Conference Access Blogs: Altaira Hatton

by Altaira Hatton

Hi! My name is Altaira Hatton, and I work as a mediator in beautiful Santa Cruz, CA. I also founded a nonprofit homeless services organization last spring, Neighbors with Lunch, and we have served over 1,000 meals since February!

I delighted in Upswell Chicago. The themes, workshops, speeches, and attendees served to educate, motivate, and inspire me. I left with new friends, potential funders, and lots of ideas.
The support provided by JP Morgan Chase and the World Institute on Disability
was invaluable. Without them, I simply could not have attended this conference. My nonprofit is small; we do not have a budget for travel funds and conference registration. And because I recently retired my wonderful service dog of nine years, I now need to travel with a human assistant. These added costs and logistics would simply have proved prohibitive, and I am deeply grateful for the help and support provided by this initiative.

A woman with shoulder-length brown hair smiling brightly and posing in her electric wheelchair. She is wearing a blue jacket and dark velvet skirt.
WID Disability Ambassador Altaira in front of the Disability Concierge desk

As Upswell highlighted so clearly this year, diversity must be visible to create change. By sending real, live, personally engaged, and actively participating individuals with disabilities to this and other conferences, you bring our experiences and our narratives into focus. We have a seat at the table. We’re seen. We’re heard.

It may seem like a small act, but for every hiring manager I met, for every foundation director I talked with, they now have one more person they’ve met in their field with a disability. It’s something small, but like so many exercises of socialization, it’s accumulative.

I think the Conference Accessibility Initiative is rather brilliant. By giving a minority who often experiences constrained resources an opportunity to attend conferences, you serve to boost their professional reach, and to place them at the table with policy makers and leaders. Good policy derives from a thorough understanding of the needs of everyone affected, and far too often people with disabilities, despite comprising one in 4 U.S. adults (61 million Americans), are overlooked and underrepresented. This program is providing an excellent service to the community, and I look forward to supporting JPMorgan Chase and WID in their future collaborations.



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 the Independent Sector Upswell 2019 Conference, follow the link below:

Jennifer Wolff’s Upswell Blog

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

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  1. Pingback: Conference Access Blogs: Jennifer Wolff – World Institute on Disability

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