Emily is smiling in a leafy outdoor setting. She is a white, disabled woman with brown wavy shoulder-length hair, and is wearing a pink and purple top with blue accents.

Emily Blum

Executive Director
Fellow 2018

Emily Blum has a passion for helping people and organizations use their voice to create a better, more inclusive Chicago.

A seasoned nonprofit leader, she has more than 20 years’ experience bringing stakeholders together to create and implement effective communications strategies around complex social and political issues. Prior to joining Disability Lead, Emily held senior positions at some of Chicago’s leading nonprofits, including Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC), Chicago Humanities Festival (CHF) and Heartland Alliance. At all three organizations, she drove branding and strategic messaging campaigns that created new kinds of conversations with a wide variety of audiences.

Prior to this, she worked with a number of boutique marketing/communications firms, including Valerie Denney Communications, where she served as a consultant for a wide range of clients, including the Joyce Foundation, Chicago Public Schools, Citizens Utility Board and dozens of members of Congress.

As a woman who experiences a disability, leading Disability Lead is both personal and professional. Emily is a Disability Lead Fellow and Member (class of 2018), and that experience gave her additional tools to use her voice on behalf of those who experience disabilities.

Emily serves on the board of Inspiration Corporation, is an honors history graduate of Kenyon College and lives in the West Town neighborhood of Chicago with her husband, Neal.