A Zoom call screen with about 40 UF MBA students attending a Q&A event with Shane Burcaw.

Event with disability advocate highlights importance of inclusivity in business

UF MBA student John Scurto reflects on what he learned from a speaking event with Shane Burcaw.

This spring, the Gator MBAbility Club had the honor of hosting Shane Burcaw, the author of several award-winning books about disability and the co-founder of the YouTube channel Squirmy and Grubs, which has generated over 149 million views. He is also the President and Co-Founder of a nonprofit organization called Laughing At My Nightmare and a renowned public speaker who has performed across the country.

I invited Shane to host a Q&A session for UF MBA students and staff because he has a massive presence in the disability community, and I knew that his down-to-earth personality would create a safe space for people to ask questions. As MBA students, I felt that it was vital for us to learn how we can be more supportive and inclusive of people with disabilities.

During Shane’s Q&A session, he spoke about a variety of topics, such as the creation of his nonprofit organization as an undergraduate student, what life is like as a famous YouTuber and how he approaches video sponsorships, his books that he wrote and what he is currently working on, his biggest public speaking event and how businesses can support people with disabilities.

Throughout the event, he expressed the importance of having businesses include people with disabilities when making decisions that affect the disability community. A major aspect of inclusion in the corporate landscape involves selecting people with disabilities for leadership roles so that disability inclusion is prioritized rather than being an afterthought.

My biggest takeaway from the event was that Shane is a very genuine, honest person who is open to discussing many aspects of his life to help educate others. He, along with many others who are part of underrepresented groups, have unique stories to share. It is imperative to have a mindset of continuous education and always look for opportunities to learn from others.

Also thanks to Shane’s Q&A session, as a future business leader, I will aim to be an inclusive leader that uplifts and listens to underrepresented groups. Shane’s Q&A event made me realize that inclusive leadership starts with being educated. Throughout my career, I will educate myself by speaking with individuals in minority groups that I am not a part of to learn how to best support them and their communities.

Overall, hearing from Shane was a great experience, and I’m glad to have hosted him with the Gator MBAbility Club. Shane is committed to helping others and making the world a better place, whether it is through educating others and spreading disability awareness as a famous YouTuber, author, and speaker or by providing essential equipment to individuals living with muscular dystrophy through his nonprofit organization. The passion and drive that he puts into his endeavors are inspiring for anyone looking to positively impact the world.