Diversity and Inclusion Means Nothing Without Accessibility
When talking about diversity and inclusion, sadly often people with disabilities are dismissed despite being the world’s largest minority. They make up over 1.85 billion people worldwide which is larger than the population sizes of China and EU combined! Disabled people control over $1.9 trillion in annual disposable income. Families, friends, and colleagues add another 3.4 billion potential consumers. Together those groups control over $13 trillion in annual disposable income!
That’s why accessibility is so important. It not only is a necessity for disabled people and improves their experiences, but also benefits many other people and increases the audience and ROI for businesses. For the sake of your business, your products, services, and events need to be accessible so that everyone is included and on an equal footing with others.
For those reasons, I have provided customized consulting and training for over a decade to corporations, media producers, business owners, event organizers, and educational institutions to ensure that they are disability friendly. My goal is to help businesses make accessibility second nature for their web, media, and events.
My unique combination of professional expertise in accessibility and personal experience with deafness allows clients to have a greater understanding of why accessibility is critical. I have an MS degree in Internet Technology and over 20 years of professional experience in design, technology, and accessibility. As a deaf person, I have had to use various alternative solutions to effectively navigate communication and information barriers.
In addition being deaf, I’m also female and foreign born. I had to master English as a third language after moving to the USA. It was not an easy feat, especially for a deaf person regularly dealing with barriers to aural information not only in her native Russian, but also English and other spoken languages. I had no captioning access on TV when growing up, for example, until I was around 15 years old. I had to navigate most of education in regular schools as the only deaf student without formal communication access services.
Many people think that deafness is a weakness, but I prove otherwise through my consulting and speaking.
My services include:
- corporate training and workshops,
- accessibility strategy consulting,
- public speaking and teaching.
I’ve been a speaker at events and conferences since 2008 where I present on the importance of accessibility in various industries, including but not limited to: design, technology, user experience, media, business, education, and many others.