Last Updated on October 31, 2023 by Robert C. Hoopes
Title: MBA Students Champion Disability Inclusion with New Advocacy Group
Landon Hollingsworth and Teresa Danso-Danquah, MBA students from Harvard Business School, have taken initiative and formed the Disability Advocacy and Affinity Group (DAAG) to promote inclusion and access for individuals with disabilities. Recognizing the challenges and strengths associated with their own disabilities, Hollingsworth and Danso-Danquah emphasize the importance of celebrating disability as an integral part of identity.
In a recent discussion, the MBA students highlighted the prevalence of disabilities, revealing that 1 in 4 people currently live with a disability. Hollingsworth, who faces dyslexia and ADHD, shared his personal experiences, acknowledging that reading and processing written information take him more time compared to others. Additionally, Danso-Danquah, who became an advocate for her sister with an intellectual disability, discovered her own mental illnesses and physical disabilities along the way.
Currently, the DAAG comprises approximately 50 members, including allies, but the group aims to significantly increase their numbers in order to support more individuals with disabilities within the HBS community. The central objective of the group is to establish a safe space where those with disabilities can openly discuss their experiences and identities without fear or discomfort.
It is the group’s belief that businesses should recognize individuals with disabilities as valuable assets and actively work towards dismantling physical and non-physical barriers that hinder access. Both Hollingsworth and Danso-Danquah stress that people with disabilities can thrive in high-powered, fast-paced jobs and should be given the opportunity to excel and lead.
Advocating for universal design, which takes into account the needs of a wide range of individuals, not just those with disabilities, is another key principle championed by the DAAG. By creating products and environments that cater to a diverse population, society can ensure that everyone has equal access and opportunity.
For Hollingsworth, his decision to pursue an MBA at Harvard also stemmed from a desire to learn how to apply business principles to the non-profit and social sectors to drive impactful change. On the other hand, Danso-Danquah views her time at HBS and the challenges she faces as part of a lifelong journey towards healing. She plans to emerge as a stronger advocate after graduation, equipped with the knowledge and skills to make a difference.
With the formation of the Disability Advocacy and Affinity Group, these MBA students are paving the way for a more inclusive and accessible future, proving that individuals with disabilities deserve equal opportunities to succeed and lead in all aspects of life.