Business Resource Network
Providing businesses with education, awareness and resources to promote the successful employment of people with disabilities.


National Disability Employment Awareness Month 2019


The 2019 National Disability Employment Awareness Month event was held October 16 at the Best Western Plus Ramkota Hotel.  This year the event was a part of the South Dakota RehabACTion's Fall Conference.

There were two breakout sessions offered in the morning.  The first was "Accommodating Employees with Disabilities," with Dana Barton from the Rocky Mountain ADA Center.  The second was "Employer Law," with Penelope Phillips, an attorney with Felhaber Larson from Minneapolis.  

The luncheon was held at the Ramkota Exhibit Hall with approximately 400 in attendance.  Entertainment was provided by "Somewhere In Time," barbershop quartet to help carry out the "Working in Harmony" conference theme.  Denise Guzzetta, Vice President of Talent & Workforce Development with the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, made opening remarks and read the Governor's NDEAM Proclamation. 

Vicki Kerkvliet, Executive Director of Business Resource Network, recognized the businesses in attendance that had received Disability Friendly Recognition Program awards for employing people with disabilities.  Disability Friendly businesses that sponsored a table at the luncheon were also recognized.  They included: Midco, Sammons Financial Group, USD Sanford School of Medicine, Sanford and the City of Sioux Falls. 

Special thanks were given to the NDEAM committee: Vicki Nelson, Pat Herman, Lyla Pedersen, Loni Broton, Dawn Backer, Tina McCorkell, Kellie Hauglid, Chasity Colton and Jennifer Erickson.  The NDEAM event sponsors were also recognized: Business Resource Network, South Dakota Board of Service to the Blind and Visually Impaired, South Dakota Board of Vocational Rehabilitation, Statewide Independent Living Council, Department of Human Services, South Dakota RehabACTion, USD Sanford School of Medicine Center for Disabilities and Sanford. 

The keynote speaker for the luncheon was Jason Freeman.  Jason considers his cerebral palsy a gift that allowed him to chart a profound course in life.  In addition to realizing his dream of becoming a professional speaker, writing a memoir/self-help book entitled "Awkwardly Awesome- Embracing My Imperfect Best" and delivering a meaningful TEDx talk, Jason travels the country, speaking about his experience overcoming both physical and perceived limitations as a way to encourage his audience to break the barriers of their own limitations using a method he created called "doing your Imperfect Best."  The title of his presentation at the luncheon was "Doing Our Imperfect Best at Work." 

The closing breakout session of the day, "The Interactive Process with Employers," was presented by Penelope Phillips. 

Thank you to everyone who attended.  We look forward to seeing you next year at our 2020 NDEAM event!

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