Angelica and Steven, seated above, with colleagues at Brown & Brown.
The employees at Brown & Brown Insurance would like you to throw out any preconceived notions about working with people who have a developmental disability.
“You might automatically assume that, because they have a disability, that they’re unable to do the job,” says Account Executive Suzie Darst. “Out the window!” she exclaims. “Totally not the case. Not at all.”
She knows, because she works with two colleagues hired through Northwest Center: Angelica, who works as an administrative assistant and manages the Brown & Brown Facebook page; and Steven, a young man with degrees in both English and Computer Science, who was hired to build the company’s website.
Facilities Manager Tracy Johnson set out to hire one person, but when Angelica and Steven came in for interviews, “We fell in love with both of them,” she says. And because both candidates needed part-time work, hiring them both worked out perfectly.
As part of the interview process, Angelica mocked up a Facebook page and Steven came up with a website design, with no input from the Brown & Brown team. “We were terribly impressed,” says Tracy. “Each one of them figured out what Brown & Brown was about.” Both incorporated a cheetah into their designs—an animal symbolic to Brown & Brown, but that no one had instructed them to use.
Today, the strong work ethic and positive attitude of both employees continue to earn them rave reviews.
“Angelica comes in every day with a smile, with a laugh, so happy to be here,” says Darst. “She’s been really, really good for morale around here.”
“I always wanted to have a secretary-type position,” Angelica says. “I definitely got my dream job.”
Northwest Center is passionate about equal rights, anti-ableism, and full inclusion for people with disabilities. Thank you for reading.