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August Chapter Meeting Workshop - 3 SHRM Credits
Hilton Bellevue
300 112th Ave SE
Bellevue, WA 98004

View additional information
Tuesday, August 13, 2019, 7:15 AM - 11:30 AM PST
Category: LWHRA Events

LWHRA is recognized by SHRM to offer Professional Development Credits (PDCs) for the SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP. For more information, visit the SHRM certification website at www.shrmcertification.org.
This program has been submitted to the HR Certification Institute for review. 

August Chapter Meeting Workshop

Breaking Barriers: Inclusive Workforce Exchange

NEW! This workshop will have a live transcription service, making it accessible to attendees with hearing loss. Thank you to our internet sponsor Evia for helping make this a possibility.

Looking for ways to strengthen your talent management strategy that integrates disability inclusion in attracting, organizing and retaining its workforce? Join us for a half-day event, Breaking Barriers: Inclusive Workforce Exchange. We’ll dive into how to:

● Build inclusive talent strategies
● Empower organizational culture that inspires individual contribution
● Break myths of employing people with disabilities

Come ready to learn from experts in these areas and exchange ideas. You’ll walk away with new understanding and practical tools to help you foster inclusive measures that move forward your organization’s ability to compete for talent.


Internet Sponsor



Member: $90
Non-Member: $105
Walk-in Registration 
Member: $100
Non-Member: $115


NEW! Cancellation Policy:

LWHRA will accept cancellations received on or before ten (10) day prior to the event. Registrants who cancel on or before ten (10) days prior to the event will receive a refund, less $25 processing fee. No refunds will be given for cancellations received after ten (10) days prior to the event. A substitute attendee will be permitted given the LWHRA office receives notice of the substitution on or before ten (10) days prior to the event. After ten (10) days prior to the event, the following conversion fees will apply:

  • Event registrations $100 or greater = $25 substitution fee.
  • Event registrations less than $100 - $10 substitution fee.

Substitutions and cancellations must be submitted by email to [email protected].


Registration for the August Chapter meeting is now closed. Walk-ins are always welcome. 

Program Schedule:

7:15 AM Registration, Networking, Seating
7:30 AM Breakfast and Coffee
7:50 – 8:00 AM Opening Remarks
8:00 – 8:30 AM

Make Diversity and Inclusion Personal

Randy SheppardBoeing

8:30 – 9:00 AM

The Secret of Creating Inclusive Workplaces

Heather WeldonCity of Seattle

9:00 – 9:15 AM  Break
9:15 – 9:45 AM

Supported Employment at Microsoft

Brian Collins, Austin Landon & Gillian MaguireCBRE

9:45 – 10:15 AM

Changing Lives by Changing Minds

Laura Couts & Erica GilsonPuget Sound Personnel

10:15 – 10:30 AM  Break
10:30 – 11:15 AM  Education and Apprenticeship Opportunities

Hiring Individuals with Disabilities as a Business Solution

Gia Fusaro & Wally TablitAtWork!


Educating the Neurodiverse Workforce

Pilar LopezBellevue Occupational & Life Skills Program


Overview of UW DO-IT

Scott Bellman, University of Washington DO-IT Center 

11:15 – 11:30 AM  Q&A and Wrap-up


 Session Descriptions:

Make Diversity and Inclusion Personal

Description: Make diversity and inclusion personal. This presentation will provide HR professionals with examples of the impact a global company can have by emphasizing the importance of focusing on diversity and inclusion.  The presenter will share stories of his experiences, both personal and professional. The discussion will include information on the many ways a company can encourage inclusion and engagement with diverse candidates and employees.


  1. Participants will hear why including diversity and inclusion in the company’s values and behaviors is important.
  2. Participants will understand continuous training and focus on D&I can and needs to happen throughout the employee lifecycle.
  3. Participants will hear how personal experiences can shape them as a future leader. 

