IN THIS EPISODE . . . .
How accessible is your company’s tech to people living with disabilities? Accessibility matters, which means everyone can use the same technology as everyone else, regardless of their physical capabilities. Having accessibility as part of your diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts is the best way to support people living with disabilities.
Amber Hinds is the CEO of Equalize Digital, Inc., a Certified B Corp specializing in WordPress accessibility, maker of the Accessibility Checker plugin, and lead organizer of the WordPress Accessibility Meetup and WP Accessibility Day conference. Equalize Digital is a corporate member of the International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP) and a WordPress VIP Agency Partner.
SDL Media Team
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WHAT TO LISTEN FOR:
- How to become a value-driven company by getting certified as a B Corporation.
- How to make your website accessible and figure out what the corporate policies around accessibility are.
- The importance of including people with disabilities in diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.
- Amber’s fun facts – favorite meal, resource, and more.
“Including people with disabilities is the number one way to ensure that you’re setting your company up to truly support people with disabilities.”
- [4:04] Amber’s career background and how she got into accessibility for people with disabilities.
- [6:11] A certified B-corporation – a for-profit company with a triple bottom line and how to get certified.
- [10:42] Amber explains how she got into accessibility plus the importance of supporting disabled individuals with accessibility.
- [13:55] The quick changes you can add to your website to improve its usability.
- [15:46] Amber’s entry into the LATTOYG Playbook: How to approach the accessibility strategy in your company if you’ve never done it.
- [20:39] Understanding how the law guides you regarding accessibility in America and other places.
- [25:30] How Equalize Digital helps organizations with accessibility, plus how accessibility is improving.
- [29:02] How most companies and organizations forget to include people with disabilities in their DEI efforts.
- [31:22] The steps to take to include people with disabilities in your organization’s DEI efforts.
- [33:10] The leadership tactics that most resonate with Amber and their added value.
- [35:36] Signature Segment Full Disclosure
- [40:10] Signature Segment Karan’s Take
ABOUT AMBER HINDS
Amber Hinds is the CEO of Equalize Digital, Inc., a Certified B Corp specializing in WordPress accessibility, maker of the Accessibility Checker plugin, and lead organizer of the WordPress Accessibility Meetup and WP Accessibility Day conference.
Through her work at Equalize Digital, Amber is striving to create a world where all people have equal access to information and tools on the internet, regardless of ability. Since 2010, she has led teams building websites and web applications for nonprofits, K-12 and higher education institutions, government agencies, and businesses of all sizes.
Equalize Digital is a corporate member of the International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP) and a WordPress VIP Agency Partner.
LINKS FOR AMBER HINDS :
- Website URL: https://equalizedigital.com
- LinkedIn Bio Link: https://www.linkedin.com/in/amberhinds
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/aucoeur/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/HeyAmberHinds
PEOPLE & RESOURCES MENTIONED:
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FOR YOU:
This podcast episode is sponsored by NOTABLE, a private network for high-achieving, advanced-level leaders who are not yet in the C-Suite (Director/GM+).
NOTABLE supports those leaders desiring to sharpen their leadership acumen, increase their network of strategic supporters and expand their capability for roles of broader scope and responsibility.
Episode 19| When Lack of Technology Accessibility Means Lack of DEIB with Amber Hinds
Amber Hinds 00:00
I’ll say, one of my biggest pet peeves or the biggest things that makes me judge a company, especially a large corporation is when they have multiple pages on their website, or maybe even an entire website about their DEI efforts. And it’s not accessible. Right, like a person with disabilities cannot even read your website about how you care about diversity, equity inclusion, and to me, like that’s when I started to be like, well, this is just lip service.
Welcome to the “Lead at the Top of Your Game” podcast, where we equip you to more effectively lead your seat at any employer, business, or industry in which you choose to play. Each week, we help you sharpen your leadership acumen by cracking open the playbooks of dynamic leaders who are doing big things in their professional endeavors. And now, your host, leadership tactics, and organizational development expert, Karan Ferrell-Rhodes.
