Eastern Bank Success Story: How Coordinating Disability Mentoring Day Educated Me

Although the weather was rainy and dreary the day of Friday, April 27thEastern Bank was full of sunshine and admiration. Friday, April 27, 2018 was Disability Mentorship Day (DMD) at the bank, a Work Without Limits initiative I had been coordinating along with my co-worker Chrissie Stevens. DMD is a large-scale national effort sponsored by the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) for students and job-seekers with disabilities. I am new at the bank and this was my first time coordinating DMD and I did not know what to expect, but I was so pleasantly surprised!

The day began with Chrissie and I greeting our two mentees in the lobby of our Lynn office and introducing ourselves. Chrissie works in Human Resources and I work in the Operations Division. The mentees spent the day shadowing the Operations Division and meeting leading managers in Human Resources. Being the assistant to the Director of Operations, I stayed with the mentees throughout the day to guide them to the multiple departments and introduce them to their mentors. The mentees went through 8 departments, where each mentor explained the functions of their department and their impact on the overall production of the bank. Throughout the day, the mentees were engaged and asked insightful questions. It was impressive to witness the mentees connecting all of our various departments to one another, and taking what they learned from one mentor and applying it to the department they just shadowed.

From breakfast to learning about loans to lunch to International Operations, I saw our mentees as the striving young professionals they truly are, not just individuals with a disability. Throughout the day, we discovered that the three of us had many similar interests. Personally, we shared a love for Italian food and Mary Poppins. Professionally, we bonded over administration and finance.

Although the day was intended to benefit for the mentees by providing education and networking opportunities, I felt like I was the one gaining and learning! Individuals with disabilities are capable of so much more than sometimes society credits them for. I am so thankful to have been educated by this program brought forth by Work Without Limits, but most importantly, our two mentees. Thank you for opening my eyes and all of those within the Operations Division and more at Eastern Bank. It was truly one of the most rewarding days of my professional career.

John Hancock: ‘Disability Mentoring Day participants reflect on the experience’

Article originally posted by John Hancock

John Hancock participated in the 3rd Annual Disability Mentoring Day (DMD) on April 27, hosting students and job seekers with disabilities for hands-on career exploration and mentoring opportunities.

DMD is a large-scale national effort sponsored by the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) to promote career development for young professionals with disabilities. For the third year, Work Without Limits (WWL), an initiative out of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, is partnering with AAPD to bring DMD to Massachusetts.

“Disability Mentoring Day provides a great opportunity for John Hancock to gain expose to a pipeline of talent,” says Sofia Teixeira, head of diversity and inclusion for John Hancock. “This is a great way for our employees to connect with talent in a new and different way. Through job shadowing, we can build awareness of our brand and of the opportunities for employment here. This is beyond volunteering –is it truly a way for us to build inclusion in our workplace.”

The experience is mutually beneficial for both mentors and mentees, leading to personal growth, career development and the chance to learn from someone they may not have crossed paths with in their daily lives. But don’t take our word for it –let’s hear from them about their DMD experience!

Ruta Assefa and Brien Marsh standing together in front of Boston skyline

Mentor: Ruta Assefa

Mentee: Brien Marsh

Why did you sign up to participate in DMD and what did you gain from your experience?

Ruta: I was a mentee in the program three years ago and now I am working at John Hancock, so I participated as a mentor this year to help give someone else the same opportunity I received. I am hoping that by sharing my skillset and experience with Brien, it will help him succeed in his career.

Mentee: I wanted to try something new and expand my horizons.

What was your favorite part of the day?

Ruta: Brien has been very engaged throughout the day, asking a lot of questions about my job and what I do. It’s really great to see him so excited to learn.

Brien: Ruta is a great mentor, so my favorite part of today is learning all I can from her.

Eileen and Will standing together at John Hancock

Mentor: Eileen Labella

Mentee: Will Stenzel

Why did you sign up to participate in DMD and what did you gain from your experience?

Eileen: I really enjoy volunteering and helping others, so this seemed like a great opportunity to not only do that, but also share my professional skills with someone just starting out in their career.

Will: I thought that DMD would be a unique chance for me to learn about the corporate environment and culture –and it has been!

What was your favorite part of the day?

Eileen: Meeting all the mentees and mentors from other areas of John Hancock and learning about their interests both professionally and personally.

Will: At lunch we got to meet not only other DMD participants, but also other people from John Hancock who provided us with some tips and advice when it comes to resume building and interviewing. It was great to network and meet people from across the company.

Maria and Mario standing together at John Hancock

Mentor: Maria Paula Martinez

Mentee: Mario Marquez

Why did you sign up to participate in DMD and what did you gain from your experience?

Maria: I really enjoy volunteering and helping others, so this seemed like a great opportunity to not only do that, but also share my professional skills with someone just starting out in their career.

Mario: I thought that DMD would be a unique chance for me to learn about the corporate environment and culture –and it has been!

Terry, Emily, Selamani and Ben standing in front of John Hancock logo

Mentors: Emily Kim Ae Sun Hunter, Ben Khemmich, Terry Reagan

Mentee: Selamani Ngaruko

Why did you sign up to participate in DMD and what did you gain from your experience?

