By Karla Jackson, Digital Media Specialist, McAfee
“With Our People at The Heart, We Are McAfee.”
If you make your way around the halls of McAfee, you’ll see this short but powerful declaration plastered on our walls, cubicles, and computer desktops. It unifies our core values and shines a light on the most important and celebrated part of McAfee: Our People. And if we had to choose a favorite month to recognize our talented and diverse group of employees, it would have to be October.
This year during the month of October, McAfee recognizes National Disability Employment Awareness month (NDEAM), an awareness campaign that celebrates the contributions of differently abled workers and the value of workforce inclusion.
This year’s NDEAM theme, “Inclusion Drives Innovation,” is especially near to our hearts because it aligns with one of McAfee’s five core values: “We innovate without fear.” And you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better group of people who embody this at McAfee than our differently abled community.
We recently spoke with one of many McAfee employees—Sriranga—who is fearlessly making a positive impact in his job and surrounding community.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Sriranga, and I have been with McAfee for almost a year as a technical support engineer in Bangalore. I have a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and have been in the IT industry for seven years. I am a positive guy, and a fun-loving person who loves to hang out with friends on the weekends.
Can you share more about your impairment?
It all started as back pain for a couple of days. On December 23, 2013, I started feeling giddy, and needed to seek medical attention. On the way to the hospital with my mom and uncle, I suddenly felt a loss of sensation from waist down, I had no clue what was happening.
Once I arrived to the hospital, I had several tests run and ended up having surgery to remove a hematoma by my spine. The operation was a success, but the clot had damaged my spinal nerves. Though I regained the sensation in my legs, the muscular power in my legs was poor. I was diagnosed with paraplegia (impairment in motor or sensory function of the lower extremities, typically caused by spinal cord injury). Since then, I roll on wheels everywhere. J
How has being differently abled impacted your career?
There haven’t been many challenges, but here are a few:
- I am not well equipped to fill roles that require a lot of travel.
- Before working at McAfee, I had trouble finding workplaces that were accommodating of my impairment.
- Getting professional certifications has been a challenge because most places are not wheelchair friendly in Bangalore.
What would you like to share about being differently abled at McAfee?
McAfee from day one has always been very positive towards me – from the interview process to supporting my commute from home to the office. McAfee has also made every possible attempt to build and provide the facilities that are accessible for wheelchairs, which is most important because outside of work, wheelchair accessibility is a major challenge here in Bangalore.
What would you like people to know about the differently abled community?
As a differently abled person, I would like people to know that we are a community like everyone else, and can perform in our roles like everyone else, even if it may be slightly different in nature. Creating an inclusive approach, empowering the abilities of every person, and acknowledging that everyone matters is important. I take pride in being differently abled and doing things differently!
In what ways have you seen the support and resources provided to differently abled people improve, and where are there still opportunities for growth?
Providing employment opportunities to people who are differently abled has improved. Also, the number of companies conducting campaigns and creating awareness and support has been immense. I believe that individuals and companies are demonstrating more faith and belief in the different functions to which the differently abled can contribute.
Opportunities persist in creating better accessibility to places inside and outside of buildings and to creating more career opportunities in different parts of organizations. Even with the positive steps forward, there’s still a need for more awareness and empowerment programs.
With McAfee being an inclusive employer, I can innovate and do my job without fear. I am looked at as an individual without any stigmas related to my impairment, and with this I can continue to always be a positive peer at work. Kudos to McAfee for demonstrating faith and belief in the different functions to which the differently abled can contribute.