3M is proud to have received a 100% score on the 2019 Disability Equality Index, recognizing our continued work to achieve equality and inclusion for those with disabilities.
3M’s DisAbility Network (dAN)—made up of over 200 employees with disabilities, loved ones of those with disabilities and advocates for those with disabilities—is one of the major reasons 3M has scored so well on the Index. “dAN is an important vehicle to foster inclusion for all, a vital element in our culture,” says Ivan Fong, 3M’s senior vice president, general counsel and secretary. Fong also serves as co-executive sponsor for dAN. “We’re excited to continue to spread the word that having a disability is a strength and to ensure 3M fully leverages the strengths of all our employees.”
At 3M, disability is defined as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, including non-apparent disabilities such as cancer or diabetes.
Fong, alongside dAN co-executive sponsor and vice president and general manager of the Closure and Masking Systems Division at 3M, Teresa Crockett, are excited to build on past successes and continue to make an impact at 3M. Last year, dAN expanded its focus from being a resource for those with disabilities to also helping employees without disabilities gain confidence and awareness when interacting with candidates or employees with disabilities. During a dAN event in April 2019, guest speaker and Vice President of Disability:In Inclusion Works, Leslie Wilson, dispelled myths about those with disabilities and provided practical tips to developing more meaningful connections.
In 2019 and beyond, dAN is setting goals that will help expand disability inclusion beyond current employees to customers and candidates. dAN also wants employees to understand that having a disability is a strength.
Spreading the word that disabilities can be a strength is important because 3M wants employees to feel comfortable self-identifying. Jimmy Umana, administrative assistant at 3M’s Global Service Center in Costa Rica, has achondroplasia, the most common form of dwarfism. He has self-identified as a person with a disability since day one and the response has always been positive. “Since the interview process and day one of my job, nobody has treated me any differently from anyone else,” shares Umana. “All my colleagues and superiors have treated me with respect and integrity. My coworkers have made sure I have step stools and foot rests when it’s necessary and have made changes in some furniture to make my workspace more accessible.”
Jimmy says programs like the dAN and other employee resource networks are important in making employees more aware of the benefits of diversity and hopes that 3M can act as a model for other companies. He says, “Here, I am respected and treated as a member of the team, and any differences in height or anything else are forgotten. Here, I’m not a person with a disability – I’m a 3Mer.”
Learn more about diversity and inclusion at 3M here.