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Empowering all at Fannie Mae

by Bill Loeffert, Vice President – Securitization Technology

Bill LoeffertEvery October, Fannie Mae joins many other organizations in the disability and business communities by participating in National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). This nationwide campaign celebrates the contributions of workers with disabilities throughout American history, and emphasizes the importance of ensuring that all Americans have access to the services and support they need to work. NDEAM's 2018 theme is "America's Workforce: Empowering All."

At Fannie Mae, we strive to create an inclusive community that fosters an open and supportive working environment that meets the goal of "empowering all." The In-Visible Inclusion Employee Resource Group (ERG), working with the Office of Minority and Women Inclusion (OMWI) implements programs and activities within our workplace to raise awareness, provide resources, and help create an atmosphere of inclusion for employees with disabilities. Through training offerings and the Courageous Conversation series, we continue to have empowering and heartfelt discussions in a "safe space" about bringing your authentic self to work, regardless of a disability – visible, invisible, permanent, or temporary. We are engaging with internal partners (including Corporate Communications, Customer Experience Design, and Digital Workplace) to innovate ways to improve accessibility, enhance user website experience, and bring inclusivity to our employees who are hearing and vision impaired.

When we focus on "empowering all," we realize the need to provide easy access to help. When an employee has a question about rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), whether they are a qualified individual with a disability, or want to learn more about these rights, our Human Resources team has someone on staff to assist. Employees can also read about Fannie Mae's ADA process on our intranet, and can register for evacuation/shelter-in-place assistance, if needed, through this tool. 

In the spring, we hosted a session in our Granite Park – Plano, TX office with architects from Michael Graves Architecture and Design to learn how accessibility has been incorporated into our new workspace design. The discussion was inspirational and we plan to hold another session in our Midtown Center – Washington, DC office soon. I'm also very excited about the Disabilities Awareness Resource Fairs we've held in our Midtown Center and Granite Park offices, this month! Employees were able to get information about services, organizations and programs within the disabilities space. The In-Visible Inclusion ERG hosted these events along with the Thursday Social in both locations, so employees could network and learn about what the ERG is doing to facilitate an inclusive workplace.

Fannie Mae employees learn about incorporating accessibility into workspace design

Finally, this year, our Talent Acquisition team participated in two virtual recruitment fairs and a NDEAM Twitter Chat, hosted by our external recruitment partner, Getting Hired. The organization is, "dedicated to helping inclusive employers hire professional individuals and veterans with disabilities" (Getting Hired About Us, n.d.). Through our partnership, we have been able to network with many people who leverage their web services, to introduce them to our jobs and grow their awareness around Fannie Mae's inclusive culture.

It has been moving to experience the outpouring of support during National Disability Employment Awareness Month at Fannie Mae, and I'm encouraged about what more we can accomplish together in the future!

We are privileged to have a workforce that reflects the communities we serve across America. Innovation, creativity, & problem-solving are enhanced by diversity, and we leverage our talent to create products that serve diverse markets. If you're seeking a company that values diverse backgrounds and perspectives, click here to learn more about Life at Fannie Mae, and to search for career opportunities at the heart of housing.