Conference Access Blogs: Christina Mills

Financial Health Network EMERGE 2019 – “Emerged in Financial Health”

by Christina Mills

My name is Christina Mills. I am the Executive Director of the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC). Our office is based in Sacramento, California. We are a disability rights organization focused on building the capacity of Independent Living Centers across the state that provide advocacy support and direct services to people with all types of disabilities.

As an Executive Director, I’m always looking for opportunities to expand my knowledge and provide additional benefits to both my members and the disability community. The Emerge Conference piqued my interest for several reasons. In a post-recession era, I am committed to building CFILC’s financial health as an organization, but also to creating and leveraging my partnerships to better serve individuals with disabilities who are among the most vulnerable population when it comes to securing financial equity. Participating in the Emerge Conference allowed me to step out of my day-to-day comfort zone to see how other companies are developing financial health among their own employees and communities. The conference speakers, workshop sessions, and materials were not only helpful, but also energizing.

Two women smiling
Disability Ambassadors Danielle Anderson (left) and Christina Mills (right) at Emerge.

National Public Radio (NPR) recently showcased a segment on people with disabilities replacing public benefits with paychecks. Twenty-nine years post Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the disability community is still working tirelessly to leverage Title II of the ADA to increase employment rates, which we hope equals better financial health, for people with disabilities across our state and country. For me, the NPR segment directly related to what I learned at Emerge. While we all have deliverables and specific goals to maintain our companies, we also need to think more broadly about how the work we are already doing can be used to incorporate and build financial health.

Disability is a lifespan issue. You can be born with a disability, acquire a disability, or age into a disability before you die. Twenty-five percent of the population has a disability, and that’s only based on individuals who identify. Everyone knows someone who has a disability. We as individuals with disabilities are one of the most significantly marginalized populations who are also a part of every other kind of racial, cultural, age, gender, and religious population. Prioritizing people with disabilities will increase financial health for all communities. Building partnerships with the companies who are already working to build financial health is how I believe we can make a difference together that will positively impact the disability community.

I applaud JP Morgan Chase for partnering with the World Institute on Disability to bring together the business and disability communities. The Conference Accessibility Initiative is innovative and needed. Being able to educate each other on programmatic and physical access while also engaging disability leaders in ground breaking business discussions that we have the opportunity to influence has potential to impact a much larger, diverse population. JP Morgan Chase’s commitment to inclusion is impactful and will continue to make a difference as we work to build financial health opportunities for people with disabilities.

Would you like to be a Disability Ambassador with WID and JP Morgan & Chase? Applications for 2020 are now available!

To read more about our Disability Ambassadors’ experiences at Emerge 2019, follow either link below:

Harry Hebeler’s Emerge blog
Danielle Anderson’s Emerge blog

For more Disability Ambassador blogs, check out our Conference Accessibility Initiative 2019 page.

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