This year is the first time we are observing International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD), but Experian has been working to support those who identify as part of this community long before now.
I share the story of my colleague, software engineer Andy Willard. While Andy has been with Experian for 25 years, he didn’t share his deteriorating eyesight condition with managers at first.
“Truthfully, I didn’t ask for a lot. I had the position and I don’t want to rock the boat or put a spotlight on myself. But in 2000, I stopped driving and rode the bus to work a lot. That would take an hour and a half each way. I finally went to my manger and requested telecommuting days, and at the time no one was getting those,” Andy said.
His managers immediately agreed and he works 100 percent remotely, long before the pandemic. Experian provided tools like larger monitors and accessibility software to assist with on-screen reading. He appreciates the technology and the time the company allows him for classes to learn about new ways to adjust to working with his visual impairment. But, there can still be some challenges, like when a company-wide software update doesn’t automatically reconnect his system with the screen reader or screen magnifying tools.
We know we still have work to do. Being named a Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion earlier this year let us know we’re on the right track; and we’re excited to continue developing our partnerships with Disability:IN and the National Disability Institute, for which our Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer Wil Lewis is a board member of both.
As the co-executive sponsor of the ASPIRE employee resource group, which focuses on mental health, caregiving and disabilities, we want our coworkers to know they are supported and we will do all we can to ensure they continue to grow and develop their careers, as Andy did. His first job at Experian was as an analyst, then moved on to software development and then into a software engineering role.
I’m proud of the work we are doing at Experian. We’ve made great strides forward to support an inclusive work environment for everyone, and there’s more to be done. I encourage my coworkers to share their stories as Andy did so we know where we should focus our efforts and support our colleagues in making Experian an employer of choice for people who live with disabilities.