The Secret of Creating Inclusive Workplaces

Description: This presentation is designed to provide HR professionals with simple solutions for overcoming typical “obstacles” to hiring people with developmental disabilities. The discussion will also include examples of what kinds of duties work best for supported employment candidates. The session will include the tangible and intangible benefits of inclusive workplaces and make the business case for hiring people with developmental disabilities. Participants will leave inspired, energized, and ready to think differently about how to employ people with developmental disabilities.  


  1. Participants will receive information on how to implement new business practices that result in the hiring of people with developmental disabilities.
  2. Participants will understand how to access support/resources (i.e. job coaches) to assist with the process of hiring and retaining employees with developmental disabilities.
  3. Participants will gain practical solutions to common HR “barriers” to hiring people with significant disabilities.

Supported Employment at Microsoft

Description: Learn how to increase empathy, and retention of loyal employees at your organization. The Microsoft RE&F Supported Employment Program partners with local job coaching agencies and Microsoft vendor companies to find real jobs for individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD). During this session we share the stories and lessons Microsoft has learned since the program was founded in 2013.  Participants will leave with tools and resources to establish a supported employment program in their organization.



  1. Participants will understand the positive impact to organizations and to the bottom line, of eliminating barriers to employment for individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities.
  2. Participants will understand the positive impact employment opportunities have on the community and the individuals and families of individuals with I/DD.
  3. Participants will understand how to use available tools for creating a Supported Employment Program in their organization.

Changing Lives by Changing Minds

Description: This presentation is designed to provide HR professionals with an overall understanding of how to partner with a supported employment agency to create a more diverse workplace. The presentation will include information on how employers can break down barriers to hiring a supported employee in their company.  Participants will leave with tools and resources for use in taking identified steps in their company to increase diversity and inclusion in the workplace. 


  1. Attendees will understand how to successfully take the first steps in hiring a supported employee
  2. Attendees will understand the benefits of partnering with supported employment agencies for successful job placements
  3. Attendees will understand how to communicate and interact with both supported employees and their job coaches
  4. Attendees will understand how to utilize their standard HR procedures with their supported employees.
  5. Attendees will learn how to partner with the employee’s job coach to work through work place issues or performance concerns 

Hiring Individuals with Disabilities as a Business Solution

Description: This presentation is designed to provide HR professionals with the knowledge and guidance of hiring individuals with disabilities.  This discussion will include understanding supported employment through agencies such as AtWork!.  By focusing as much on the business’s needs as on the job seeker’s needs, AtWork! can – and does – strategize, design, and create jobs that are valuable, meaningful, and deliver a measurable benefit to everyone involved. When placing people with disabilities in new positions, AtWork! provides customized on-site training and continuing on-site support to ensure that both the employee and the business achieve or surpass the results they expect.


  1. Participants will understand how hiring individuals with disabilities is a business solution.
  2. Participants will understand how organizations such as AtWork! provide employment supports to people with disabilities. 

Educating the Neurodiverse Workforce

Description: Just like any other employee accessing the workforce, employees with disabilities need training and development tools. The Occupational and Life Skills program (OLS) at Bellevue College developed a curriculum around skills for work needed by employers, so our students would be trained and ready to access employment seamlessly. This session will explore OLS curriculum and explain the business partnerships it has established over the years to help college students with disabilities jumpstart their careers.


  1. Participants will understand the barriers experienced by employees with disabilities and how to work around them and with them in the organization
  2. Participants will learn how to attract and keep neurodiverse talent
  3. Participants will understand how to engage with a pipeline of talent through internships. 

Overview of UW DO-IT

Description: DO-IT Scholars prepares Washington State high school students with disabilities for success in college and careers. Scholars attend Summer Study sessions, held during three consecutive summers at the University of Washington campus. This allows students to experience college life and work on self advocacy skills. Throughout the school year, Scholars connect with program staff, DO-IT Mentors, and each other using email and e-lists. They also meet in-person at DO-IT events, complete individual and group projects, and receive valuable information and support for the transition to college. 


