Monday, October 17th, 2011
has been a major supporter of the ’s Distance , contributing over to the program nationally over 5 years. Last week, the Coordinator Chris Wright learned some of the other ways is increasing opportunities for persons with disabilities at the Employment Enrichment Event: “Opening Minds – Recognizing Ability”.
Chris was very impressed. The conference was attended by frontline staff including door greeters, clerks and a wide range of personnel from all areas of the . Speaker Paul Clark, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Canada, discussed a new program which began recently in which changes the criteria for hiring. Where previously IQ (Intelligence Quotient) had been the deciding factor in hiring new employees, now considers EQ (Emotional Quotient) when choosing their employees. According to Paul, this shows that the bank understands that they are providing a service to people and they need people oriented staff to provide service to their clients.
As an example, Paul told the conference a touching story. He was once watching the front of his bank when he happened to notice a young woman come in holding a baby. This woman became distraught when the teller explained that her first paycheck from her new job had bounced. Noting this, the teller came around to the other side of the counter, sat her down and held her hand as she explained her situation. Rather than simply sending her away, the teller took the time to comfort her before working something out. “That teller gained her loyalty by approaching her in such a human manner.”
Canadian Olympic Gold Medalist gave the keynote address. He spoke about what it takes to be a champion in whatever you do. Chris found his words to be very powerful when applied to her clients, many of whom end up “with their self-esteem in shreds, no longer able to see the horizon.” Tewksbury is no stranger to that feeling. During his address he told of his experience with coming out as gay and how that difficult experience led him down the path of acute . “We all have things that impact us for life,” says Chris. “Knowing how to deal with them is nine tenths of moving forward.”
When the speakers were done they opened the floor to discussion. Chris brought up the fact that 20% of Canadians have some form of disability. She counseled bank staff who were not used to dealing with persons with disabilities to “talk to the person, not the disability.” She suggested they ask “what would make working here a better experience for you?”
Chris is confident that ’s new attitude will help persons with disabilities, as well as the company, to thrive. She knows for certain that this has opened the doors for her to explore employment opportunities at for her clients. It will strengthen the partnership between the and even more!