Content Writer, Employee Experience
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). It’s a time to celebrate and acknowledge the contributions of people with disabilities to America’s workplaces and economy and offer awareness and education around the challenges and discrimination employees with disabilities may face.
Throughout the month, Toasters supported the community through learning opportunities with external speakers, inclusive product demos in office spaces, and even a special breakfast hosted by Bitty & Beau’s Coffee, who describes themselves as "a human rights movement disguised as a coffee shop." Bitty & Beau’s Coffee creates opportunities for people with disabilities to join the workforce and be included in every community.
All of these events were hosted by Second to Naan, Toast’s community for people with disabilities and Toasters who care for others with disabilities. Learn more about three members of Second to Naan below!
What is your role at Toast and what kind of work do you do?
Emily H.: As an Onboarding Consultant, my role consists of being the project manager for restaurants implementing Toast; setting expectations of responsibilities, booking necessary training appointments, and collaborating with internal teams to assist clients Go-Live with Toast.
Emily M.: My title is Senior Manager, Guest Experience. I lead the Guest Support team. We are the only team at Toast that supports guests directly, primarily those using the Toast TakeOut app or online ordering. We advocate for the guest’s experience because when the guest is happy, Toast customers are happy.
KC L.: I’m the Deputy Chief Information Security Officer at Toast. As a part of the security team, we help Toast be the trusted platform of choice by helping the rest of the company manage risk, deploy secure and compliant software, and protect our customers and Toasters.
Why is being a part of Second to Naan important to you?
Emily H.: Being part of a community that understands and relates to living with a disability is extremely important to me. When the people around you know what it’s like, you’re able to connect on a whole new level. You can “compare notes” so to speak on tips and tricks to make life easier and be the support we all inevitably need.
Emily M.: The disability community is so incredibly supportive of each other. It’s an extremely diverse community, and none of our lived experiences are identical, but we can relate to being “othered” for the way our bodies and brains work. It’s hard to describe what an amazing feeling of solidarity that creates for me, just knowing I’m not alone in my struggles.
KC L.: As a person in a leadership role with an invisible disability, it’s important for me to speak out and be visible in order to help create space for others.
What do you wish others knew about your experience?
Emily H.: My disability isn’t one people can see upon meeting me. It's invisible unless someone knows the signs or I tell them; I have both ADHD and a learning disability. Some people hear this and think, “yeah, everyone’s got a little bit of ADHD,” and even though some people may experience similar symptoms at times, not everyone has ADHD. Not everyone knows how it positively and negatively affects the person living with it or the people close to them; rarely is it how the media portrays it.
Emily M.: I wish people knew more about how constant the disability struggle is. For me, with my limb difference, most tasks are different compared to how others do them. I wish people understood how hard it is to be looked down upon but simultaneously also seen as inspirational- it’s a strange experience. I wish we could get to a point where people truly understood we are all human and our level of ability exists within a spectrum depending on a specific task.
Representation matters, and is sorely lacking when it comes to people with disabilities. The first time I saw an episode of Hawkeye with a Deaf, Native American woman who had a prosthetic leg, I cried.
KC L.: I developed my disability later in life, and it was amazing how differently people started treating me after I was diagnosed.
How can Toast help other Toasters with disabilities or who care for those with disabilities?
Emily H.: My own opinion: If the person is open and comfortable talking about their disability, don’t be afraid to ask questions to learn more! Be open-minded, patient, and understanding. This may seem obvious to some, but don’t assume we need hand-holding! Remember, just because we do something differently, doesn’t mean we won’t get the same end result.
Emily M.: It’s great that Toast includes ableist language examples on its Inclusive Language Guide, which is a communication guide that helps us all recognize the impact our words may have, whether intentionally or not. Toast listens to employees around needs.
What would you tell Toasters (with disabilities or who care for others) about why they should join Second to Naan?
Emily H.: This is a safe-space community where you can bond with people who understand what life is like because they are living with something similar. Having people in your life who know how you feel can change your entire perspective and outlook.
Emily M.: With the amount of people in the world who have a disability, odds are you either have a disability yourself (or will acquire one) or you love someone with a disability. Come join us in making the world a little bit more inclusive.
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