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About Haben

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The first Deafblind person to graduate from Harvard Law School, Haben Girma advocates for equal opportunities for people with disabilities. President Obama named her a White House Champion of Change, and Forbes recognized her in Forbes 30 Under 30. Haben travels the world consulting and public speaking, teaching clients the benefits of fully accessible products and services. Haben is a talented storyteller who helps people frame difference as an asset. She resisted society’s low expectations, choosing to create her own pioneering story. Because of her disability rights advocacy she has been honored by President Obama, President Clinton, and many others. Haben is also writing a memoir that will be published by Grand Central Publishing in 2019.

Haben has been featured extensively in media around the world, including the BBC, NBC, Forbes, NPR, and many more. If you work in media, please read this brief guide on producing positive disability stories. You can read Haben’s FAQ and featured work.

Speaking & Consulting

Haben offers accessibility and diversity training, consulting, and professional speaking services. Haben combines her knowledge of law, sociology, and technology to teach clients the benefits of fully accessible products and services. Her insights help to expand our thinking, creating lasting, positive change among people and communities.

Topics

Disability & Innovation: The Universal Benefits of Inclusive Design

People with disabilities represent the largest minority group, numbering one billion worldwide. Reaching a group of this scale creates value for everyone. Organizations that prioritize accessibility benefit by gaining access to a much larger user base, improving the experience for both disabled and non-disabled users, and facilitating further innovation. Watch Haben teach 4,000 developers the connection between disability & innovation at Apple’s 2016 Worldwide Developers Conference.

Leadership and Advocacy

The daughter of refugees, a Black woman, and disabled, Haben developed a powerful path to success, rooted in her belief that inclusion is a choice. We all have the power to advocate for positive change. Becoming a leader begins by role-modeling the change we need in this world. Haben provides valuable insights that help people become better leaders. Watch Haben share leadership advice with St. Catherine University’s graduates in her Commencement Address.

Communication Strategies for a Winning Story

Powerful stories drive successful businesses. Compelling stories communicate what sets an organization apart and how that difference serves as an advantage. Haben Girma is a talented storyteller who helps people frame difference as an asset. Born Deafblind, Haben fought off low expectations, choosing to create her own pioneering story that has led to international acclaim. Through an engaging presentation, Haben provides participants with communication strategies for developing a winning story.

Contact

Send speaking requests, media inquiries, and other questions to:

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Haben talks with President Obama at the White House 25th Anniversary celebration of the ADA. (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Bill Clinton shakes hands with Haben Girma

What People Say About Haben

Thank you so much, Haben, for that amazing introduction, and for working to make sure that students with disabilities get a world-class education, just like you have. So please give Haben a big round of applause.

President Barack Obama

She got out of Harvard, and you know what she’s doing? She is an advocate for opportunities for people with disabilities. Because in fact they have enormous ability, and all over the world that ability is going untapped, diminishing their lives and the rest of ours as well. So let’s give her a big round!

President Bill Clinton

I wish to take this opportunity, as well, to recognize you for your lifelong advocacy for people with disabilities, especially for the deaf-blind community. As a teacher and Prime Minister, I am particularly grateful for your work to ensure that students with disabilities have access to the tools they need to thrive at school and beyond. When our society is inclusive, we are all better off.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Sample Videos

Events

Sep 26 New Orleans, LA Clio Cloud Conference
Oct 5 Oakland, CA Alameda County 12th Annual Disability Employment Conference
Oct 18 Lawrence, KS University of Kansas
Oct 25-26 Dubai, UAE 19th Global Women in Leadership Economic Forum
Nov 8 San Francisco, CA Salesforce Dreamforce Conference
Nov 16 Burlington, VT Northeast Chapter of the Assoc. for the Education & Rehabilitation of the Blind
Nov 19-20 Boston, MA Ruderman Inclusion Summit

Recent News

Excited to be on the Black Girls Rock Awards Show

I’m excited to announce that I will be on the Black Girls Rock Awards Show. Black Girls Rock is honoring me for Making A Difference. Solange, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Issa Rae, Roberta Flack, Yara Shahidi, Ibtihaj Muhammad, Augusta Uwamanzu-Nna, and many other amazing women will be celebrated.

Tune in to BET, the Black Entertainment Television channel, on Tuesday Aug 22 at 8 PM EST. BET will also have a live stream. Please note that access depends on your internet/cable provider.

Image Description: Haben smiles as she receives her diploma from Dean Martha Minow. They’re both wearing academic regalia. Text over the photo says, “BLACK GIRLS ROCK! M.A.D. GIRL TUESDAY AUGUST 22 8/7c BET. #BlackGirlsRock.”

August 19th, 2017|

Calming Fears & Sparking Connections with the Abilities We Have

My deafblindness can be isolating, so I actively develop ways to connect with people. One solution is to offer people a keyboard paired with my braille computer, and as they type I’m able to easily read their words in braille. But what if a person who wants to talk to me has dyslexia?

During the Q&A after my keynote at The Shine in Los Angeles, a young man came on stage to ask me how I connect with people. The video above captures that fun conversation, including an audience laughing at our playful banter.

August 14th, 2017|