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Seeing really is believing when you’re deaf

October 18, 2021

Seeing really is believing when you’re deaf
Seeing really is believing when you’re deaf

Zahal Mohamed TP conducts a finger-spelling sign language session with Accenture employees

When you’re born deaf, the world may be quiet, but the sounds of life are just as loud as for those who can hear.

You naturally find new pathways.

That’s always been me. In fact, whether I’m playing a game of table tennis or finding the right people for projects, I am a champion at both.

It’s been a journey.

When I joined Accenture in 2013, it was my first real experience of a new world, where people can speak and hear each other. I was anxious and doubted my success—at first.

Today, I am working in technology, helping teams in resource management, procurement, staff, asset management, resource onboarding, database creation and distribution list management.

My new world of possibilities

Growing up in a household where my parents were also deaf, education was a priority. I attended a school for the deaf—the same school my father attended. I earned my bachelor’s degree in computer application from St. Louis College for the Deaf in Chennai, India.

I was hired as a process associate for Accenture Operations during a campus recruitment session. My trepidation about joining the working world soon turned into exhilaration, as the people around me were supportive, helpful and inclusive.

Five years later, I learned about an exciting opportunity for persons with disabilities in Accenture Technology. Without giving it a second thought, I went for it. I was offered the role.

To say the transition was life-changing is an understatement. It opened a new world of possibilities for me—an exhilarating sense of freedom. And I visualized a future for myself.

Technology—the ultimate enabler

My journey on the technology team started with project management responsibilities for a banking client. Now, I support the operations team at Chennai, working on a project for an international haircare company. My responsibilities include resource management, procurement, database creation using the SMART & ABACUS tool, distribution list management and staffing and asset management

I also help teams in resource optimization by matching the right resources with the right skills, ensuring our clients get the perfect fit for the role.

How do I do it? Technology is my enabler.

All my training is delivered using captions (English subtitles), and in addition, I do require sign language interpreters, especially for one-on-one discussions and town hall meetings. I am now trained in several tools including Ariba (procurement), ABACUS, Power BI, SMART and agile practices. Learning to use these tools has not only helped me expand my horizons, but it also drives long-lasting value to clients.

Even as the pandemic changed the way we work and live, I’ve been operating without a hitch, thanks to helpful colleagues who understand and adapt their ways. One senior colleague even re-created a four-hour training session just for me so I could understand it better.

It’s just one example of how I feel appreciated by my teams and leaders. It motivates me. I’ve even received several awards for my work.

From mentee to mentor

Inclusion works both ways.

Just as my team helps me, I take every opportunity to teach them. Sign language is a beautiful language, with its own syntax and grammar. Most of my peers have taken the time to learn it, which makes me feel respected and included.

I’m also an active volunteer in our corporate social responsibility initiatives. On the weekends, I teach sign language to the hearing impaired. I use these sessions to motivate people to look beyond their physical selves.

My advice is always this: Only one person can stop you from achieving your boldest dreams: You. Whether in life or at work, stay focused and follow your dreams.

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Zahal Mohamed TP

Project Control Services Analyst – Chennai, India