October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM ) – an opportunity for employers and government agencies to raise awareness of both visible and invisible disabilities and how people of all abilities can be valuable contributors in the workforce.
As HR Manager, Workforce Projects for Upstream Americas, David Williams is a shining example of a high-performing manager who is unimpeded by his disability, commonly known as low vision.
“Specifically I have hypo-pigmentation of my retinas and nystagmus. This means that I do not see details well at any distance and find focus more difficult due to involuntary eye movement. My restrictions mean I meet the definition of legally blind,” he says. When he joined Shell 27 years ago, it was Shell’s campus recruiter who convinced him to join the company in spite of his disability. “The Shell recruiter created a tone of not having my condition preclude me from a career. His personal touch made a world of difference to me.”
David’s career with Shell has taken him from London, UK and the Hague, Netherlands to his current location in Houston, TX. “My roles have helped me build a wide and deep appreciation of many HR subject areas, strong cultural awareness of other countries, and a large network of global HR colleagues around the world,” he adds. “Visual limitations aside, I have a very strong work ethic and commitment to deliver on whatever I promise.”
Williams says living with his condition his whole life has helped him learn to adapt. “Beyond large fonts, sitting in front of the room in meetings, and getting copies of slides in advance (or after), the only real additional support is perhaps more company-sponsored transportation between business locations.”
Williams was featured in a current story in the Summer 2015 issue of Careers & the disAbled magazine. The full story and digital edition can be accessed here (pp. 23-34).
Full Story and Link to digital publication of Careers & the disAbled – “A Strong Commitment at Shell Global Solutions US”