Her life is a testament to the fact that flexibility and adaptability are a winning combination. Emily has macular degeneration with limited peripheral vision, but is classified as legally blind. She graduated from Eastern Washington University where she ran track and played soccer.
After college Emily opened a successful wellness business. Unfortunately, everything changed when she fell while running, due to an unmarked maintenance worksite. The injuries sustained in the accident initially left Emily with difficulties walking and standing, and therefore unable to continue her massage work. Emily decided to close her business and look for employment in an office setting, something she had never done. In an effort to create more opportunities, Emily then earned a Master’s Degree in Business Management and Administration. With her new education, Emily set out to find employment but was not finding positions that fit her skill set. Emily received invitations for OHSU’s Night for Networking (N4N) and Incight’s Live Resume event. Despite her nerves, Emily attended the N4N event where she met Incight staff member Tiana Tozer. Tiana was outgoing and supportive helping Emily to gain confidence in herself. “Tiana gave me the tools to come out of my shell.”
Tiana encouraged Emily to participate in Live Resume, where she connected with Karen Ehn at Multnomah County. After making a great impression on Karen, Emily was hired as an intern. Karen was very supportive, giving Emily the time and space to make her transition to an office work environment comfortable. After completing her internship with Karen, Emily got other jobs with the county and now has a permanent placement within the organization. As Emily says, “It’s all about who you know” – which is why networking is so important. Emily’s ‘flex’ is her ability to adapt to new situations and her strength to achieve her goals. Emily feels that the connections she made with Incight and the help she received from Tiana helped her get to where she is now. As her eyes welled, Emily said, “Sometimes people with disabilities do not have hope, Incight gives people with disabilities hope, the hope that they can be hired and the opportunities to show who they really are, not what their disability is.”