President & CEOCompany: Disability Rights Advocates
Role: Guest Speaker
2022 Conference Session:
Day 2 General Session: Solving for X by identifying I
Kathy Martinez, an internationally recognized and disability rights leader, joined Disability Rights Advocates as President/CEO in March 2021 after having spent six years as SVP, Head of Disability and Accessibility Strategy for Wells Fargo. While with Wells Fargo, Kathy helped to weave disability into the overall diversity agenda to expand the bank’s capabilities and programs to better serve both employees and customers with disabilities. Previously, she served as Assistant Secretary of The Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) at the U.S. Department of Labor.
Martinez led ODEP in putting policy priorities into practice through several innovative grant programs. These include Add Us In, through which a nationwide consortia worked to increase the capacity of small businesses to employ people with disabilities. The grant program also included the Employment First State Leadership Mentor Program, through which several states received support to promote community-based, integrated employment as the primary outcome for people with significant disabilities. She is currently serving on the board of The American Association of People with Disabilities and has served on the boards of The National Council on Disability, the U.S. Institute of Peace, and the State Department’s advisory committee on disability and foreign policy.
A graduate of San Francisco State University, Martinez speaks and publishes on a wide array of topics related to disability employment, including the emergence of disability as an essential component of workplace diversity and inclusion and the importance of expectation in ensuring youth with disabilities grow up with an assumption of work—a topic on which Martinez, who herself was born blind, offers compelling and personal perspective.