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RespectAbility’s National Disability Speakers Bureau

Khadija Bari walking down a street holding a white cane, smiling

Khadija Bari
Photo courtesy of Rick Guidotti, Positive Exposure 109

Khadija Bari (she, her) is the Student Career Coordinator in the Workforce Development department at VISIONS/Services for the Blind & Visually Impaired. VISIONS is a nonprofit rehabilitation and social service organization whose purpose is to develop and implement programs to assist people of all ages who are blind or visually impaired to lead independent and active lives in their homes and communities.

Bari lives in Queens, New York with her husband, stepdaughter and their dog. Bari was born in Pakistan and immigrated to the United States at the age of 22 with her parents and younger brother. It is then that she learned she had a disability and was diagnosed as being legally blind. Bari wrote a personal reflection that RespectAbility published during Women’s HERstory Month in 2020.

Bari earned her Master’s degree in Economics from Hunter College of the City University of New York. She then began her career at Queens College of the City University of New York, working with first-generation college students in their learning in freshmen and sophomore Algebra and Calculus courses. The next step in her career advancement led her to VISIONS, switching her focus to the professional development of college students with visual impairments and other disabilities, and she partners with companies to foster inclusivity in their workplace.

Bari has a passion for discovering and promoting talent to develop an open and inclusive environment within organizations. In her current role, she works with individuals with disabilities in the tri-state area in helping them develop professionally and obtain internships and employment relevant to their education, skills and interests. On the business development side of her role, she promotes the VISIONS’ brand and values by connecting with new employers and maintaining strong relationships with existing HR business partners, educating them about the significance of diversity and inclusion in the workforce, and ways to accommodate their employees with disabilities. Simultaneously, she researches and partners with organizations that work with and engage diversity and inclusion experts, at an international and local level, to help them hire the most capable and diversified pools of jobseekers. It is during this research that Bari came to know of RespectAbility and its efforts. After attending several RespectAbility events and trainings, Bari was selected to participate in its Women’s Speakers Bureau: NYC.

In her spare time, Bari practices Seido karate, and enjoys spending time with friends and family. She loves the smell of freshly mowed grass and is a firm believer that “you can never have too much chocolate.”

About RespectAbility’s National Disability Speakers Bureau

RespectAbility’s National Disability Speakers Bureau offers diverse speakers with disabilities to teach about disability inclusion; and/or to offer their expertise in an array of topics, ranging from Art and Entertainment to Entrepreneurship, Education, Finance, Law, Psychology, Religion (of many faiths) and every vocation in between. Our Speakers Bureau and its divisions are expanding. If this is of interest to you or you know a professional with a visible or nonvisible disability who might be interested, you (or she/he/they) can email Speakers@RespectAbility.org.

Meet the Author

Eric Ascher
Eric Ascher

Eric Ascher is the Communications Associate for RespectAbility. He is responsible for supporting RespectAbility’s Vice President, Communications in developing and implementing advocacy efforts and communications of various types. Ascher manages RespectAbility’s social media channels, website and emails; organizes and develops webinars; and supervises Communications Fellows.

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