WorkingNation sat down with Bench Harris at 2022 Disability:IN Conference in Dallas.
Bench Harris says she, herself, has a number of disabilities that started at the age of 14, including chronic costochondritis, generalized anxiety disorder, hearing loss, and chronic memory impairment.
She found her career pathway when she was in executive assisting reception work. “I had some amazing mentors who helped me into the human resources field and gave me an opportunity to learn, to be an analyst – which is a jump from secretary work into being an analyst. And through that process, I eventually was introduced into ADA work.”
She notes that accommodations for employees with disabilities are not expensive. “For example, furniture that might be needed – sit-stand workstations – come up a lot. They’re not expensive. We’re a large organization. We can order them with a pricing break. For some businesses that are smaller, you can get them almost anywhere now.”
Bench Harris says sometimes employees are concerned about costs. “They’ll say, ‘I don’t want to cost my company any money’ and I’ll say, ‘This isn’t going to cost you any money. Actually, we can do this without any cost.’ You know, schedule changes, modified breaks. There are so many things that help individuals.”
She adds, “For myself, as somebody with a disability and working in this field, I am vocal at Wells Fargo about opportunities that I see for improvement. About things we could do a little better. About things that we win. We’ve made big strides in some areas for sure. I want to celebrate that.”