Disability Lead Members Recognized as Crain's Notable Leaders

Disability Lead
July 28, 2023

Here at Disability Lead, we believe that by connecting our leaders to opportunities for advancement and recognition, they’ll be able and ready to create solutions for our most intractable social problems. Last year, Disability Lead began nominating our Members for Crain’s Notable Leaders, which recognizes best-in-class executives who make a difference in Chicago. Since then, 20 of our Members have already been recognized as Notable Leaders across a variety of industries, from community development to sustainability.  

We asked them what it has meant to be recognized as notable leaders, and to tell us a little something about the impact it’s had in their work and careers. Here are a few highlights:

“Crain’s is the gold standard of business news and a ‘who’s who in various industries. To be recognized as a notable leader in sustainability has validated everything that I’ve worked towards in my career and has also helped me look back on the journey I’ve taken to get to where I am today." -Corryn Antonizio, Sustainability and Social Responsibility Champion, RTC Industries
“Disability lead has been the missing link in my disability journey that I’ve been looking for. To be supported by a cohort that challenges and encourages me to do more within my community is one thing; to be externally recognized for my efforts is another. Being featured as one of Crain’s Chicago 2022 list of Notable Black Leaders and Executives for my demonstrated efforts through Disability Lead, SPORK! and extensive committee work, has been a career milestone that I will forever be grateful for.” -Whitney Hill, accessibility specialist, LCM Architects
“I am associated with two organizations in the healthcare industry here in the Chicagoland area. The impact that this nomination has had on me professionally are: 1) I am recognized as valuable and as a leader, which previously I wasn't too sure of either, I suspected I was valued, but after that article went out Industry leaders reached out to me in phenomenal ways; 2) On a personal note, the impact has been huge as I am a role model to my daughters and my grandchildren. The pride and honor that they felt means the most to me. I represent my fellow African American nurses, the lupus and disability communities humbly and proudly." -LaShon Gurrola, registered nurse, Rush University Medical Center  
“Being recognized as a notable executive immediately raised the profile of my work and Rush’s efforts to grow, support and engage a diverse workforce. Showcasing an openly disabled HR professional in a reputable publication like Crain’s helps to build trust and create a climate of safety in the hiring process, which draws more candidates who self-identify as individuals with disabilities. The Crain’s feature also helped raise awareness of the importance of including disability as part of diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives and I received many requests from other organizations to share lessons learned from Rush’s disability inclusion work.” -Kevin Irvine, Senior Talent Acquisition Consultant, Rush University Medical Center
“It was a fantastic honor to be selected as a notable black leader by Crain's. Too often, African-American persons with disabilities are not recognized by either the disability community or the African-American community. This recognition helps erase the stigma about people with disabilities. It was a humbling experience. Many people reached out to me to express their congratulations and support. As I continue to build and enhance my career, a recognition like this is extremely beneficial.” -Kareem Dale, Director and Senior Counsel, Discover Financial Services

And this is only the beginning. The impacts of much-deserved recognition like this will continue to reverberate. Because the truth is, while we need more disabled leaders in positions of power and influence, we also have to know that they’re there. Bringing a level of recognition and respect to our leaders will push the needle toward the change we’re trying to achieve. We have no doubt that in the coming years, we’ll be seeing more of our Members honored in the pages of publications like Crain’s!