Lucy Del Gaudio

I recently started a new position as a Program Manager with Prudential Pathways Prudential Advisors Onsite Program (PAO) – a series of financial wellness education on-site seminars — and it’s been incredibly rewarding. My primary role is to aid the PAO program in different locations.  I assist with scheduling, as well as marketing and managing the Prudential Pathway series and seminars offered to Prudential employees.

With my disability, sometimes, I feel like a rock star, confident and well spoken.  Other times, I am riddled by self-doubt and anxiety.  At my worst, depression can set in and I disconnect.  My PTSD was diagnosed late in life.  I joined the US Army after my father passed away.  My plan was to make the military a career, but after experiencing military sexual trauma, I made the decision to end my Active status after four years and become an Army reservist.  While I sought assistance from the VA, I didn’t feel that they had the proper tools to help me.  I eventually received help in other avenues and controlled my anxiety and depression with several medications.  Then, while in a previous role here at Prudential, I my trauma was triggered at work.  I was hospitalized and diagnosed with PTSD.  Afterwards, I totally felt like I had a “black cloud” over me. Without feeling I had the opportunity to explain my diagnosis, and how sometimes my interactions might seem off, work relationships became difficult.

It’s difficult to hide your feelings at times but knowing that I’m entering a positive work environment is a breath of fresh air. Lucy Del Gaudio Program Manager, PAO Prudential Pathways, Prudential Financial

I sought the assistance of Prudential Health and Wellness, and I was able to overcome and make my work life much better. I know that they are available for me.  I meet with my therapist on-site when she’s available and when something is triggered.  The mediation hotline is a blessing and the serenity rooms – which provide a place to rest, recoup or meditate in quiet — are wonderful.  Since April 2017, I have found a holistic, prescription free approach to manage my condition and I feel 100% supported by Prudential. I know firsthand that the right type and level of support, gives employees like me what we need to be more engaged and productive – both in and outside of the office.

Around the time I sought help from Health and Wellness, I began volunteering with the Women Veteran Subcommittee of the New Jersey SOSVETS Stakeholder Group. Over last 18 months, we’ve worked to create a day of recognition for Women Veterans in New Jersey.  On June 12, 2019, New Jersey state officials, military service members, veterans, Prudential employees and the press gathered at our Prudential office to watch Acting Governor Sheila Oliver sign New Jersey Joint Resolution No. 114 into law, establishing the day as Women Veterans Appreciation Day. Just one week later, a bipartisan resolution was passed in Washington, DC designating the date as a National Day of Recognition.

Since changing roles, my coworkers have fostered a truly wonderful work environment that is kind and compassionate. Coming out of my last experience, I have been very open with the Prudential Pathways team about my disability. I feel welcomed and empowered.  I am able come to work at Prudential as my full, authentic self, which is so important for me. It’s difficult to hide your feelings at times but knowing that I’m entering a positive work environment is a breath of fresh air.

Amy Warner

My disability was my secret for over 25 years as I climbed the corporate tech ladder. Looking back, it is something I wish I had not hidden for so long!

Amy Warner
Amy Warner

I was 19 when I started losing my hearing. I was studying to become an aerospace engineer with dreams of becoming an astronaut. Like many people with hearing loss, I was in denial. My roommates told me the TV was too loud, to turn down my music, and get my hearing checked. Instead, I isolated myself, spending time in my room with the door locked so no one would bother me.

I realized the severity of my deafness when I awoke suddenly to a fireman shaking me in the middle of the night. I had already lost hearing in one ear and hadn’t heard the alarms blaring throughout the building. This was a rude awakening – I had a hereditary disorder causing progressive deafness. Not only was I deaf in one ear, I would gradually lose hearing in my other ear.

This news was devastating. I worried if I would be able to graduate, lead a normal life, or even get a job. I was determined to persevere. I hid my hearing aids. I became so proficient at reading lips I was voted “best eye contact” in my engineering graduating class. To this day, my focused engagement and “eye contact” have become a major asset, helping me to build relationships.

