LAINIE ISHBIA | DISABILITY ACTIVIST & ENTREPRENEUR

Many people think having a “disability” means you require a wheelchair or walker. But roughly 10 percent of the approximately 61 million adults in the US who have some form of disability suffer from “invisible” disabilities such as chronic pain and illness, genetic disorders, diabetes, or fibromyalgia. They often encounter judgement, anger, and aggression from strangers who presume they are misusing resources meant for the “visibly disabled.” Likewise, by routinely targeting people with disabilities with “one size fits all” policies and marketing campaigns, corporations are excluding, stereotyping, or misrepresenting what living with disability really looks like.

As an entrepreneur and disability advocate, Lainie Ishbia believes broadening our understanding of disability isn’t just a moral and ethical imperative — it’s also good business. People with disabilities are the largest and fastest growing minority in the world. By breaking down barriers and providing job accommodations, employers can expand opportunities within the workforce. By designing products, services, and content that meet the needs of all people, companies actually end up making better products and services for everyone. Acknowledging the presence and validity of invisible disabilities is a key component of creating a more equitable society for all.
Lainie Ishbia

Lainie Ishbia is a writer, entrepreneur, and disability advocate born with a rare and progressive neuromuscular disorder called Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease (CMT).
After receiving a master of social work degree from the University of Michigan, Lainie spent most of her 30+ year career specializing in adolescent girls and women’s self-esteem and body image issues. In 2017, Lainie founded the lifestyle and fashion brand Trend-Able, which provides adaptive fashion and other tools for people living with disabilities so they can look and feel their best. Lainie is also the co-creator of the Embrace It Podcast and the EmBrace It Workshop Series. She has partnered with numerous nonprofits, businesses, and Fortune 500 companies to train employees on disability-related communication and to eradicate negative stereotypes of people with disabilities in the workplace.