Sara Minkara is the founder and CEO of Empowerment Through Integration (ETI), a nonprofit committed to disrupting the narrative around disability individually -and advancing authentic inclusion globally. Sara strives to elevate marginalized voices, diverse viewpoints, and respect for individual value. Inspired by her own journey as a Lebanese-American Muslim woman who lost her sight at age seven, Sara has transformed her passion into empowering individuals to become catalysts for change in their own lives. With support from the Clinton Foundation, Sara founded ETI as a student at Wellesley College. She continued to expand its work while earning her graduate degree at Harvard. Sara has been recognized as one of Forbes’ “30 Under 30,” an Echoing Green Fellow and a Disability and Inclusion Advisor to the Prime Minister of Lebanon. Sara engages partners like UNDP, the US State Department, Harvard University and Adobe to speak and facilitate programming to advance inclusion around the world.
Sara is a passionate advocate of bringing a disability lens to all spaces (not just disability-focused spaces!) and advancing a value-based perspective to the discussion. This means not discussion the inclusion of people with disabilities as something we ‘should’ do or ‘need’ to do – but rather, something that we, as society ‘want’ to do, because when we do not include people with disabilities in all aspects of society, we lose out on their value.
Takeaways: Inspiration, Best Practices Around Disability Inclusion, Addressing Inclusion Challenges, Building Inclusive Communities,
Empowerment of People with Disabilities
Sara speaks about over 10 years of on the ground experience designing and implementing life skills and empowerment programs of youth with disabilities in Lebanon including inclusive summer camps bringing together youth with and without disabilities, refugee children and engaging families and communities in the process.
Takeaways: Youth Empowerment Program Insight, International Development Best Practices, Lifeskills Program Design,
Authentic Inclusion and Representation Globally
Inclusion is a topic that touches all people and communities, not just people with disabilities. Sara’s speeches and workshops touch on topics such as bias, identity, personal experience and connection between all people that overcomes barriers of race, gender, culture, ability, age and more.
Takeaways: Inspiration, Building Inclusive Communities, Engaging Diverse Stakeholders
Others: Women’s Leadership, Social Entrepreneurship, Muslim and Arab-American Issues and Occasions, MENA Development Work.
“Sara facilitated the session masterfully, using storytelling, humor and creative prompts to move the participants outside of their comfort zones to explore issues of bias, diversity, and inclusion.”
“Sara is an incredibly powerful speaker, who tells a story of resilience and hope. She recently spoke at the CGI University meeting as a member of our Honor Roll- a cohort of extraordinary CGI U alumni who have made significant impact in their communities through their Commitments to Action or profession. Sara’s story of hope and persistence resonated deeply with our audience, and we would gladly welcome her voice at future Clinton Foundation events.”
Sara provided a thought-provoking, unforgettable experience for our company. ETI worked closely with us to tailor the event to make it relevant to our employees with topics for conversation designed to address some of the challenges faced in our industry. From the first communication to the final execution of the event, their guidance and expertise were instrumental in making the dinner a huge success. While we know not to expect change overnight, ETI provided the groundwork for us to continue to encourage open and honest conversations amongst our employees in order to ultimately make our company stronger and more successful.”
“Sara is a brilliant speaker and facilitator. She effortlessly guides participants through an In The Dark workshop that challenges people to think deeply about the subconscious judgments and biases they may carry in their day to day. It is the most meaningful exercise for a group to get to know each other on a deeper level that I’ve experienced.”