Muscular dystrophy has presented Leticia Waldon with many difficulties throughout her life, but she has never let it keep her from earning a living.
While decreased mobility and muscle strength tend to be her biggest obstacles, her drive and determination are the traits that consistently enable her to overcome them. And now, Waldon has been recognized as a model of employee excellence to others with disabilities.
UAB employees Leticia Waldon (left) and Revia Lewis recently received awards presented by the Birmingham Area Governor's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities.
The Birmingham Area Governor’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities recently recognized Waldon, a UAB Human Resources associate, as the Large Business Employee of the Year. The award is given annually to an Alabamian with a disability for outstanding achievement in overcoming significant limitations to secure and maintain gainful employment. It was presented to Waldon at the recent National Disability Employment Awareness Month Awards Luncheon at The Club.
“It was really an honor even to be nominated, and a complete shock to win,” Waldon says. “UAB deserves a lot of credit too, because the staff here has done everything they can to help me and give me the ability to do everything I need to do in my job. It makes you feel more valued.”
Medical West Hospital, an affiliate of the UAB Health System, also was selected the Large Employer of the Year by the group, which goes to an employer with more than 1,000 employees that has demonstrated outstanding efforts to recruit, accommodate, employ, retain and promote employees with disabilities.
Revia Lewis, a UAB Human Resources staffing specialist, was nominated for the Professional of the Year, which is given to an individual who has made extraordinary contributions toward promoting self-advocacy and employment and to improving the quality of life for people with disabilities.
A rehabilitation professional at Workshops Incorporated nominated Medical West Hospital in the large employer category. Waldon and Lewis were nominated by Human Resources Disability Representative and Retaining a Valued Employee Program (RAVE) Coordinator Sherri Moultrie.
“It can be very challenging to find employment these days, let alone with a competitive employer,” Moultrie says. “However, Ms. Lewis has been instrumental in working with RAVE and placing employees in temporary positions on campus. Many times those positions turn into permanent jobs.
“I’ve worked with Ms. Lewis and referred individuals to her on many occasions, and she’s truly shown an exceptional commitment to assisting individuals with disabilities to secure employment here at UAB,” Moultrie says.
Thinking of others
Lewis, who has worked in Human Resources for the past 11 years, says she works diligently to find areas where disabled employees can thrive.
“I put myself in their place,” she says. “It could be me on the other side of that desk interviewing, trying to earn a livelihood. I try to be open-minded and do the best I can to place them.”
Moultrie says Waldon has made an impact on all who have come in contact with her during her 19 months as a UAB employee.
“Leticia just has such a great personality and a positive outlook on life,” Moultrie says. “She lives her life to the fullest, and she’s made significant contributions to UAB Human Resources and Benefits. Seeing her at work each day reinforces the fact that individuals with disabilities make significant contributions for organizations, as she has for UAB.”
Waldon says she has lived with muscular dystrophy since she was diagnosed as a toddler. It didn’t stop her from receiving her college degree at UAB in 2004, and she worked for the Birmingham-Jefferson Transit Authority prior to returning to UAB in her current capacity in April 2008.
Waldon says she appreciates the help she has been given at UAB by Moultrie and the RAVE Program, which reconfigured her workspace to enhance her mobility so she could file, use the copy machine and easily access the telephone.
“Many times people with disabilities have so many other hurdles we have to jump through and obstacles we have to face,” Waldon says. “The RAVE Program really does enable us to do our jobs and gives us the opportunity to perform at a high level.”
The UAB RAVE Program provides disability-management services when an employee’s job performance, job stability or promotional opportunities are affected by a physical, mental or emotional impairment. Through an innovative partnership between UAB and the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services, the UAB-RAVE Program assists current employees and their departments, job seekers going through the application process and employees returning from long-term disability or medical leave. Moultrie says the RAVE Program is a “one-stop shop” for information and assistance on disability issues.
Contact Moultrie at email@example.com for more information on the RAVE Program.