Your self-directed employment assistant
What initially drew you to your current job?
Having acquired my disability in my 20s I learned about the ADA and my rights as I returned to school. Having advocated for myself as a newly blind individual I realized the importance of the ADA and how it provided necessary protections for persons with disabilities. I thought a job educating people with disabilities and covered businesses/employers about rights and responsibilities under the ADA was a great fit for me. I had anticipated I would stay at the Great Lakes Center for a while but here it is 18 years later and my key still opens the office door.
As an individual who identifies as having a disability, what edge has that given you within your career?
I have perspective and insights that some without disabilities may not have. I have attended college as a person with a disability and I have received services from the state vocational agency for the blind. I have searched and have been interviewed for jobs as a blind individual. I have an understanding and appreciation for all sides of situations, questions and issues I encounter on a daily basis.
What is your biggest accomplishment or achievement to date?
I was awarded the 2010 Chanceler’s Award of Merit. This was especially rewarding as I was recognized by the University for my knowledge and leadership for issues impacting persons with disabilities on campus.
What challenges have you encountered in the course of your career that have taught you the most about yourself and/or others?
Having a visible disability I have to over come the preconceptions and limitations that others have for me because of my disability. While taking on the phone to architects they do not know I have a disability. When I am presenting to a room full of architects I have to overcome their doubts about how a blind person can teach and provide guidance on accessibility standards.
What advice or wisdom would you give to our Punch-In members as they are discovering their passions and careers?
Find something that you love to do and make a career out of it. Do not let the perceptions or limitations others have determine who your are or what you will do. Dream big and learn all that you can.
Many thanks to Peter for taking the time to share his words with us!