Tell us a bit about yourself outside of work – what are your hobbies?
I enjoy running (although I’m definitely not consistent with training) and love exploring new places (usually in search of a great coffee shop!).
How did you get started in your career?
I began my career working for Further Education colleges and Universities, before making the step to corporate learning and development at UBS in 2015. I’ve been here over six years now and been lucky enough to experience a number of roles and responsibilities.
How do you manage your disability at work?
I woke early one morning in 2016 with ringing in my ears, I went to the office as I usually would but it didn’t stop once throughout the morning. By midday I was starting to feel unwell and suddenly became dizzy and unable to walk in a straight line. After seeking medical help and a number of referrals I received three diagnoses: SSHL (Sudden Sensory Hearing Loss), tinnitus and hyperacusis – all in my right ear. I wasn’t born with these impairments so they brought new challenges and an adjustment period. One method that I came to embrace in the workplace was location, location, location. Its important for me to sit with people on my ‘better’ side. And with the support of my colleagues, occupational health and the advice from audiologists I began to implement workplace adjustments that over time have helped me to adjust to a great work lifestyle, better than before. I also had remote/ flexible working approved, prior to the pandemic, when it became the norm!
What is your organisation’s approach to disability and how has your employer helped you to do well at your workplace?
UBS was very supportive from the start, my managers and colleagues looked to further understand my experience (and continue to do so), supporting the adjustments I needed. I also found support and inspiration in the Ability Awareness employee network group, who’s aim is to raise awareness and help the firm drive forward the Disability agenda and support. I eventually became part of the employee network committee and find new purpose in helping others be open about their disability and/or health conditions. An example of this is publishing an internal article ‘Adaptability is the secret to survival’, with another colleague who has deafness. It helped raise awareness, we discussed our unique journeys (everyone’s experience is unique!) and the aspect of unexpected positive outcomes, and learning how a person’s health can change in life, and how as an employer, a friend, or as a family member they can be there for you during and after that transition. My experience taught me to be aware of other people’s differences and the strengths and that depth of their experiences that comes with that. These experiences often shape us. It taught me resilience and patience.
What led you to this role? Why did you choose to join this organisation?
Working in Financial Services for an international firm was never something I thought I’d be doing, or had even thought about. My early studies were in Art! Before I turned to education and then corporate education. However, there is a lot to be excited about and get involved in and it’s certainly kept me here for over six years. I currently manage apprenticeships for school leavers and experienced staff, working with educators to deliver programs from Applied Finance to Human Resources.
What advice would you give a student with a similar disability, who wants to pursue a career in the field you work in?
My approach would be to disclose (when you feel comfortable to do so). There are so many benefits that will improve your working experience, from workplace adjustments to openness with colleagues – you’re a better employee if you be yourself at work.
What do you wish you knew when you were at university?
When I was studying my Btec and later my Bachelors, I didn’t even have an awareness of junior talent programs such as apprenticeships and graduate programs, they weren’t promoted in the same way as they are now. I would encourage students to attend MyPlus events as a great insight to future career opportunities and start to build your network early.