November Membership Meeting


Panelists: Jeff Russell, Renee Jewell, Richard Propes, Tabea Meyer, Davina Brimmer

Topic: Working With People With Disabilities

According to a 2019 Census Brief, approximately “1 in 5 Americans have some kind of disability, and 1 in 10 have a severe disability.” These disabilities manifest differently as people experience and navigate the world around us in a variety of different ways. Hear from professionals with the Bureau of Rehabilitative Services who work with people with disabilities to connect them to work opportunities.

The goal of this discussion is to understand:

  • the challenges the panelists and their clients have faced finding meaningful work in the past
  • some examples of different ways that discrimination has surfaced
  • their capabilities to do work that others may have assumed they wouldn't be able to do
  • helpful accommodations that employers have made

Meet Our Panelists:

Jeff Russell (he/him) Moderator –

Jeff started working for the State of Indiana as a Recruiter for the Indiana Department of Transportation and then spent the next 5 years as a Regional Director for the Department of Workforce Development overseeing the WorkOne Offices and Workforce programs throughout the state. For the past 5 years Jeff has been the Director of Operations for the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services. Prior to his work in State Government he spent 9 years in Human Resources (2 as a Recruiter, 3 in Employee Training and Development and 4 as an HR Generalist) in manufacturing, warehousing, printing, and aviation.

Renee Jewell (she/hers) –

Renee Jewell has a Master of Social Work, with a concentration in leadership from Indiana University. Renee currently works for Vocational Rehabilitation as a counselor, where she assists persons with both intellectual and physical disabilities prepare for, obtain, and maintain employment. Her specialty is working with people that are blind and visually impaired. She also works with students at the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, assisting them to plan their future academic and vocational endeavors. Renee has served on the Mayor’s Advisory Council on Disabilities, on the Mobility Advisory Committee for IndyGo, and as a Mentor in the Nina Scholars program.

Richard Propes (he/him) -

Richard Propes currently serves as the Waiver Support Community Liaison for the State of Indiana, Bureau of Developmental Disabilities Services, where he’s been employed in a variety of roles over the past 13 years. Richard is a board certified expert in traumatic stress and prior to being with BDDS worked in the field of crisis intervention for 10 years in an emergency room setting. He just began his 2nd term on the Rehabilitation Services Commission where he serves on the Employment First Subcommittee.

Tabea Meyer (she/hers) -

Tabea Meyer earned her Master of Social Work degree from the Graduate School of Social Work with a concentration in family systems. She currently works as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor serving participants with a wide range of disabilities and life experiences to identify and achieve their employment goals. She specializes in serving participants who are blind and visually impaired. Tabea actively serves as a National Federation of the Blind of Indiana scholarship committee member and has served as the National Federation of the Blind Human Services Divison second Vice President

Davina Brimmer (she/hers) -

Davina graduated from Gallaudet University with a B.S. Degree in Family and Child Studies and a Master's in Social Work in 2006, specializing in Deaf and hard of hearing. She has been with VR for almost 10 years working with the Deaf and hard of hearing and other specialized disabilities.


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Date: November 20, 2019

United Way of Central Indiana
2955 North Meridian Street
Indianapolis, IN
46208 Map and Directions

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