"Nobody likes to be different," said Andrew Masson, who still, at times, finds it difficult to let people know about his disability.
Currently, the Director of HR, Finance & Corporate Affairs at Rogers, Masson has low vision and is extremely sensitive to bright or florescent light, which means he requires certain accommodations. It can be difficult for people with disabilities to find a place of employment that's accommodating to their specific needs.
However, Rogers is a perfect example of a workplace that makes sure its employees with disabilities get the accommodations they require to be at their best in the workplace. In particular, Rogers has created an environment where everyone can feel comfortable speaking out about their concerns without fear of judgment.
Masson has spent 16 years at Rogers, and throughout his time there, he's always felt respected and supported.
"People have been very accommodating, very willing to support and assist me in any way they can," he said.
Through his experience as a person with a disability, he knows there's an "equal balance between having the courage to speak out and making it known what your own accommodations need to be." He's always found the feedback to be very positive.
Part of the reason why Masson’s work experience has been so positive is due to Rogers' focus on promoting an inclusive environment. The company has six diversity teams; Aboriginal Peoples, LGBTA (A is for allies), Women in Leadership, Visible Minorities, Millennials, and Persons with Disabilities. These teams drive awareness through different events, educational opportunities, celebrations, and guest speakers.
These committees ensure "we get the most from the best and the brightest, and that there's no group who in any way isn't being considered or isn't fully visible and valued," Masson said.
Laura Webb, Senior Manager of Process Improvement at Rogers, is a member of the Persons with Disabilities diversity team. And as part of the Inclusion and Diversity team, she’s heavily involved in organizing these events and speakers.
Webb believes Rogers' emphasis on these areas of focus empowers people to advocate on behalf of employees with disabilities.
"Many people don't know about the various kinds of disabilities out there or how they can show their support," she said. "Rogers has done that, and they've broadened the level of understanding."
Webb became a persons with disabilities advocate because she knows people who are visually impaired. Moreover, she experienced first-hand how those with visible and invisible disabilities are often underemployed for their skill set.
"It got me wanting to do something about it. I thought by joining this committee I could get exposure to a broader number of disabilities, as well as the policies and procedures that Rogers has in place to support those who live with them," she said.
Having a disability shouldn't hinder people from doing their job, but it's up to organizations to provide them with opportunities to succeed.
Webb says Rogers enables and encourages people with disabilities to get more opportunities, whereas companies that don’t promote this kind of diversity often lose out on good candidates.
"The ultimate goal is to have a more diverse workplace because a more diverse workplace will often have more diverse ideas and points of views," she said.
For Masson, Rogers helped him build his confidence to ask for assistance and accommodation when needed. He has learned to trust that the support is there and that people are willing to help.
"If you are confident in expressing your own unique needs, others will help you without question, and that's one of the reasons Rogers is a great place to work," he said.