Anessa Powell of AllAbility Recruiting
With her own rare disease diagnosis, Anessa Powell founded AllAbility Recruiting to ‘advocate for talented individuals who just happen to have a disability’. Anessa talks to RARE Revolution about her long-term goal to change the mindset of companies with regard to disability employment and inclusivity
RARE entrepreneur series: meeting the beating hearts behind the RARE brands
AllAbility Recruiting is a recruitment firm specialising in connecting the disability community with meaningful employers through a world-class customer experience. We believe in:
- focusing on people’s capabilities, not inabilities
- WIN/WIN scenarios for both our candidates and clients where lasting relationships are formed
- doing the right thing isn’t just a slogan, but a way of life both personally and professionally
- the four Cs – Candidates, Clients, Community and Caring
What was the driving force in starting your own business in the rare disease space? Was there an unmet need you were responding to?
AllAbility Recruiting is both personal and professional for me. It was created out of a passion for disability employment awareness, with the goal of meeting the need of the disability community which encompasses the rare disease community. After my diagnosis of Addison’s disease (primary adrenal insufficiency), I began networking and meeting others within the rare disease and disability space. I was continually amazed at why companies weren’t recognising this untapped talent pool of the largest minority group in the world. Thus, AllAbility Recruiting was formed.
How does your business benefit the rare disease community?
AllAbility Recruiting is able to give the rare community job opportunities with companies that allow them to thrive by making the most of their abilities.
What advice, if any, did you get when setting up your business? Has there been anyone in particular who has been pivotal in supporting your business?
First and foremost, when setting up your business, trust your gut. There are certainly highs and lows that come with any business. But trusting your gut and remembering why you started this journey in the first place will always get you through. My husband, Bill, also known as COO for AllAbility Recruiting, has been truly instrumental in getting this company off the ground. I have been in awe of his new found passion for the disability and rare community and he truly believes in our company’s mission.
How do you manage the demands of running a business with your own health needs, those of someone you care for, or those of your employees?
First, I am so grateful that my husband and co-worker understands that some days are better than others. Fatigue can be a struggle at times, and I am very mindful of how I allocate my time/meeting schedule on a daily basis so I can keep up.
It’s the ‘high spoon count vs. low spoon count’ (the spoon theory helps people with chronic illnesses and disabilities plan their day). I use the spoon theory reference quite often and it really helps my family and friends to understand what kind of day I’m having.
What advice do you have for someone starting their own business?
At this point we are still learning, but the two biggest things are passion and patience.
What are the most rewarding aspects of establishing and running your own business?
Knowing that we can and will make a difference in the lives of the disability and rare disease community.
What would you consider to be the greatest achievements of your business thus far?
As a relatively new company, we are really pleased with the launch of our truly accessible website, along with the overwhelming reception we’ve received about our goal for inclusive companies to hire talented people that just happen to have a disability.
What advice would you give someone considering working in the rare disease space?
Being Rare is truly special! The rare community is like family where people truly “get” you. Know that when you are interacting within this space, you will be met with understanding and compassion that will make you proud to be rare.
What are your hopes for the future of your business?
That we can make a difference one candidate and one client at a time. We are out to change the mindset of disability employment—that when companies say they are inclusive in their hiring practices that it includes the disability community.
If you hadn’t founded AllAbility Recruiting what was Plan B? What did your 10-year-old self want to be?
If AllAbility Recruiting wasn’t formed, I would 100 per cent be in patient advocacy. Patient advocacy, especially in the rare space, has a piece of my heart. Addison’s disease is one of the few rare diseases that has treatment for it, so knowing there are many living without treatment really calls me to want to help.
My Mom tells me that when I was 10 years old I used to say that I wanted to fly on aeroplanes and have a beeper (showing my age here!) for work. Well, I have a cell phone and fly on aeroplanes for meetings and conferences, so I guess that counts.
To find out more about the work of AllAbility Recruiting please visit;