Executive Vice President, Programs & Strategy
We are thrilled to welcome Russell Shaffer to Team Disability:IN as the Executive Vice President, Programs & Strategy. He brings over 20 years of experience as a distinguished communicator with a background in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
“In welcoming Russell to our team, we take a stride forward in our work to build an inclusive global economy. We continue to be laser-focused on empowering businesses to achieve disability inclusion and equality. Russell’s years of experience and commitment to this work propels us forward in service of our mission.”
– Jill Houghton, President & CEO, Disability:IN
Russell Shaffer served as the Senior Director – Global Culture, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (CDEI) at Walmart and reported to the company’s Chief Culture, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer. He and his team had responsibility for reporting and analytics; global employee engagement measurement and strategy; benchmarking; branding and messaging strategy; and budget management for Walmart’s enterprise CDEI initiatives. He rejoined Walmart in 2006 and has held roles managing global internal communications and benefits communications. In a previous role as Senior Manager – Constituent Relations, Russell managed Walmart’s corporate strategy and stakeholder outreach for the people with disabilities and aging constituencies.
His career as a professional communicator spans more than 20 years and includes roles in advertising, corporate communications, marketing, print journalism and public relations. Russell has held positions at May Department Stores, The Timken Company and The Ohio Optometric Association, and began his work experience as a teenager paying his way through school as an hourly associate at Walmart and Sam’s Club locations in Michigan and Ohio.
Russell served as Chair of the Board of Trustees for the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) from November 2017 – November 2019 after joining the AFB Board in October 2015. AFB also named him it’s 2015 Stephen Garff Marriott award recipient in recognition of his professional achievement and service as a person who is blind or low vision. He has previously served two terms as Chair of Walmart’s inABLE Associate Resource Group, and has been a board member of Sources for Community Independent Living in Fayetteville, Arkansas since 2012. His service also includes positions on the Disability Equality Index Advisory Committee and the board for the American Printing House for the Blind. In April 2018, Russell traveled to China as a private-sector disability employment expert as part of a U.S. State Department delegation engaging in bilateral discussions with the China Disabled Persons Federation. In July 2019, Disability:IN honored Russell as the annual recipient of the prestigious John D. Kemp Leadership Award in recognition of his commitment to advancing disability inclusion inside Corporate America.
Russell is an honors graduate of Malone University in Canton, Ohio, and holds dual bachelor of arts degrees in business administration and communication arts. He resides in Rogers, Arkansas with his wife, Jessica, and their children, Sophia and Brady. His perspectives on disability advocacy and inclusion are informed by his experiences with retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic, degenerative eye disease that was diagnosed when Russell was 10 years old and led to his legal blindness by his late 20s.