It wasn’t something I’d ever considered before, disability in the diplomatic service, because I unfortunately, like most people, have quite entrenched images of what a diplomat looks like. So I marveled when I heard that a female diplomat who was deaf had risen through the ranks.
But unfortunately whilst the story starts there, it isn’t where it ends.
Jane Cordell worked in the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) from 2001 and in 2010 was offered the post of deputy head of mission in Kazakhstan, only to have the offer revoked when the FCO decided that making adjustments for her disability would be too expensive. They deemed the cost of her posting was beyond the “reasonable adjustments” which employers are obliged to make for disabled staff.
But I wonder if they’ve overlooked the value they’ll be missing out on, given the extra abilities and commitment Cordell’s disability generates.
Although federal agencies have made tremendous progress in reversing a sustained decline in telework participation, the objective of creating a more productive, inclusive, sustainable, and resilient federal workforce remains a work in progress.
The U.S. Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 dramatically improved the odds of success by creating Telework Managing Officers (TMOs) responsible for telework policy development and implementation in every agency. The first cadre of TMOs faces an exciting-and daunting-opportunity to create lasting impact in their agencies. They should interpret their roles broadly, to include not only the promotion of traditional telework arrangements, but also the development of mobility strategies that contribute meaningfully to agency business objectives such as productivity, inclusion, resilience, and sustainability.
Doing so will require engaging agency leadership on a range of different topics to develop an integrated plan.
“Successful transitions are about attitude, ambition and placing the mission first. As we have done our entire military careers; never accept defeat, never quit and never leave a fallen comrade and to make this point clear, this is why I am here today. I have been in your seat, I have experienced many of the emotions you are going through and can provide you hope and encouragement that the future is yours for the taking.”
Credit: Wiliam McMillian
Kim Ringeisen, Director of Engineering at Cisco, spoke last month at the Wounded Warriors Project graduation ceremony for the Transition Training Academy at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. An 11-year veteran of the US Army, Ringeisen, was the keynote speaker for a 100 person graduating class of transitioning soldiers.
Also with him were Dale Robbins and Marissa Gaithers, members of Cisco’s Veterans Enablement and Troop Support Employee Resource Group.
“Soldiers today are very highly trained in their chosen discipline and in core values that the military instills on every soldier who has served, you have the competitive advantage, you have the spirit that many corporations seek.
“The Military is all about transitions, this is not new… You do not just arrive and you’re done, no! You will always improve your position, train and ensure your personal and team readiness, even if that team is you and your wife or partner. Do not let this transition rattle you, even though for some it will feel like deploying to a foreign land where nothing is familiar, questioning along the way, “will I make it?”, “is their hope for me?”, “how can I compete with the college grads?”, “ I’m in combat arms, but want to be a Network engineer, is this possible?”
“Keep in mind in that foreign land that you are entering, there are hundreds of thousands of veterans already there that can assist you in some form or another.”
About 27 percent of veterans age 20 to 24 are unemployed, according to recent statistics from the Labor Dept. Transitioning to civilian life is challenging. Ringeisen recounted his own experience: Read More »
“If someone is very abusive, or very aggressive, I always try to think, why is this person so aggressive? And sometimes by even making a joke, or by trying to get more information about the person…you break the ice. And sometimes you have some surprising results”
Boris Dittrich, Advocacy Director for Human Rights Watch, spoke on collaboration at Cisco’s San Jose campus recently. He told a story about his time as an openly gay Dutch parliament member:
I was still a member of the national parliament and a leader of my political party. We had created a new government and I was on television every night. So people usually said something when I walked down the street. Usually friendly.
Dittrich then recounted a less friendly encounter he had with a man as he walked from the train station to parliament: Read More »
Whether it’s in a television comedy or a real life scenario, we’ve all experienced those excruciating moments when someone tries too hard to be culturally appropriate and ends up getting it wrong. Many of us avoid attempting shows of cultural awareness for fear of the offence we have the potential to cause.
In a global marketplace, many brands (including our own) are looking to build brand awareness and customer loyalty in new markets where social mores and cultural histories are in marked contrast to their own. Yet customers in new markets can often share needs and characteristics with those in originating markets, making a global brand offering eminently possible.