This post comes from a US employee, Scott Vannice. Not only is he a leader in our Information Security department (shout out to Cybersecurity Awareness Month!), he’s a leader for Deaf culture within our company. He has also championed our relationship with Gallaudet University – the world’s largest Deaf university – to create a pipeline of talent inclusive of Deaf employee candidates.
This story is part of a series where we share the faces of our new Equality & Inclusion strategy and celebrate how we’re expanding our recruitment guidelines to welcome and support employees of all abilities.
Inclusive from Day 1
By, Scott Van Nice, Director, Information Security
I’m profoundly Deaf where I’m part of a community that has a Deaf culture.
In that community we have our own foreign language which is American Sign Language. Like all other cultures, we have an identity and part of that identity is being Deaf which includes our own name signs, a way to identify someone without fully fingerspelling their name using ASL, dialects (yes, how a person signs can tell you which region the person is from!) jokes, stories, art, and the media. There are over 200 different types of signed languages in the world. Just look at how P&G Latin America showcased an employee signing in Brazil Sign Language!
Some Important Definitions
- American Sign Language (ASL) is a foreign language that serves as the predominant sign language of Deaf communities in the United States and most of Anglophone Canada.
- Some people may identify themselves as Deaf (culturally Deaf) or deaf, usually because they became deaf at a much later age e.g. gradual loss of hearing and do not feel connected to the Deaf community.
- #SigningEcosystem is a community of people interacting and connecting with one another through visual and tactile languages, known collectively as signed languages. In the context of P&G, this also refers to a combined effort across many areas to recruit, retain, and develop D/deaf employees. This includes creating an inclusive environment that provides an opportunity for D/deaf employees to succeed.
Some of us can use our voice. Some of us cannot (or prefer not to) use our voice. Some of us may sign fluently in ASL while others may use Signed English or similar variations. Some of may have some residual hearing while others have a profound hearing loss.
It is a vibrant, resilient, and beautiful community that has made significant contributions to society.
There is such a diversity even within what can be called ‘one’ community. I’ve been extremely fortunate to be with P&G for almost 20 years and stepping up our efforts in diversity, equality and inclusion. I am incredibly inspired by P&G’s purposeful journey in its #SigningEcosystem initiative where multiple stakeholders are working together towards breaking down unconscious barriers for not just for the D/deaf but also for the broader People with Disabilities community.
Two years ago, we kicked off the #SigningEcosystem to better assess and recruit Deaf students. We welcomed three Deaf interns from Gallaudet University, the only university for the Deaf. This partnership expanded to Rochester Institute of Technology which resulted in four Deaf internship offers last summer – and two full time job offers.
At P&G, we believe that diversity accelerates our ability to innovate and create beyond our current boundaries, to solve problems that make meaningful differences for the consumers we serve, and to support the communities in which we live and work. That is exactly why we’re expanding and accelerating our ability to source, retain, and develop a globally diverse organization and creating an environment where equality and inclusion is achievable for all. That’s why I believe we are Inclusive From Day 1!