This is Elijah; This is Certinia
Wendy Puckrin is a dedicated Customer Success Manager at Certinia, driven by her passion for empowering customers and ensuring their success. Firmly believing in the power of Diversity and Inclusion (D&I), she advocates for creating an inclusive workplace where individuals from all backgrounds and abilities can thrive. In this article, Wendy sheds light on the significance of D&I at Certinia and its impact on the company’s culture and customers, emphasizing how embracing differences and fostering inclusivity leads to remarkable achievements and growth.
Allow me to proudly introduce you to my amazing son, Elijah, who is now 9 years old. Elijah has Down Syndrome, and I’m grateful that everyone at Certinia knows and embraces this part of our lives. They not only listen to me talk about him incessantly, but they also encourage and support me in celebrating his abilities, acknowledging his challenges, and highlighting the unconditional love he receives from all of us.
We’re big believers in the importance of Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) at Certinia, and it goes far beyond just a buzzword. Embracing diversity is about recognizing the unique qualities that each individual brings to the table and creating a sense of belonging where everyone feels valued and challenged to thrive independently.
For businesses, the benefits of D&I are immeasurable. It shapes how an organisation functions and how it is perceived by the world. Embracing diverse perspectives fosters creativity, innovation, and problem-solving. Silicon Valley is a testament to the impact of diverse minds, with many of its success stories attributed to the contributions of people with Autism.
Studies, like the one conducted by McKinsey, have shown a direct link between companies with more diverse teams and improved financial performance. But beyond the numbers, I know firsthand that fostering a culture of inclusion from a young age can have lasting effects on future generations.
Elijah is a shining example of how inclusion starts early. He attends a mainstream school where he has formed great friendships. During his birthday party last year, we invited some older kids who have since moved on to secondary school. To my delight, they came without hesitation and embraced Elijah as an integral part of the celebration. It’s heartwarming to witness how they interact with him, always eager to include him in their activities and offering a helping hand when needed.
These interactions are invaluable because they shape the way children perceive and embrace differences, making inclusion the norm for them as they grow into adulthood and enter the workforce.
I share Elijah’s story as much as possible because I believe it fosters a positive and inclusive environment. He deserves a world where inclusivity is standard and where great achievements by people with disabilities are not treated as extraordinary news but celebrated as accomplishments that transcend perceived limitations.
As Verna Myers wisely stated, “Diversity is being invited to the party, Inclusion is being asked to dance.” Yet, Cindu Thomas George takes it one step further: “Inclusion is not just being asked to dance, but being asked to help choreograph that dance.”
Elijah’s determination and zest for life have taught me invaluable lessons. I’ve come to realise that focusing on ‘can’ts’ is counterproductive. It’s important to nurture an environment where everyone feels capable and empowered to achieve their goals, irrespective of their pace or timeline.
Elijah’s journey reminds us that every individual, regardless of their abilities, can contribute meaningfully to the world. He’s everything I never knew I needed, and he has enriched my life beyond measure.
This July, as we celebrate Disability Pride Month, I couldn’t be prouder of my son, and I’m committed to embracing our differences and encouraging others to do the same. Diversity and Inclusion are essential not just in the workplace, but in all aspects of life. As Jesse Jackson aptly said, “when everyone is included, everyone wins.”
Here’s to fostering an inclusive world, where everyone’s unique dance steps contribute to a symphony of unity and understanding. This is Elijah, and this is Certinia. Together, let’s embrace Diversity and Inclusion, because when we stand together, we stand strong.