Opportunities for People Living with Disabilities

Scott Monette is the founder of 100% Wine. His company was created because he has a son living with disabilities and he saw a need for more job opportunities for people in this population group. My conversation with Scott opened my eyes to my own discriminations and to a need to bring meaningful work to the 53 Million Americans living with disabilities.

Scott Monette Founder 100% Wine
Scott Monette Founder 100% Wine

I want to shout out to the Courage and Clarity podcast and the Discerning Realities podcast for their inspiration to tweak the approach I take to interviewing and organizing my show. My first show with guests will be focused on their Inspirations and back story. Then I will focus how they intentionally focus their business to be more purpose, people, and profit balanced. Finally, I will go over their Business results, lessons, and challenges.

Let’s join our conversation with Scott Monette and we’ll see you on the other side.

Notes taken during the editing of the episode:

100% Wine was begun to help create self-sustaining businesses that are focused on creating job opportunities for the 54 Million people living with disabilities.

Self-sustaining business as opposed to a charity.

Create a self-sustaining model that creates a conversation in a positive and uplifting way. What can people accomplish if we look at them a little differently.

(This part of the conversation reminded me of the Harvard Business Review Article that I quoted in my July 4th episode. It revolved around breaking down stereotypes and diversity programs in business. The most effective programs focused on bringing people of diverse backgrounds together and less dependence on education and classes alone. Scott here is trying to change the conversation about the role of people with disabilities and their role in the workplace.)

It must start with a great product.

His journey began when he considered the current environment and wondered why companies don’t hire more people living with disabilities. He began to think that perhaps he was “crazy”, perhaps this wouldn’t work.

(What I like is that he kept asking and pressing. Test your ideas many times and with several different people before you declare yourself crazy!)

There weren’t good alternatives for employment for people living with disabilities. He felt there wasn’t enough consciousness around this population. It’s getting better, but there’s still a lot of work to do.

The best social program is a job. You grow social and economically. It aids in the development of independence.

A job offer pushed him to the decision point of staying an employee or starting his own company to begin to change the world. His wife pushed him to weigh heavily whether or not a different job would help him pursue the solutions he was looking for or if starting the business was the better route.

(Side note: recognize that he went to change the world as he saw it. He wasn’t trying to solve all the problems, just the one that burdened him.)

The beauty of finding partners with a similar or relatable situation that aligns them with your mission. Think about his printer for the labels of the wine who has two kids touched by this cause.

Why wine? His finance side took over and he chose an industry that was in the top 3 for growth. He also went with one that encourages conversation and revolves around friendship and celebration. If he could have a conversation around this population in a positive and uplifting way regarding jobs, he wanted to encourage this.

Originally he wanted to create direct employment. However, most of the tasks he was considering were automated. If he did this it would be a charity and also unsustainable. So he looked for other direct ways as well as donating 100% of the profits to organizations that are doing innovative work in this area.

They look for unique, scalable and sustainable ideas to support with the profits.

United Cerebral Palsy  – Talent Connect – Looking for opportunities in the hospitality industry for people living with disabilities.

Mercy Hospital System – Dana Brodeur  – Volunteer to employment program.

What have you learned in your first years of business?

You have to become knowledgable in many different areas of business.

Branding and marketing – The importance of authenticity. It had to be about he and his son. They have to tell their story.

His first hire of a gentleman living with disabilities and the first 10 minutes were tough. Scott wondered if he’d made the right decision. He took a step back and realized he simply needed to improve his approach to training.

If you enjoyed the episode and believe we can create meaningful work that balances purpose, people, and profits, then please participate in the community. You can do this by commenting below, clicking on the “join email list” link, joining our Inspired and Intentional Facebook group, and rating us on your favorite podcast app.

Share this with your fellow inspired leaders and until next time, be inspired and intentional.