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Booz Allen Hamilton: 2016 Employee of the Year has Hidden Disabilities

Rockville, Md., Oct. 17 – For Eli Hinson, a Booz Allen Hamilton (BAH) Associate who has dyslexia and a hearing impairment, “having a disability doesn’t mean you can’t reach for the stars.”

“Don’t let your disability stop you from doing what you enjoy whether it’s a career or whether it’s a hobby,” said Hinson.

Hinson was named 2016 employee of the year, an award that recognizes “the professional and personal achievements of outstanding individuals with disabilities.”

“I’m proud to work for a firm that supports all its employees and provides them with the tools and environment they need for success,” said Hinson.

Hinson leads the management consulting firm’s diverseAbility forum, which was created to educate and build awareness for all employees on disability-related issues in the workplace. She is a member of BAH’s section 508 Community of Practice (CoP), which endorses the firm’s inclusion initiatives, as well as a dynamic presenter on BAH’s Disability Mentoring Day.

Hinson is supported by BAH’s founding principles to meet her full potential while providing the best possible products and services to clients. BAH also supports its employees when their aspirations take them elsewhere.

David Egan is a former BAH Distribution Clerk who has Down syndrome.

“I am treated like other employees at BAH,” Egan said. “I receive benefits, time off and an annual 360 degrees assessment like everyone else. I go to compulsory training and participate in All Hands meetings, and corporate events. The company cares about my personal and professional development.”

Egan seated behind a table with other panelists, with bottles of water and nameplates in front

Egan speaking at the 2011 Alliance for Full Participation Summit, along with Randy Neal who works on inclusion at Walmart

After 14 years of service at BAH and with a recommendation from Ralph W. Shrader, BAH Chairman of the Board, Egan pursued and got his dream job as a Public Policy Fellow with the Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation as an aide to the House of Representatives Ways & Means Committee in the U.S. Congress. The Kennedy Fellowships enable its participants to learn how federal legislation is initiated, developed, and passed by the Congress, as well as how programs are administered and regulations promulgated by federal agencies. At the same time, they give government leaders and opportunity to see the talents and dedication of workers with disabilities first-hand.

“I want to cut through partisanship and to find ways for people like me to be contributing members of our society,” Egan said. “I hope that I am a reminder on the Hill that people with intellectual disabilities matter and can contribute.”

RespectAbility’s campaign #RespectTheAbility highlights companies like Booz Allen Hamilton that recognize and implement best practices for their employees, regardless of their disability.

BAH is one of 19 companies who scored 100 on the first annual Disability Equality Index Survey, a joint initiative of the American Association of People with Disabilities and the U.S. Business Leadership Network. They remained at the top in both 2016 and 2017. This transparent tool offers businesses the opportunity for an objective assessment of their overall disability inclusion policies and practices.

“Excellent client service—our highest calling—takes the best people from all walks of life to solve our clients’ toughest problems. Thus, the principles and practices of diversity and inclusion are woven into every aspect of how we operate,” Shrader said.

About RespectAbility

RespectAbility is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that fights stigmas and advances opportunities for people with disabilities. We understand we are a stronger community when we live up to our values – when we are welcoming, diverse, moral and respect one another. We work with entertainment, policy makers, educators, self-advocates, nonprofits, employers, faith-based organizations, philanthropists, journalists and online media to fight stigmas and advance opportunities for people with disabilities. Led by people with disabilities and those who love them, we know that people with disabilities and their families have the same hopes and dreams as everyone else, even if they face different challenges. We do not lobby; we educate. Our free tools and factual resources inform so people with disabilities can achieve the education, training, jobs, security and good health that everyone needs and deserves. Learn more:

Meet the Author

Lauren Appelbaum
Lauren Appelbaum

Lauren Appelbaum is the Vice President, Communications, of RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for and with people with disabilities, and managing editor of The RespectAbility Report, a publication at the intersection of disability and politics. Previously she was a digital researcher with the NBC News political unit. As an individual with an acquired invisible disability - Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy - she writes about the intersection of disability, employment, Hollywood and politics. From entertainment professionals to presidential campaigns, journalists to philanthropists, she conducts trainings on the why and how to be more inclusive and accessible. Behind the scenes in the entertainment industry, Appelbaum engages decision makers and creatives to improve the quality and number of authentic, diverse and inclusive presentations of people with disabilities on TV and film so audiences can see people with disabilities as vital contributors in America and around the world. She and her team have consulted on projects with Amazon, Disney/ABC Television, NBCUniversal, Netflix, and The Walt Disney Studios, among others. Appelbaum also enriches the pool of disabled talent in Hollywood by nurturing and connecting them to those who can assist with their careers, both on the creative and business sides of the industry. She is the author of The Hollywood Disability Inclusion Toolkit, which was created to help entertainment professionals to be as inclusive of people with disabilities as possible, and the creator of an innovative Lab Program for entertainment professionals with disabilities working behind the camera. To reach her, email

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