Donna Oberg, Retail Finance Manager for Shell Canada is using her position as co-chair of the Canada enABLE Network to shine a light on the strengths and skills persons with disabilities (PWDs) bring to an organisation.

As a PWD, she recently initiated an event for the country coordination leadership team, which allowed senior leaders to shadow a colleague with a disability for a day.

Leaders learned much from the experience, not least of which was a renewed appreciation for the adaptability, creativity and resilience that disabled colleagues have often developed as a result of daily meeting and overcoming challenges.

Donna is a living example of how diverse employees help to understand and serve diverse customer needs and is helping to grow a mindset that identifies win-win solutions across multiple contexts.

This is her story.

My journey with Shell began almost 23 years ago and I can honestly say I’m proud to work for an organisation that has built a culture centred around community and caring for one another.

As a PWD, working in a company culture like this is so important because diversity and inclusivity are so easily embraced. Shell is a company which values the perspectives of a multitude of people, and uses those perspectives to achieve business results, and I see this value played out here on a day-to-day basis.

Having an inclusive culture is no longer about being politically correct. The reality is that the global environment has transformed to focus on diversity and inclusion, and companies need to evolve in order to keep up with that transformation.

In my time at the company, Shell has prioritised seeking out people with diverse experiences and opinions, and has strived to be as inclusive as possible with their hiring decisions because they know it’s what they need to do in order to move the company forward. In fact our VP of retail, Sydney Kimball, has now created a D&I champions team, of which I am a member, where we’re figuring out how to push our culture even further towards diversity and inclusivity and how we can continue to support people in that space.

As an employee with a disability, I have set myself three goals this year, the first one being to encourage my team to seek out, not only different opinions, but also opinions that contradict their own. I think this will enable them to have a broader perspective on what a solution might be to a problem.

Secondly, I plan to take someone whom I don’t usually interact with out for a coffee, once a month - because I really believe we can learn so much from one another’s stories, struggles, and successes.

And lastly, I’m aiming to work alongside a disability group that can ensure the customer experience with employees who have disabilities is the best it can be.

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