Whenever, I think of Annie Sullivan and the miraculous work she did with Helen Keller, I think of Joyce Bender. I don’t know how many decades I have known Joyce Bender. At least 3 and maybe 4. In my opinion, she is a miracle worker. She is one of the best, most persistent and strongest advocate working to advance opportunities for people with disabilities that I have had the pleasure to know. Everyone I know who knows her has the highest regard for her achievements in the disability arena and for the marvelous person that she is.
Bender is the founder and CEO of Bender Consulting Services, Inc., a national leader in advancing employment of people with disabilities, including veterans with disabilities. She provides disability employment expertise in the areas of recruitment, workplace mentoring, strategic planning, training, and digital accessibility to drive innovation and realize business value for customers.
In 1985, Joyce had a life-threatening accident due to epilepsy that caused a cerebral hemorrhage requiring subsequent brain surgery. Against all odds, Joyce recovered from this accident that left her with a 60 percent hearing loss in one ear and a realization that she had epilepsy. As a result of her personal experience, she developed a passion for helping people with disabilities and founded Bender Consulting Services, Inc. in 1995.
Bender’s leadership extends beyond Pittsburgh. She is a board member and former chair of the board of the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) and of the national Epilepsy Foundation. She is a member of the board of the Epilepsy Foundation of Western/Central Pennsylvania, Variety the Children’s Charity of Pittsburgh, Disability Rights Pennsylvania, the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera and Volunteers of America of Pennsylvania. Additionally, Joyce is on the Board of Advisors for the Homeless Children’s Education Fund, a President’s Advisory Council member of Carlow University, and a member of the National Advisory Group of the National Technical Institute for the Deaf. Joyce is also a member of the medical and academic advisory board for RapidSOS.
Her dedication to her vocation has brought her numerous awards including:
2015 Volunteers of America Lifetime Achievement Award
o2013 AAPD Justice for All Corporate Award
o2013 Geneva Distinguished Service Award
o2011 Epilepsy Foundation Hero of Epilepsy Award
o2008 YWCA of Greater Pittsburgh Tribute to Women Award in the Entrepreneur Category
o2003 Bush Administration's New Freedom Initiative Award
o1999 President's Award, received from President Clinton at the White House
Bender’s activism on behalf of people with disabilities has no borders. She has served as a disability expert for the U.S. State Department in South Korea and Panama. The press loves her. Articles on her work have appeared in Reader's Digest, New York Times, Investor’s Business Daily, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and Chicago Tribune. A strong believer that education is a key to success she holds a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from Geneva College. An excellent communicator, for many years she has hosted a weekly radio show titled, Disability Matters with Joyce Bender on www.voiceamerica.com.
When Joyce interviews people on her show, they know they have been interviewed. She does her homework and can speak authoritatively on her guests’ subject.
Joyce Bender is truly a Miracle Worker.
Joyce Bender is a tireless advocate for people with isabilities. She is a miracle worker.