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 was named Executive Director of Disability Lead in 2019 when the organization was established as an independent 501C3. Believing disability leadership is essential to creating an inclusive and equitable Chicago region, she directs the organization’s efforts to develop and build and network of leaders with disabilities who lead with power and influence. A seasoned nonprofit leader, Emily 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.

Emily serves on the City of Chicago’s Mayor’s Advisory Council for Women, Fair Fight’s Action Disability Council, Senator Duckworth’s Independent Review Board and the Board of Directors for Inspiration Corporation. She was named a 2022 Leader for a New Chicago by the Field and MacArthur Foundations, was featured in The Chicago Tribune, and has op-eds published in The Chicago Sun-Times, and Crain’s Chicago Business.