Diversity and Inclusion – Not Just a Tick In The Box

Human Resources

[24]7.ai Employee

 

 

 

Smitha Uchil

06/08/2019

Living with a disability is a challenge in itself, but overcoming the social barriers and mindsets of others is the tougher challenge. Acceptance is not something that one could hope for, and that was something that hit me pretty early in life.

I recollect one particular incident very vividly. This was way back when I had just graduated, and attended my first job interview. As soon as I walked in for the interview and took a seat, the first question the interviewer asked me was why I had not mentioned my disability on my resume, and how I would manage to work (it was a desk job for crying out loud!). My response was that I had the qualification for the job, and I wouldn’t have applied had I thought I could not handle it. I was not selected, of course, but the reason I was not selected was very disappointing. I was being perceived as a failure solely on the basis of my disability.

[24]7.ai was the organization that gave me my first opportunity to get into the corporate world. Like other companies, [24]7.ai also did not have a Diversity & Inclusion agenda. It was simply the vision and culture of the organization to be inclusive. Thus began my professional journey of growth, learning, accomplishments and opportunities.

A decade after moving on from [24]7.ai, I returned as Manager – Diversity and Inclusion – a dream job where I can live my passion, and do my bit to contribute to making this a more inclusive world. It is also an opportunity to provide careers to well-deserving candidates, a chance to be an enabler, and a crusader to kick-start the career of people who are otherwise “normal”.

I have come a full circle, wouldn’t you say!