Darcy works for GSK as a Supply Chain Associate, on the Future Leaders Programme. She graduated from University College London with a BSc in Statistics, Economics & Finance.
Tell us a bit about yourself outside of work – what do you like to do in your spare time?
Outside of work, I enjoy being active and taking on challenges. My biggest passion is skiing, and I have recently joined GB Parasnowsport as a visually impaired ski racer with a hope to compete at the 2022 Winter Paralympics.
How many applications did you submit for a graduate job? How many interviews did you attend?
I applied for 2 internships and only one graduate role.
Were you open about your disability during the application process? What support was provided to you?
Yes – I knew that I would only be able to demonstrate my true potential in a very competitive environment by receiving some simple adjustments. I was provided large print written material and given additional reading and preparation time for each activity (including online tests). I was also able to discuss how adjustments could be made if I were to be offered a role at GSK.
What led you to this role? Why did you choose to join this organisation?
Most of my peers at university took the banking career path. I wanted a role focused on people and have always been interested in medicine. The role gave me the opportunity to use my statistical capability but in a way that supports people. My internship at GSK was a fantastic experience and I was very keen to continue my journey here – I learnt technical skills, but I also learnt highly valuable life skills, including confidence and being open and comfortable talking about my disability and the things that help me.
Tell us a bit about the type of work you’re doing at the moment; what are your day-to-day tasks?
I am currently completing my second rotation on the Supply Chain Future Leaders Programme. I am working with the Respiratory Global Planning team where we effectively manage the supply chain from manufacture to delivery to patient. I work closely with our UK and US sites manufacturing respiratory products that treat asthma and COPD. I additionally support our team in terms of continuous improvement, from ensuring we maintain high service levels and efficiencies
How do you manage your disability at work?
I have learnt to be open about what I find difficult and what helps. I am actively involved in GSK’s initiative to be a Disability Confident workplace. Sharing my story through a ‘Faces of GSK’ was a really important thing for me – I felt empowered and supported my colleagues and supporting others was really rewarding. I do have simple adjustments at work (assistive software, a large monitor), but the most important thing is that my colleagues are aware of what I can/cannot see and how I sometimes need to do things slightly differently or improvise.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
We really are a patient focused team, and I love the fact that there is a tangible link between my work and helping others. There are constant challenges that we need to overcome, but this keeps the role interesting and varied and drives us to be adaptable. We have a real sense of being part of a team…
What was it about your job/organisation that surprised you when you first started?
The team I joined were extremely accommodating and wanted to learn how best to support me to settle in – I had not experienced this before. Despite it being my first full-time job, I didn’t feel overwhelmed by the size of the company. The work-life balance was also strikingly obvious from the start.
What aspect of the job have you found most difficult to manage? Is this affected by your disability?
The learning curve can be very steep at times, especially since I am on a rotation programme. Learning to use new systems and interfaces takes me a little longer due to my slower visual processing so I have to allow myself this additional time to familiarise myself. I am naturally a perfectionist and have had to learn that it is very difficult to meet my own high standards in an operational role.
What is your organisation’s approach to disability; how has your employer helped you to do well at your workplace?
GSK genuinely believes in the benefits and importance of having an inclusive and diverse team. It is not only our responsibility to make sure our company is accessible to all regardless of disability, but it also serves to benefit us as an organisation. During my time at GSK, I have experienced continued reinforcement that my disability is a strength, a benefit and a unique perspective that adds value.
What has been your proudest achievement since starting work?
I featured in a ‘Faces of GSK’ campaign to mark International Day for People with Disabilities. Through sharing my own personal journey, I was able to open the discussion around disability. I was able to connect with employees across the globe to share my challenges and offer advice or encouragement.
Tell us about a personal strength or a valuable plus which you have developed, as a result of your disability. How has it helped you in your career?
Resilience is my key strength and it has only grown during my time at GSK. I need to be able to adapt and overcome challenges.
What do you wish you knew when you were at university?
Everything really doesn’t need to be perfect
What advice would you give a student with a similar disability, who wants to pursue a career in the field you work in?
Go for it. See your impairment as a strength and assert your needs. Be honest and ask your colleagues for help when you need it, but don’t underestimate your capability.
Have a look at Darcy’s video to see how she is able to be her best self at GSK.
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