  1. Participants understand the challenges of high school and college students with disabilities face when entering the workforce.
  2. Participants will learn where to find the many programs available when looking for diverse talent.
  3. They will also learn how to attract and retain diverse talent.


Austin Landon’s career began when he was hired as a cart attendant at Target. After graduating from the Highline College ACHIEVE program, he was hired by CBRE as a Common Area Reset Technician on the Microsoft Campus. In 2018, he was promoted to Project Coordinator where he helps run the Microsoft Supported Employment Program. An avid public speaker and self-advocate, Austin represents the program at community events and conferences.


Brian Collins is the Senior Manager,Real Estate & Facilities for Microsoft Corporation.  Based in Redmond Washington, Brian is currently responsible for leading Microsoft’s Workplace Planning and Change Management across the companies 14m square feet corporate headquarters. In addition, Brian leads the Microsoft Real Estate and Facilities Supported Employment Program.

Brian joined Microsoft in 1996 as the Facilities Manager for the Dublin campus, and in his previous roles with Microsoft he was responsible for The Global Workplace Strategies Group; defining and driving the ‘Workplace Advantage (WPA)’ program; including Workplace research, knowledge management, change management project consulting across Microsoft’s global portfolio. He was also Area Portfolio Manager for RE&F in Central & Eastern Europe, and Facilities Manager for EMEA (Europe Middle East & Africa) where he coordinated facilities activities over 160 locations in 50+ countries.


Erica Gilson, is the Marketing Coordinator with Puget Sound Personnel, Inc. Ms. Gilson has worked for PSP for over 7 years helping employers break down barriers to employment. Erica has partnered with companies throughout King County to successfully identify job opportunities for adults with disabilities, especially with students graduating from high school and just entering the workforce. She has forged partnerships with these local companies to help promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Erica received her Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from Azusa Pacific University in Southern California. 


Gia Fusaro MAEd is the Director or People and Culture with AtWork!.  AtWork! is a highly supportive and innovative conduit between people with disabilities and employers in the community. Gia has been working in the field of Human Resources for over 3 years and prior to HR, she spent nearly a decade in education as a school counselor.  Gia received her Master’s in Education School Counseling from Seattle University and is currently studying for her SHRM-CP Certification.  Prior to her current role, Gia worked as a Talent Acquisition and Diversity Specialist delivering integrated staffing solutions to help embed workers with disabilities in competitive employment opportunities. 


Gillian Maguire is the program manager of Microsoft RE&F’s Supported Employment Program, whose mission is to partner with Microsoft vendors and local job coaching agencies to create real job opportunities for persons with intellectual/developmental disabilities. Gillian joined CBRE in 2017, bringing experience in management at a statewide disability rights organization. In previous roles she worked closely with people with disabilities and disability community organization leaders, as well as legal and professional staff. She created and managed an advocacy team responsible for provision of high quality services to people with disabilities in Washington. 


Heather Weldon is a nationally recognized leader in supported (customized) employment for people with developmental disabilities (supported employees). She launched the City of Seattle’s award-winning Supported Employment program from scratch in 1998. As a result of her groundbreaking work as an “embedded” job developer, the City of Seattle now employs over 100 supported employees in 17 city departments. Before her work with the City of Seattle, she worked in the non-profit industry providing employment-support services to people with significant disabilities and their employers.

Ms. Weldon’s innovative practices have become a model that both private and public employers across the nation are working to duplicate. She has a knack for identifying unmet business needs and matching those needs with the skill sets of people with significant disabilities. Ms. Weldon has created win-win business solutions ­and inclusive workplaces for over 25 years. She is also the recipient of numerous “best practice” awards, and under her leadership, the City of Seattle has been a four-time recipient of the Washington state Governor’s award for “Employer of the Year”.  Ms. Weldon inspires new ways of thinking about obstacles to employment, resulting in the inclusion of people traditionally excluded from workplaces.

Ms. Weldon has presented numerous workshops and trainings for national and international conferences.  Recently she was the keynote speaker for conferences at the University of San Francisco (UCSF), the University of South Dakota (School of Medicine), Amplify Conference in Portland, OR, and many more. 


