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Webinar – Disability and Leadership:
A Pivotal Moment in Philanthropy

Click here for a transcript of this webinar

People with disabilities are significantly underrepresented in management roles and professional occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Philanthropy has an essential role to play in shifting this paradigm.

In this webinar, speakers highlighted what is possible when philanthropy centers the leadership of disabled people. When disability representation is more than an aspiration, there is potential to create true inclusivity and accessibility in our strategies, goals, grantmaking, and design.

This learning session covered topics including:

About the Panelists

A white woman with short dark curly hair wearing glasses and a maroon top standing in front of several trees.

Moderator: Emily Harris, Executive Director, Disability & Philanthropy Forum

Emily Harris, Executive Director of the Disability & Philanthropy Forum, was the founding Executive Director of Disability Lead, the nation’s first disability civic leadership program, and a Senior Director at the Chicago Community Trust. In previous positions she focused on regional economic growth, open space conservation, early childhood education policy, non-profit strategy, and urban planning. Emily earned a B.A. from Oberlin College and an M.A. from the University of Chicago. She is President of Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation and serves on Forest Preserves of Cook County Conservation and Policy Council, and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation Chicago Advisory Board.

Azeema Akram standing at an angle (to the left) in front of a plain blue-gray background. She is a South Asian woman wearing a black blazer over a patterned dress.  Azeema is smiling and wearing her long, dark brown hair down.

Panelist: Azeema Akram, Administrative Law Judge, Illinois Human Rights Commission

Azeema Akram is an Administrative Law Judge at the Illinois Human Rights Commission. She is one of 34 members of the national Deaf & Hard of Hearing Bar Association to be sworn in the United Supreme Court Bar. Azeema has been published in the American Bar Association Journal and received the University of Missouri-Columbia College of Arts & Science 2021 Distinguished Alumni Award.

Azeema is a member of the Regional Transportation Authority’s Paratransit Certification Formal Appeals Program Eligibility Review Board. She is Secretary of the Board of Directors of Red Clay Dance Company. She also serves on the Executive Board of Disability Lead. Azeema earned her B.A. from the University of Missouri-Columbia and her J.D. from DePaul University College of Law.

Black woman with medium-dark brown hair. She is wearing a sleeveless blue and white checkered top, with a silver necklace, wearing red lipstick, smiling.

Panelist: Rasheera Dopson, MPH, Research Assistant II, National Center of Primary Care–Research & Policy Division at Morehouse School of Medicine

Rasheera Dopson, MPH is a public speaker, podcaster, author, and qualitative researcher at the National Center of Primary Care at Morehouse School of Medicine. Her intersectional research approach has supported systems, organizations, and teams to advance equity and mitigate health disparities in multiply-marginalized communities through community engagement, policy development, education, and advocacy. She is the founder of the Dopson Foundation whose organizational aim is the advancement of professional, health, and social equity for women and girls with disabilities.