Josh M

Achieving success at Vanguard, regardless of obstacles

From as far back as I can remember, I was warned about growing up and facing the “real world.” As if it were a scary mythical place one could never be fully prepared for. The two things I did know about this so-called “real world” was I needed to earn an income and create a life for myself.  Now, let me tell you my Vanguard story.

So, there I was, a recent college graduate, with a degree, ready to take the leap into a career…

This same exact scenario plays out for thousands of graduates each year but, here comes the plot twist.  Unlike a lot of other graduates trying to enter the workplace for the first time, I am differently abled. I have Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy to be exact, which forced me into a wheelchair after eighth grade.

I always held the belief that if I believed in myself, worked hard and displayed my strengths that eventually others would believe in me. After graduation it was time to make some believers. The first opportunity I received was as a contracted processor at Vanguard. I worked very hard which, eventually led to full-time employment at Vanguard.

This year marks my 9th year as a Vanguard crew member. Since starting at Vanguard I have been promoted from processing to Quality Assurance. I have enjoyed much success at work and in my personal life thanks to the support provided by Vanguard.

Their willingness to provide me accommodations has allowed me to focus on my work, without spending energy worrying about my personal needs.

Their efforts to create a healthy work/life balance means I am not concerned about having time for important doctor’s visits. Vanguard even supports my interest in promoting diversity within the workplace.  Recently, with the assistance of our Diversity Advancement Committee and the Culture & Inclusion groups, I helped coordinate a diversity panel discussion around the workplace and the differently abled. Vanguard only sees my abilities.

If you ever lived differently abled or know someone that has, you will find out that there are some inherent advantages. Many differently abled workers are already masters at coordinating schedules, whether it be with care providers, transportation, or doctors’ appointments. We’re used to experiencing challenges that require problem-solving and adapting. We have been doing so our whole lives. Differently abled workers provide perspectives that promote empathy and a greater sense of inclusion among their peers. Masters at coordination, skilled problems solvers, the ability to promote inclusion in a team setting, and commitment; sounds like a crew member to me.

-Josh M.

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