Karan Rhodes 01:13
Hey there superstars. This is Karen and welcome to today’s episode. You know, when we talk about inclusive businesses and workplaces. One of the aspects that are frequently overlooked is technology accessibility for this disability challenge. You know it even I must admit that my team has not included all the available options that we probably could on our own website and tech platforms. So to help demystify how we all can be better leaders who champion accessibility. We have on today’s show Amber Hines, who is the CEO of equalize digital Incorporated, and that firm is a specialist on technology accessibility for all. Amber’s firm helps businesses, organizations and companies to conduct accessibility audits, and implement inclusive technology features. She’s also the maker of this disability chicken plugin, and is the lead organizer that organizer of the WordPress accessibility meetup and the WordPress accessibility day conference. So after you enjoy this episode today, please be sure to stay tuned and listen for my closing segment called Karen’s take, where I share a tip on how to use the insights from today’s episode to further your leadership acumen. And now enjoy the show. Hi, there superstars. This is Karen and welcome to today’s episode of the elite at the top of your game podcast. I have over the moon absolutely over the moon to have such an expert on our podcast today. I’m so thrilled to introduce Amber Hines who is the co-founder and CEO of equalized digital. And equalize digital is a company that really strives to create a world where all people have access to information on the internet, regardless of their level of ability. And we’re gonna dig into that in just a minute. But it is definitely an area that all leaders of all levels need to know about. So welcome to the podcast. Amber.
Amber Hinds 03:27
Thanks for having me, Karen. I’m excited to be here. Oh,
Karan Rhodes 03:30
fantastic. And we’re truly excited for you to share a few tips for our leadership playbook. I know that you have a ton to share. And I’m really eager to delve deep on your mission and what you all do a digital equalized, digital, sorry. But before we dive deep into that I first met you feel comfortable, I would love for you to share a little bit about your personal life, maybe where you were born and grew up. And then a little bit about your professional journey up to founding the company.
Amber Hinds 04:05
Sure. So Well, I was born in New Hampshire. But I mostly grew up in Iowa, so kind of a Midwestern girl. And I’ve lived all over so my husband and I have lived for a long time. So he’s my co-founder and the business. But he and I before that he was in restaurants. And so we have lived everywhere from Nantucket Island off the coast of Massachusetts to super northern Wyoming. And we’re currently just north of Austin. And we’ve lived in a few other states. beyond that. So we have moved around a lot and gotten to experience a lot of the country which is really neat when it’s getting to experience different people in different locations. I actually have a philosophy degree, which might give you background I was very interested in ethics when I was in college and then Then when I got out of college, I worked in higher ed in graduate and adult enrollment for two different colleges in New York State, and then got into web development while I was on Nantucket, being mostly a stay at home mom with our oldest and was like, How can I do some exercise. So I got into web development and marketing and random marketing agency. And with that, I had the ability to start working with some higher education. And so government clients, and really started to learn more about the importance of accessibility on the web for people with disabilities and making sure that websites work well for everyone, even if they’re using assistive technology. And, so that sort of became the inspiration for the pivot into accessibility. And we’re certified B Corporation, which is, you know, it’s it really is a way that we try and show how important this is to us and, and really living that we live what we preach.
Karan Rhodes 06:05
I love that, can you share with our listeners a little bit more about what a certified B Corp is? Sure. So
Amber Hinds 06:11
A certified B Corp is a for-profit company that has a triple bottom line. So we actually have written into our operating agreements. So we are a corporate registered Corporation in Delaware. But we have written into our corporate bylaws, that we’re not just going to benefit our shareholders, we also benefit our employees, and we also benefit the community around us. And the certified B Corporation is an independent certification that you can go through and very small companies can do it to very large, like Ben and Jerry’s, and Patagonia, they are certified B Corporations. And it’s an independent audit of your finances, of your employee handbook of who your clients are, or customers are, and all those sorts of things to sort of show that you’re doing things and there are five different areas that they look at, with related to how your corporation runs or company runs. You don’t have to be a corporation, you can be an LLC, or a sole proprietorship even and sort of someone says, okay, yes, you meet the standards, you get a score over a certain amount, and then you can become a certified B Corp.
