Empowered Employment

For Disability Employment Awareness Month, The Disability Network and The Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce have partnered to host a week of talks and workshops celebrating disability diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
Panel and Workshop Schedule

Monday, October 12 | Empowered Employees

10 - 11 AM
Register for panel

(Available via Zoom and live streaming)

To kick-off our week-long series for Disability Employment Awareness Month, we are hosting a panel discussion led by employees with disabilities who will be discussing employer accommodations. Gain insight into what it was like to seek, get, and keep a job for these empowered employees.

Tuesday, October 13 | Empowered Employers

10 - 11 AM

Register for panel

(Available via Zoom and live streaming)

Join leaders from Meijer, Kroger, MTA-Flint, Genesee Packaging and the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce for a panel discussion on employing beyond bias. They will share stories of success in hiring persons with varying abilities and backgrounds, and strategies for organizations who would like to replicate or create their own empowered workforce.

Wednesday, October 14 | Dave Rendall, Author of Freak Factor and Pink Goldfish

10 - 11 AM

Register for workshop

(Closed Zoom; there will not be a live stream available)

Dave Rendall returns to Flint & Genesee! Whether it’s your first time with Dave or your 20th, you’ll gain deeper insight into your and your organization's strengths and ways to maximize weaknesses. We’ll be moving beyond our biases to see the true potential of people and our organizations.

Thursday, October 15 | Keynote by Rob Vallentine & presentation of the EMPOWER award

10 - 11 AM

Register for keynote and EMPOWER awards

(Available via Zoom and live streaming; registration coming soon)

Our week-long series ends with presentation of The Disability Network’s EMPOWER award and a keynote from Rob Vallentine, former vice-president at The Dow Chemical Company and current executive coach for Creating Our Best, a company focused on maximizing organizational strength through personal development.

Keynote: Rob Vallentine

Rob is on a mission to turn personal passion into purpose – to create positive impact in our world.  While his work and community service have enabled progress and lasting improvement, he is most proud of his roles as father to his four children and partner to his wife. Each member of his family has, in their own way, created positive social change at home and at work, advancing LGBTQ, mental health, autism and youth empowerment.

Rob is currently serving as an executive in residence for Saginaw Valley State University. Rob works closely with the President’s staff , University Communications, SVSU Foundation and Alumni Relations to further advance the SVSU experience on campus and in the community. Rob has also been serving as the chair of the re-opening team and coordinating COVID-19 response efforts for the University.

An employee of Dow for more than 30 years, Rob began his career in sales and then moved to marketing and public affairs.  He then served as president of the Dow Company Foundation, providing strategic direction for Dow's philanthropic priorities around the world. He managed implementation of the Foundation’s $40 million annual charitable contributions, with a keen commitment to education, sustainability and community development.

Prior to Dow, Rob worked in Student Affairs at Drake University for four years serving as complex director, hall director and staff advisor for Student Volunteerism.  Rob also served as an adjunct professor for Davenport University.

Over the last several years, Rob has become a community advocate, working tirelessly to break the stigma of mental health by sharing his own story of hope, healing and growth with thousands of people.  He is a certified trainer for the SafeTALK Suicide Prevention Program and Mental Health First Aid. He serves on the National Advisory Board for the University of Michigan Depression Center and the National Advisory Council for the National Network of Depression Centers.


Rob is as a teaching fellow and executive advisor for Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship.  Rob also serves on the Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance Board of Directors and is a community director for Chemical Bank. He has previously served on other boards including United Way of Midland County, Delta College Foundation, Council of Michigan Foundations, Chemical Educational Foundation, Detroit Economic Club and Hidden Harvest.


Rob earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and a master’s degree in business administration from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.

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The Disability Network | 3600 S Dort Hwy Ste 54 | Flint, MI | 48507 | 810-742-1800

© 2019 by The Disability Network.