Author - Helen Cooke, Director, MyPlus Consulting
I am often asked why we are called MyPlus and the answer is simple: whilst I don’t believe that disabled people are any more remarkable than those who don’t have a disability, I do believe that having a disability gives you something extra; a ‘plus’. This ‘plus’ results from managing a disability in a world that isn’t always geared up to it whether in terms of accessibility, attitude or understanding. However, this ‘plus’ is rarely acknowledged by either disabled individuals themselves or by employers.
Until I started working in the disability space I hadn’t really thought about my ‘plus’. However, talking to employers about the talent pool that exists amongst disabled people and encouraging students to identify their strengths has naturally lead me to think about this. Growing up I did face barriers and was told that I couldn’t do certain things, as a result I think I developed determination and resilience. I have had to learn how to articulate a good argument as well as ask people to do things I can’t do for myself, hence developing strong communication skills. And I am certainly a problem solver; when one is faced with lifts that don’t work and somewhere you need to get to – you learn to solve problems pretty fast!
Faces of MyPlus was launched 15 months ago and aims to recognise the ‘plus’ that disabled people have. Rather than focus on what people can’t do or find difficult to do, it is about encouraging individuals to recognise the extraordinary abilities that they have developed as a result of managing their disability. Abilities such as resilience, determination, problem solving, flexibility and adaptability, and recognising the value of these particularly in relation to employment.
Faces of MyPlus is also about reminding employers, if indeed they do need reminding, of the huge talent pool that exists amongst disabled individuals. Individuals who have the competencies and traits that employers value and seek out.
A fantastic example of this is Whitney Johnson who has sickle cell disorder; you can read about how she has overcome challenges to qualify as a lawyer with a leading international law firm: Faces of MyPlus/Whitney Johnson
Employers can also invite their own employees to contribute to Faces of MyPlus and in doing so bring to life their commitment to disability and showcase themselves as a disability confident employer.
Whether you are a student, graduate, employee or employer, I invite you to step up and share your story.
To find out more about Faces of MyPlus and how you can get involved, please visit: https://myplusstudentsclub.com/stories/category/3