October 05 – Elizabeth Carlson (NDEAM Success Story)

Celebrating Our Successes!

Reflecting the important role that different perspectives play in workforce success, this year’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) theme is “Inclusion Drives Innovation.” Observed each October, NDEAM celebrates the contributions of workers with disabilities and educates about the value of a workforce inclusive of their skills and talents.

The Philadelphia “Employment 1st, Employment NOW!” Steering Committee is celebrating this year’s event with a month of employment success stories. Each day you will be receiving an email containing a new story about someone who is contributing to their community through employment. We invite you to join us as we celebrate their successes!

Culinary Hero!

Elizabeth baking cookies at work
Elizabeth baking cookies at work.

Elizabeth Carlson is ambitious, focused, and passionate about cooking. She even attended cooking classes and earned her ServSafe certificate. Despite all of the clear indicators of her passion, Elizabeth’s career didn’t always align with her passion. For years, Elizabeth worked as a Retail Sales Associate. While she was an excellent employee and enjoyed her coworkers, Elizabeth never felt fulfilled.

In March 2015, Elizabeth advocated that she wanted a career change. Elizabeth began sharing her culinary passion and discussing different career ideas with her SPIN Employment Specialist. During her job search, Elizabeth and her Employment Specialist focused on independently owned restaurants in her neighborhood. She also wanted to find an employer that was warm, welcoming, and would help her feel more confident in her abilities as a cook. Elizabeth knew what would be a right fit for her!

Elizabeth met Aliza Green, head chef of Baba Olga’s Kitchen. Elizabeth and Aliza had an instantaneous connection and bonded over their love of cooking. Aliza was impressed with Elizabeth’s culinary skills and welcomed her to the team! Elizabeth is in charge of baking intricate desserts and pastries. She is also responsible for preparing for large events such as corporate meetings, weddings, and live music nights. Elizabeth’s responsibilities, culinary skills, and confidence have all grown exponentially!

Elizabeth has found new confidence! She isn’t afraid to try new recipes or strike up a conversation while catering an event. Most importantly, Elizabeth realized her passion and turned it into a career. Elizabeth finally has her dream job!

 – submitted by SPIN, Inc.


October 4 – Christian K.
October 3 – Bayaht
October 2 – Cazana C
October 1 – Keya Burrell