A roadmap to inclusive leadership: disability representation (key no8)

Denis Boudreau
12 min readNov 24, 2023
Shot of businesspeople at work in an office.
Photo Credit — Canva

Welcome back to our deep dive into the 15 keys of inclusive leadership! Today we’re unlocking “Disability Representation”, key number 8 on our roadmap. Disability representation, especially in leadership roles, is an absolute must — think of it as the backbone of a truly inclusive company culture! In today’s post, we explore how real representation of disability in the workplace affects everything, from decision-making to policy.

Granted, including individuals with disabilities in lower-tier positions is important, but there’s a lot more to it than just hiring individuals with disabilities! For organizations to truly become beacons of inclusion, it’s also really important to emphasize the crucial role of disability representation in decision-making processes and leadership roles within the organization. This is because insights from disabled leaders have the power to dramatically shape an organization. This not only brings innovation. It sets an example that can change an entire company culture.

In this post, you’ll get to reconnect with our friend Sarah as well as Uma, who both embody the spirit of inclusive leadership in their own unique ways. Sarah is this inclusive people manager who’s always looking for new ways to foster more inclusivity in the workplace. Uma who was born deaf, is a Senior VP with the organization. We’ll see how both of them break barriers in their own ways while creating opportunities for others with disabilities to rise up the corporate ladder.

The power of representation

You might think that representation is just about optics or political correctness, but in reality, disability representation is a catalyst for meaningful change. Inclusive leadership only truly thrives when diverse voices get to shape its core. So, what’s the big deal about disability representation in leadership roles? Well, I can see a few compelling reasons…

First, the why. Representation brings a much wider range of perspectives to the decision-making table. That’s because representation helps build broader policies and strategies that work for everyone. Imagine making a policy for public transportation without including people who actually use it daily. That would feel flawed, right…

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Denis Boudreau

Helping leaders connect with the missing piece in their DEI efforts. Amazon BestSelling Author “The Inclusive Speaker". Speaker/Trainer/Coach. #neurodivergent