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Recap of 2014 Disability:IN Connecticut (now Disability:IN Connecticut) Programming

Posted in: Employers

3/24/2014 – Joe Wendover Accepts Disability:IN Connecticut Board Presidency

2014 began on a very positive note with the announcement that Joe Wendover of Walgreens had been elected to the position of Board President for the Connecticut Business Leadership Network (now Disability:IN Connecticut). Joe filled the role previously held by Regina Stankaitis of Travelers. Reggie’s successful tenure as Board President laid the foundation for great things to come.

At the time, Joe Wendover was Outreach Manager for the Walgreen’s Connecticut Distribution Center where he was directly responsible for an initiative to recruit, hire, and retain individuals with disabilities in the company’s workforce. With over ten year’s experience, he is an expert in how behaviors and attitudes can be improved through implementing best practices for hiring, training programs, and feedback systems. He has worked with a variety of clients representing the academic, not-for-profit, and for-profit sector. Since joining Walgreens, in 2008, Joe successfully surpassed their hiring goal and created a workforce where over one third of the workers are people with disabilities. This effort was subsequently expanded and is, to this day, a corporate-wide initiative being carried over into the company’s retail stores. Joe’s interests center on individual assessment, training and development, work/life balance, motivation, and organizational climate. Joe has also served on the Board of Directors Community Enterprises Inc.

Joe has always played an active role on the Disability:IN Connecticut board and has been a source of support to Disability:IN Connecticut’s members as they have worked to diversify their companies by hiring people with disabilities. His track record of success in hiring people with disabilities, his leadership skills, positive attitude and creative energy brought Disability:IN Connecticut to the next level with support of members in reaching their disability diversity goals.

8/28/2014 – Disability:IN Connecticut’s First Annual Best Practices and Brew Party, and Media Coverage!

Thomas Hooker Brewery in Bloomfield was the location for a fun evening (5pm start) of learning. The relaxed atmosphere provided a great environment to share best practices, enjoy the opportunity to network with other Disability:IN Connecticut members while experiencing a beer tasting at a great local brewery. Participants were able to taste great “Watermelon Ale” cupcakes. The exchange of knowledge and networking were highlights of the evening.

The event was covered in the Hartford Courant:

Published in the Hartford Courant August 26, 2014 By STEVEN GOODE,

BLOOMFIELD — Beer and business.

That’s the theme of Thursday’s Best Practices and Brew Party at the Thomas Hooker Brewery in Bloomfield. The event is sponsored by the Connecticut Business Leadership Network, a coalition of more than 250 members and businesses whose goal is to increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities. The organization works with businesses, government and community service agencies to change attitudes about hiring people with disabilities. Curt Cameron, owner of Hooker Brewery, said his company — which employes about 10 people with disabilities from Hartford-based Oak Hill — is a supporter of integrating the workforce. “We’ve seen how well it’s worked at our location,” Cameron said. “It can work at others as well.”

Cameron said his company was hosting the event to inspire more businesses to get on board. “We meet with employers who are interested in diversifying their work force and bringing diversity full circle,” said Sharon Denson, director of business partnerships and outreach for the Connecticut Business Leadership Network. Denson said the organization usually makes its pitch to prospective partners during the workday, which means that people are usually in a rush to get back to work. This time they’ve decided on something different. “It’s a less formal setting that promotes networking,” she said.

Joe Wendover, president of Disability:IN Connecticut and outreach relations manager for the Walgreens Distribution Center in Windsor, agreed. “We’re still doing the business part, but it’s also fun,” Wendover said. “People can relax and talk about some important things, like hiring people with disabilities.” Wendover’s Windsor facility boasts a workforce that includes 250 disabled employees, who make up 47 percent of the workforce.

For information about Thursday’s event call 860-561-1232 or email

10/15/2014 – Disability:IN Connecticut Presents Randy Lewis, Former Senior V.P. of Walgreens 

Disability:IN Connecticut presented Randy Lewis, former Sr. Vice President of Walgreens as the keynote speaker at its quarterly meeting, Wednesday, October 15, 2014 from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at Northeast Utilities, 107 Selden Street, Berlin, CT.  Mr. Lewis is known for changing the face of disability employment by creating a program to hire people with disabilities at Walgreens’ Distribution Centers. Randy Lewis was inspired by his son who is on the autism spectrum and the lack of opportunities available to him for a productive future. As Senior Vice President of Walgreens, Peace Corps volunteer, Fortune 50 executive and accidental advocate, he led Walgreens’ logistics division for sixteen years as the chain grew from 1,500 to 8,000 stores. Randy introduced an inclusive model in Walgreens distribution centers that resulted in ten percent of its workforce consisting of people with disabilities who are held to the same standards as those without disabilities. Its success has changed the lives of thousands with and without disabilities and is serving as a model for other employers in the U.S and abroad.

Randy Lewis’ highly reviewed book entitled “No Greatness Without Goodness” speaks about his experience as the father of a child on the autism spectrum and how it drove him to create the “Walgreens Model” for hiring people with disabilities at Walgreens.

12/18/2014 – Joe Wendover, Disability:IN Connecticut’s Board President Appointed to State Rehabilitation Council (SRC)

Joe Wendover, Board President of Disability:IN Connecticut was appointed to the State Rehabilitation Council.  The State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) is the federally mandated oversight council for the State of Connecticut, Department of Rehabilitation Services.  The Department of Rehabilitation Services  is Connecticut’s is a provider of vocational rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities in the state of Connecticut.

As a member of the SRC, Joe represents the interests of businesses as an influential and positive voice helping to ensure that the Department of Rehabilitation Services is aware of the employment needs of businesses. Joe explained the value of his role on the Council in the opportunity to partner with DORS to increase their successful outcomes as they work to increase employment among people with disabilities.  Joe extended his influence with his role on SRC which coincides with his role at Walgreens and his board presidency at Disability:IN Connecticut.