Laura Couts is the Office Manager with Puget Sound Personnel, Inc. Ms. Couts has over 15 years of experience in helping adults with developmental/intellectual disabilities find gainful employment in their community.  Laura works closely with companies to help identify rewarding jobs for qualified candidates. Her key role is to partner with employers to find potential positions within each company. She also performs community based assessments to identify the skills of each participant, and then matches the right job with the right candidate.


Pilar Lopez, is the Associate Dean for the Occupational and Life Skills (OLS) Program at Bellevue College. Ms. Lopez has over 19 years of experience working with people with disabilities in addition to over ten years in human resources management. She received her Master’s degree in Human Resources Management from Autonoma University of Madrid, Spain.

In the last 10 years, Pilar has worked in the areas of Supported Employment and Higher Education of Adults with disabilities. She has created multiple partnerships with businesses in the Puget Sound Area that have led to employment or education of adults with disabilities. 


Randy Sheppard serves as Director of Employee Relations – America West, where he leads a team of more than 300 HR professionals. He is responsible for driving the competitiveness of The Boeing Company via the delivery of highly efficient HR processes that enable increased quality and productivity, ensuring the company's enterprise strategy of 'Operate as One Boeing, Build Strength on Strength, and Sharpen and Accelerate to Win,' is advanced.

Most recently, Sheppard completed a two year assignment as HR Director for Boeing Commercial Airplanes 787 Operations in Charleston, South Carolina. In this role, he was responsible for growing an organization of leaders that exemplify excellence, dedication and unparalleled service to the business. Sheppard was particularly focused on driving leadership effectiveness, performance efficiencies and accountability at all levels of the organization.

With more than 18 years of progressive and diverse HR experience, Sheppard has served in Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Boeing Defense, Space and Security, Corporate HR, Compensation and Benefits, and Employee Relations. In his Corporate role, Sheppard served as Chief of Staff to the Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Administration and Vice President of Corporate and SSG Human Resources. He began his career at Boeing in 2000 as an HR generalist in Macon, Ga., supporting Boeing Defense, Space and Security on the C-17 program.

Sheppard is a certified Professional in Human Resources (PHR), a graduate of Mercer University and the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations and is a national member of The Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM).


Scott Bellman currently serves as the Associate Director of Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Washington's Center for Neurotechnology, and as program manager at the Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology (DO-IT) Center at the University of Washington. His interests include the career development of students with disabilities, transition to college, and access to challenging postsecondary programs and STEM careers. 

Wally Tablit has served as the VP of Mission Services for AtWork! since August of 2016.  In his short tenure with AtWork!, Wally has led teams to greater outcomes in the organizations history, and opened a Spokane branch. His over 22-year career in the disability service arena as either a Director or Manager has seen him lead many organizations to great employment outcomes for individuals and their families, as well as providing training and consulting to both local and national organizations and entities who champion disability rights and equity. In addition, he is known as a strong collaborator and colleague among employment providers.  Wally’s enduring passion to cultivate and build highly efficient teams fuels his efforts to nurture and mentor the next generation of leaders. Wally is the current Co-President of WA APSE (Association of People Supporting Employment First), and was elected to the National Board of APSE in 2017.  

Waiting List:

If the registration deadline has passed, you are welcome to arrive at the venue at 7:00 AM and enter your name on the waiting list. We will accommodate walk-ins whenever space is available. The onsite registration fee is $100 for LWHRA members and $115 for non-members. Note that only the regular meal is available to walk-ins, and the fee must be paid on site.

Refund Policy:

LLWHRA sets its registration fees as low as possible in order to make educational opportunities widely available. We will gladly issue refunds for event registrations that are canceled before the registration deadline. Because we need to make venue arrangements and order refreshments in advance, we are unable to refund registration fees after the deadline. No-shows who have registered but not paid in advance will be billed. 


Substitutions and cancellations must be submitted by email to [email protected]