Founder and CEO
Social Entrepreneur & Disability Disruptor
By her own admission, Lindsey Braciale is a “serial social entrepreneur.” She founded her company, Advocations, in 2009 to help companies fundamentally change the practices they employ to source, hire and support employees with disabilities. To respond to updates in Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which established a nationwide hiring goal of 7% for people with disabilities in 2014, Lindsey and her team at Adovocatins developed turnkey sourcing and workplace training and support for companies they serve.
Among the accolades Advocations has earned, they were recognized by the Small Business Administration/SCORE with a “Outstanding Job Creator” award for generating over $153 million in annual income in 2017 by people with disabilities. According to Advocations, 90% of workers with disabilities are under-employed or unemployed.
“As a new mom and creative problem-solver, I’m invested in Charlotte’s future and am excited about the companies coming together to drive disability-inclusive opportunities in our city,” says Lindsey.
But, that doesn’t mean it’s always smooth sailing in Lindsey’s world. Even the most accomplished and well-run nonprofits have internal and external obstacles. So we asked Lindsey about what she’s contending with today.
Here are Lindsey’s 3 biggest challenges on March 12, 2020 in her own words:
Want change? Invest in social entrepreneurship.
Stop underestimating the value of social entrepreneurship by putting it in the middle between “real” businesses and nonprofits. Seriously, stop. We aren’t hybrids. We are businesses with social value propositions. We think in action, take risks that others won’t and our solutions are built to scale. (How else would we change the world?)
What can you do, if you don’t even know what to say?
When companies try to manage disability internally, they focus on what to say and the ADA. But you can’t see 70% of disabilities –diabetes, anxiety, bipolar disorder, ADHD, dyslexia, etc. When we manage a company’s disability strategy, I love seeing that “A-Ha!” moment when their mindset shifts and they realize how disability connects with other aspects of their business.
Non-disabled people get off on “inspiration porn.”
Next time you see a stranger with a disability in your newsfeed and you get warm fuzzies, ask yourself why? If it’s only because they have a disability, it’s “inspiration porn.” And, while it may create awareness, it glosses over the systemic barriers that we can change if only we were inspired to act.
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