May 30, 2019

Event Recap: Leaders Embrace Neurodiverse Talent

Recently, we hosted our Leaders Embrace Neurodiverse Talent Summit at the Union League. We convened this summit to raise awareness among the business community for the incredible impact neurodiverse talent can have on an organization’s performance, culture and overall brand reputation.

The idea was sparked by our experience hiring Thomasina Justice, a neurodiverse individual who has proven to be a very productive employee while becoming an integral part of our company culture. It made us realize many other companies could equally benefit, but either were unaware of the talent opportunity or didn’t know where to start.

Studies reinforce the benefits of a neurodiverse workplace – Harvard Business Review reported that companies with neurodiverse hiring programs enjoy productivity gains, quality improvement, boosts in innovative capabilities and broad increases in employee engagement.

In front of an audience of more than 175 business and civic leaders, the Summit showcased some of the region’s most respected brands and institutions that have launched innovative programs and research initiatives aimed at closing the unemployment gap. Moderated by John Fry, president of Drexel University, an engaging panel discussion featured Dan Hilferty, CEO of Independence Health Group, along with senior leadership from the Eagles Autism Challenge, SAP, Vertex and Wawa.

To conclude the event, Graham Company bestowed its Community Champion Award to David Goodyear, human resource business partner at Giant Food Stores, who was accepting the award on behalf of Isaac Daniel Witte. A cashier at a Giant store in Harrisburg, PA, Witte received national attention for the heartwarming bond he formed with a nine-year-old neurodiverse girl and her family. The Community Champion Award recognizes how an individual can have a significant impact on making communities more inclusive and welcoming.

With nearly two-thirds of working age adults with intellectual disabilities unemployed, there is a great opportunity for nearly any company – large or small – to take a meaningful step toward addressing this crisis. While the costs for implementing a neurodiversity hiring program are minimal, the positive impact it will have on your business is immeasurable.

To learn more, a resource packet can be viewed here. It includes contact information for some of the leading organizations that can provide an easy to follow roadmap to get involved and take the next step.

Michael J. Mitchell, CPA, CPCU
Vice Chairman
The Graham Building
Philadelphia, PA, 19102
215-701-5214
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