Letting my team know about my disability – and the ways they have supported me – has been life changing Amy Warner VP and GM, IT Digital Business Solutions & Corp Dir. of Accessibility, Intel

Overcoming challenges in the workplace

Over 70% of disabilities are invisible. I was no exception. As the days and years progressed my hearing became worse. However, the extent of my hearing loss was hidden and often very confusing for people. Sometimes my lack of response could be interpreted as rude, or not engaged, or – one of my biggest fears – not capable.

Cube life was becoming increasingly difficult. For days with multiple calls, I would sit alone in a closed phone booth, exhausted from straining to hear conversations. I struggled in large open forums and town halls. I started to believe I may need to leave the workforce. I wasn’t sure I could continue to be successful as a leader at Intel.

Sharing my story

Throughout my career, I was determined to not let my disability define me, but it was always something I felt I had to hide. I worried people would think I am less capable Or it would limit my career advancement.

In 2018, I was asked to publicly share my story. I hesitated. Why would I want to tell more than 100,000 Intel employees (and then, the world) about my hearing loss? Then everyone would know my secret – I have a disability.

I finally decided to share, hoping it could impact others. What surprised me, was the overwhelming inspiration and empowerment I received in return. Once the news hit, my company, managers, and colleagues rallied behind me. They allowed me to work where and how I work best. Co-workers started reaching out to me for advice, some who struggled with hidden disabilities. Letting my team know about my disability – and the ways they have supported me – has been life changing, enabling me to more empowered, transparent, authentic, and fearless to be my best self.

Leading out loud with my disability

I am early in my journey of living and leading out loud with my disability. It took me a long time to figure out that my disability is a strength. Each day I became more innovative, more resilient, and more fearless, adapting daily to my environment.

I believe it is important to recognize the power and influence we as leaders can have, at work, in life and in the industry. I went from being hesitant to ask for accommodations to leading the way in driving accessibility pilots for new technologies and solutions to help shape a modern workplace where everyone can be productive and contribute.

As a leader, if I am hesitant to share my disability, what are others in the organization feeling? By sharing our stories, being fearless and being vulnerable, we can help lead the way in creating a psychologically safe culture where others are allowed to be their authentic selves. Ultimately, we can help change the conversation and break down social stigmas in our workplaces and in society.

I am proud to work for a company that encourages every Intel employee to be bold and fearlessly focused on going beyond what they thought possible. Intel believes in order to shape the future of technology, we must be representative of that future. As the new corporate director of accessibility, I am excited to lead our initiative to drive a sustained culture of accessibility, embracing technology to eliminate barriers, foster innovation and empower all people to reach their full potential.

Steven Fontaine

As an individual who identifies as blind I use a screen reader, which is software that interprets digital content on all my electronic devices. This software empowers me to successfully do the work that I do and with which I am so passionate. It has taken me some time to find the best fit for my skill set in a professional setting. While I am extremely tenacious when it comes to finding ways around digital barriers, I feel that no one should have to struggle when trying to access websites, mobile apps or everyday electronics that our society has come to rely on. This is where my passion for digital accessibility began.

Recognizing how much I could contribute in helping ensure technology is built to accommodate end-user needs across the spectrum of disabilities, the challenge became finding the organization that would embrace and recognize the value of my skill set. Hilton presented itself at just the right time.

I am thrilled to be working with this leading hospitality company that is committed not only to making their public-facing digital experiences accessible but is also dedicated to ensuring internal technology platforms are accessible to their workforce. Hence, my niche…I am a Senior Accessibility Analyst on Hilton’s Digital Accessibility team. I am assigned to the delivery team, which is building our new, custom call center application. I am a fully integrated and participating member in all agile ceremonies and work directly with all cross-functional roles on this team. My work on this team is critical, as Hilton employs call center agents who are blind and visually impaired. Making this custom Call Center application accessible will allow for career advancement of our agents who are blind and visually impaired, as well as enable Hilton to expand its hiring of people of all abilities, with minimal external accommodations necessary.

