2023 Able and Allies Leadership Forum

10 Years of Changing the World, One Conversation at a Time

The 2023 Able and Allies Leadership Forum

October 30, 2023

During National Disability Employment Awareness Month, our Able and Allies business resource group (BRG) members met for their tenth annual Leadership Forum at our corporate headquarters in Bethesda, Maryland.

“I love to see the innovation and ideas that come forward at this forum each year, continuing to change and being open to different perspectives, which allows us veteran members to connect with the new generation of members," said Christopher Brady, Integrated Inspector.

John, Co-Chair of the Able and Allies Leadeship Council, addresses the crowd at day one of the forum.


The Able and Allies BRG was founded to help create a positive, inclusive environment by promoting awareness, advocating through allyship, and providing support and resources for employees with disabilities and employee caregivers, to contribute to the company’s success.

“Our Able and Allies business resource group lets our employees feel included, breaks down stigmas around disabilities in the workplace, and allows our employees to understand that there are other people out there like them," said John McGonagle, Director of Flight Operations and Chief Pilot for Sikorsky, Co-Chair of the Able and Allies Leadership Council.

Day one featured the announcement of the 2023 Able and Allies Ambassadors cohort. This distinguished group of individuals advocates for persons with disabilities at Lockheed Martin and in the community. Each year, 25 ambassadors self-nominate and represent the community for three-year terms. This year the group added five new members.

“Being an ambassador for able and allies has allowed me to share my story, and by doing that I feel less alone. The ambassador program creates a community that makes us emotionally satisfied, and when our hierarchy of needs is met we're able to be better employees," remarked Hannah Ensor, Quality Staff Engineer and 2023 Able and Allies Ambassador.

Hannah being announced as an ambassador with Co-Chairs of the forum.
You learn something new every day you come to our leadership forum. I consider myself an inclusive person, but I’m limited by these unconscious biases. Coming to the forum I get to have conversations with people about their challenges in an open environment.
Sheryl Hamm
Program Director of Enterprise Performance, Co-Chair of the Able and Allies Leadership Council

Over the course of two days, employees and executives alike exchanged ideas and conversations about erasing the stigma of disability in the workplace. Focus was put on the need to create career paths for neurodivergent candidates in STEM, the concept of invisible disabilities, and the responsibility of honoring work-related modifications to assist employees in performing their essential job functions

“As chief pilot for Sikorsky, my pilots get a flight helmet, multiple flight suits, and an iPad with electronic flight data on it. These pilots need these accommodations to be able to do their jobs,” said John. “So, if someone with a disability needs accommodations, which is typically a lot cheaper, then we as Lockheed Martin want to be able to provide that support,” commented John.

Overall, attendees of the 2023 Able and Allies forum were left with one task: return to their respective business areas and promote an environment of authenticity to help give a voice to the voiceless.

Lockheed Martin is an Equal Opportunity Employer, and we offer many inclusive working arrangements. Learn more at the links below and start your mission with us.


Back to Work, Back on Track

Mark, is a manufacturing engineer, who overcame a life-threatening injury and re-entered the workforce through our Chapter Next Returnship program.