Karan Rhodes 07:26
Oh, I get Well, congratulations on that. That’s insane. And I really wanted you to share that because a lot of leaders are balancing between, you know, staying at their organizations, or they’re running their businesses. And so I just wanted to open the eyes to some of our listeners about some of the possibilities that are not quite as mainstream and discussions but are super, super valuable.
Amber Hinds 07:51
Yeah, and I think, Oh, if you don’t mind, I was just gonna say, the B Corp thing. I think if you’re a company or a leader who really wants to create a values-driven organization, becoming a certified B Corp is a way to sort of cement that. And from a hiring perspective, we have really found that when we put jobs out, we’re getting more applicants now. And people are saying that that’s something that attracts them, because they’re like, I know that you’re not just saying you’re a good place to work, like someone outside of you has come in and looked at you and said, yes, you’re a good place to work. And it works for marketing, too. So it’s definitely something I always encourage businesses to look at, if leaders are interested in, you know, going to that next step or beyond.
Karan Rhodes 08:34
Absolutely, it is so important. And I would definitely say it’s important to your millennials and your gen z’s. But I think there’s an argument that it’s important to everyone, no matter what your age is, per se, or in what set that you claim to be a part of, or what tribe you claim to be a part of. I think in today’s world, most people who are looking for new opportunities are looking for those companies that align with their values, especially if they’re, you know, servant-minded or mission-minded. You know, that, definitely, I just wanted to, you know, quickly share, I’m sure you’re very on top of this, but either with all of the interesting dynamics that are going on on our social media channels, especially like Twitter, I stumbled upon about a week ago, a thread where the accessibility engineers over at Twitter were very concerned about, you know, their whole team being laid off and what that does, for, you know, their platform and the community. And I was reading through the threads on people scrolling on how dependent a lot of them I’m able different, we will say, individuals, you know, depend upon those accessibility built-ins, on websites and social media channels. And it was just fascinating. Maybe because I knew you were coming on the podcast, it kind of jumped out at me. They want to learn and read more. But it was just fascinating by their stories and what they had shared. And so having said that, I’d love for you to share about why you started Equalized Digital. And, you know, what are you seeing in the market right now as companies be insensitive toward accessibility? On the internet?
Amber Hinds 10:43
Yeah, so I fell into accessibility almost accidentally, I started doing some work for Colorado State University, my company started doing work for Colorado State University. And it was in 2016, The University also all federally funded websites, which would include universities, because they get federal funds have to be accessible by law in the United States. And in 2016, the university was still sort of figuring out what that would look like. And they brought us on to build a website from other departments. And they, the first one we built, we did a little bit of accessibility testing, but it was pretty new for us, and it launched and then the next one they had us do, they’re like, Hey, we’re gonna do an independent audit. And I was like, oh, boy, this is scary. So it was a little bit of trial by fire. But in doing that, we really realized, we had started hiring people with disabilities to test our work, and having the opportunity to observe them using a screen reader, for example. So a blind person uses something that reads out everything on their screen, whether it’s on their phone, or on their computer, or tablet, and, seeing how they engage with the web, seeing the frustrations that they get there. And then being able to connect real faces. So I know, in the early days, you know, one of our testers, his name was Devin. And it would be like, I liked Devin, he’s, he’s a great person, he’s musician, he’s interesting to talk to, I want things to work for Devin, right. And, and, and really making those personal connections made me feel like okay, I need to, I need to really prioritize this, I need to do more of this. And that’s when we started having internal conversations, where we’re saying, I don’t think accessibility should be an option, all of the websites we build for all of our clients should be accessible. And that should just be the baseline, the understanding, on so so that’s sort of, I think what got us into it was a little bit of accident, but then really being able to connect it with real people. And to your note about social media, or even online shopping in the past two years, with COVID. And the way things change, and some people not even still, I’ve heard of some people who are concerned about going out into public because they have a chronic health condition. And they’re worried about what might happen to them. You know, that makes these being able to connect on the web. So much more important, and having a support system. And a lot for a lot of people social media is how they do that if, especially if they live on their own. And so having social media or having the ability to buy something on a website, or, you know, schedule an appointment with your doctor, even if you aren’t a typically abled person, using a mouse and a keyboard is really important so that, you know, people can have what they need to live their best life.
