CCRW Speaker Series: NAAW Employer Panel

June 2, 2022 | 12:00 PM EST
Online Event

This sessions panelists will talk about how their workplaces are developing and creating new tools and enhancements to break down barriers, creating revolutionary solutions to support inclusive workplace practices.

Our panelists are employers/business/organizations who envision and lead the development of workplace solutions that are designed to address post-pandemic labour shortages, talent gaps and unemployment rates in certain sectors across Canada, while also attracting skilled candidates from underrepresented and diverse talent pools that have historically been avoided. This speaker series will share knowledge with employers through the discussion and information on specific projects to highlight disability inclusion leadership, unique solutions, and the innovative approach to promoting accessible workplaces.   This is a shared space for business, people with disabilities, disability organizations, health professionals, students, researchers, and government to convene, learn, and ask questions about embracing diversity in the workplace.  

Get to know our Panelists!

Kim Donaldson, Community Recruitment Manager – Fable
Fable is an accessibility platform powered by people with disabilities. Fable moves organizations from worrying about compliance to building incredible and accessible user experiences.   Fable enables accessibility managers, user researchers, designers, and developers to connect to people with disabilities remotely and on-demand. Fable also provides full-service accessibility audits, training, and expert-led workshops that help companies operationalize accessibility.  The best digital teams work with Fable to make products more accessible for over one billion people who live with disabilities.  
Pete Bennett, Co-founder - DistinctAbility
Nova Scotia-based DistinctAbility is an innovative social purpose employment support service provider. We work alongside employers, education, service providers, and practitioners, providing assistive technology and people-focused solutions to accelerate inclusivity through transformation. Pete has worked extensively with assistive and educational technologies supporting neurodiversity and intellectual disabilities in the UK and internationally, before helping form DistinctAbility and moving to Canada. As well as bringing entrepreneurial skills to the organization Pete has been a leading figure in the UK Educational Technology and Digital Learning field for over 20 years, being a leading advocate for supported self development and learning. These principles have been adopted within DistinctAbility where the technology solutions are all firmly integrated with strong components of people support and expertise.
Elizabeth Plouffe, Chief Minion (CEO) - Spero
For 25 years Elizabeth experienced building on skills gained in industries such as food and retail services, healthcare office management, volunteer management, corporate communications, entrepreneurship, and tech development support services and as an instructor for medical office management. 17 years ago, Elizabeth’s son was diagnosed as autistic, he is now a successful college student working towards a career in welding and fabrication. Through this Elizabeth had opportunities to work with the autism community through the Autism Job Club, CASDA, MentorAbility Ontario and membership in organizations such as CASE and CERIC. For the past 10 years as an entrepreneur, Elizabeth has explored building businesses while still an employee and gone fully independent with her own communications and event planning business and is now the Founder of Spero Careers Canada in tech development. “We exist in order to build employment solutions with the autism community by asking, listening and being creative. One solution is NANAWorks: a client management platform which is designed for autism employment specialists and coaches, as well as job seekers and employers. We’re making it easier and faster to help more Autistic Canadians receive the employment support they need from autism employment specialists. We’re also making it easier and more efficient to use data to create funding stories and build strong use cases for project development.”
Paulette Goddard, Chief Awesome (CIO) - Spero
Paulette, through her business Calm Spectrum Consulting, has supported autistic individuals in gaining employment, job coaching and skills needed to move forward in life: skills to live independently, navigating post secondary, developing executive functioning skills and strategies to understand and manage anxiety. She has supported individuals with autism as a coach and consultant for over 30 years. I believe in being a lifelong learner so that my skill set, and interests not only benefit me but the clients that I work with. An avid reader of fantasy fiction, I’m also a proud mom to two sons and Grandma to my lovely new grandson. I enjoy jazz music, traveling the globe and spending an afternoon with my latest favorite author while sipping a Chai tea.
Jason Little, Chief Swissy (CTO) - Spero
I started my career in IT and while studying electronic engineering at DeVry during the day, I worked midnights programming placement machines that placed components on circuit boards. From there, I moved into call centre and desktop support where I started developing website using MS Access, Cold Fusion, and Classic ASP (Active Server Pages). My first major project was replacing binders full of call centre routing information with a web app. In 1999 I fell victim to the dot-com bubble when the company I was working for went under and I started my own web design and development company. Shortly after that, I became 1 of the 3 first members of a startup that built a platform for selling ringtones and images. There, I created midi ringtones, wallpaper images, and built a backend licensing and content tracking tool with classic ASP. As NANAWorks Chief Product Nerd, I’m heading up development of our platform and accompanying Mindset app. An accomplished musician and songwriter, I enjoy expressing my creativity through music. Movies are my stress ball and as an avid Edmonton Oilers fan, I am frequently disappointed at hockey games.
Jess Peters, COO and Co-Founder - RIDDL
With ten years of experience in customer success in companies such as Cydcor, Moneris, and Rogers. Jess has extensive experience working closely with customers to create valuable experiences across various products, processes, and services. Jess has formal training in both user experience and product management. Riddle is software that manages and measures ESG and impact data. Jess is motivated to build a more sustainable world by helping organizations hit their full potential. Jess works directly with new and existing customers and product development. RIDDL helps companies and non-profits of all sizes to manage, measure, and share their social and environmental impact data. It is the tool that manages and measures the impact return of investments. RIDDL is a cloud-based platform where impact data is collected, tracked, analyzed, and made publicly available in cross-sector aggregates to track the performance of investments. It provides impact investors with a clear value and roadmap for how to invest in areas like climate change, health, and poverty that will have the most return.

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