CUNY Accessibility Conference: Working with a Disability in the Workplace

CUNY Accessibility Conference program

Contributed by: Jane Serra, Blog Editor

This week Image Impact International’s Board member Charnette Lewis was invited to speak on a panel at the 10th Annual CUNY Accessibility Conference. The annual conference brings together more than 300 professionals, creating a pathway to sharing information and cutting edge ideas throughout CUNY. Attendees interact directly with assistive technology vendors, attend plenary keynote sessions, and review original work by CUNY disability studies scholars. This year’s theme was “Working with a Disability in the Workplace.”

Lewis’ panel actively discussed the many ways employers can help make the workplace more accessible for individuals with disabilities. For example, legible computer technology for the visually impaired, easy access for wheelchair employees, and plans for those who need assistance when there is an evacuation emergency. Sensitivity training for management and employees dealing with those with mental health issues also came up as a key suggestion for employers.

“It was an honor and pleasure to have participated as a panelist and share my story. Sharing my experiences and working at New York Life Insurance Co with a visual disability has brought forth awareness of how one can overcome disability challenges in the workplace,” said Lewis.

Lewis spoke about her experience working at New York Life: “New York Life and many other companies are creating better working environments that are more accessible for employees with disabilities. I am proud to be member of the ENABLE Leadership Team at New York Life, which has made such strides in bringing awareness about disabilities, including both physical and mental challenges.”

Pamela Judd (President), Brad Angevine (Mentor Chair), and Laura Laria from Image Impact International also attended and were great supporters of the conference.

Charnette and Pamela at John Jay

Left to right: Charnette Lewis and Pamela Judd

Lewis is also on the Mentorship Team for students with disabilities and first generation college students. The Mentor 4 Impact Pilot Program at John Jay College, which was made possible due to a grant from Focus for Health Foundation, completed in April. The program was a huge success, resulting in a second grant from the foundation. Lewis strongly believes in the importance of mentorship and guidance for students with disabilities. Having a mentor helps students know they are not out in the world alone, and helps them learn what options are available as they explore their career paths.

Thank you for your continuous dedication, time, and effort, Charnette! You continue to inspire, involve, and impact with everything you do.

Charnette Lewis Bio