debra-and-sara-on-stage-in-colombia-e1455565425316-250x250Debra Ruh is a seasoned entrepreneur who has founded three successful firms that help corporations tap the potential of people with disabilities. It was Debra’s personal experience, giving birth to Sara, a down syndrome syndrome daughter, that launched her on this path.

When experts told Debra how limited Sara’s life would be, Debra disagreed. She knew, despite what the experts might have said, that Sara was capable of great things. And Sara has proved Debra right.

Debra has become a powerful advocate for people with disabilities and worked for years to create paths for empowerment and success accessible to them. She founded TecAccess, and now Ruh Global Communications, to acknowledge the contributions of people with disabilities in both the workplace and the marketplace, and provide accessibility consulting solutions to companies around the world.

Debra’s got a big message – that goes beyond helping corporations fulfill their legal responsibilities to hire people with disabilities.  She shows, with statistics, experience and insight, how providing an accessible, inclusive workplace makes economic sense.

She also talks about how expanding our ideas about “what is normal” expands the possibilities for us all.

 

Here’s the entire interview:

 

You can also find it on the podcast on Itunes, episode 43

 

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About My Guest

Debra Ruh is a Global Disability Inclusion Strategist. Her expertise includes United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), US Rehabilitation Act of 1973 – Sections 508, 503 and 504 and the American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA). She is a seasoned entrepreneur founding three firms including Ruh Global Communications, TecAccess and Strategic Performance Solutions. She is a published author of “Finding Your Voice by Using Social Media” and her second book Uncovering Hidden Human Capital: How leading corporations leverage multiple abilities in their workforce will be published by G3ict in the 1st Quarter of 2014.

Debra is a Thought Leader on ICT Accessibility, Marketing and Disability Inclusion on social media channels with over 120k direct followers. Her social media mediums include Twitter, Linked-In, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, G+ and other platforms.

She is a respected blogger and works tirelessly to assure that people with disabilities have a solid voice.

Her client-centric focus has created relationships with many multi-national firms including E&Y, MS, IBM, HP, Dell, Canon, Merck, AT&T, Verizon, MCI, Wells Fargo, Best Buy, Capital One, CSC, Deloitte, TD Bank, VMware, CVS, Walgreens, and many others including international governments, federal, state and local agencies.

She has provided global leadership to governments and disability organizations all over the world supporting research, outreach, policy and standards initiatives with public- and private-sector. Advisor to Government of Egypt, Singapore, Kenya, Oman and Bahamas

Quote from the interview:

“Who gets to decide what normal is anyway?”

From the Show

How Debra turned around an event that some considered tragic (she didn’t) – giving birth to a down syndrome child  – became a life affirming event that set the course of her amazing entrepreneurial activities.

How Debra has created profitable business while serving a big social need.

How she uses hard data to counter the prevailing judgments about people with disabilities.

Why opening your heart to folks with disabilities may help you as much as it helps them.

How including developmentally disabled employees boosted employee morale at a Canon plant – for everyone.

How some of the innovations like captioning we all use were originally innovations for people with disabilities.

How many of us have some form of disability, especially as we age.

How limiting what we consider “normal” constrains life for us all.

The Show Notes

Find out more about Debra at Ruh Global Communications.