by Mike Carter, Account Director, Infor Oil & Gas
Last spring, I left the offices of one of Infor’s leading Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) customers, Southern Star, feeling inspired.
During my visit, the customer team and I discussed agenda items like higher employee utilization rates and route optimization programs, but that’s not what inspired me.
Instead, it was a friendly, outgoing, young Southern Star employee named Colin Powers, Associate, Business Services for the Records and Information department. Colin isn’t your typical employee. He has a level of determination and empathy that far surpasses what most others are capable of. He is not afraid of stepping out of his comfort zone to take on some of life’s scariest challenges, and he is not shy about giving you a hug when you are having a bad day. Colin is always thinking about the needs of others. Part of what makes Colin truly unique is he has an extra chromosome 21.
Having an extra chromosome 21 is commonly referred to as the genetic disorder Down syndrome, or Trisomy 21. Some of you may not know exactly what Down syndrome is. Neither did I until the spring of 2018.
That spring, doctors told my wife and me that our daughter would be born with an extra chromosome 21. After getting the news, my mind immediately began to race, wondering how her life would be different. Would she do the things developmentally normal kids do? Will she find love? Will she have a meaningful job? There were a number of questions circling my mind, but it was at that point I knew that she would break barriers and have a life of meaning and purpose. Like any parent, I knew I would do everything in my power to help make that happen. My daughter Grace is now 2 going on 20, and I’m excited for the possibilities of her future.
March 21 (321 – symbolizing the three chromosomes 21) was recognized as World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD), a global awareness day officially observed by the United Nations since 2012. As part of WDSD, I am delighted to share some exciting news with the extended Infor community, for those who work at Infor, our customers, and associates. On April 8, Infor is launching the (dis)Abled at Infor Business Resource Group. This group will focus on parents paving the way for their children’s futures, and all employees who are differently abled, as well as the differently abled businesses and communities we serve. (dis)Abled at Infor aims to provide a support network to champion and advocate for employees with different abilities, while welcoming employees of all abilities, including allies, to raise awareness of accessibility, inclusion, community partnerships, and to celebrate diversity.
I challenge each of you to use today to better yourselves in honor of WDSD. In the business world, we sometimes obsess over refining our hard skills like programming or learning a new language. Often, we don’t put enough focus on developing behaviors that define the culture we want to build. Our guiding principle of respect highlights our commitment to respect each other as individuals, treating each person we encounter with dignity and sensitivity. We are explicit that we work to understand and embrace the unique aptitudes and perspectives, in addition to knowledge and skills, of each individual, as only then can we truly leverage the power of diversity in our culture.
Investing in Colin gives him the opportunity to contribute three days each week by delivering mail and packages to Southern Star employees and arranging the conference room for various meetings. It’s a win-win for Southern Star.
“This is a great opportunity for all parties involved. It’s great to help him, but he helps us more—Colin has skills and gifts that others don’t. He’s so good with face-to-face interaction—he never gets tired of it,” said Southern Star’s Manager of Business Services Josh Komarek in this Oxensboro Times news article.
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