Maria’s story – working for HS2 as a disabled woman

Black and white photo of Maria, smiling.
Maria Grazia Zedda

Maria was attracted to HS2 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 2 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 we recruit, retain and assess our people. “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 Maria one of her responsibilities is looking after the Reverse Mentoring project, which sees all the members of our 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.”

HS2 is currently expanding its workforce. If you fancy working for an organisation as inclusive and welcoming as HS2, have a look at their vacancies here!

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