As part of our ongoing efforts to foster an inclusive working environment, we’re excited to share the launch of a new employee resource group: EnABLE (Empowering Abilities Beyond Labels for Everyone). Meet one of the EnABLE members, Linda, and hear how she is furthering awareness of disabilities at Labcorp.
Linda has always felt supported in her extensive career at Labcorp, but when she received her diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS) 10 years ago, she didn’t want to tell her co-workers about her health status.
“Like some other forms of disability, MS can be a ‘hidden’ disability. I felt like my case wasn’t severe enough for me to be ‘the MS person’ at work,” Linda explained. “I didn’t want to be pitied or feel like people were constantly looking to see whether I was having issues.”
As time passed, Linda became aware of a few other people at work that were also living with MS, and she started to feel more comfortable sharing her diagnosis. Eventually, she needed to officially request accommodations to support her ongoing work as associate vice president in revenue cycle management for electronic data interchange (EDI) and national payer support.
“Leadership told me, ‘Do what you need to do to take care of yourself.’ They were very understanding and compassionate,” she said.
Creating awareness about living and working with a disability
Living with MS has been unpredictable and difficult at times for Linda, but she has come to recognize the important role she can play in sharing her unique experiences. She’s eager to educate people as part of the new employee resource group (ERG), EnABLE. The group’s kickoff meeting coincides with the International Day of People with Disabilities, recognized each year on December 3; the 2020 theme is “Not all Disabilities are Visible.” Launching in a virtual format, the ERG plans to expand to a few onsite locations as they follow their recently finalized mission statement:
EnABLE (Empowering Abilities Beyond Labels for Everyone) creates a disability-friendly culture. We promote workplace awareness of all disabilities, including those that are invisible, provide resources for increased learning, and facilitate networking opportunities that support employees to achieve their career goals.
With EnABLE, Linda hopes to help people know what is available to them and what is possible.
“I realize that I can put my story out there and reduce the stigma associated with disabilities like MS,” said Linda. “I can also help people understand that there are lots of different kinds of disabilities, and they aren’t the only one.”
Helping others and taking on new responsibilities
Stepping up to take on new challenges and help others comes naturally to Linda. Over the 26 years she has been at Labcorp, she has accepted additional responsibilities and trained with cross-functional teams.
“Labcorp is an amazing place to work, and there’s never a dull moment,” she said. “There are always new things to learn, and the collaborative teamwork that we have across different functions is just huge.
“I’ve had exposure to a lot of different areas of the company, including a lot of people. I even met my husband here. He’s the best thing I got from Labcorp,” she laughed. “We got married during the pandemic!”
Even though Linda has to spend time managing her own healthcare, she and her husband regularly stay with and care for an elderly relative who lives alone.
“With all of the bad things the pandemic has brought, it’s been a huge blessing for us to work remotely and be able to spend time with my uncle and help him out,” she said.
Advocating for greater integration
Linda hopes that with her voice as part of EnABLE she can help others look beyond the challenges that come with a disability and explore better ways to integrate people into the workplace.
“A disability isn’t who the person is,” she said. “And a person’s disability doesn’t keep them from being able to do a lot of phenomenal things. We need to recognize that there are a lot of abilities that go with people who happen to have a disability.”