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Comfort in Compliance

For more than 25 years, HudsonMann has partnered with federal contractors and subcontractors to provide reliable Affirmative Action Plans, extensive OFCCP Audit Support, and Diversity and Inclusion metrics. They support over 450 organizations nationwide by serving as an extension of their HR department. Tamara Seiler joined the HudsonMann team in 2014 and is currently the Director of Compliance & Marketing Strategy. In addition to managing a large team of compliance specialists, she is also able to use her marketing skills to develop marketing strategies for HudsonMann services. In her spare time, she is a professional abstract and multimedia artist with pieces in private and public collections worldwide. She is also a person with an invisible disability.

After a lifelong struggling with symptoms, I was finally diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at the age of 25 – a diagnosis which effectively ended my medical career due to the high physical demands of my job. After years of changing treatment plans and still being symptomatic (repeatedly moving out of a remissive state), I was diagnosed with Ulcerative colitis, as well.”

Crohn’s and Ulcerative colitis are both inflammatory bowel diseases, with physical symptoms that are typically very similar (abdominal pain, diarrhea, fatigue), yet your mind still functions. After leaving the medical field, Tamara still wanted to help others so she began working as a human resource consultant.

“I knew this line of work, would not have a lot of physical demand on my body; I would have ready access to restrooms; and, most importantly, I could continue to learn and grow while helping others.” This work led her to her career with HudsonMann where she continues to help federal contractors and subcontractors maintain a high-level of affirmative action compliance.

“I believe living with a disability provides us with skillsets that are unique. Living with a disability can make us more empathetic to all people, we tend to work harder to prove that we are more than equal to a task, and we have a heightened awareness of inclusion. We are valuable assets to any company because of the unique perspective our lives and disabilities have provided to us.”

As an affirmative action plan consultant, Tamara has the opportunity to share best practices with employer clients each day. This advice can vary from the creation of an Individuals with Disabilities (IWD) recruiting initiative to branding their company as welcoming and inclusive to assisting with outreach opportunities and everything in between. There are over 61 million individuals living with a disability in the United States - many, like Tamara, have invisible disabilities.

Tamara shares some advice for employers:

1. Start with your mission statement. Make it your mission to diversify your workforce. Do you know what your organizational demographic makeup is?

2. Create initiatives to rebrand your organization as welcoming and inclusive to IWD and, most importantly, follow through. Remember, that one in four Americans have a disability and not all are visible. Consider inviting your employees to create Employee Resource/Infinity Groups. Proven to help create an atmosphere of inclusivity, these groups also help increase retention.

3. Lastly, think about how your organization recruits, engages and promotes IWD. Are you limiting your applicant pools due to antiquated job descriptions that are no longer valid? Can current job duties be completed with the use of assisted devices? Would this minor change be more inclusive of a broader applicant pool?

“Outreach towards IWD is an area of federal compliance that is my greatest passion! I understand the challenges that IWD face when seeking a new career opportunity, especially for those with “invisible” disabilities like mine. You ask yourself- will I be accepted by this organization? Will my disability be construed as a deficit? Is this organization welcoming to IWD? Luckily, I work for a company that values everything I bring to the table, including my disability. I am fortunate that we are able to work together to find non-traditional work resolutions for the days when my disability prevents me from working in a way that many may consider traditional.”

As a jobseeker with a disability, Tamara took some precautious when finding the right home for employment, “I have been fortunate in my career changes - I have only ever been limited by my own self-doubt. Most applicants review the job description to see if their job skills closely align with what is required of the position. As an individual with a disability, I tend to also ask myself the following questions:

· Will I be able to effectively do my job when I am out of remission?

· Will I have the stamina to make it through the entire day in a weakened state?

· Will the culture of the organization welcome someone with my type of disability?

· How can I make this position work around the symptoms of my disease- abdominal pain, diarrhea, etc?

“The important thing to remember is that as an individual with a disability we bring a unique perspective to every position we hold. We are accustomed to dealing (sometimes daily) with adversity and have overcome it making us highly motivated employees.”

About Hudson Mann With over 25 years in business, HudsonMann supports over 500 organizations nationwide at more than 3,000 client sites. Our focus on customer service ensures that you not only have compliant Affirmative Action Programs but also peace of mind. We support companies of all sizes in all industries.

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