Lisa Bertolini knew she had an aptitude for accounting and computers. She had a degree from Northeastern Illinois University and was a skilled teacher, supervising a tutorial center and teaching high school graduation equivalency classes at a junior college.
But when she thought about applying for her dream job at Accenture, all she felt was fear—fear that the answer would be “no.” That’s because Bertolini had faced barriers her entire life. She was born with spinal muscular atrophy, diagnosed as an infant when she failed to crawl or begin to walk. She has used a wheelchair ever since.
Bertolini built the courage to apply for her dream job after watching her former student progress from working as “a pizza boy” to landing a job at Accenture. The only difference between the two was that he could walk.
“You have to be adaptable to change if you work with Accenture,” she says. “And that’s probably one of its greatest assets because as the world evolves, and Accenture grows with it, so does its attitude toward people with disabilities.”
Today, Bertolini leads an Accenture team at the forefront of creating accessibility in the digital age—making websites friendly for people with disabilities. The team helps improve Accenture’s internal websites, so employees with disabilities can complete a time report or new employees can find career information.
“My advice to others is that it’s important to be honest about who you are and to express your needs,” she says. “Accenture is wonderfully inclusive, and we have a People with Disabilities Group that will lend support.”
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