Best Buddies, Team Maria and the Importance of Inclusion in the Workplace

Best Buddies ambassador Michael Goldman joined Maria Shriver for her weekly Facebook Live conversation, where she chats with Architects of Change who challenge what is, imagine what can be and move humanity forward.

Best Buddies International is a non-profit organization started by Shriver’s brother Anthony while he was in college. The organization provides social and employment opportunities for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

[Maria & Her Brother Anthony Shriver on The Power of Best Buddies]

Goldman is a member of the Best Buddies Jobs program, which secures employment for people with IDD, allowing them to earn an income, gain experience, grow professionally and become independent.

“It just makes me feel appreciated,” Goldman said about his job. “I’m part of the community. I can contribute just like everyone else.”

Goldman has been employed by the law firm, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, for nine years. He started in a part-time position and grew into a full-time role with the company, focusing on business and accounting.

[Team Maria Takes Action to Support Best Buddies]

“It motivates me to want to do more with my life,” Goldman said to Shriver, explaining that the program helped him become more independent and inspired him to go back to school.

Businesses also stand to benefit from their involvement in the Best Buddies Jobs program.

“There’s a lot of untapped talent and a lot of jobs that certain employees just don’t have time to do because they’re busy, Goldman said. “Somebody, like the people who come from Best Buddies, can help fill that gap.”

Shriver agreed.

“I find that having somebody from Best Buddies changes the culture very often of the entire business,” she said. “People become more compassionate. They realize that perhaps their mind was closed in certain areas.”

[Read Maria Shriver’s Latest ‘I’ve Been Thinking’ Essay]

On September 10, Shriver and others will participate in Best Buddies Challenge: Hearst Castle, a fundraiser that raises millions of dollars for Best Buddies programs in California and around the world. You can support Best Buddies by joining Team Maria. You can ride in the race, sponsor a rider, or donate to the team if you can’t participate. Learn more about how you can join Team Maria and contribute to Best Buddies here.

Watch Maria’s full conversation with Michael below to learn more about Best Buddies, how it has changed Michael’s life and how you can get involved.

Talking with Best Buddies International representative Michael Goldman about the organization’s jobs program and Team Maria (Best Buddies)

Posted by Maria Shriver on Monday, August 29, 2016

About the Author

author image

Kelsey Ducklow is the Social Media Manager at Shriver Media. She'd love to hear your ideas and feedback for the Architects of Change digital community! Connect with her here.

Read more from Kelsey Ducklow

Sign Up for's Weekly Must-Read

More Posts from Architects of Change