Mary Ann from Massachusetts
USDANE EAST REGION 2013
This award recognizes an individual with a significant disability who has exhibited outstanding achievement and exceptional character.
Mary Ann is an example of a long-term success with NTI. Since the inception of the AbilityOne contract for the IRS Forms and Publications in 2004, Mary Ann has assisted thousands of U.S taxpayers, as an Order Entry Clerk. Declared legally blind at the age of five, Mary Ann has encountered and overcome challenges with both her educational and vocational endeavors. The series of rejections to job opportunities was frustrating until she found NTI, “I got plenty of interviews but as soon as the employer knew I was blind, I didn’t get the job.” “People thought I was crazy to take a computer job from home; everyone told me it was a scam.” Mary Ann’s condition requires room-darkening curtains, the use of handheld magnifying glass and a mouse that has ability to spot magnify. She uses two or three monitors in order to have large enough view of the many windows needed to perform her job. In order to keep up with content changes to her job, she studies on her own time to ensure she remains sharp and current. Unable to drive, the most significant accommodation is the ability to adjust her environment by working from home
Mary Ann does a great job, so much so she was promoted to an Assistant Lead position as well as given the added responsibility as a test caller to train “newbies” on the IRS Forms and Publications contract. “I have compliments on her feedback and help from new agents that she monitors. She is always willing to do whatever it takes to help someone grow and be better at their job”, contributes Younger and “Working in a virtual world can sometimes be a challenge. Communication can be a chore and understanding people can be difficult. In speaking with Mary Ann via phone or online you can feel the passion she presents in her job.”
Recently relocated to Boston, Mary Ann jumped right in to her new locale by volunteering at a local school for brain-damaged children, joining a walking group and becoming a weekly visitor to a woman of 101 years of age. In addition she befriended a woman with legal blindness, also new to the community, and has taught her how to use public transportation as well assist her to become more autonomous.
Successful employment for those with blindness both defies the odds and demonstrates the abilities often denied the opportunity to shine. Employers, often due to ignorance and fear, have yet to realize a resource such as Mary Ann. Her contributions and performance attest to making her situation work to the best of her ability. Over the years NTI has persevered to employee those with visual impairment and legally blindness. Only 5% or our workforce meets the AbilityOne definition of blind; we remain disappointed the percentage is not greater. Mary Ann’s sight continues to deteriorate yet she adapts, adjusts, re-learns and maintains the core requirements of her job. Mary Ann exemplifies through her perseverance and dedication, an individual with legal blindness is a motivated and loyal employee.