Carmen Daniels Jones
President & CEO, Solutions Marketing Group
How has the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) impacted your employment journey?
The biggest way the ADA has impacted me is with travel and the ability to rent a car with hand controls. I also have the ability to travel by Amtrak and have utilized the accessible sleeper car. Just the fact that, as a wheelchair user, I’ve had the ability to travel, transact business and live my life as independently as possible.
If the ADA did not exist, what do you think your life would be today?
I believe my experiences would be far fewer and my world would be smaller. I have the confidence that if I looked for a job, I would be seriously considered as a candidate because so many barriers have been removed.
What was the best career advice you have received?
The best advice I have received is to be extremely prepared and to proactively describe my background in a way that addresses concerns or questions the recruiter may have about my ability to complete the essential job functions.
What main point do you want all employers to understand about the value of people with disabilities?
Employers need to understand that people with disabilities want to work and have the knowledge, skills and abilities to do so. They need to ensure that their workforce reflects disability in the discussions of diversity, inclusion and belonging. If it doesn’t, work must be done to close that gap.
What is one thing employers can do today to build a pipeline of diverse talent that includes people with disabilities?
They can develop a disability recruitment plan and assign milestones and dates for implementation.
Thinking ahead to ADA40, what might the workplace look like for people with disabilities?
Disability employment should become a performance metric related to compensation.
What advice do you have for young professionals with disabilities seeking their first job or advancement within their current company?
I believe they need to be confident, have completed in-depth research about the company so they understand trends and challenges the company is facing, be creative and be willing to outwork their peers.