My lack of vision does not keep me from living as full and rich of a life as everyone else who I encounter daily. I may just approach things from a different angle. Steven Fontaine Senior Digital Accessiblity Analyst, Hilton

I enjoy working with a dynamic software development team daily to help them understand digital accessibility considerations on all levels of the development lifecycle. I bring a firsthand account to why inclusive design is important so that people of all abilities will be able to not only work but thrive here at Hilton. Although I am only impacted by lack of vision, when it comes to digital content, I think about all aspects of making content accessible for all. I don’t want anyone to be left out.

I have the good fortune to travel across the country to our different Hilton offices for meetings and enjoy spreading the word about what I do at Hilton. People who I encounter express how impressed they are with the direction that the company is going. I also love traveling during my personal time, and my incredibly goofy, smart, and all-around loveable guide dog Robert makes sure I arrive safely wherever I am going whether for business or pleasure.

My lack of vision does not keep me from living as full and rich of a life as everyone else who I encounter daily. I may just approach things from a different angle. I think of that as a major asset when it comes to voicing a different perspective and I hope this will continue to increase the diversity of hiring on a corporate level. I do not feel that I am treated any differently than anyone else on my team, but I do think that it takes everyone who I encounter some time to find the best way for us to work together, and I try to allow everyone to come to that realization in their own time. I have found that sometimes people in larger organizations may not have had the opportunity to engage with someone of my abilities and I always try to educate as gently as possible. It is extremely rewarding to be part of this organization that is helping change the landscape of disability employment.

Carolyn Cannistraro

On a bright sunny spring morning, I woke up and the left side of my body went numb. Then, I lost the vision in my left eye and my ability to write. I felt terrified. But I pushed past it. I could outrun this, I thought. Then, slowly, my symptoms got worse, and I was left no choice but to acknowledge to myself that my body was betraying me.

Seven months later, on a bitter cold December evening, I received a phone call from my neurologist. He brusquely stated that I had multiple sclerosis and hung up. As I stood there, 23 years old in shock and disbelief, I thought that my life was over. However, being the driven person that I am, I knew the show had to go on.

But I made a decision to keep my diagnosis to myself forever. I didn’t want to burden anyone with my fears, and I feared that friends, colleagues, and people in the community would treat me differently. As an employee at a global financial institution, I’ve kept my diagnosis to myself for 12 years—until now.

That ever present question of ‘Why me’ suddenly turned into why NOT me? Wow, that was a powerful thought: why not me? I understood that as I addressed my diagnosis, I had not just a challenge, but also an obligation with my life. Carolyn Cannistraro Assistant VP, Banker , Global Financial Institution

That ever present question of ‘Why me’ suddenly turned into why NOT me? Wow, that was a powerful thought: why not me? I understood that as I addressed my diagnosis, I had not just a challenge, but also an obligation with my life.

I realized that  I could be of service to others, if I bravely shared my story and inspired people to keep on fighting. I knew, though, that the first step was to come clean with myself. I needed to give up blaming myself and feeling ashamed of myself. I needed to stop feeling embarrassed and inferior about having multiple sclerosis. As human beings, we often judge each other by first impressions, and as a result we sometimes miss a lot. By hiding my diagnosis, I was perpetuating many of the myths about people with disabilities. I hope that, by sharing my story, I can help combat them instead.

