Were you open about your disability during the application process? What support was provided to you?
I am hearing impaired since my birth and have been with J.P. Morgan for 10 years so far. In 2006 when I applied for a job I was a different person in comparison to who I am now. It took me quite a long journey to accept myself. During my career with J.P. Morgan, I have realized that it is only by being open that we step fully into who we are, and we inspire others to do the same. During the interview process the company will offer any assistance needed and will ask you far in advance what kind of support you would need to feel comfortable at every stage of the interview. Remember – during an interview a company will look at your skills, talent and experience. Nothing else.
What led you to this role? Why did you choose to join this organisation?
J.P. Morgan is one of the largest financial organisations in the world with offices globally. It has such a broad range of lines of business. There are massive career and mobility opportunities; and fantastic support from the AcessAbility team (who are an internal network with a focus on disability within J.P. Morgan), which I am a part of it. I started my career with Equities, explored Derivatives and Foreign Exchange in the Bournemouth office and now I am in EMEA Cash Fixed Income based in London. I achieved my desire to be in the heart of Investment Banking being closer to front office: sales people and trading desk. I have explored a range of products, have been promoted, changed locations within the UK and these challenges and opportunities continue. I know that the company will offer more opportunities and I will continue to grow professionally and personally.
How do you manage your disability at work?
Just being open about myself. Be who I am. Naturally, it makes forget about my hearing impairment. My disability becomes an ability and a huge asset to a company instead. I stay focused on my skills, talent and benefits I gain from my disability such as, for example, a good listener, body language skills which are so much valued by clients. It is an asset to J.P. Morgan business provided the fact that as per the World Report on Disability there are 15% of the world’s population living with disability. I feel an important connection to my clients and my colleagues rely upon and trust in J.P. Morgan. I truly believe I manage my disability extremely well and successfully which is reflected in the success of the company I work for.
What is your organisation’s approach to disability, how has your employer helped you to do well at your workplace?
J.P. Morgan has long been committed to ensure and maintain an inclusive environment and culture firmwide. The company has The Office of Disability Inclusion, which is focused on people with disabilities and provides all support to this important population. I am a part of the AccessAbility team in London, which offers all support and spreads awareness about disability across management. There is a massive technical progression too. For example, J.P. Morgan has introduced phones, which enable me to video call a colleague globally. It is a great technology achievement which enables me not just to listen but also to lip-read a person as I can see their face. No doubt to mention that body language skills help me to read a face to understand much deeper during conversation. I feel relaxed which is also important. That is why I often forget about my hearing impairment and I feel equal as everyone.
Tell us about a personal strength or a valuable plus which you have developed, as a result of your disability. How has it helped in your career?
I am happy I was born severely hearing impaired. It gave me strengths and made me unique as a person. I have developed important positives for my career based on my inherent need to overcome obstacles presented to my life on a daily basis by my hearing impairment, which is almost invisible. I feel I have developed the expertise to perform effectively in my chosen area – finance. I am very detailed oriented which is important in this area. My sensitivity helps me manage risks successfully and it is also a huge benefit in client relationship and interacting with colleagues. I am an excellent listener and a very understanding person. I developed body language skills and ability to manage a high level of pressure from my life experience, which I apply to my work environment. These positives are only a few from my list and not limited. With the career growth offered by J.P. Morgan, I constantly sharpen myself professionally and I keep discovering more skills and my talent.
What advice would you give a student with a similar disability, who wants to pursue a career in the field you work in?
Be open. Be honest with yourself. Be brave. Believe in yourself. Be an inspiration for others.
Disability is an opportunity. It is not an end of your career. It is just an amazing start of your wonderful journey.
I am extremely grateful that I have been exposed to the challenge of hearing loss. Being born this way made me both strong and sensitive, and gave me the capacity to work harder than most to achieve a life I can be proud of. Through my thirst for life and success, I’m living proof that disability can be definitely an asset; it can make us work harder, our appreciation deeper, and our perspectives unique.