For the next few weeks, we will be introducing a team member at Intero Advisory every Thursday. This week, we want you to meet Jameison Hyson.
Sometimes, the ideas that seem so far-fetched and cause people to tilt their head, look up quizzically and politely smile with an “Oh, that’s an interesting idea,” are the ideas that create the greatest return and influence your businesses’ culture, communication and worldview.
When I mentioned to our team that I thought we should hire adults with ASD (autistic spectrum disorder), I was met with those looks I described above, along with a look I’ve come to recognize.
“Tell us the details.” I don’t have any yet.
“Where did this come idea from?” The movie Temple Grandin.
“Who will manage them?” “I don’t know. Remember, I don’t have any details yet.”
When I found Itineris on Google, I knew we might be onto something. From my first call with Katie Vester to talking with Shakira Maye, an Itineris and Direct Support Professional, there was a real possibility this could be a chance to solve a problem we had while providing an opportunity to someone who was looking for a chance.
“I like data processing and doing things over and over.” This is what Jameison expressed when he came to the office for the first time in mid-December. We projected our computer screen on the wall and showed Shakira and Jameison the tasks he would be responsible for. Then came the time test. We were amazed at his speed and accuracy.
In January, Jameison joined our team and now works with us to manage spreadsheets, follow up messages, and other data-oriented tasks and projects. Jameison is never late, works diligently, returns home at the end of his shift and most importantly, has taught us all about how to be better communicators and colleagues.
When Jameison is not here, he continues to participate in Itineris’ programs and work on job skills, hard and soft. Shakira gives him the freedom he prefers and checks in when needed. For us, she is an email away, ready to answer our questions and serve her client.
Since Jameison started, we also worked with two other adults with ASD, and each has contributed in different and meaningful ways.
When Shakira emailed me to say we had been nominated as an employer promoting workforce diversity and would receive a citation from the State of Maryland, I was surprised.
Last Friday, I attended the reception honoring Direct Support Professionals and accepted the citation as an outstanding employer. We were in good company. Companies like Wegmans and Home Depot were also recognized for their commitment and diverse workforce.
Mostly, I was humbled by the nonprofits and Direct Support Professionals who serve a wide range of people in our communities. Adults with ASD seek to contribute, work hard, find purpose and live a good life. If you are an employer, I hope you find a Jameison and bring them into your fold, teach them, respect them and learn from them. You will be, as we, far better off from the experience.