Meryl Evans, CPACC, is a TEDx and professional speaker, LinkedIn Top Voice, trainer, author, and accessibility consultant who was born profoundly deaf. She is a highly regarded speaker on diversity, equity, and inclusion who focuses on people with disabilities and accessibility. She has spoken at many events including TEDx on how the pandemic led to changes in technology, which changed her life. She has appeared in many books and publications including The Wall Street Journal, Morning Brew, AdWeek, AdAge, and The Dallas Morning News.
Serving nonprofits and her community has always been a priority. Evans has a long history as a volunteer and board member. She currently serves on multiple nonprofit boards. The Plano Chamber of Commerce has named her one of the 50 Leading Women because of her advocacy work, community service, and leadership. A proud native Texan, Evans grew up in Fort Worth and resides in Plano. She spent time outside the Lone Star State in Washington, DC. While there, she earned her BA in education from American University and worked for the Federal Aviation Administration. After returning to Texas, she worked for two Fortune 500 companies.
Evans knew the importance of videos and shied away from making them because of her accent that hails from nowhere accessible by travel. She received such a tremendous response to her videos that led to invitations to speak. That put her on a passionate path to growing disability awareness and creating a more accessible world. She uses a virtual megaphone to educate anyone who will listen about diversity, equity, and inclusion with a focus on accessibility and people with disabilities. When she speaks, she focuses on the three E’s: educating, entertaining, and encouraging action.
Meryl Evans is available in partnership with Collective Speakers.
Some are afraid to say “disabilities” and “disabled.” These aren’t bad words. When you haven’t met someone with a disability or a specific disability, it can create an uncomfortable situation. Meryl will never forget the faux pas the first time she tried to help guide a blind colleague. After a little information and education about disability etiquette with a helping of stories and humor, you’ll make progress toward becoming a disability ally.
Why Winning Companies Invest in Accessibility and Disabilities
Creating inclusive products, services, experiences, and workplaces is the right thing to do. However, leaders need more than “right thing to do” to justify baking accessibility into their organizations. Accessibility is actually good for business. After this presentation, you’ll want to go shopping for the ingredients you need to get cooking with accessibility and hiring people with disabilities.
Why Hire Folks with Disabilities? Where Do We Find Them?
Many organizations have a gap in their people and leadership. They’re missing the creative and innovative thinking they get when they truly include people with disabilities. Meryl’s presentation delivers on the three E’s: educates, entertains, and encourages action to help you get started and make progress. This presentation also benefits nonprofit organizations looking for volunteers and leaders for their boards.
Progress Over Perfection: The Path to Making Change
What does progress over perfection mean when it comes to accessibility? It means to get started. Don’t wait until everything is done and perfect. The small steps make a big difference. It also means educating people who don’t understand disabilities.
Accessibility is for everyone. It’s everyone’s responsibility, every department from human (HR) resources and marketing to finance and procurement has a part to play. Educate, don’t berate. If the world needs more of anything, it’s kindness.
Ten Tips to Be a Disability Ally
One in four people has a disability in the U.S. Despite this high number, not everyone has met someone with a disability. At least, not that they know about. Even allies of disabled people don’t always know how what to do. That’s because everyone has different lived experiences and preferences. Here are ten ways to be a disability ally.
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