I joined Enterprise on their Graduate Management Trainee scheme shortly after completing my degree in Politics at the University of Leeds. I knew I was looking for a role that would give me lots of responsibility and quick progression into management.
That’s was exactly what I got at Enterprise. In the time that I have been with the company, I’ve been promoted five times, including running my own branch for two and a half years.
At the beginning of 2011 I was promoted to the HR department at the North East regional head office, which has allowed me to build upon strengths I developed as a branch manager in people management. I have recently been promoted to Group HR Manager for the North West of England and North Wales region. This has given me the opportunity to oversee three different departments (Talent Acquisition, Talent Development and Generalism) and to have those responsibilities for over 400 employees.
How do you manage your disability at work?
Being dyslexic can be problematic in my role if I let it since such a large proportion of my time is based around reading and writing. Now that I know my own strengths and challenges it has become easier. I know that there can be times when it is struggling to read work, maintain concentration levels or write coherently, however by ensuring I take breaks, read work out loud and switch tasks I can maintain quality and quantity of work.
In all honesty, I often view my dyslexia as a benefit since it enhances my creativity and problem-solving skills.
For instance, to read this sentence my brain will have to work differently just to understand its meaning and so I am used to finding creative solutions around a problem. I feel the impact on my day to day varies and overall it rarely interferes as I try to be as proactive as possible with any challenges that may crop up and think of solutions rather than obstacles.
How has your employer helped you to do well at your workplace?
I have not always been open about my dyslexia and when I applied to Enterprise I did not declare it on my application as I thought it would hold me back. I could not have been more wrong. I have received nothing but support and encouragement.
I am no longer embarrassed about my disability and I am open about my abilities and feel comfortable always state any requirements to be able to accomplish a task.
How would you describe the diversity culture at your organisation?
I am very lucky since Enterprise’s culture focused on support and inclusion and it is so embedded in the business that a lot of what the employees do is second nature. For instance alterations to the assessment centres are regularly implemented with no fuss and inconvenience to the candidate or the accessors.
The business is creative and adapts easily to the needs of an individual and that’s perfect for me since I don’t want to feel different – I just want to have the same opportunities as everyone else to succeed.
What advice or top tips would you offer?
I often struggle to see myself as having a disability as I know many people struggle with reading and writing. However, I know dyslexia is much more complex than that and affects my life in many ways even if I do not admit it. It is only when I reflect on what I actually do daily to complete a basic daily task that I realise that I am not ‘normal’.
So my advice is simple – find solutions to obstacles that work for you.
Be positive and proactive to find ways around because your disability does not define who you are, it is a part of you which should not restrict your ambitions.