Ben: This was truly an opportunity to be supportive and engage members of the community to help with inclusion, diversity, and employment equality.

Terry: My favorite part was seeing the excitement in Selamani’s eyes at being given an opportunity to see what we at John Hancock do to delight our customers. It wasan honor meeting Selamani! I hope he keeps in touch, as I sent him an invite on LinkedIn. Also, he is a brilliant young man who will likely never stop learning and helping others. I told him to always remain unflinchingly committed to following his dreams and aspirations, and to always bring his true self to wherever he goes.

Selamani: I now have a much better appreciation for the call center because of my exposure to what goes on behind the scenes. It was eye-opening to the entire customer experience, and the employees’ knowledge humbled me. Also seeing how representatives navigate their systems while interacting with the callers was simply amazing.

What was your favorite part of the day?              

Emily: My favorite part was lunch time. Not just because my stomach was growling and I really wanted a sandwich, but because Selamani had grown comfortable with me and we were able to talk about his love of soccer, his experience having been born in West Africa and his thoughts on the peace treaty between South and North Korea. We dined with some other managers from Life and Long- Term Care so that Selamani could network and hear their experiences. The day was a success and I was honored to host Selamani.

Ben: My favorite part of the day was meeting and getting to know Selamani! He is absolutely delightful and a pleasure to talk to! Terry: My takeaway from the experience is twofold. One, plans don’t always go as planned, so you have to be flexible and go with the best plan. Two, there is tremendous joy in volunteering, and I always get back lightyears more than I give.

Selamani: Other than hanging out with my mentors, I enjoyed seeing Pindrop in action, and how involved the Call Center is when it comes to protecting customer information. I also loved attending the live training session and seeing the new employees doing a live mock call.

Resumes Wanted!

Jobs Without Limits (JWL) is a free online job board that was developed by Work Without Limitsto help connect qualified job seekers with disabilities to leading disability inclusive companies that are Sponsors of Work Without Limits and therefore committed to diversifying their workforces. Launched in the summer of 2015, JWL was beta tested by job seekers with disabilities, whose feedback was used to enhance the ease of use, navigability, and function of the job board. Though it is always a work in progress and we continually enhance the functionality to best meet the needs for both candidates and employers, JWL offers candidates with disabilities a safe place to self-identify and disability-inclusive employers to actively seek diverse candidates.

As a large part of my role at Work Without Limits, I manage the Job Board. I am always available during regular business hours, 8am-4pm Monday through Friday, and/or by email after hours for any questions job seekers or employers may have. To see the growth, response and employment success for both candidates and employers has been very rewarding for me. Please contact me at any time.

At present, Jobs Without Limits has over 4,000 currently available jobs postings from over 30leading disability inclusive employers throughout Massachusetts that represent a wide range of industries and occupations including accounting, education, finance, healthcare, insurance, manufacturing, retail, and retail banking.  Jobs are automatically “scraped” from employer databases to ensure they are accurate and current. Opportunities range from entry to professional level as well as internship opportunities. Over 200 candidates are currently seeking opportunities on the Job Board – approximately 50 have college degrees, 20 have Masters degrees and over 40have 10+ years of experience. There are jobs for every education and experience level, so get those resumes posted and become an Employer Sponsor to gain access to this talent pool!

Jobs Without Limits has many features for both job seekers and employers. These features include banner ads to highlight local disability service organizations, internship opportunities, hot jobs, and local disability and diversity related events. An employer page lists all the employers on the site, and provides information about each company. A community partner page lists and describes the different organizations, including state and private agencies as well as educational institutions with which Work Without Limits partners to source qualified job candidates.

Sponsoring employers have unlimited posting capability. They can search the candidate database, run reports of candidates (including targeted reports of those candidates that have specifically clicked through to their job postings), manually add job postings and at certain levels of sponsorship, they can tag specific postings as “hot jobs” to come up first in a candidate’s search.  A similar dashboard feature for jobseekers allows users to upload resumes to the searchable database, edit their profile, and run reports of job postings they’re interested in.

We recognize that job seeking and hiring is not typically a quick process, but we do our best to keep the conversation going – and even get it started – between potential candidates and employers. Upon request, a unique service I provide to individuals who apply for a job via the job board is to send a personalized email introduction to the employer. We have deep relationships with our Employer Sponsors and providing this “warm handoff” is very beneficial to both parties! Additionally, to keep job seekers and providers informed, each month I create an e-newsletter that provides job search tips, informative articles, highlights of hot jobs and internships, and lists local disability and diversity events.

If you are a job seeker with disabilities or an employer seeking a talented candidate and you haven’t checked out Jobs Without Limits yet, go take a look around, sign up, or contact us for more information! You might just find the candidate, or employer you have been looking for!

Visit JobsWithoutLimits today!

  • Individuals with disabilities –  Click here to register for JWL, upload your resume, and be considered for thousands of jobs being offered by our disability inclusive Employer Sponsors
  • Providers and Higher Education Institutions – Contact Us to learn how to become a WWL Community Partner and be featured on JWL
  • Employers – Sponsor WWL to become a member of the MABLN and gain access to the talented pool of candidates on JWL