Building Inclusion for People With Disabilities and In Caretaking Roles
At Ecolab, we work to foster a company culture where associates of all abilities not only feel supported and included, but also valued and heard.
December 3 is International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPWD) — an observance the United Nations launched in 1992 to recognize the rights and well-being of people with disabilities around the world. It is also a day of empowerment and a time for all of us to recognize the challenges this community continues to experience.
The tenets of IDPWD align with many of the core values Ecolab demonstrates in the work we do every day — embracing diverse perspectives and talent, creating inclusive spaces for people of all abilities, and promoting equitable growth opportunities, to name a few. IDPWD serves as an important reminder to keep breaking barriers, challenging stereotypes and doing what’s right.
More than three years ago, I helped form our Disability Ability Wellness Network (DAWN) as a resource for associates with disabilities and caretakers — a place where we could find support, talk about our experiences and learn about growth opportunities. Since then we have created a network of almost 600 associates across seven chapters that come from diverse backgrounds and span Ecolab’s divisions.
Together, we have hosted quarterly education events, promoted inclusive policies, advocated for accessibility accommodations, and supported efforts to achieve our company’s 2030 Impact Goals. Going forward, we hope to continue our momentum by increasing our engagement and expanding our impact across the communities we serve.
Being a father to a daughter with special needs has changed my life and made me a better person, but I’ve also seen the challenges that caretakers and those with disabilities can face in our society. What I’ve learned in the last three years is how meaningful it is to have a space at work, like DAWN, to be able to share your story and learn from the experiences of others.
As part of Ecolab’s celebration of IDPWD, I have the privilege to moderate a panel at a virtual DAWN internal event, where three of my fellow DAWN members will have the opportunity to share their experiences with a wider audience. Panelists will discuss the opportunities and progress Ecolab has cultivated in recent years and how we can continue making Ecolab a great place to work.
As an executive sponsor of DAWN, I’ve had the opportunity to listen and learn from events like this, and it’s given me a deeper understanding of the challenges and triumphs of those who are neurodiverse, have disabilities, or are caretakers. My hope for this panel is that associates will leave with the same sentiment, and with a broader vision of how associates within Ecolab are building a more inclusive workplace each day.
At Ecolab, we protect what’s vital, and to me, our team of associates are our most valuable resource. Ensuring all associates feel they can be their best selves at work and in their communities, and that their contributions are valued, is something I want to emphasize on International Day of Persons with Disabilities, and every day.
"Being a father to a daughter with special needs has changed my life and made me a better person, but I’ve also seen the challenges that caretakers and those with disabilities can face in our society. What I’ve learned in the last three years is how meaningful it is to have a space at work, like DAWN, to be able to share your story and learn from the experiences of others."
Senior Vice President and General Manager, Food & Beverage Global Solutions and Co-Executive Sponsor for Disability Ability Wellness Network