Karan Rhodes 13:41
I love that. And can you give us an example of just to make it real as something that you add to websites to make it more accessible for individuals like What is an example?
Amber Hinds 13:55
Oh, so a basic example that takes about two seconds to code but can make a huge difference is what’s called a focus outline. So someone who doesn’t use a mouse and this could be someone who’s blind is on a screen reader, or it could be someone who has a mobility challenge. And they can’t use their arms or maybe their fingers, like they have a lot of arthritis and, and you know, moving around or holding the mouse in a certain way is uncomfortable for them. So it could be a lot of different people, they will use a keyboard only to navigate the web. And they might be able to see, but they can’t use a mouse so they can’t point in clicks. So having the ability with the Tab key when you hit the Tab key, you should see a box around the elements. And as you hit Tab, it’ll jump to the next one like the next menu item and it should have a box around it should be able to see where you are. So many websites are missing those focus outlines. And it literally it takes, I don’t know two minutes to add that into your CSS for your website. And I know this isn’t a developer podcast but you Yeah, like, it’s such a quick change that can make a huge difference in the usability of a website. So
Karan Rhodes 15:11
So Where? Where would you say? And I’m sorry, I’m thinking and talking at the same time. So I apologize listeners. If I’m a leader in an organization, would I work with someone like your firm to take a fresh look at our web presence and websites and see where we can improve? Or what would I do? How would I best engage if I do have sensitivity around this?
Amber Hinds 15:45
Yeah, so if you haven’t ever thought about accessibility, you want to get started, there’s a few different ways you can go. There are some automated tools. So if you have a WordPress website, we have one which is has a free version called the accessibility checker, there’s another really popular one that has browser extensions called wave, by web aim, you could use one of those tools. And what they do is they scan the website, and they’ll tell you if there’s problems, no automated tools, including ours, they can’t find everything. So you could also just go like I talked about, load the front, end your web page and see if you can do everything without a mouse. Can you fill in forms? Can you purchase a product, everything without a mouse? So you can do some stuff internally, just to try and figure out do you have problems. But I do think it is really helpful to bring in an accessibility expert or a person with disabilities to test the website, if you’re not familiar with accessibility, because as I mentioned, the automated tools or even keyboard testing alone might not catch everything, if you aren’t familiar with it. And so it is really good to bring in someone who can advise you. And the thing about accessibility is it doesn’t very rarely does it happen overnight. So even like Twitter, they were sort of late to the game of adding an accessibility team. I think they only added their team in 2020. Yeah, they were very new. Yeah. But they were making great strides, but it was improvements over time, right. And so where a company like ours can be helpful, is that we can help you create a strategy around accessibility to be like, what can you change moving forward? What needs you know, what is the timeline for fixing certain problems, and then also really educating your team and your company, anyone who touches it. So an interesting thing about website accessibility is it’s not just the marketing department who’s writing your blog posts, or the web developer who’s building your website. One thing that people don’t think about is that their support staff or their receptionist who answers the phone needs to be aware about website accessibility and why it matters. And the reason for this is, is that the first thing someone is going to do, unless they’re deaf, is they’re probably going to pick up the call the phone and call you. If the website doesn’t work. If they’re deaf, and you have like a live chat or Facebook Messenger, then they might try that, right. And, and they’re going to say, I can’t do this thing. And I want to do it, if if they are really interested in engaging with your company, and they have to move forward. Sometimes they just abandon and you lose a conversion, right, you lose a customer. But sometimes they ask for help. And so these other people, the receptionist doesn’t have anything to do with your website, but she or he needs to know how to recognize that someone’s communicating, there’s a accessibility problem on the website, so that they can want help them but also then go back to the marketing team, or whomever it is and say, Hey, I got you know, someone wasn’t able to book an appointment, I scheduled it for him, it’s fine. But here’s what they said happened. So then it can be followed up on and fixed for the next person. So it is really important to sort of figure out what the corporate policies around accessibility is. And it does, it goes way beyond you know, even website because hopefully, we have disability friendly practices in our hiring practices. We’re supporting our employees with disabilities. And this could be anything from, you know, what we might consider a life altering disability to even someone who’s colorblind, like, in some situations, if you’re sending out corporate reports with graphs that have red and green pie charts, some people in your employee team might not be able to read the pie chart to know how the company is doing. Right. So there’s a lot of places that this stretches to
