Working Together to Advance Disability Inclusion in the Business Community

By Jenny Lay-Flurrie, Chief Accessibility Officer We recently attended the 20th Annual U.S. Business Leadership Network (USBLN) National Conference in Orlando. It was truly an amazing week with over 1,200 people from across the U.S. corporate sector coming together to empower the business community to create inclusive workplaces that value people with disabilities. This year, Microsoft…


Disability Inclusion at Microsoft: A Personal Journey – Joey Chemis

“When you work at Microsoft, you get to be at the forefront of cutting-edge technology,” said Joey Chemis, a data scientist at Microsoft Worldwide Operations. Joey joined Microsoft through the Autism Hiring Program, designed to empower people with autism and help them demonstrate their skills and potential to hiring managers at the company. As Joey…


Disability Inclusion at Microsoft: A Personal Journey – Swetha Machanavajhala

“To understand the customer’s point of view, we need to have a diverse population at Microsoft,” noted Swetha Machanavajhala, software engineer. “We need to have more women working, more people of different abilities working, so we create an awareness within Microsoft, first, and then we take our learning to the world.” At Microsoft, Swetha uses…


Disability Inclusion at Microsoft: A Personal Journey – Amos Miller

“Working in an organization like Microsoft, it’s like working in a toy store,” said Amos Miller, a product strategist with Microsoft’s Artificial Intelligence and Research team. “You basically have everything around you to help you with what you want to do.” When Amos considered joining Microsoft a decade ago, he was looking for a role…


Disability Inclusion at Microsoft: A Personal Journey – Jessica Rafuse

“We need diversity! We need people who are diverse in abilities, diverse in thoughts,” said Jessica Rafuse, program manager with Microsoft Accessibility, and an employment attorney by trade. “It really makes all of us better to learn from those who aren’t necessarily as like-minded as we are.” Jessica is passionate about technology and the potential…


Businesses Focus on Empowering People with Disabilities at Upcoming USBLN Conference

People with disabilities are a strength and their inclusion in the fabric of the company is a strategic imperative. These are all words that you’ve heard and seen on the Accessibility Blog in recent months and years: we’re becoming a bit of a scratched record on the subject! While the goal of building a diverse work culture that embraces…


From Hack to Product, Microsoft Empowers People with Eye Control for Windows 10

Sometimes, a simple email can lead to a life-changing breakthrough. In 2014, former NFL player Steve Gleason, who has a neuromuscular disease called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), sent an email to Microsoft, challenging employees at the company’s first hackathon. Steve’s ask to this diverse array of thinkers, doers and dreamers was to develop technology that…


Redmond, Around the World, and Back: Our Summer Trip Report

By Jessica Rafuse, NGO Program Manager, Accessibility, Corporate & External Legal Affairs  Over the last month, members of the Microsoft Accessibility Team traveled to places like Washington D.C., London, Nevada and Florida to spend time with the folks that help make our products more accessible: people with disabilities. We learned so much from you along…


Next Stop on our Accessibility Journey: One Week

By Jenny Lay-Flurrie, Chief Accessibility Officer Today we kick off the 4th annual One Week hackathon event at Microsoft! In addition to showcasing new technologies, this employee event brings together people from around the world for a massive 3-day hackathon. The purpose is to tap into everyone’s creative spirit and find tech solutions for all kinds of…


Seeing AI App is Now Available in the iOS app store

Seeing AI, a free app that narrates the world around you, is available now to iOS customers in the United States, Canada, India, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Singapore. Designed for the blind and low vision community, this ongoing research project harnesses the power of artificial intelligence to open up the visual world and describe…