Collette Divitto: Down syndrome advocate and cookie entrepreneur

Collette Divitto: Down syndrome advocate and cookie entrepreneur

There was nothing more Collette Divitto wanted to do than to have a successful career. But after being turned down for multiple positions, she knew she had to take matters into her own hands. That was when she founded Collettey’s Cookies.

Collette describes the process on her website: 

I first began this company because I loved to bake and it was a fun hobby that I could make some money doing. As I got older and after graduating from a LIFE program at Clemson University I spent 3 years trying to find a job. I went on many interviews and thought I did very well in the interview. But days later I would get an email always saying the same thing ” we enjoyed meeting you Collette, but we don’t think you are a good fit for our company right now”.  I knew what that meant. They did not want me because of my disability…

After so many people telling me no, I decided to focus on my cookie company since that’s what I always loved doing.

When a local news station heard about her business, they ran a story featuring Collette. Overnight, her business boomed – she received tens of thousands of orders, appeared on national television, and was even named New Englander of the Year. Now her company employs thirteen people, many of whom have special needs.

Collette’s next goal is to advocate and provide jobs for people across the country with disabilities. She recently spoke before the United Nations advocating for employment rights for those with special needs, and has made other public speaking appearances.

Her cookie business is set to expand even further with a contract with a chain of markets to distribute her product. She is excited for the opportunity for more and more people to enjoy her cookies, and to employ even more individuals with special needs:

I was not only determined to show everyone how capable people with (dis)abilities are, but my mission is to open production facilities across the country and employ thousands of (dis)abled people! ONLY 17.5% people with disabilities were employed in 2015.” Most people with disabilities live on poverty level.

Interested in supporting Collette’s mission (and getting some yummy cookies to boot)? Visit her website to learn more.

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