the volunteers that like Jay and others that have come together that believed organically that an association is needed and they need to have a centralized voice that comes together and helps promote the accessibility field.

     It is something that I'm very, very proud to be a part of.  I was somewhat humble, and this was actually Sam's idea back in May for the Global Accessibility Awareness Day.  We put out a request for members to send in short videos why they are a part of IAAP or why they are a part of the accessibility profession.  And all of these are on our YouTube channel, by the way. 

     What came back was so -- it was such a wonderful insight into why people need a place to come together to talk about accessibility and the need of diversity and the need of inclusion.

     I'm very proud that we are building that network with a lot of partners out there.  And I would have to say that has really humbled me.

     >> JOYCE BENDER: You know what, this show today is very educational and very important for people interested in digital accessibility. 

     I just want to take one minute and say if you go to Apple or Spotify, you can subscribe to the show and that way when you are talking to someone that you think would love to hear about this, you can tell them where to go to hear this show.

     Because I really think this is so educational that, you know, first of all, Chris, Sam, Jay, you need to put this on your website, this podcast so people can continue hearing this, you know, what you are saying.

     But seriously, if you are thinking this would be so important for this company or this person, tell them.  Apple, Spotify, "Disability Matters" with Joyce Bender or VoiceAmerica.com and you can hear the show and share that with others that you are talking to.

     How about you, Jay?  What would you characterize as your most significant accomplishment?

     >> JAY WYANT: Oh, this is Jay.  That is a tough question because, first of all, I would prefer to answer that question after we launch the certificates. 

     But until then, I would say that the most -- I feel the great accomplishment just to have the opportunity to work with all of these fantastic competent people. 

     Like Sam said, they are all volunteers from all over the world and they are all experts in some different ways.  And I learned so much from them and I feel privileged to have the opportunity to feel like I can share and contribute to that group as well.

     >> JOYCE BENDER: Well, I am so impressed by the humility of each of you.

     And that just shows me what kind of people you are, how passionate you are and how successful this organization is going to be.  And that is something I forgot to ask, two questions.

     Number one, Chris, what is the website for IAAP?

     >> CHRISTOPHER LEE: Yes, the IAAP website is kind of long, but it is AccessibilityAssociation.org.  AccessibilityAssociation.org.  And it is all together.

     >> JOYCE BENDER: And can people see upcoming events or papers that you get out or news events?  What can they see at that site?

     >> CHRISTOPHER LEE: So we have got a variety of informational tabs on the site.

     Obviously, information about membership.  And then we have resources, and some are resources that we talked about today as well as others.  We have obviously our webinars tied to that.

     We have a connection, a membership connection community which is behind the scenes subject matter expert platform that you can ask questions and get answers.

     We have information, a lot of information about the certification, and that continues to grow.  Information about the global chapters. And we also have events in addition to that.

     >> JOYCE BENDER: Listen, can people make a donation to this organization?

     >> CHRISTOPHER LEE: We don't have a donation component built to the website.  We do have a kind of a fund that helps support people that can't afford to take the certification in the developing country and so on.  And they can contact us directly for that information. 

     A lot of the speakers that we bring in for the webinar there is a small honorary that we give them and a lot of times they donate that to this fund.  So if you are interested in providing resource to help support people that can't afford certification or professional education, we will be happy to talk to you about that.

     >> JOYCE BENDER: When that gets more developed on your site, if you call and let me know, I will make sure I tell everyone. 

     One more time, what is the website?

     >> CHRISTOPHER LEE:  AccessibilityAssociation.org.

     >> JOYCE BENDER: Okay.  Everyone, I just want to tell you before I ask this last question to Chris. 

     Sam, Jay, and Chris, it has truly been a pleasure to have you on the show today.  I just feel you have had a plethora of information and that this has been very educational and can be used by so many people.

     It was so gracious with your time.  Thank you all for being on the show today.

     >> SAMANTHA EVANS: Thanks for having us, Joyce.

     >> CHRISTOPHER LEE: Thank you.

     >> JOYCE BENDER: So, Chris, last question. 

     What message would you like to leave with our listeners to build the brand of IAAP and to encourage certification at all levels?  What is your message?

     >> CHRISTOPHER LEE: Well, I always think when I get asked some of the questions about this, I think about a quote that is one of my favorite quotes by Nelson Mandela.  And he said, "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."

     And I really believe that.  And that is what we are all about is educating and transferring that knowledge.  And IAAP's tag line is united in accessibility.  United in accessibility.  And we are working towards building a more inclusive diverse world and certification has a lot of power behind it.  It increases efficiency.  It expands knowledge and skills and builds professional capacity.

     And you know, it also, you know, helps gain competitive advantage for some individuals within the jobs that may want to, you know, go to another level or get a job.

     So I think, you know, you got to look at professional certifications as a whole.  And IAAP is out there really pushing our accessibility certifications.

     So again, it is about the certification and it is about the professional education.

     >> JOYCE BENDER: Well, thank you so much again.  And we had as our guest today IAAP affiliated Sam Evans, Certification Manager, Christopher Lee, the Managing Director, and Jay Wyant, the Global Leadership Council Member Strategic Leader in Accessibility Task Force. 

     IAAP.  Make sure you follow them.  And one more time, go to Apple or Spotify, and you can subscribe to the show and tell others that you want to hear this show.

     All right.  We end the show with -- every show with a quote.  And today that quote is from Eve Hill, a national disability rights leader who said, "How can you ask me to join the company if your website is not accessible?" 

     This is Joyce Bender, America's Voice where "Disability Matters" at VoiceAmerica.com.  Talk to you next week with our great guest Andy Imparato.

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     >> Voice America would like to thank you for tuning in.  Join us next Tuesday for another installment of "Disability Matters" right here on the Voice America variety channel.

     We are the leader in live internet talk radio.  VoiceAmerica.com.

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