EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH HANNAH OLSON
EMPOWERMENT THROUGH EMPLOYMENT No one should ever have to decide between their health and their work ambitions. Now, they don’t have to. The team at Chronically Capable is committed to changing the workplace for good. Disabled, female and LGBTQ owned, Chronically Capable was founded by Hannah Olson who serves as the CEO. A bridge has been built to infinite possibilities for equality when it comes to hiring. For those looking to work and those looking to hire, Chronically Capable serves both with ingenuity and integrity.
Allié: You had to leave your dream job due to the aggressive treatment schedule you required for Lyme disease. While many would lose hope, you opted to create hope not only for yourself but first and foremost for others. You started Chronically Capable. Where did you start? Where are you now? And where are you headed?
“…we have become the largest global community of chronically ill and disabled applicants with more than 60,000 members in 152 countries worldwide.”
Hannah: I founded this business after my own personal experience navigating the traditional workplace while living with an invisible disability. I saw first-hand the obstacles disabled individuals face in the typical workplace environment, and how difficult it is to find jobs uniquely fit for each individual’s circumstances. From that point on, I became determined to build the first tech-forward employment solution for leading businesses and organizations to hire top disabled talent at scale.
We launched Chronically Capable in February 2020, right at the beginning of the pandemic. Since launching less than two years ago, we have become the largest global community of chronically ill and disabled applicants with more than 60,000 members in 152 countries worldwide. Most importantly, we’ve placed thousands of job seekers into meaningful careers and begun to change the mindsets of major organizations. As we continue to grow, we’re excited about expanding our technology and the rate at which we’re placing job seekers into positions. COVID really ignited the conversation about disability inclusion and moving beyond the pandemic, we hope to be at the forefront, helping businesses across the country to take the lead in rolling out digital-first, remote workplace plans that are inclusive of all Americans.
Allié: When it comes to the term ‘disability’, it is often invisible and paired with a need for ‘accessibility’. It’s not just access to care or resources that’s needed. It’s access to jobs. Of the more than 133 million Americans who suffer from a chronic illness, many are highly qualified. Yet, despite their education, talent and ability, they have difficulty securing work. How do we remove disability as a barrier to employment?
Hannah: Removing disability as a barrier requires education on the employer-front. Not only is there a huge lack of awareness, but hiring managers often have bias towards people with illnesses and disabilities while making hiring decisions. That’s why our approach at Chronically Capable has been to really start a movement around disability inclusion. We need to change perceptions and show the unique capabilities and expertise that this community brings to workplaces. We have structured Chronically Capable not just as a job board, but as a hub for employers to educate and interact with the chronic illness and disability community. 97 AWARENOW / THE SOURCE EDITION