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After several years as a lone ranger I am looking to join the right team where my technology and personal experience contribute to a meaningful purpose. I am reentering the workforce as a person with a disability. My wife and I recently moved to Hampton Roads.
My first job out of college was a wonderful learning experience working with adults with developmental disabilities. My supervisor, Karen, poured into me with leadership and professional development. She gave me opportunities to exercise creative solutions to training and record keeping. I learned my affinity for using technology to improve work systems. My final assignment was the ground-up implementation of an adult literacy center based on a school library that worked alongside the technology center.
A friend introduced me to HTML development in the late '90s. It was a tremendous creative outlet as I had been paralyzed in high school and could not draw precisely. While website development had been a hobby right after college, when I arrived in Texas I met a ministry leader who was looking for someone to build and maintain his growing ministry's web presence.
Although I was somewhat under qualified, I took advantage of resources at hand to hone my development skills and step up my mastery of using dynamic scripting and best practices to build a website and other projects to exacting standards. I participated in a database migration and merging of various record sets into a common database. Finally, I managed several Constant Contact fundraising campaigns and special events, integrating them into our website. I left Vision America when the website was migrated to a proprietary content management system.
While on disability and building my website design practice I moonlighted as a substitute teacher in local elementary schools. Teaching was actually my original career path going into college, but I changed direction. Although not my chosen vocation, teaching is natural for me in any setting. Whether I'm blogging about life and technology, leading workshops, or working with a client I find ways to share my experience. It is a responsibility I take seriously. I value the interaction and challenge it provides.
With the advent of search engines and social media I learned in-demand skills for promotion including Google Adwords and Analytics, search engine optimization, and cross-platform promotion using website, Facebook, Twitter, and other avenues.
While working for Hammer Haley to fix their Joomla website I was approached to lead out in their diversity practice. A senior partner valued my experience and personality and approached me to reach out to executives in Fortune 500 companies to determine the viability of targeting placing senior executives from a diversity background. For nine months I sought out, corresponded with, and called executives in some of the most successful companies around.
I learned to appreciate the value of my disability in my story as a person and professional. While business development was proved to not be my strong suit, the experience has opened my platform to understand and speak as a member of the diversity community.