Carolyn participating in a ballroom dancing competition

Since my diagnosis, I have achieved success in the business world and won professional awards. Currently, I work for a world-renowned financial institution helping clients make their financial dreams come true. In my spare time, I have volunteered mentoring young women and have been a guest speaker on a weekly business radio talk show. During the holiday season, I sang with The New Chorale Society and at Carnegie Hall with Mid-America Productions (I’m a classically trained mezzo-soprano singer). Professionally, to challenge myself even further, I sat for the licensing examinations for the financial services industry and was recruited by a top wall street firm. In addition, I became a certified EMT, established a newsletter, write poetry, have pursued my dream as a ballroom dancer, and recently participated in my first New York Road Runners Race in Central Park, completing the one mile walk in personal record time.

Today, I live joyously, industriously, and vigorously. I wish to be an example through grace, dignity, and equanimity. I arm myself with courage and self-possession. I invite all people, but especially those with disabilities, to embrace the hand we’ve been dealt and to play that hand unapologetically! To refrain from being defined by our circumstances, and create from them a life that inspires. Be unafraid. Be who you are.

Barry Bannister

I incurred a C4/5 Spinal Chord Injury at 18 years old in October 1979. Still, I graduated from high school in 1980 and from the University of Washington with a Bachelors of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1987, joining Boeing Commercial Airplanes in 1988.

Head shot of Barry wearing a bluetooth headset
Head shot of Barry wearing a bluetooth headset

I started with Boeing in a pre-ADA world, and saw a company that was very willing to accommodate and help a young disabled engineer find a good place to begin a career. My 31 year journey with the company has not all been perfect or easy, but whose career is, regardless of physical ability. Overall, the company has shown a good degree of helping those who are willing to try and work and should be complimented.

It’s been a privilege to work with some of the best minds in the world with some of the best intentions to improve the world. Additionally, I have been blessed with a lot of help along the way: God, family, friends, peers and company.

Bethany Foor

I decided at a young age that I have a choice – I can be a victim and feel sorry for myself or I can find the courage to persevere in the face of adversity and succeed. Thankfully, I chose the latter.

A doctor told me at a young age that I would likely never graduate from high school due to my severe hearing loss and being so far behind with my speech and language development. I found the courage to work hard in school and be active in sports and other activities despite wearing hearing aids and living with a 70% hearing loss.

Bethany with Tony the Tiger

When I was a teen, another doctor told me my hearing loss was actually from having Usher syndrome – which is the leading cause of deaf-blindness. Now I had to find the courage to deal with the news that not only did I have a hearing loss, but I was going to start losing my vision and go blind. I continued to be active and work hard in school, and I proved the first doctor wrong – not only did I graduate from high school, I graduated with honors.

By the time I was college age, I started losing my night vision and my peripheral vision. I decided to go away to college 300 miles from home. I earned my bachelor’s degree and graduated with honors. Even though I had a severe hearing loss and was beginning to lose my vision, I found the courage to begin a professional career. I spent time working in both the health care industry and the pharmaceutical industry.

Almost 20 years after earning my bachelor’s degree, I decided to pursue my MBA degree. My graduate degree was a lot more challenging than my undergraduate degree due to the progression of my eye disease and my limited field of vision, but I was still able to achieve my goal and excel in all of my classes.

I decided at a young age that I have a choice – I can be a victim and feel sorry for myself or I can find the courage to persevere in the face of adversity and succeed. Thankfully, I chose the latter. Bethany Foor Writer Coordinator, Corporate Affairs, Kellogg's

After earning my MBA degree, I accepted a position with Kellogg in the Corporate Affairs department. When I was working on my MBA degree, I found the courage to ask someone who is successful despite facing similar challenges to mentor me. He encouraged me to consider Kellogg as he knew the company was committed to diversity and inclusion and fostered a supportive, encouraging environment.

I was nervous starting a new career, especially since my vision loss had progressed significantly in the past few years. I am thankful to have a mentor that encouraged me and I am thankful I found the courage to apply for a position with Kellogg. As someone who has a disability, I can firmly say that Kellogg lives its mission of being committed to diversity and inclusion.

