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Disability Matters


Competitive employment and empowerment for people with disabilities is the emphasis of this show. Broadcast live and captioned in real-time for individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing, we discuss how people with disabilities can secure career opportunities, and how employers, organizations and individuals can support employment and empowerment of people with disabilities.


Pittsburgh, PA




Competitive employment and empowerment for people with disabilities is the emphasis of this show. Broadcast live and captioned in real-time for individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing, we discuss how people with disabilities can secure career opportunities, and how employers, organizations and individuals can support employment and empowerment of people with disabilities.




3 Penn Center West, Suite 223 Pittsburgh, PA 15276 1-866-472-5788


Evan Frazier: Evan Frazier: Accomplishments of TALI

In recognition of February as Black History Month, Joyce welcomes Evan Frazier, President and CEO of The Advanced Leadership Institute (TALI), back to the show. The Advanced Leadership Institute is an organization aimed at cultivating Black executive leadership to strengthen companies, institutions, and communities. Mr. Frazier will share the latest accomplishments for this organization that works to build African American leaders in the region.


Shaunda McDill: Advocate for Actors with Disabilities in Theater

Joyce is looking forward to having as her guest, Shaunda McDill, who joined Pittsburgh Public Theater as Managing Director in February 2023. Previously, she was a Program Officer at The Heinz Endowments, supporting a suite of Pittsburgh-based artists and arts organizations. With her vast background in theater and the arts, Ms. McDill will share her commitment to the inclusion of people with disabilities in the theater and in the arts, as well as Pittsburgh Public Theater’s commitment to the cause.


Nedra Dickson: International/National Business Leader-Advocate

In recognition of February being Black History Month, Joyce welcomes Nedra Dickson, international/national business leader and disability advocate to the show. Ms. Dickson is Managing Director, Global Supplier Inclusion and Sustainability Programs across 20 countries at Accenture. Accenture is a leading global professional services company, providing a broad range of services in strategy and consulting, interactive, technology and operations, with digital capabilities across all these services. Ms. Dickson will discuss innovative employment methods for people with disabilities and her advocacy work to on behalf of all African Americans and unemployed.


Valerie Jarrett Receives Prestigious Tony Coelho Award

Joyce will be joined by the Honorable Tony Coelho, Author of the America's with Disabilities Act, and the Honorable Valerie Jarrett, CEO of the Obama Foundation. Ms. Jarrett will discuss her feelings about receiving the prestigious Tony Coelho award, recognizing her work in furthering the employment of people with disabilities in America.


Bender Consulting Services’ Search and Recruitment Plans for 2024

Joyce welcomes Gerald Homme, Manager of Talent Acquisition and Technology with Bender Consulting Services, Inc. to the show. Bender Consulting Services takes its motto: “Paychecks Not Pity” seriously, and Gerald will be discussing with Joyce the company’s aggressive search and recruitment plans for 2024 so that more qualified people with disabilities obtain competitive employment.


Bob Kafka: Disability Rights Leader Discusses Accomplishments

Joyce welcomes Bob Kafka, a disability rights leader and former national organizer of American Disabled for Attendant Programs Today (ADAPT) to the show. He will discuss his life-long advocacy on behalf of all Americans with disabilities to live productive lives, independently.


Recording Artist/Manager Breaking Barriers for Disabled Artists

Joyce welcomes back Lachi, recording artist, cultural activist, and go-to voice on disability culture in the music industry through her work on the GRAMMYs Board and as founder of RAMPD (Recording Artists and Music Professionals with Disabilities). Joining Lachi, will be Arthur Gwynne, her operations manager, sighted companion, makeup artist, and cane designer. Arthur stepped away from his career in executive search at the AESC to work full time for Lachi. Both guests will discuss how they have made it their mission to break down the silos and barriers between disability-oriented projects and organizations, laying the seeds for a national conversation about disability culture and what inclusion and universal accessible design means at a practical and industrial level.


Holmberg: Highmark Commitment to Hiring People with Disabilities

Joyce is excited to start 2024 with the returning champion of competitive employment for Americans with disabilities, David Holmberg, President, and CEO of Highmark Health and Chairman of the Board, Highmark, Inc. Mr. Holmberg launched an initiative in 2020 to hire 30 people with disabilities from Bender Consulting Services to honor the 30th anniversary of the signing of the ADA, called the Highmark 30/30. He and all of Highmark have continued this practice every year since 2020. During the show, Mr. Holmberg will talk about the initiative and how it happened. Additionally, he will discuss how the company plans to continue its unprecedented record of hiring people with disabilities in 2024. Highmark is a $26 billion blended health organization with headquarters in Pittsburgh, PA. Its 42,000 employees serve millions of customers nationwide through the nonprofit organization’s affiliated businesses, including Highmark Inc., Allegheny Health Network, HM Insurance Group, United Concordia Dental, and enGen.


