Last fall, Amy Gac was one of a group attending sessions of our Jobsite Conversation Series. These weekly excursions bring blind and low vision jobseekers to the offices of employed blind and low vision workers. Each session gave the jobseekers a chance to listen, ask questions and network.
Amy’s interest in going to these meetings was like a lot of other blind jobseekers. She generally knew what she wanted to do with her next employment step, but somehow she thought she might learn a little something extra by getting a direct personal connection with successful blind peers. The beauty of the Jobsite Conversation Series has been to show, in concrete form, how blind jobseekers with vague or unrealized dreams of employment can actually achieve those goals.
“I was thinking about starting my own business but I was also ready to settle for a more stable position in customer service with the IRS,” Gac says. “I was also considering taking an admin position in construction since I worked in Purchasing and Estimating for many years.”
But that fateful day in November brought Amy in contact with current LightHouse Board member Gena Harper, who is a financial advisor with MorganStanley SmithBarney. While talking with Gena, Amy found a focus for her ambition. She zeroed in on becoming a financial advisor. “I have always been interested in starting my own business and I knew that MorganStanley SmithBarney has a fantastic training program. I saw Gena, who is a very happy, confident, and capable woman, as a role model. And the [potential income] didn’t hurt either.”
Things moved rapidly from there. Says Amy, “I made a follow-up call to Gena the next day, and we met for lunch the following week. Then Gena arranged for me to meet her boss. [Finally], after a career suitability test and a series of interviews, I received a job offer to become a financial advisor.”
Passing the Series 7 exam will allow Amy to legally trade securities on behalf of her employer. She is confident she will pass the exam and thinks she will do well in her new job. “Cold calling doesn’t make me nervous and I enjoy working with numbers.” Once she passes the exam, she figures the hardest aspect of the job will be making sales goals. As she launches into her new career, Amy has many resources at her fingertips. Along with the coaching and mentoring she has been getting from her trainers, she uses adaptive equipment such as ZoomText and magnification to get the job done.
We are so proud that our Jobsite Conversation Series provided Amy with such an important connection and we wish her the best of luck. If you or someone you know is interested in partnering with our Employment Immersion program to get to work, contact Kate Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org or 415-694-7324.