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Billings woman featured in national book showcasing people with disabilities

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A local Billings employee from Avitus Group is featured in a national book called 'Embracing Inclusion: People with Disabilities Enriching the Workforce.' It focuses on educating employers about people with disabilities, with the hope that those with disabilities will be inspired to work. The book is gaining national attention.

"The book is directed to all individuals that want to read more, learn more about those with disabilities that have really, truly overcome and achieved and the path that they took to get there," said Anne Arrowsmith, Director of Talent Acquisitions.

The book also features a Billings woman. Ashlee Mead is a deaf senior accounting specialist at Avitus Group Business Management. In the book, she provides five tips for companies hiring people with disabilities.

"I feel my five tips are important because they will assist in establishing a good working relationship with the employees and allow them to reach their full potential in becoming a great asset to your business," Ashlee said.

Ashlee knows sign language and is an expert at reading lips. For her, communication is key.

"Generally, when a person is unfamiliar with a disability culture, they can be nervous or unsure of how to approach a person with a disability, so being open-minded and having that conversation with the employee will help break the ice and get to know your employee's needs," she said. Ashlee has been working at the company since 2013 and says she doesn't let her disability get in the way.

"I love my job, I love the clients I work with – even the challenging ones. I like a good challenge."

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