Conference Access Blogs: Danielle Anderson

Financial Health Network EMERGE 2019 – “The Aging & Disability Connection at Emerge”

by Danielle Anderson

My name is Dani Anderson, I am the Executive Director of the Independent Living Resource Center (ILRC), serving Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo, and I live in Camarillo, California. This was my first time attending a conference about financial health/empowerment. The location was beautiful! I use a power wheelchair, so as far as accommodations; I requested an accessible room with a roll in shower. The room was set up perfectly, and the grounds were impressively accessible. In the conference area, there were always staff and friendly attendees available to assist me with
doors and most importantly, getting coffee!

This year’s conference had a track about financial health/empowerment focused on the Aging population. I found this to be very beneficial to the attendees. I work regularly on programs aimed at bridging the gaps between the Aging and Disability communities; many of the services and struggles are the same. My understanding is that Aging was a new focus for the conference this year. In conversations I had, there was a positive response to emphasizing Disability in the same way next year. It is important to keep Disability relevant in these financial health/empowerment conversations in order to embark on new and fresh ideas for our Disability community, which consists of a majority of individuals falling into the Low Moderate Income (LMI) category. Those in this category are commonly not there by choice, and financial programs focused on Disability can have a huge impact on increasing the integration of people with disabilities in important components of life.

4 people and a service dog pose in front of WID table
WID staff Tom and Jessica with two Disability Ambassadors, Danielle and Harry at the Disability Concierge Desk.

For me, the networking and relationship building at the conference benefited most, I think our presence was powerful for the other attendees. My colleague and I were the only two wheelchair users there, and I think that encouraged other attendees to strike up conversations with us and listen to our new perspectives. With continued disability involvement year round, I believe the Conference Accessibility Initiative can assist in big changes, benefiting the largest minority group in the United States by helping us feel cared about and equal in the financial sector.

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
Christina Mills’ Emerge blog

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

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