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WOMEN: GENDER DIVERSITY AND EQUALITY


I never gave up: succeeding in the workplace with a disability

By Eveline van Oldenborgh, Customer Service Associate, Accenture Operations, Netherlands

I am the proud wearer of hearing aids, and I consider myself successful at living a life among hearing people.

How did I achieve this?

My life pretty much started in silence, and I was not able to keep up with the people around me. As a result, I suffered from speech difficulties, which set off alarm bells with my parents. At the age of three, I received hearing aids, and I went to speech therapy.

At preschool, I was not able to keep up. My parents were advised to send me to a school for children with learning disabilities. According to my parents, this didn't seem right, and we did not follow this advice. With a little help from the preschool teachers, I successfully completed my education without any delay and with a master diploma from Leiden University in the Netherlands as the final result.

After a few years of working in administration/client services, I was not very lucky at finding a different job. Because of my limitation, I have learned to never give up, and I am able to profit from this mentality.

At the beginning of last year, I was able to take part in a traineeship, during which I got in touch with people, companies and platforms working with people with disabilities. That is how I realized the value of my education and qualities, but also the pitfalls of my perseverance and power. Identifying and knowing how to deal with these pitfalls is a very important part of my education.

“Because of my limitation, I have learned to never give up, and I am able to profit from this mentality.”


In September 2015, I began working for Accenture, a global professional services company. I’m working on an energy company project, which I really enjoy. I am part of a team of 30 people, which sometimes makes it hard to follow the conversations going on. Luckily, they take into account when I am not following them.

I can do my work well, and I can point out what I cannot (and can) do because of my hearing difficulties. My leaders let me be who I am and see me as a full member of the team. But like any person, regardless of any disabilities, I see developing yourself both professionally and personally as an important part of life.



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