Joyce Bender Honored with the Henry Viscardi Achievement Award

Press Release Date: Thursday, May 23, 2024

Bender Consulting Services, Inc. is proud to announce that on May 16, Founder and CEO, Joyce Bender received the Henry Viscardi Achievement Award, which recognizes the incredible impact made globally by extraordinary leaders, role models, and advocates with disabilities who carry on the spirit and legacy of the founder of the Viscardi Center, Dr. Henry Viscardi, Jr., a hero to so many in the broader disability rights movement.

Joyce, a woman living with epilepsy and a hearing loss, received the Viscardi Achievement Award for her decades of service on behalf of millions of Americans with disabilities, most notably through her leadership at Bender Consulting Services, Inc. (Bender). Joyce joins the ranks of past winners, such as Judith Heumann, Andrew Imparato, Emily Ladau, Tony Coelho, Maria Town, Rebecca Cokley, Ali Stroker, and Marca Bristo.

Bender was founded in 1995 with the support of Highmark to enable her to partner with leading corporations and organizations to secure competitive employment for people with disabilities. As a leader in the recruitment space, Bender has created pathways to competitive employment and career advancement for thousands of individuals with disabilities. As the Bender company motto states, “Competitive Jobs Means Freedom.”™

“First, I want to congratulate my peers who are also being recognized with the Viscardi Achievement Award,” Joyce said upon receiving this award. “It’s truly an honor to be part of this amazing group of changemakers and trailblazers. Our collective work is needed now more than ever before. So many community members continue to face enormous challenges in employment and accessibility and so much more. I look forward to expanding our work at Bender Consulting Services, Inc. as we match some of the top employers in the country to this talented, diverse, and driven workforce, and as we shine a spotlight on the barrier of inequality that remains.” 

In addition to receiving the Viscardi Achievement Award this week, Joyce was honored and recognized with a 2024 Women of Influence Award, presented to influential businesswomen in the Pittsburgh region who are changing their industries and impacting their communities along the way.

Both awards reflect Joyce’s unwavering and fierce commitment to a community that she advocates for, and of which she is a proud member.

Joyce is the owner and CEO of Bender Consulting Services and the founder of the Bender Leadership Academy, a non-profit organization based in Pittsburgh that works to increase long-term competitive employment for youth with disabilities.

If you have any questions about Bender Consulting Services, Inc. or our work, please contact Sherry Lapaglia at