About

Erica Carson-Sami IS THE founder of CARCO Disability Strategies and a proud member of the disability community with several years of lived, work and volunteer Experience.

Years Lived Experience

Working with the Disability Community

About Erica

In Erica’s various roles related to the inclusion of people with disabilities in social, educational, and employment settings, she has seen where there continue to be gaps in services and systems that create barriers for disabled people. Erica also saw these service gaps in her own life.

Erica has spent most of her career helping people with disabilities increase their knowledge and confidence when searching for and retaining employment. She has also helped disabled people improve their self-advocacy skills around disclosure, accommodations and other sensitive subjects.

Erica has experience running programs for adults with disabilities looking to re-enter the workforce, which involved one-on-one coaching, group workshops, and capacity building within organizations looking to hire disabled employees. Erica has also worked with initiatives focused on improving employment outcomes for students with disabilities by providing one-on-one support and working with post-secondary institutions to build capacity to help disabled students articulate their support needs during their search for employment.

Over the course of her career and education, Erica has realized that there is not enough support for people with disabilities during times of transition. People who thrived in highly supportive environments in the past sometimes experience difficulty when they transition to an environment with less support. Using her social work education, work and lived experience, Erica offers services that improve the confidence and self-advocacy skills of disabled people to help them understand what supports they need to thrive in a way that works for them and leads them to their goals.

In her work, Erica has led workshops and participated in panel discussions for organizations of various sizes such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Community Health Centres, and departments within the Government of Canada. These engagements were geared toward helping these organizations understand how they can incorporate more accessible and disability-friendly hiring practices and how to lead and retain talented employees with disabilities.

Erica has a Master’s in Social Work and a Bachelor’s degree in Women’s and Gender Studies.

What does the name CARCO mean?

CARCO is an ode to the two people who have most influenced the person that I am today – my parents. The CARCO name is a combination of my father’s last name and my mother’s maiden name. CARCO tells the story of two young parents, their business (CARCO Food Services), and doing whatever they could to give their three daughters a stable and secure future by working tirelessly together.

My parents never expected less from me because of my disability. They constantly cheered me on, and truly believed I could be anything I wanted to be (even the Prime Minister!). My parents found the best recipe for parenting a disabled child – never ignoring their child’s disability, nor focussing all of their energy on it. They understood before I ever did, that my disability would be an important part of who I am, while also knowing that I was capable of so much more than the limitations and bleak assumptions society imposed on me and other members of the disability community.

TESTIMONIAL

Erica participated in a panel session with my department’s leadership, discussing the physical and attitudinal barriers faced by persons with disabilities in the workplace and how managers can support their employees with disabilities. Her presentation was uniformly praised for being eye-opening, thoughtful, and deeply moving. It clearly demonstrated her range of experiences, her ability to engage a diverse audience, her determination to overcome challenges as well as her strong commitment to accessible and inclusive workplaces. Erica will be an asset to any organization looking to build a more disability-inclusive workplace.
*The views expressed herein are those of the author and should not be attributed to the IMF, its Executive Board, or its management.

Gurnain Pasricha

IMF

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