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 at Further Education colleges and Universities, before making the step into corporate learning and development in 2015. Since then, I’ve been lucky enough to experience several roles and build new skills.
How do you manage your disability at work?
How I manage my disability has evolved over time. I wasn’t born with a disability, my health changed unexpectedly through illness in 2016. After seeking medical help and a number of referrals over the course of several weeks, I received three diagnoses: SSHL (Sudden Sensory Hearing Loss), tinnitus and hyperacusis – all in my right ear. Adjusting to this brought new challenges and needed an adjustment period, and my hearing has also worsened since…so how I manage my conditions has varied over time, to meet my needs and the working environment of my employer.
One method that I came to embrace was location, location and location. I use a hearing aid but it’s still helpful for me to sit with people on my ‘better’ side when I’m in the office. With the support of colleagues, management, occupational health and 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?
I developed my hearing impairments whilst with previous employer. They were supportive from the start, my managers and colleagues looked to further understand my experience, supporting the adjustments I needed. Whilst a new joiner (summer 2022) at the Bank of America, I’ve had a very similar experience. At the offer and employee on-boarding stages I had conversations with occupational health and new team and many adjustments for the workplace were ready to go from day one. I reached out to the Bank of America employee disability network (DAN) in London, who were also quick to respond and welcome me, so my experience so far has given me confidence.
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. My initial studies were in Art and Multimedia! I soon turned to working in the education sector, and then moved to corporate education. I joined the Bank of America was because of the people; I got such a great impression from my early conversations and interviews, that I knew it was somewhere I could develop and feel welcomed (and supported).
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 get more out of work (and your employer gets more from you), when you’re able to be yourself.
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 know of junior talent programs such as apprenticeships, internships 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 professional network early.