Karan Rhodes 19:40
You’re so right and I do you know, a lot of training and development of leaders and that was one of the first things early on and, and in my professional career, we always made sure to be sensitive to those who are colorblind and only use certain color markers and things like that, but it’s those little touches that really make difference and helping, you know, serve your clients or, or be a good team member, you know, if you’re at an employer, so you’re so right. I’m curious, are there any laws around? What companies how much accessibility companies must have? Like, are there a minimum features that most companies who publish or anyone who’s publishing on the web, for commercial purposes needs to make sure that they have, is there anything by law or is most of this just optional, but progressive companies try to incorporate it.
Amber Hinds 20:39
So in the United States, the Americans with Disabilities Act does require that places with public places of public accommodation and they have explicitly said a website, the Justice fair Minnesota website is a place of public accommodation has to be accessible to people with disabilities, and the communication needs to be equally effective to people with disabilities. The challenge in the United States is that the Americans with Disabilities Act doesn’t outline specific guidelines for that. And that’s where other countries or other laws in the United States, so the one I mentioned, that affects universities would be section 508, that specifically says you need to have Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, 2.0, double A. So there’s these specific set of standards, and there’s different levels of conformance, or, like success with those standards. Ontario is probably one of the strictest ones, they require that any companies with 50 or more employees have to be conformant, with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, 2.1, double A, they actually require every two years that any company with more than 25 employees has to file an annual report, or sorry, biannual. So every two years, they have to file a report with the province about the accessibility of their website. Wow. But there are laws all around the world. And what you have to keep in mind too, is even if your company isn’t in Ontario, but if you have nexus in Ontario, this is a lot like privacy laws, or paying taxes there. Right? If you have an employee there, if you have a huge amount of customers there, if you warehouse your goods there, the accessibility laws may also apply to you as well. I’m not a lawyer. So I know some of it. I’m not giving anyone legal advice here. I was talking to your own lawyer. But yes, there are there are laws and guidelines. And and I think it is increasingly not just progressive companies that are doing this, we’re hearing from companies of all different sizes, from very small, like three, four person companies to very large ones that are getting complaints are getting sued for accessibility on their website here in the United States. And in some countries, they’re starting to send out fines from the government too.
Karan Rhodes 23:00
So and I believe I heard you mention that somewhere there are the number of lawsuits that are being filed, because of lack of accessibility have ticked up in the United States? Is that true? Or did I miss Read? Read that?
Amber Hinds 23:18
Yeah. So it’s been increasing? Almost, I’d say like 50%, increasing year over year, maybe not quite that much. But it’s been a lot. I think the most common places are in California or New York, is where those complaints are. But again, it’s the same sort of thing. Like we’re talking about Ontario, a California business to get sued for website accessibility. And so So yes, there is an increase on that. And there are some law firms that track that and put out some reports, say fourth is one that tracks accessibility laws under the it’s and they’re always under the Americans with Disabilities Act those lawsuits.
Karan Rhodes 24:05
Absolutely. So one of the lessons for our audience, I just want to reinforce is that wherever you’re doing business, or you’re no matter if you’re an employer, or if you own your own business, make sure that you take the time to look up local, state and federal laws and all of those, well, federalism for the US is, you know, across the US, but definitely your state, local or country laws to make sure that you remain in compliance because, as Amber mentioned, there are different countries and different states that have more stringent requirements than others at times, and you just need to just stay on top of that. Right. Yeah. Um, one of the question I have Amber is So when you consult with organizations, is this something that is top of mind for companies? Or is this something that’s kind of kind of in the back treading water until there’s an issue that comes forward or they’re doing a redo other websites and things, I’m just curious of how common this kind of consulting is out there.
