Careers & the disABLED magazine recently announced that their readers ranked Comcast ninth in the country on their annual "Top 50 Employers List." This is the fourth time Comcast has received this important recognition, and I sat down with a few of my colleagues at Comcast and NBCUniversal to hear what they had to say about the honor:
Fred Maahs, Director, National Partnerships, Community Investment, and VP, Comcast Foundation:
Working at Comcast’s Philadelphia headquarters for the past five years has been such a rewarding experience. I have the great opportunity to work with an entirely diverse team of colleagues who represent a true cross-section of America in a fast-paced, innovative and challenging workplace. For me, Comcast is the ideal place to work. It doesn’t matter that I have a disability. I was hired because of my strong work ethic, my desire to succeed, my collaborative approach and my expertise. I use a wheelchair as a result of a diving accident many years ago. Our state-of-the-art headquarters is accessible and disability-friendly, and Comcast made sure that my office space was adapted for my personal needs. I serve on the company’s Joint Diversity Council representing the disability population and am an Executive Sponsor of our Abilities Network employee resource group.
In my role, I am responsible for identifying and managing a select group of national community partners across the country. With our financial and in-kind support, these partners make a difference every day in schools and communities where we do business and where our employees live and work. One of our newest national community partners is Easter Seals, which provides programs and services for people of all ages who have some type of disability. We’re working with Easter Seals to provide funding for their assistive technology efforts to help people with disabilities learn on a computer, have access to the Internet, get jobs through the use of technology and adapt technology to their specific needs in order to have what they need to lead a well-balanced life. It’s rewarding for me personally and professionally to know that we’re literally changing lives and making the future brighter for countless individuals and communities across our footprint.
Connie O’Neal-Bates, Director, Corporate & Financial IT Applications, Operations & Technical Services, NBCUniversal
NBCUniversal has been like a second home to me for the last 29 years and has offered me a wonderful career opportunity working in the IT department and supporting various business units. About six years into my role here, I was officially diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Since that time, I have endured numerous obstacles and have been proactive in educating my management on how to support me. I learned early on that complete transparency about my diagnosis could work and have established an open dialogue with my management team on all aspects of my disability. NBCUniversal allowed me to work from home, back when it was a new concept, partnered with me on parking issues when it became necessary and most recently selected my new office with distance to the elevator in mind. Also, I have duplicate work stations at the office and at home so I don’t have to carry my laptop back and forth. These things may seem small, but office location, equipment setup and navigation around campus are some of the most important things to someone with physical challenges.
Most recently, I have been working with NBCUniversal leadership to launch the Abilities Network@NBCUniversal, our newest employee affinity group, and think it will help to pave the way for future growth and understanding. I have been fortunate to serve on the planning committee and look forward to more involvement in the future.
I have also had the opportunity to participate in small group meetings to help our leadership digest the needs of physically challenged professionals, like myself, on how NBCUniversal can continue to embrace the growth of our population. Working for a parent company like Comcast that is acknowledged for supporting the diverse needs of its employees is wonderful to see.
Tom Wlodkowski, VP of Accessibility, Comcast Cable
I am thrilled that Careers & the disABLED magazine recognized Comcast’s commitment to supporting people with disabilities. Comcast employees have a passion for developing products and services that positively impact people’s lives, but our commitment goes beyond that. We strive to be a leader in accessibility, not just through our products but also through our workforce and community investment.
I joined Comcast last summer to lead our accessibility program. My primary responsibility is to address usability of our products and services by customers with disabilities. As an employee who is blind, I have been met with nothing less than a positive reception. While we are at the beginning stages of this journey, I can’t wait to share some innovative solutions with our customers in the coming months, including multiple ways for people to control their entertainment experience through voice commands, accessible apps and other enhancements. We are currently in the process of building an Accessibility Lab where we can develop and test our products to be more consumer-friendly for the disability community, as well as other segments of the population that will find the upgrades to our products helpful and convenient.
I am proud to work for a company that is making a concerted effort to create maximum impact by fostering an inclusive environment for our customers and employees with disabilities.