Wisconsin Ability Summit 2019

Achieving Positive Business Outcomes through Disability Inclusion and Equity

October 20th – 29th

First ever Wisconsin Ability Summit 2019 is in the books!

The Wisconsin Ability Summit was the pinnacle of 2019 events for Disability:IN Wisconsin. The successful day featured a full slate of guest speakers highlighting ways to achieve positive business outcomes through disability inclusion. A very special thanks goes to Northwestern Mutual for serving as host. 
The day of advocacy, education and the sharing of best practices in employing individuals with disabilities brought together nearly 150 business leaders, top-level executives, community leaders and others passionate about maximizing the skills and abilities of individuals with disabilities. Topics included autism in the workplace, enhancing the lives of individuals with disabilities, finding resources for your company’s employee resource groups (ERGs), and much more.

Session descriptions and speaker information can be viewed HERE.

2019 Speakers Included:

  • Amy Hanneman, VP – Diversity & Inclusion, Northwestern Mutual
  • Derek Smith, Commercial Bank Executive, SVP, Old National
  • Laurie A. Henneborn, Research Managing Director, Accenture
  • Jill Houghton, President and CEO, Disability:IN
  • Edmond Hardin, VP Supply Chain, Froedtert Health
  • Gary Colpaert, VP of Clinical and Support Services, Froedtert Health
  • Becky Curran, National Director, Disability Equality Index


Derek Smith “Designed as a by-business, for-business initiative, Disability:IN Wisconsin advances disability inclusion by providing the expert resources, tools, and real solutions that drive employee hiring, engagement, and performance. Best practices and success stories are more effectively shared among peers, and peer-to-peer networking within the corporate community allows businesses to learn from each other. Business-to-business championing of the value of employing people with disabilities is indeed most powerful. Thus, the business case of Disability:IN Wisconsin enables companies to understand and embrace the value of all people in the workforce, and in the supply chain and marketplace.”

Derek Smith, Disability:IN Wisconsin Board Member

Martha Kendler“We learned there wasn’t a business community to keep our journey on disability inclusion going. In 2018, Northwestern Mutual became one of five founding companies of Wisconsin’s Disability: IN affiliate and offered to host the first Ability Summit on October 1, 2019. We sponsored live closed-captioning, large print brochures, noise-cancelling listening devices, mainstage ramp, and a Disability Owned Business Enterprise (DOBE) vendor (Mission BBQ) to welcome invitees with all abilities for the Wisconsin Ability Summit.”

Martha Kendler, Disability:IN Wisconsin Board Member


“We welcomed our newest Disability: IN Wisconsin member, Kimberly Clark Corporation, at the Wisconsin Ability Summit.  They had four representatives attend, including one that was recognized by Jill Houghton, CEO and President of Disability: IN.  Cosmo Trikes was asked to attend the 2020 National Summit, participating in the NEX GEN Program.  Jeffrey Hogdon from Kimberly Clark commented ’We heard about Disability: IN, the national conference, the network, and the resources as a result of the Wisconsin Ability Summit.  Special thanks to Darcy Pierson of Oshkosh Corporation for making us aware of Disability: IN Wisconsin in the first place.’  This is a great example of how a network of business leaders can affect change.”

Judy Quigley, Disability: IN Wisconsin Executive Director