Read Maria’s story of disability inclusion, flexible working as a mum-of-two and her passion for HS2’s Employee Networks
HS2’s Equality Diversity and Inclusion Manager Maria Grazia-Zedda was attracted to the organisation as she has experienced first-hand how London-centric the economy can be.
“By creating new, faster, frequent and more reliable services, HS2 is creating jobs and opportunities across the country so that we’re a more ‘United’ Kingdom and I’m privileged to be part of this in a small way.”
Being severely to profoundly deaf, Maria uses hearing aids and is passionate about inclusion: “Growing up I was expected to cope in a world designed for hearing people. This personal need to feel included motivates me to ensure others are included too, regardless of walks of life, culture, disability, gender or age.”
Maria’s email signature reminds people to use text, email or face time (Maria lip reads) instead of audio on phone calls. During conference calls Maria uses a captioning service which provides live subtitles almost immediately on her phone or laptop. As mum of two teenage girls, the ability to work flexibly to be able to juggle school and doctors’ appointments is also important.
A personal understanding of how a deaf and disabled employee can be included in the workplace motivates Maria to share this information and help make sure HS2 is inclusive in the way they recruit, retain and assess employees. She says: “Our Employee Networks are great for helping people feel included at work. We have a Veteran’s network, a disabled employee network, a Gender Balance and an LGBT Network as well as a new Cultural and BAME inclusion network and all of them do fantastic work.”
As part of HS2’s equality, diversity and inclusion team, one of Maria’s responsibilities is looking after the Reverse Mentoring project, which sees all the members of their Senior Leadership Team (66 of them) being mentored by a non-senior or more junior employee: “Our CEO is reverse-mentored by one of our young apprentices! People are matched so that they work with someone who is not part of their function, often they’re from different backgrounds, genders and experiences so that they can benefit from each other’s feedback and are exposed to other ways of working. This helps our people feel more connected with each other and the business.”
Working with HS2
Whatever your experience or expertise, HS2 is a great place to start or develop your career. If you would like to register your interest in a job with HS2, please click on the link to find out more