This week’s blog was written by Annie Geiger, the Regional Human Resources Specialist for Central Ohio, Northeastern Ohio and Northwestern Ohio Regions at Fifth Third Bank. She is also the site contact for the UCP Fifth Third job site and an active three-year member of the UCP Business Advisory Committee (BAC). “I thought (joining the BAC) would be a great opportunity for me to learn more about UCP and what they do as whole, and also to get more involved with the agency,” said Geiger.
Before I started with Fifth Third Bank, I did not have the opportunity to work with a person with a disability. I do have exposure and experience with someone with a disability, though. I have an Aunt who is paralyzed from the waist down and is in a wheelchair. As a child I grew up seeing my aunt in a wheelchair and how she was able to get around, raise her children, be a teacher in her local school district and continue on with the normal day to day functions.
The best part about having Fifth Third partner with UCP is seeing how the Fifth Third employees and UCP clients interact with each other. It is wonderful seeing the UCP clients work side by side with Fifth Third employees and assist with projects/ events that have or are taking place in the affiliate. It is also great to see how the UCP clients have grown and learned over the years, and how the UCP clients have taught Fifth Third employees the same.
This experience has taught me how to have patience and understanding when it comes to teaching and showing the UCP clients how to complete a project or task. Sometimes we have the tendency to explain things at a fast pace. By taking a moment to sit down with the UCP client and explain the project or task to them, I make sure they understand what is being asked of them. This also helps our employees to make sure they understand the project or task themselves. It gives the employees a different perspective on how a different employee learns and how they can teach others.
By having the UCP clients here every day, it makes it easier for the employees of Fifth Third Bank to get to know them on a personal level. The clients add humor, patience and the extra helping hand. This also helps with the growth and development of both the UCP clients and the employees at Fifth Third Bank. It also reminds us of the importance of diversity in the workplace.
To us, the clients are just regular employees and not employees with a disability. They are accepted very well by all the employees here at Fifth Third Bank. I know the Trust Department goes out to lunch with Christian to celebrate birthdays and just to have lunch together as a team. Harry has become good friends with a few of the gentlemen in the commercial department and they go out to lunch once a month. I like running into Sara in the hallway, she always has a smile on her face.
It’s also amazing to see how Andy has grown by working here. A little background about Andy is when he first started working with Fifth Third Bank he was very shy, nervous and afraid to talk to people. Through this partnership with UCP and Fifth Third Bank, Andy has grown by leaps and bounds. When you see Andy in the hallway he always says hello to everyone and will even sometimes stop and talk about how the Browns, Cavs or Indians did the night before.
I would recommend other companies hire people with disabilities. People with disabilities give everyone a different perspective on employment, life and just things in general. They also show us how projects can be done a different way but still accomplish the same end results. They also teach others how to manage/cope with the day to day tasks that some people take for granted.