My journey at Sage

My story

My name is Kerry Walsh, and I was born with a rare disease called Spinal Muscular Atrophy. It is a generative muscle disorder which means as I get older my muscles slowly deteriorate. I was given a life expectancy of five years old. Those odds did not work for me, and I have managed to live a very full life while being disabled. Received my honours in communications in 2020. Where I joined the working world during a very difficult time as it was the height of COVID. I have always really enjoyed the work of communications. My passion is in working with organizations to keep clear lines of communication between colleagues, the business and their clients.

Joining Sage

I was extremely lucky that Sage created the Pathways Program. It has created an opportunity for me as a disabled individual to be allowed to work in a corporate company. Although I achieved my degree, I was never fully convinced that I would get the opportunity to work in a corporate environment. Living with a disability you do not always think of having a “normal” future. You do not always see the possibility of a future. It is all about living in the now and making the most of every opportunity. This opportunity of growing into a woman and being a part of an organization has been a great opportunity. I have grown and appreciated every day that I have had. A lot of corporate environments are based on what people look like. People do not tend to want to work with people that are disabled. They could be seen as not being able to produce quality work. However, I pride myself on my abilities, and skills in communications. I believe that I contribute to the company and my team.

Experience with my manager and team

I am extremely lucky to be a part of an amazing team. I experienced quite a whirlwind in my first few weeks at Sage due to the retrenchments and my original manager leaving. However, I am so grateful for the team that I am a part of. I have learned so much from my manager (Cisca) and her manager (Monika). They have taught me so much about not only business but how to be a woman within a corporate environment and how to just be a strong woman in general. They have let me try my hand at everything and I have learned so much in such a short space of time. My team have all shown me great respect and continuously treated me as an equal within the team. I like to believe that I have taught them a couple of things to when it comes to working with someone with a disability. My only wish in life is to create awareness and be a part of the change so to me that is a success.

Adapting to the office

As I joined sage during the work-from-home time, I spent my first few months meeting everybody on teams and not having to go to the office. Personally, it is easier to work from home. I do not need to organize transport and I have a lot of assistance at home. However, people were made to be around other people and working in an environment where you can see people every day is good for morale and creates engagement between colleagues. The Johannesburg office is well equipped for people in wheelchairs. Everyone was extremely helpful and welcoming when I returned to the office. As with everything in life when you are disabled there are a few things that are difficult, but the adjustment is a key to fitting into a new environment. I have never had an issue with asking for help and therefore asking colleagues around the office to open the door for example does not bother me.

Accessibility and change at Sage

One of the opportunities I received within my job was organizing events. I got to organize a conference for CS Leadership. This was a new activity for me. I needed to not only find a venue that represented the organization, but I needed to find a venue that was accessible. Now it seems you like a simple task, right? People expect that most venues would be accessible, but it is not always the case. I did not want to make it all about me, yet it is an important element if I am expected to be there. I think I am creating a lot of awareness through the people that I work with due to accessibility. It is now also something that they check. Holding different companies accountable for accessibility is extremely important and it is why I appreciate the open viewpoints of everyone at Sage.

I believe that everybody and every organization in the world has a lot to improve on when it comes to knowledge about people living with disabilities and accessibility. However, I do believe that sage is doing its best to create an environment where people are comfortable and giving people the opportunity to grow and be the best version of themselves within the organization. I believe that Sage is finding their way back to family culture and to an environment that supports all kinds of people and all kinds of successes from different kinds of people.

Doing my part in giving back

It is so incredible that I can be a part of projects such as the Pathways Program as well as the DEI initiative. DEI is focused on creating equality and diversity within the organization. Being a part of a couple of activities with Sage Foundation really connected my love for NGOs and community service with my work at Sage. I love to see how people are eager to learn about these organizations. They are so willing to help once they know people’s stories and what these people go through. It is easy to give a helping hand and a big organization like this can make such a difference easily.

Anything is possible and this is truly just the beginning of a wonderful adventure!

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