While Kellogg fosters a supportive, encouraging environment, it still takes courage for me to make sure I am successful in my career. I need courage to speak up and ask for reasonable accommodations to do my job. I need courage to educate others on my disabilities and let them know how they can help me by simply speaking a little louder or enlarging their presentation so I can see it better. I also have to ask for assistance navigating through unfamiliar areas. I have found that everyone at Kellogg is always supportive and more than willing to accommodate my requests.

Even though I face daily challenges, I have so much to be grateful for. We often face difficulties we cannot control, but we can control our attitude and our determination to be courageous in order to address challenges and face adversity.

Bethany Foor with her family upon graduating with her Masters of Business Administration Degree

Cassie Liverance

Cassie poses at a L'Oreal facility

It was October 2016 when I left an important management meeting for the first time in front of my new senior management.  During the meeting, I had asked them to repeat themselves three times on six different occasions.  I remember thinking to myself, “They must think I’m an idiot!”  I replayed the scenario over and over in my mind hearing unspoken comments: “What is she, dumb?” “Is she trying not to answer the question?” “Does she not know her business?”  Of course, no one said any of that, but I was sure that’s what they were thinking.

The more I thought about it, the more I worked myself up into a panic, and realized I needed to find a solution.  I had been struggling with my hearing for over ten years.  For the last eight, I had worn a hearing aid and ignored the fact that my hearing was getting worse.  Although I had become quite skilled at reading lips and making a concerted effort to listen to what was being said, I realized I was guessing more and more at what I thought I heard.  This meeting was pivotal for me and even though no one may have noticed, I was embarrassed for the first time.

Not long after that, a video campaign called “Breaking the Silence” that described the benefits of disclosure was broadcast on the L’Oréal Internal Portal and Screensaver.  This campaign resonated with me, and I decided that I would “check the box” acknowledging I had a disability—even though before that day I had not ever considered hearing loss a disability.

When my youngest child saw my new hearing device he was very inquisitive and wanted to “try out” how much I could hear.  He ran into another room and whispered something, then shouted “Mom, what did I say?”  I told him that he had said “I love you mom” and he burst into tears Cassie Liverance VP Physical Distribution, Operations Americas, L'Oréal USA

One of the outcomes of my disclosure was that the Company, which has supported me in many ways, changed its medical benefits to cover the hearing needs of employees.  Before I spoke up, hearing aids were not a part of our benefits package (reimbursable or covered).  The devices can be very costly; I personally changed hearing aids 3 different times in eight years, with the costs increasing each time.  In 2018, after I spoke up, I was excited to “hear” the company had adjusted the medical benefits to include hearing aids and devices.

As VP of Distribution, I lead a team of 500 people to deliver $3.2 billion in goods across 10 consumer goods categories and 4 divisions. Being able to communicate effectively with my team is essential. But L’Oréal’s support has also been invaluable outside of work. When my youngest child saw my new hearing device he was very inquisitive and wanted to “try out” how much I could hear.  He ran into another room and whispered something, then shouted “Mom, what did I say?”  I told him that he had said “I love you mom” and he burst into tears – and at that moment I knew how much L’Oréal’s had provided for me.  All because I felt empowered to speak up about my disability.

How else has my disclosure helped?  I no longer feel embarrassed to ask people to repeat themselves.  I don’t hesitate to take a seat in meetings where I can hear better so that I can participate without guessing.  And I feel empowered to ask people to walk on my left so that we can walk and talk as we go to lunch. I feel free.

Vincenzo Piscopo

Vincenzo surrounded by colleagues from the Coca-Cola Company and service dog, Martina
Vincenzo surrounded by colleagues from the Coca-Cola Company and service dog, Martina

As Director of Community and Stakeholder Relations at the Coca-Cola company, I manage philanthropic relationships with Hispanic, Veterans and disability-focused partners. I also manage volunteerism for the company, our relationship with United Way, and am president of Coke’s This-ABILITY Business Resource Group. Man—it sounds like a lot written out like that.

