Twenty years ago, the law firm of Cohen Highley LLP demonstrated their commitment to include people who have a disability in their workplace. Joe Hoffer’s personal commitment to this initiative is outstanding. For the past 15 years, Kelly Taylor has been employed with the firm, in a position which has had a tremendous impact on her quality of life. Kelly’s presence in the workplace has, in turn, strengthened the team at the firm and enhanced Cohen Highley’s position as an inclusive employer. Joe Hoffer has been instrumental in advocating for inclusion and has championed this initiative through several engagements.
In 1997, Joe and Kelly shared their experience by profiling their story in a ground-breaking publication entitled “It’s a Smart Move”. The goal was to provide agencies with tools and a variety of examples which they could utilize when approaching new employers to explore employment opportunities for people with a disability.
Joe has also demonstrated his support by chronicling, in a letter, the experiences of Cohen Highley, and challenging other law firms in London to become inclusive employers. Joe has also travelled to Toronto to speak at Queen’s Park in order to help government officials understand the challenges faced by people with a disability.
In 2004, Joe joined a panel who addressed an audience of clinicians, managers, front-line staff and family members, to help build strategies for effectively supporting adults with Down Syndrome. Many professionals were challenged at this event to push the boundaries of inclusion to new heights.
In 2006, together with Kelly, Joe presented to the Canadian Association for Supported Employment Conference in Toronto. Many new job opportunities are being developed in the Business and Finance sectors as a direct result of the sharing of their success story.
Together, Joe and Kelly have walked the runway during Community Living London’s fund-raiser fashion show entitled “A Night of Heroes”. Joe has shared their success story, and successfully encouraged the Police Services Board of London and their Chief of Police to employ people who have a disability. Joe played a key role in the Mayor’s Challenge by advocating with Community Living London for the City of London to accept the challenge to hire a person with a disability.
Over the years Joe became a member of Community Living London’s Board of Directors. Community Living London is extremely proud to have a Champion of this calibre associated with their organization. They continue to see the influence of change that Joe has sparked in the lives of the people they support.
Video for Accessible Employment at Cohen Highley Featuring Joe Hoffer (Below)Joe Hoffer, Cohen Highley LLP Win Ability-First Champions Award