Facing obstacles with managers who care – Lucia
In honor of International Day of Persons with Disabilities (12/2), throughout the month of December we will be sharing stories from some of our Q&Able members. Q&Able is a community of problem solvers who work together to enable everyone — regardless of ability — to do more. We support and advocate for employees with disabilities and raise awareness amongst others. Q&Able makes it a priority to commemorate and celebrate International Day of Persons with Disabilities each year in order to spread awareness and empathy for this community, both within Qualtrics, and across the globe. Today we are sharing Lucia’s story on her experience as a person who is blind.
Can you talk about your experience as a person with a disability?
As a person who is blind, I live in a world that isn’t built for me. I have to get creative when I think through how to complete tasks that others take for granted, things like cooking, playing board games, or navigating an office space. It’s made me a great critical thinker since I recognize there’s almost always more ways to do a task.
How has your experience been in the workplace, in general as well as at Qualtrics?
I’ve had some really terrible experiences with workplace discrimination before Qualtrics, and being at a company that values employees as people with unique experiences has been a breath of fresh air. At Qualtrics I’ve been able to flourish — with two promotions so far and the chance to learn and grow constantly, all while working with leadership and peers who value my contributions. While accessibility often poses challenges to my success, I’m facing these obstacles with peers and management who care and are willing to help remove barriers and the burden of education and advocacy from me alone.
What would you like people to know or understand better when it comes to people who have disabilities? Is there anything they can do to better support people around them who have disabilities?
Listen to people with disabilities and educate yourself without solely relying on their assistance. One of the most frustrating moments in my week is having to explain or defend my life experiences when folks think they’re complimenting me, or are maybe in disbelief and say “you don’t look blind - are you really?” Or even worse, when folks grab or touch me and my guide dog without consent. If you’re not sure how to interact with someone with a disability in general, there are lots of ways to educate yourself online. If you’re not sure how and would like to offer assistance to a person with a disability in a given moment, ask them politely if there’s anything you can do to help, and then listen to their response.
How has being a part of Q&Able affected your personal and work life?
Knowing Q&Able existed right from the start of my Qualtrics career gave me confidence to disclose and ask for accommodations I needed to be more successful, and allowed me to bring more of my identity with me to work. Joining the group further gave me a community and the confidence to know I’m not alone at Qualtrics, and not alone in the workforce.
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