Amber Hinds 25:29
Well, so my company equalizes digital. All we do is accessibility at this point. That’s our focus. So I think our, our customer base is a little different, because companies come to us because they’re looking for someone with accessibility. Now, I will say there’s a difference. We’ve had some companies that are proactively looking to do it, or they’re like, We need a new website, and we want to make sure it’s accessible. So we’re gonna come to you to build it. But we’ve also we do audits and remediations of existing sites. And I would say, a fair number of the inquiries that we get on that site is someone that’s like, I am getting sued right now. Or I have been sued. And I have a settlement agreement that says in 24 months, my website needs to be accessible. Can you help me? So I think it’s a mix of, of organizations that are being really proactive about it, either because it it does match their corporate values, or because they know they serve an audience, especially nonprofits. I’ve seen that where they serve an audience with a high percentage of disabilities. And they really, they’re like, how can we serve this audience if they can’t even learn about us on our website? And then, I think from talking to other owners of agencies and web development shops, I do think in the last two or three years, I’ve noticed a significant uptick and just general conversations about it. We’re primarily in the WordPress space. And I have for sure in the WordPress ecosystem, which if people aren’t familiar with, that’s the content management system that we use. And it’s used by 43% of the websites on the internet. So it’s a huge way. Majority sites are built with WordPress. But WordPress has a whole community around it. And I feel like in the last two years, maybe even a year and a half, I’ve actually noticed more blogs about accessibility and WordPress and more conversations on some of the new sites that talk about WordPress about accessibility. So I do feel like there especially COVID really triggered this for people. And the Justice Department under Biden has been doing more enforcement on especially federally funded and like the vaccine websites and that kind of stuff. And so I think that started drawing some attention. There’s been some conversations in the news that I’ve noticed recently about voter voting accessibility, and some of the challenges people with disabilities have to with voting. And so I think anytime that conversation starts happening in the news and makes organizations go, Wait a minute, I don’t want to be on that end of the news story. So then they started to say, Okay, we should reassess our corporate practices around accessibility. And that frequently includes the website, as well as other things as well.
Karan Rhodes 28:18
Yeah, absolutely. And of course, this is an important lens, as companies think through their overall approach to the AI, the IB, diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, as they think through how to be inclusive with, you know, all of their employees and staff as well as their clients and customers and those that they’re serving. Do you see a lot of your clients talk about it in context with the eye, as well? And are there any connections, we want to make sure leaders know how important this is to connect it to whatever their the IB efforts are?
Amber Hinds 29:02
Definitely. I mean, I’ll say one of the things that I see the biggest complaints with some of the people with disabilities who I’m friends with, or that I follow on social media is that frequently DEI efforts leave out people with disabilities they do. And they focus on other groups, which are very important groups to focus on but people with disabilities are also a group that has historically been left out and left behind. And, and also I mean, people with disabilities are significantly under-employed. So they are also a group that really needs to be included in diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. And frequently they’re not and I’ll say, one of my biggest pet peeves or the biggest things that makes me judge a company, especially a large corporation, is when they have multiple pages on their website, or maybe even an entire website about their DEI efforts. And it’s not accessible. Right, like a person with disabilities. Can I even read your website about how you care about diversity, equity inclusion? And to me like, that’s when I start to be like, well, this is just lip service. Yeah, right. Right. Like, you’re only because you’re, you’re, like, worried about social media blowback or something. Right. And so I think, you know, that’s the thing, like we need to, we need to live the values that our company is preaching, your says, are their values, we need to actually live them. And so I wish I could say that it is a lot of times. And sometimes we do, as I said, like, there are people that are proactive, and they’re saying this is part of our DEI efforts is we need to be more accessible on the web. But I think, unfortunately, it gets forgotten a lot of times.
