Amplify! Success 2019 – Benefits of Disability Inclusion in The Workforce

Heidi Dirkse-Graw of Dirkse Counseling and Consulting speaking at the podium to attendees

by: Cindy Bahl, Director of Business Development & Amplify! Events

“As a life-long disability advocate who uses a power wheelchair, I have attended hundreds of disability related events. This was in the top 1% of all of them. It was energetic, informative, professional, and it included actionable take home information.” Todd Kimball, Pacific Grand Realty

The Benefits of Disability Inclusion in The Workforce – This was the theme of the third annual Amplify! Success event held on October 16, 2019 at the Tiger Woods Center on the Nike World Headquarters campus. The goal of Amplify! is to improve access to competitive integrated employment for job seekers with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities by engaging employers and the community in creating a culture of workplace inclusion.

155 people gathered for a high energy morning where they were greeted by the Nike Ability Network and heard the positive, upbeat music from The Merry Rockers, an inclusive reggae band.  The information flowed as Keynote Speaker, Becky Curran Kekula shared the challenges she faced on her employment journey as a little person working in the entertainment industry.  Now with Disability:IN, she is working with organizations like Microsoft, Google and Amazon, to name a few, who have recognized the research behind the economic and cultural benefits of inclusion in the workplace.

Attendees rotated through four breakout stations where they heard best practices and success stories from local employers, learned about organizations like Best Buddies, Project Search, Phame and InCight, and were exposed to government partners and resources that facilitate and support the employment process for people with disabilities.  The afternoon ended with an “Amplified Happy Hour” and time built in for networking.

Here’s what other attendees said about the event:

“Amazing!” Rob Klassen, The Cleaning People

“Great job with the event. I met many new folks as well as reconnected with past connections. Looking forward to next year!” Ken Price, Mt. Crest Counseling

“Very informative and inspirational” Peter Gudekunst, Marco Ideas Unlimited

“This format was awesome, engaging and inter-actice. Having a keynote is so cool who can share their first-hand experiences really highlights the heart of the mission. Being able to interact with the services that are important was a game changer for me. Great job Amplify!” John DeRosa, Embassy Suitesy by Hilton, Portland-Washington Square

“Great event! Becky was a wonderful speaker and the Merry Rockers were entertaining and inspiring. I greatly enjoyed the networking/happy hour time. The breakouts were great, and I think people learned a lot from them.” Jeff Akin, Akin Collective

If you missed Amplify! Success you can still join the initiative to change culture right where you are and we can help!  Click below and complete the “Amplify! Action Card” and let’s talk about your diversity and inclusion goals and how we can make a difference together.

The Amplify! initiative, created by Dirkse Counseling and Consulting, Inc. with the support of Oregon Employment First, is sustained by collaboration with numerous employer and community partners.  For more information or to be involved in the Amplify! Initiative, please contact Cindy Bahl, Director of Business Development and Amplify! Events at 503-258-7715 or

Amplify! Is an initiative of Dirkse Counseling & Consulting, Inc. That includes two annual events, Amplify! Success in October and Amplify! Rock Stars in May.  Events are designed to inspire, empower and equip employers to create a more inclusive workplace for people with diverse abilities.

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