For over 24 years, Darrell Christenson has served as the Vice President of Community Integration for Ability 360 and is an advocate for fair and accessible housing for people with disabilities. He co-chaired NCIL housing subcommittee for 14 years and addressed national issues of increasing and promoting accessibility in housing for people with disabilities.
Darrell encourages all entrepreneurs, innovators, creators, and business owners to develop products and services that can also cater to people who are disabled. Most importantly, actively hire people with disabilities because of the diverse skill sets and experience they bring to companies. Christenson also asks that they create and produce with the possibility in mind that they too can become disabled at any moment.
“We call it an equal opportunity club; anybody can join”, said Christenson, reminding the crowd that the possibility of becoming disabled is always abundant.
“If you’re not born with a disability like I was, midlife where you’re in the doctor’s office and diagnosed. God forbid you go back on the highway, get into a car wreck, paraplegic quadriplegic, brain injury. If that doesn’t happen, you know, Mother Nature kicks in and does her thing with the aging process.”
Christenson also challenged business owners to do “laser sharp marketing” in recruiting people with disabilities.
“Look to people with disabilities, do some laser sharp marketing, because there’s a heck of a resource pool of people that can be wonderful employees and qualified people to help you grow your business.”
Before departing, Christenson asked that businesses and entrepreneurs be intentional about their products and services and how they can be inclusive to people with disabilities, encouraging them to be “barrier busters.”
“How can you and your products, designs for companies, how can you be a barrier buster? There’s great talent that can really enhance what you’re doing.”
To learn more about Ability360, check out their website at https://ability360.org