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Intel, Cisco, Sodexho and Others Win Disability Matters Awards

April 16 2009 | by

Intel, Cisco Systems, Sodexho and six other companies were honored for their work in supporting people with disabilities at the third annual Disability Matters award banquet and conference.

Disability Matters honors companies that are proven leaders in supporting people with disabilities and their families in the workplace and the consumer space. The event is run by Nadine Vogel, founder of Springboard Consulting, and Lori Sokol, founder of Work Life Matters Magazine. It was held in the New York City offices of KPMG LLP, a 2008 Disability Matters winner.

The 2009 honorees were Affiliated Computer Services, Adecco USA, Cisco Systems, and Kaiser Permanente in the area of diversity; The Hartford Insurance Company and Sephora in the marketing category; and Intel, Novartis Pharmaceuticals and Sodexho in the work-life category. This year, 24 companies applied for consideration for the award, compared to just a few in the first year, said Springboard’s Vogel.

In accepting the award on behalf of Intel, Dana Vandecoevering said that it has been “kind of a lonely journey” as she is still seeking more support from the company on disability initiatives, and has made it “her personal mission” to do so.

Staffing company Adecco said it has seen the fruits of their labor in making their workplace more disability-inclusive, including higher productivity at offices that employ people with disabilities.

Novartis, which won for its work-life programs, has several disability-themed employee groups, and recently expanded its disability network to include chronic illnesses. There’s also a group called Cancer Hope, and a new group for persons interested in multiple sclerosis, said Marilyn Priestley, vice president, head of diversity and inclusion.

Sephora won in the area of marketing. The cosmetics company hosted a Mother’s Day event last year for kids with special needs, and their moms, where they were given free makeovers. Sephora staff was trained in dealing with special-needs issues. For teenage girls, such issues can include image-conscious and self-esteem concerns — which are often multiplied when a disability is involved, said Vogel, whose firm helped put the event together.

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