Bright Employee Triumphs over Hearing Loss

Kelly Mercer, a graphic designer/web developer at 101 Mobility®, received an Outstanding Employee Award at the 2013 National Disability Employment Awareness Month Awards in Wilmington, NC. Despite having hearing loss, Kelly has gone above and beyond 101 Mobility®’s expectations.

At times, I felt too discouraged to pursue a work opportunity. Some deaf individuals push past that feeling, but for me, it was a challenge. Luckily, I met a job coach who helped me with the process. It wasn’t long before I had an interview with 101 Mobility®. I think it all boiled down to the person doing the hiring—someone who sees your potential and strengths instead of what you lack. Joel Brenner, our Marketing Director, is a rare gem. After working at 101 Mobility® for nearly a year, I received a call on the job.

My vocational rehabilitation counselor contacted me by video-phone to inform me that I, along with 101 Mobility®, were both nominated to receive awards at the National Disability Employment Awareness Month Awards. I felt honored to receive the nomination and was soon counting down the days until my first experience at this event.

Joel gladly accompanied me to the awards. Even though I had no idea what to expect, I was both excited and nervous beyond belief. We walked into a wide room with rows of chairs and loads of people—some stood lining the walls because there were no seats left! Once we were settled, my family and 101 Mobility®’s entire marketing team rushed over to surprise us. Touched by their visit and grateful for the support, my nerves were squashed with excitement as the ceremony began.

To see numerous local businesses open their doors to the disabled was incredible. It was interesting to hear others’ stories of how they found their current positions and, like me, how much they enjoy their work. I strongly connected because finding the right job and fitting in with colleagues is difficult, whether you have a disability or not. I want to thank the North Carolina Division of Vocational Rehabilitation in Wilmington, Easter Seals UCP, and 101 Mobility® for their support! If you are searching for a job in today’s economy, please allow yourself to be open-minded about life and work. Don’t let yourself be limited by hardship or disability. It is all about your abilities!

Held at the New Hanover County Government Center, the 2013 National Disability Employment Awareness Month Awards was sponsored by the North Carolina State Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Cape Fear Disability Commission as an opportunity to honor employers and employees who have contributed to the employment of individuals with disabilities in the Wilmington community. City and county government officials also attended to show their support.