I just happen to serve those functions from a wheelchair.

I already worked for Coke when I lost the use of my legs due to spinal cord injury. And although there have certainly been adjustments for me at work, the accident has not stalled my career. I have, however, noticed one major change in my professional life: My co-workers have become much more comfortable around people with disabilities. My colleagues, of course are all good, earnest people, but there’s no substitute for simply being exposed to disabilities in a day-to-day way. They no longer ask questions like “How will you…” Instead my disability is just another mundane part of life at the company, which has been incredibly supportive, and ensured that I have everything I need to do my job most effectively (including a release area for my service dog, Martina).

I have, however, noticed one major change in my professional life: My co-workers have become much more comfortable around people with disabilities. Vincenzo Piscopo Director, Community and Stakeholder Relations, The Coca-Cola Company

Although my accident has not significantly impacted my professional life, it has impacted me personally, and one of my proudest accomplishments is founding the Wheels of Happiness Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to supporting disadvantaged kids and adults with disabilities. Since its creation in 2011, Wheels of Happiness has helped over 100 folks (and counting) in Venezuela, Colombia, Kenya, Uganda, India, and Panama by providing medical equipment, supplies, scholarships and funds for therapy and surgeries.

As I look towards the future of my life and career, my plan is simple: to keep going. I desire to continue working in the area of Corporate Social Responsibility, and developing as a D&I executive. But more specifically, I want to help combat stigmas around minorities, particularly people with disabilities. And I’m grateful to work for a company that not only supports me in these ambitions, but actively shares them.

Rodney Christopher

As a consultant at FMA, I provide training, consulting and coaching to build the capacity of funders to engage with grantees about their financial needs. I also conduct business development for the firm, and recently started as the lead on a major project working for and with a collaborative of five of the largest private foundations.

Rodney gives a presentation to clients.
Rodney gives a presentation to clients.

To have lived the life I have is, in itself, an accomplishment I am proud of. I was raised on welfare by a single mom in a working class neighborhood of Brooklyn, and the odds were stacked against me in many ways. But I succeeded academically, and was building a nice career until a new obstacle presented: being diagnosed with a crippling mental disability.

Learning I have Bipolar II disorder – and how to live with it reasonably well – has been the biggest challenge of my life, professionally and personally. I’m grateful to my long-time therapist, Dr. Philip Spivey, because it was he who helped properly diagnose me and ensured I had appropriate treatment, including what I call my “head meds” (I’ve learned it often takes much longer than in my case for folks with my condition to be properly diagnosed).

Experiencing major depressive episodes for many weeks at a time during each of the four years till I was diagnosed, and once more in the middle of my first year of proper treatment, was soul-robbing. I was terrified that I would never be okay and capable of living a productive life. Somehow, I just kept trying. I was able to hide it for quite some time, but then I no longer could. I reached my lowest point and knew that if I did not admit myself to a psych ward I would have taken my life. It was just too hard to continue living with uncontrollable periods of deep depression, during which nothing was logical and I had no will to live.

I was fortunate to have incredibly supportive bosses. I must single out Clara Miller, for whom I worked 18 years at two different places. Her ability to respond with concern and give me space to learn about and manage my condition is a major contributor to the fact that I am alive today. I had to pull back, slow down and focus on my health. Along the way, I discovered that my condition is hereditary. On both my mom’s and dad’s sides of my family I have had relatives on the bipolar spectrum—I lost two uncles to suicide. And I learned a sobering data point: 1 in 5 people who have my diagnosis ultimately take their lives. I have now lived for more than 11 years without a major depressive episode. I have had a lot of help and it has been a lot of work. I must remain vigilant about having recovery time from intense periods of work. Without it, I could easily enter a hypomanic phase. If I spend too much time there, I run a strong risk of plunging into a debilitating depression. And I must always have patience with periodic anxiety and low moods. Clara—at Nonprofit Finance Fund and the Heron Foundation—and now my bosses at FMA, have all supported my working 4-day weeks, which allows me to manage my energy.

