Letter from the CEO

We enter 2023 with excitement and reflect on our successes in 2022!

This year, Bender is targeting significant explosive growth in the talent programs division. We are determined to have an impact increasing the competitive employment of people with disabilities! We are kicking off the year with the Bender Coelho Consortium. Tony and I will be asking companies to agree to ten hires of people with disabilities in 2023! We are determined to have an impact on the competitive employment of people with disabilities nationally. This high unemployment of people with disabilities must stop!

We celebrated achieving the Highmark 32/32 last year. This initiative was started by David Holmberg, the CEO of Highmark. In 2020, Highmark chose to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act by hiring 30 people with disabilities from Bender Consulting Services and has continued this initiative every year since then—this year it will be the Highmark 33/33! We are excited to accomplish this goal in 2023.

At the Disability:IN conference in 2022, it was a very bittersweet evening when our late President, Mary Brougher, was named Advocate of the year. What a great and well-deserved honor; we will miss her forever. This national award is now named “The Mary Brougher Advocate of the Year” and will be presented for the first time in 2023.

We are expanding our work with digital accessibility testing (HighTest), corporate eLearning training (iDisability), staffing, and management consulting with organizations to conduct disability inclusion assessments and strategic planning. We experienced significant growth in management consulting in 2022 and have new contracts we are executing in 2023.

This year I am so excited to celebrate the 20th anniversary of my radio show, “Disability Matters with Joyce Bender”, on voiceamerica.com. Please join us live or on demand. It is thrilling to have guests like David Holmberg and Temple Grandin and other business leaders, celebrities, and disability rights leaders on through 2023!

My message to people with disabilities this year is: never give up on the dream of competitive employment. Persistence must accompany networking, research, and preparation to achieve employment. Don’t wait to start connecting with my team. Apply today if you are seeking employment.

My message to the business community is do not be left behind. With investors seeking to see disability equity and inclusion in corporate America, as a part of the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) data they are using to evaluate which companies to invest in, companies are understanding the critical importance of a diversity viewpoint which includes disability. They are looking at companies who have commitments and demonstrative actions that attract investors, increase customer loyalty, and increase financial revenues – which means including people with disabilities.

My message to everyone is, no matter what difficulties you are facing, in the words of Mary Brougher, “Choose Joy!”

Joyce Bender