Karan Rhodes 30:57
So I’ll ask you this, if there was one tip that you would, could tell the world leaders, one thing that they should always do? Or keep top of mind to ensure they’re the culture of accessibility? What would that be? In? What would you like them to do?
Amber Hinds 31:22
They need to include people with disabilities. So there’s a big phrase, nothing for us without us. So the best way that a company can ensure that they’re supporting people with disabilities is maybe have a disabilities working group within their company, or employee resource group that focuses on disabilities. Or if you don’t have anyone with disabilities working at your company, you might be surprised, you might send out the email and there will be so say, I have dyslexia you had no idea they have dyslexia, right. But, but if they don’t find you can hire people with disabilities, just even if it’s not to be a full-time employee at your company, maybe as a contractor to consult on some of your practices, your policies, they can test your website or your they can review your social media and flag things for you like, Hey, you’re forgetting to put alternative texts on your images when you post on social media, right. So really, including people with disabilities is the number one way to ensure that you are following best practices, and are setting your company up to truly support people with disabilities.
Karan Rhodes 32:33
Love that. Absolutely. Thank you. We’re going to add that to our requests on our leadership playbook. On the list, we keep a running list of what our guests advise to do. And we’re definitely going to include your advice and our leadership playbook for our listeners. So one of the questions I always ask our guests, as you know, I wrote a book and did some research on leadership execution, and their behaviors and tactics that I talked about in the book. And I was just curious if there was one that kind of jumped out with that was meaningful for you out of those top seven.
Amber Hinds 33:11
Yeah, so really, going on following up on what I just talked about, including people with disabilities on the stakeholder piece, focusing on stakeholders as a leadership, best practice, I mean, that right there people with disabilities are stakeholders in your organization’s whether or not you realize it, right. They are your customers, they may be your employees. There are other people in the community who encounter your business in one way or another. So really, I think, including stakeholders and and really considering what you know, what those people’s role in your organization is, and, and thinking about how you can incorporate their feedback and continue to really value your stakeholders is something that resonates a lot with me.
Karan Rhodes 33:59
Absolutely. Thank you. Thank you so much for sharing that. And I will just share. A few months ago, I went to speak at the global talent summit in DC. And one of the things we were talking about when we were talking about talent pools was how more and more companies can should focus on being proactive and reaching out to those with both visible and non-visible disabilities, that they are an important, various astute part of the talent pool that is sometimes ignored. When, you know, they could you know, with a small amount of accommodations, they could, you know, really impact positively impact your organization. So, either as much as I can help support and communicate our leaders out there to incorporate them not only in your talent pools but make them an active part of the work that you will do seek out their advice, guidance support, not singled them out, but you know, allow their perspective just like you will allow others. I think you’ll make your companies and your businesses you know, better. This is Karen’s perspective anyway.
I think I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Karan Rhodes 35:20
All right, Miss Amber…before we round everything out, I’m gonna do our last segment, which we call full disclosure. There no gotcha questions on this. It’s just kind of fun facts that we love sometimes to ask our guests. And so my first question for you is, what is your favorite meal? My favorite like to eat? Yeah,
Amber Hinds 35:46
Well, first of all, my husband was a professional chef. And say that anything I don’t cook, which I pretty much don’t cook at all, anything he makes, but I am 100% A breakfast person. Alright, and he makes egg sandwiches that are to die for like I don’t even know like you take one bite and you’re just like exploding we’re doing. So I’ll probably say that. I’m also a chocolate Holic. And I always have really good like, 80 90% dark chocolate in my desk or like, change my drawers, I hide them in because my children know, they come into my office. And they’re like trying to steal it. So it migrates around, but I always have dark chocolate. Oh,
Karan Rhodes 36:33
That’s interesting. Now know what to get you for your present, you know? Isn’t dark chocolate? What is one app or resources that you just can’t live without?
Amber Hinds 36:50
A base camp. So base camp, if someone’s not familiar, is a project management tool. We use it in our company. But darkly enough, my husband and I also have a base camp for our life. We have at times like forced our parents to use it like when they were helping with a renovation on our house or other things. And so yeah, Basecamp is pretty much how we manage everything, both in work, and in real life.
