Happy Disability Pride Month! Disability Pride Month encapsules the strength in celebrating the visibility and boundary breaking accomplishments of people with disabilities – and most importantly, why it’s necessary to create an inclusive environment for all.
This month should be a reminder to discuss the wide, intersectional range of disability issues and experiences, and ensure accessibility is factored in. Check out this video for “Top 10 Tips” for building a more inclusive environment.
At Compass, we’re honoring July by providing resources and hosting action-oriented conversations for us to continue to transform the institutions where we work and live in to ensure equitable spaces for all people with disabilities. Check out the feature below highlighting the Disabilities@Compass leadership team, who dedicate their time to create opportunities for advocacy, support and education for people with visible and non visible disabilities.
Nancy Weaver, Compliance Manager – Transaction Operations
“Four years ago, I was inspired by Robert Reffkin’s vision and felt like Compass truly offered something different than the traditional real estate brokerage.
Starting the Disabilities@Compass Affinity Group makes me very proud because it brings visibility to the people at Compass who live with or care for someone with disabilities. Oftentimes, people with disabilities refrain from talking openly for fear of judgment. My goal was to eliminate that fear in any way possible and help break the stigma.
The Disabilities@Compass group has created tools to help employees and agents create and sustain comfortable workspaces for everyone. One of my favorite moments ever at Compass was when the All Employee Meeting included closed captions for the first time. Being hearing impaired, it was so comforting to know that our efforts have not gone in vain and we can make a difference, no matter how small it might seem.”
Victoria Coster, Senior Director of Regional Marketing – Southeast
“Our team at Compass is fueled by curiosity, empathy, resilience and diligence. I come to work ready to learn from them and am constantly inspired by them, which I take as fuel to be the best leader I can be for them in turn and am here to serve. Everyone on the team acts as an owner and is ready to raise a hand to help out a colleague (within our department), ask a question, offer a solution or accept accountability.
My colleague Rachel Welch is an absolute force and our resident hypewoman. She is world-class at changing customers’ minds from what they think their marketing is to what it can be, and gets them excited about the infinite possibilities for how to bring their brand to life in partnership with our team.
This month is about celebrating what society at times has considered our “brokenness”. We are never broken. I may be legally blind in my left eye, but that is a small part of who I am. I once had doctors take pictures of the back of my eye because they had never seen a case like mine. This used to make me feel like a guinea pig. Now, I have half a mind to get another eye doctor to take a picture of my eye so I can frame it. There’s a whole galaxy in my pupil where a normal eye looks flat black. It’s beautiful and it is unique, and this month is about leaning into the places that are uniquely us.”
Grace Bruett, Office Administrator
“When I think of my Team in Chicago, I am so humbled by the level of collaboration when it comes to helping each other so that we can all succeed. I come from a retail background, where the hours were unpredictable and the days were spent completely on my feet, which became more and more difficult for me living with Chronic Illnesses.
Within the first day of being at Compass Lincoln Park, I was introduced to the several Affinity Groups including Disabilities at Compass, and felt seen in the workplace for the first time. My Chicagoland Workplace Team has been amazing helping with coverage on days I need to be absent for doctors appointments, and simply checking in with me on days that I am struggling. In particular, my dear friends and colleagues Danielle LoMastro and Shanti Cooper truly exemplify selflessness, and their kindness has inspired me to also go the extra mile just to show my colleagues that I am thinking of them.
I am very thankful for the P&C Team and my WorkPlace Manager at Compass, who reached out to me in order to better understand how Compass could make the office more accessible to me. I do use a cane when necessary, and I am very lucky that my office is easy to navigate. I also feel like being someone who doesn’t “look sick” but is in fact very ill, can sometimes be a challenge to understand, so I have always been open to questions in order to help my peers better understand my day to day experience, and I have always felt not only compassion, but the willingness to learn about living with a disability from my peers, which I greatly appreciate.
As I have learned how to better manage my disabilities, I have also come to see them as something not to be ashamed of, which I very much used to feel. I was born with certain limitations as to what my body can and cannot do, but these things don’t define me. I have had to learn some different ways to navigate the world, but that isn’t always a bad thing. Since I joined Compass and have shared my story with peers, I have heard from more people like me that have been more open to sharing with others in the Disabilities@Compass Affinity Group and from those who are allies and want to educate themselves on how to support their peers. That makes me the most proud; to see people of all walks of life coming together to be better versions of themselves. That is truly what Disability Pride Month is all about for me.”
Bobby Shields, Team Lead – Product Support
“Often my diabetes will get in the way of my work, however, my teammates, managers and partners have always been supportive and understanding. Big shoutout to Andrew Pledger, Patrick Conlon and Prince Bonilla, who make Compass such a fantastic culture and environment!
The Disabilities at Compass team created a one-sheet that helps get people thinking about how they can make their workplace more inclusive. Cheers to Robert Reffkin for keeping his captions on during meetings!
We need to remember that showing up for work every day is a different lift for each person, and not everyone has the same challenges, strengths and state of mind. We always need to lean into the conversation- foster discussion about accommodations and encourage people to speak up for themselves or for their teammates. If you work at Compass, join the Disabilities@Compass group for a meeting, meet some of the incredible people in this crew, and help us spread the word.”