Year-end Reflections on Disability Advocacy

Joyce welcomes back to the show, Maria Town, President & CEO of the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD); Holly O’Donnell, President & CEO, Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law; and Peri Jude Radecic, CEO, Disability Rights Pennsylvania. The guests will explain what each of their agencies do and discuss the importance of the upcoming 2024 election and the progress of the REV UP campaign to engage voters for 2024 as we approach next year’s election.


Dr. Cindy Maro: Mission of Cranberry Holistic Pet Care

Joyce welcomes Dr. Cindy Maro from Cranberry Holistic Pet Care in Cranberry, PA. Dr. Maro will discuss the holistic approach to veterinary medicine that her staff practices when treating pets.


Steph Andrews: Musician/Author Explains How Faith Inspires Work

Joyce welcomes Steph Andrews, writer, worship leader, and songwriter based in Pittsburgh, PA. Her words, whether sung or written, are rooted in 2 Corinthians 3:16-18, a passage that emphasizes the freedom, intimacy, and transformation that is only possible through a relationship with Jesus. She will share her passion for writing and performing music and the role that her faith played in leading her on that career path.


Joyce Bender Reflects on 20th Anniversary of Disability Matters

Peri Jude Radecic, CEO of Disability Rights Pennsylvania will host this episode of Disability Matters as she turns the table on Joyce Bender and interviews her in recognition of her 20th Anniversary as host of “Disability Matters with Joyce Bender.” Ms. Radecic marks this milestone with an inciteful interview on Ms. Bender’s long career and her passion for helping people with disabilities gain independence and freedom through employment and her commitment to disability rights for all people with disabilities.


Pastor Scott Stevens: Mission of North Way Christian Community

Pastor Scott Stevens with North Way Christian Community in Wexford, PA is Joyce’s honored guest. Pastor Stevens will be discussing the programs and services that the church provides the public during the holidays and year-round and what we as a community can do to help the poor and disadvantaged in our community.


Mission/Research Advocacy of Epilepsy Alliance America

Joyce welcomes Lisa Gallipoli, Chief Operating Officer (COO), and Sarah Korba, who serves on the board of directors for Epilepsy Alliance America (EAA), to the show. Epilepsy Alliance America is a growing national organization representing like-minded local, regional, statewide, and even other national agencies dedicated to serving the everyday needs of people who live with seizures and epilepsy every day. The guests will discuss the mission of Epilepsy Alliance America and the latest research and advocacy.


Logan Huwalt: Giving back to the EAWCP to Show Appreciation

Joyce welcomes Logan Huwalt, a Baldwin-Whitehall student living with epilepsy and the guest speaker at the 2023 Epilepsy Association of Western/Central PA (EAWCP) Mardi Gras Gala. He is an advocate for people living with epilepsy and works hard to raise funds for the EAWCP. He will talk about his experiences living with epilepsy and what it means to him to have EAWCP’s support for himself and for others living with epilepsy.


Accomplishments of EAWCP/Plans for the 2024 Mardi Gras Gala

November is National Epilepsy Awareness Month, therefore, Joyce welcomes Peggy Beem-Jelley, President and CEO, and Colleen Fulkerson, Special Events Coordinator, with the Epilepsy Association of Western/Central PA (EAWCP) to the show. They will be discussing the latest accomplishments of the EAWCP, as well as the plans for the Mardi Gras Gala in February 2024.


Former Students with Disabilities Share Perspectives on Programs

Joyce welcomes Scott Hammerstrom, Manager of Programs and Partnerships with the Bender Leadership Academy, to the show. Joining Scott will be Jesse Donald Lester, a participant in the Bender Leadership Academy’s Student Leaders Program and Jocelyn Mahmoud who participated in our International Computer Driver’s License (ICDL) Certifications Program. Jesse and Jocelyn will both share their experiences in the programs and what it means to them to have been a part of the Bender Leadership Academy.


Mission of 412 Ability Tech Ecosystem

Joyce welcomes Alexander Geht, Gal Inbar, and Jeffery Cohen, members of the 412 Ability Tech Ecosystem to the show. This Pittsburgh organization is a vibrant, interconnected network of individuals and organizations, each contributing their unique skills, perspectives, and passion towards the shared goal of improving the lives of people with disabilities. As innovators, healthcare professionals, policymakers, educators, end-users, and advocates, we each have a vital role to play. When we collaborate, our collective strengths coalesce, enabling us to develop groundbreaking technologies, drive policy changes, and cultivate more inclusive communities.


Mary E. Dolan: Latest With FDR Memorial Legacy Committee

Joyce welcomes Mary E. Dolan, Executive Director of the FDR Memorial Legacy Committee to the show. She will be discussing the latest goals of the FDR Legacy Committee and what they have been able to accomplish this year so far.


October - Disability Employment Awareness Month/November 2023 VCF

Joyce welcomes to the show Gerald Homme, Manager of Talent Acquisition and Technology with Bender Consulting Services, Inc. In celebration of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, Gerald will be discussing with Joyce the importance of employment for all people with disabilities and the current Bender Consulting Services employment initiatives. He will also be sharing how listeners can register for the upcoming November 15, 2023, Virtual Career Fair as inclusive employers or as job seekers with disabilities.