Karan Rhodes 37:21
Hey, you, it keeps you organized and keeps you sane. Um, I’m with it. Any kind of tool? And yeah, that is fantastic. And then my last question for you, what would be a great birthday gift for you?
Amber Hinds 37:35
I create birthday gifts. Oh my gosh.
Karan Rhodes 37:41
Thank you. Oh, wow.
Amber Hinds 37:44
Do you know, so we tend to try and do more experiences than things. That’s something we’ve tried a lot with our children. Right. So I always appreciate a facial.
Karan Rhodes 37:58
Hey, it’s lovely. I love a facial as well and a mani pedi.
But I will say this Christmas, which I know this is getting right after Christmas. So we’ll see whether or not I got it. But I told my husband I really wanted a little free library. Because they have kids and I was like, let’s get wine. Let’s put it out and we can share books with the world. So I was like, that’s what I want my Christmas presents me.
Karan Rhodes 38:23
Wonderful. Okay, well, I’m gonna keep my fingers crossed that to get
Amber Hinds 38:27
Follow me on social media. If I get one. I’ll send a picture of it. And if I don’t, then I guess I’ll have a sad face.
Karan Rhodes 38:36
No, no sad faces. We’re not having that here. Why ever this has been a complete delight. And I know I personally have learned quite a bit and I’m sure our listeners have to. And I want to thank you so much for your gift of time to share some fantastic tips with us. Thank you so so much. Yeah, thank you for having me. All right. And listeners, be sure to check out our show notes. As you know, we’ll have links and information about Amber and how to reach her. Definitely check her and her business out. They have a lot of advice that is hard to find. It’s not something that you see every single day. But it’s work that is really meaningful. And as top leaders we want to make sure to include all individuals including those with a type of disability. So thank you all so much. Be sure to subscribe and rate and tell a friend to listen to the podcast and we will see you next episode. Have a fantastic rest of your day. Bye Bye Well I hope you enjoyed our conversation today with Amber Hines, CEO of equalize digital incorporated links to her bio her entry into our leadership playbook and additional resources can be found in the shownotes, both on your favorite podcast platform of choice and at leat, your game podcast.com Now for Karen’s take on today’s topic of technology accessibility. You know, in today’s workplace technology is one of the central drivers of productivity and success, you know, for all workers. And according to the Partnership on Employment and Accessible technologies, which is more affectionately known to us as Pete pa t. Accessibility really means that everyone can use the exact same technology as everyone else. Regardless of whether they can like manipulate a mouse. No matter how much vision they have, no matter how many colors they can see, or how much they can hear, or how they process information. More broadly, you know, areas where employers may need to address technology accessibility issues include web based intranet, and internet information and applications, email and other electronic correspondence, software applications and operating systems, video and multimedia products, desktop and portable computers. Things like self contained products such as calculators, copier, machine printers, and also online job applications. You know, don’t forget to keep accessibility in mind when using artificial intelligence casino AI is becoming increasingly common to screen applicants streamline business processes, provide trainings to individuals and otherwise facilitate all business operations. But employers must ensure that the use of AI does not inadvertently hinder efforts to recruit, hire, retain, or advanced people with disabilities. Well, I learned a lot out of this show and I hope you did too. Thanks so much for listening and see you next week. Bye. And that’s our show for today. Thank you for listening to the lead at the top of your game podcast, where we help you lead your seat at any employer, business or industry in which you choose to play. You can check out the show notes, additional episodes, bonus resources, and also submit guest recommendations on our website at lead your game podcast.com You can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn by searching for the name Karan Rhodes with Karan being spelled k r a n. And if you liked the show, the greatest gift you can give would be to subscribe and leave a rating on your podcast platform of choice. This podcast has been a production of shackling different leadership, a global consultancy which helps organizations execute their people talent development and organizational effectiveness initiatives on an on demand project or contract basis. Huge thanks to our production and editing team for a job well done. Goodbye for now.
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