The blind and low vision community is often excluded from diversity and inclusion conversations in the workplace.
That could be because the corporate world hasn’t employed enough of these individuals to fully understand them. In fact, 70% of blind or low-sighted individuals are unemployed.
Isaac Shapiro, CEO and founder of beauty brand Cleanlogic, was inspired to champion the blind community after watching his mother, who became blind as a child, overcome obstacles.
“Growing up with her, I watched how she lived independently and dedicated her career to advancing the lives of the blind or visually impaired through computer training and using adaptive technology to obtain employment,” Shapiro told Campaign US. “That’s why I’m a social entrepreneur, and always wanted to give back to the blind and visually impaired community.”
Most people aren’t aware that individuals in the blind and low vision community are capable of doing tasks in the corporate world (such as computer work), which leads employers to discriminate against them.
“When we talk about discrimination, we always think about it from a race or a gender standpoint,” Shapiro said. “When my mom went to her first interview, she showed up to an office and they asked her what she was here for. They ended up telling her, ‘Hold on, let's check in’ and she heard [them say] ‘This lady's blind,’ and they told her the job position had been filled.”
Cleanlogic’s initiatives are two-fold: actively recruiting blind and low-vision employees and donating funds to charitable organizations that directly support the community.
The CPG brand has hired seven employees from the Overbrook School for the Blind, located in Philadelphia. Cleanlogic’s Holiday 2021 Gift Sets will be packed and assembled entirely by those blind and low vision team members.
Cleanlogic plans to hire even more blind and low-vision employees in 2022.
Cleanlogic has also committed to donating 15% of all sales between retail partner HEB’s more than 300 locations and Cleanlogic.com to organizations including the San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind’s Children’s Tech Education Fund and Cleanlogic’s Inspiration Foundation.
Shapiro founded the Inspiration Foundation in 2006. The nonprofit provides adaptive technology for adults with vision loss and awards grants to other nonprofits to raise awareness for the blind.
All of these initiatives are in addition to Cleanlogic’s packaging, which includes Braille product descriptors to help the blind and visually impaired live more independently.
Shapiro’s ultimate goal is to continue to raise awareness and combat perceptions of blind employees in the workplace.
“We really wanted to build out a story and lead by example of what we're doing as an organization, so that other companies can look at blind or visually impaired individuals as potential employees,” said Shapiro.