I was terrified that I would never be okay and capable of living a productive life. Somehow, I just kept trying. Rodney Christopher Senior Consultant, Fiscal Management Associates

Prior to joining FMA, I did not have much confidence that a new employer would consider hiring me, given my disability and because working a 4-day week is what best maintains my health. I figured that companies structure jobs to be held by 5-day people, why would they be open to hiring someone at 80%? Yet, when I embarked on the search that led to my current job at FMA, I summoned up the courage to disclose my disability early in the process. I did so largely to release the pressure I knew I’d feel if I waited to mention it either just before or just after getting/accepting an offer (should I have been so lucky), only to learn at that late stage that it would be a problem for the firm to consider my condition a disability and to be willing to accommodate it. I’d much prefer to be disappointed early. Amazingly, firms expressed a willingness to allow me to work 4 days/week.

I have continued to be open about my disability with the colleagues I work closest with. The folks at FMA have been, without exception, really supportive. Given that I am a consultant and trainer who works primarily from home it is extraordinary that I am supported and even encouraged to organize my travel in ways that allow me to manage my energy.

Earlier in my career I wanted to become a CEO or founder of a nonprofit organization. My disability forced me to re-evaluate. Today, I can say honestly that I am living out my professional aspirations. I do work that I love and am told I do well. Ultimately, I am more grateful than proud—many great people and positive circumstances appeared throughout my life that were purely good luck.

Kyle Waterworth

I was born and raised in rural Central Florida. I grew up riding horses, picking blackberries and wandering around barefoot. I spent a lot of time near or in the water. Whether at the beach, ponds or lakes – there are bodies of water everywhere down there.

Kyle hard at work on his laptop computer
Kyle hard at work on his laptop computer

I guess you could say my journey to becoming an accessibility professional began at birth. My poor vision is a result of a congenital birth defect; essentially, my optic nerves didn’t develop correctly. I also have astigmatism, strabismus, nystagmus, severe myopia, glaucoma, and even minor cataracts. When I was in middle school I lost most of the vision in my right eye over a two-year period for reasons that still aren’t entirely clear, doctors at the time said it was due to glaucoma but I’ve heard 2nd, 3rd, and 4th dissenting opinions from other medical professionals since.

It was this sudden loss of vision that sparked my and my family’s interest in accessibility, and is the primary reason I enrolled at the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind. Over the course of my high school years I learned orientation and mobility, including cane use, braille grades 1&2 (a little of 3 but that’s long gone), as well as using a screen reader (remember Window Eyes?), keyboard-only navigation, zoomtext, and a host of other accessibility technologies.

My journey to becoming an accessibility professional began at birth. Kyle Waterworth Accessibility Architect, Charter Communications

Also during these years I discovered my passion for music. I was the guitarist for a school sponsored rock band, “Outta Sight” (I know :P), that played all over the state. I haven’t stopped playing music since. I’m a guitarist, vocalist, drummer and DJ. I am currently the drummer for doom metal sensation Flat Earth, and regularly DJ bars and private events.

After high school I went to college at Florida State University majoring in classical guitar, however, I transferred to the University of Central Florida and graduated with a B.A. in Business and Management in 2014.

I graduated in August of 2014 and got on a plane to Denver three days after my graduation. I worked a series of terrible jobs after arriving to Denver – for example, door knocking sales and telemarketing – before finding a job at Walmart assembling bikes. I quickly climbed the ladder to Assistant Store Manager and learned A LOT about managing people and leading teams. It was while working there that I began moonlighting doing accessibility testing on a contract basis. That experience, plus knowing members of the blind community in Denver, led me to my current position as an Accessibility Architect at Charter Communications/Spectrum. I’ve never been happier at a job in my life.