Marking Our Journey: Disability Workplace Inclusion

27. March 2024

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PCG’s Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), Sophia Thwaites, recently launched a new internal initiative to increase awareness of and engagement in organizational efforts to advance a diverse, inclusive, and engaged workforce culture. Marking Our DEI Journey is a new quarterly letter of reflection to employees that Sophia introduced earlier this quarter to encourage a dialogue around the Office of DEI’s key strategic priority areas, like Disability Workplace Inclusion, which was the focus of her first letter to the PCG community. Our Corporate Communications team connected with Sophia at the beginning of March—which also happens to be Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month—to learn more about Disability Workplace Inclusion.

Q: First off, what is Disability Workplace Inclusion?

Sophia: I’m going to borrow the Job Accommodation Network’s (JAN) definition of workplace disability inclusion: this is the practice of creating an employment environment where applicants, candidates, and employees with disabilities have access to the same tools, workplace benefits, and opportunities for development and advancement as people without disabilities.[1]

Q: Why is this a strategic priority for your office and the firm?

Sophia: The business benefits of disability inclusion have been well documented with recent research indicating just how much disability workplace inclusion programs can positively impact an organization’s bottom line. Equally important is their effect on an organization’s culture and employee experience: surges in innovation, higher engagement levels, greater satisfaction, and increased retention, to name a few.[2] For me personally, I’m very mindful of the fact that when we practice inclusivity, everyone benefits.

Q: You mentioned this is personal for you: can you elaborate on that a bit?

Sophia: Yes, of course. Early in my career, I was a middle school social studies teacher with five diverse classes, two of which were inclusion classes. For the latter, I had the opportunity to work closely with a special education teacher to meticulously design and execute lesson plans that met the needs of all learners in the classroom.

Very quickly, I noticed a remarkable transformation in classroom dynamics: students in my inclusion classes showed greater engagement and enjoyment in the lessons as well as a deeper understanding of the concepts being taught. When compared to the experience of students in my general education classes, the differences were stark. This led me to adapt my standard instruction to align with the principles and approaches used in my inclusion classes. Of course, doing so required me to be more intentional and invest more time in lesson planning, but this was an initial investment that was well worth the effort as it led to significant positive outcomes for my general education students.

Since then, I’ve found this experience in inclusive design to be consistent in other areas of my personal and professional life.

Q: So, is your passion for inclusivity born from your time as a teacher?

Sophia: Teaching certainly contributed, but I suppose it’s been a lifelong journey.  This dynamic, as well as my experience teaching, have shaped the lens through which I approach my role as PCG’s first Director of DEI. When we embrace and empower others who are different, when we truly welcome diverse perspectives, unique experiences, and new ways of thinking, we can achieve incredible outcomes. It’s exciting.

Q: Considering disability workplace inclusion is the focus of your first quarterly letter to the PCG community, could you share some specific examples that highlight PCG’s commitment to disability inclusion?

Sophia: Sure. We are in the early stages of our disability inclusion journey at PCG, but some of the ways we’re working to make progress include establishing a Disability Workplace Inclusion Committee, participating in the national Disability Equality Index (DEI)[3], implementing disability focused recruitment efforts, providing a digital accessibility executive debrief to our senior leadership group, volunteering as mentors for the Disability:IN Next Gen Leadership Program , and launching a neurodiversity internship program to name a few.

We’ve made strides but still have many mile markers ahead of us on the journey. In 2022, when PCG first engaged in the DEI – considered the top benchmarking tool for disability workplace inclusion – we received a score of only 40 out of 100. Clearly there was a lot we needed to do better. And so, we got to work. We analyzed our performance across each category measured by the Index and developed a robust and ambitious roadmap for continuous improvement that we’ve begun to execute. I’m pleased to say that our 2023 DEI scores showed notable progress: we received a score of 80, a significant jump of 40 points, earning us the distinction of “Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion” along with other top-scoring companies [4].

Q: Before we let you go, is there anything else you’d like to mention?

Sophia: What this really comes down to for me is that disability inclusion supports us all as individuals in many ways, resulting in more robust products and environments. This, in turn, helps us cultivate a more inclusive team and corporate culture. For instance, consider things like curb cuts: initially designed for individuals who use wheelchairs and those with visual impairments, curb cuts have evolved into an innovation appreciated by a much broader spectrum of individuals. From parents pushing strollers to skateboarders and cyclists, their utility extends far beyond their original purpose. Similarly, closed captioning, originally developed for those with hearing impairments, has become a standard practice benefiting diverse audiences. Whether it’s individual with processing delays, watching shows in noisy environments, or simply preferring not to miss any dialog, closed captions serve a multitude of purposes.

Learn More about PCG’s Commitment to Fostering an Inclusive Company Culture

Public Consulting Group Recognized as a “Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion”


Explore career opportunities and life at PCG on our career website here.

[1] Job Accommodation Network (JAN). (2017). “The JAN Workplace Accommodation Toolkit.” Retrieved from:
[2] Accenture (2023). “The Disability Inclusion Imperative.” Retrieved from:
[3]Originally developed as a joint initiative of the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), the nation’s largest disability rights organization, and Disability:IN, the global business disability inclusion network, to collectively advance the inclusion of people with disabilities. The organizations are complimentary and bring unique strengths that make the project relevant and credible to corporations and the disability community.
The Disability Equality Index is an objective, reflective, forward-thinking, and confidential disability rating tool designed to assist business in advancing inclusion practices. It is a comprehensive benchmark that helps companies build a roadmap of measurable, tangible actions across five scored categories: Culture & Leadership, Enterprise-Wide Access, Employment Practices, Community Engagement, and Supplier Diversity. Participating companies receive a score, on a scale of zero (0) to 100, with those scoring 80 or higher earning the distinction of “Best Places to Work for Disability Inclusion” for the benchmark year. 
[4]Important Note: A score of 100 does not mean to convey “perfection.” AAPD and Disability: IN recognize there is no single best way to practice inclusion, and that some practices may be more effective for some companies or industries than others. A score of 100 on the DEI simply means that a company adheres to many of the numerous leading disability inclusion practices featured in the DEI, but there’s still room for improvement.