“The main source that made me feel empowered in my skin this year has been Disability Lead. They set the bar of firsts for me when I joined and wasn’t the only minority sitting at the table. Surrounded by the soon to be national super stars of the Disabled community.” — Whitney Hill, 2020 Fellow

The Institute is the only leadership program in the nation specifically for leaders with disabilities and that makes connections to opportunities for civic engagement and leadership.

Annually, 16-20 emerging leaders, all of whom have a disability that is visible, invisible or acquired, are selected from a competitive process and actively participate in this year-long program as a Fellow. Our Fellows represent the diversity of our region and are passionate about growing as leaders and making change in our communities. They work in all sectors—corporate, government and nonprofit—and vary in age, race, ethnicity, and sexuality.

The Institute centers disability identity to explore leadership skills, civic engagement, and understanding of self and others. This immersive experience features monthly programming including sessions led by Disability Lead Members, panels featuring local and national disability leaders, and opportunities to expand networks.

Fellows also work closely with a mentor and develop a leadership plan specific to their goals for future advancement in civic and professional roles. Additionally, there are opportunities to engage in communities of practice and to participate in exclusive programs to accelerate civic engagement in the nonprofit and public sectors.