Adam Bishop’s Story with an Inclusive Employer
We are delighted to work with our member BC Transit to spotlight Adam Bishop’s story about working with an inclusive employer.
Watch the video with ASL and Captions:
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About the ‘Spotlight on Disability in the Workplace’ Series
Presidents Group created a series of short films promoting accessible employment opportunities in British Columbia. Restating the case for inclusive employment, the video series is an awareness campaign about accessibility and inclusion in the workplace.
We are profiling people with disability living and working in BC who love what they do!
The aim is to promote the benefits of accessible and inclusive workplaces as well as services available to improve and encourage inclusive hiring across BC. The films hope to celebrate diversity, break barriers and stereotypes and inspire others to pursue careers they’re passionate about.
Transcript For This Video:
[NARRATOR: The camera falls on a happy young couple standing in a sun dappled field surrounded by trees. There is a man in a navy button-up shirt who is using a blue mobility aid walker with wheels. Beside him is a woman in a green flowy dress. They stand under a large tree pushing a swing with a giggling blonde toddler.]
ADAM: What am I most proud of in my life? Probably Archer.
My grandfather used to say to me, you are going to fall down in life, it doesn’t matter how hard you hit the ground, it matters that you get back up. If I can teach him to get back up, then I’ll have done my job.
[NARRATOR: The man smiles amicably at the camera. Words appear with his full name, Adam Bishop, and his title, Senior Talent Attraction Specialist, BC Transit.]
ADAM: My name is Adam Bishop, and I’m a Senior Talent Attraction Specialist at BC Transit.
I get to tell people about BC Transit, the work we do, and get them excited about the impact we make on our communities.
[NARRATOR: A friendly bus driver waves out the window from behind the wheel. He navigates the branded green and white BC Transit bus through a parking lot. He opens the door and presses a button to lower the ramp.]
ADAM: I just love seeing people get matched with their perfect role for where they are in their life.
The work culture at BC Transit is, in my opinion, very inclusive, I am somebody that has a very visible physical disability, and that has never entered into the equation whatsoever. And that, to me is the definition of inclusivity.
[NARRATOR: A gleaming baby blue restored Mercury pickup truck pulls into a gravel driveway in front of a wooden cabin style building surrounded by trees. Adam using his walker moves across the driveway up to the truck and takes the driver’s seat. Adam puts the truck in gear, and using a modified assistive driving device installed on the steering wheel, drives the car out of the driveway.]
ADAM: My disability is called cerebral palsy. My type of CP was caused because of a bleed in my brain, I was three months premature.
And both my parents really advocated for me. They were told that if you push him, he will end up exactly where I am now; independent. Or if you don’t, you’ll have to take care of him for the rest of your life. They went, we’re going to push him and push him hard, which I’m very thankful for.
CP has given me a perspective that somebody who is able bodied will never have. In my mind, it’s a gift because it gives me another way to understand things.
[NARRATOR: In a bright modern office Adam, using his wheelchair, enters his co-worker’s office to have a chat. She has short brown hair and is wearing a black jumpsuit with a chunky gold necklace. Words appear with her name Melissa Zimmerman and her title Vice President of People and Culture, BC Transit.]
MELISSA: What makes Adam so special is Adam. He really brings a light to our team and to our organization, and he’s just transparent and is willing to share his experience. He also has just this approach to being able to bring a disability to light in a way that you’re able to comfortably have a conversation about it.
I think his lived experience has benefited BC Transit for sure in regards to our evolution.
[NARRATOR: A black Ford SUV pulls into an office parking lot. Adam gets out of the car and opens the trunk. He pulls his wheelchair out and sits in it. He enters the building using the automatic doors. Beside an elevator, an accessible and gender-inclusive bathroom sign hangs above a hall. Melissa and Adam slowly move through the BC Transit office. A mural of the province of BC decorates the wall. Adam and Melissa use the elevator to move to the next floor and enter the office kitchen. Adam uses the accessible microwave under the counter.]
ADAM: I don’t disclose my disability until I know an organization is interested in me. And I do that on purpose because I want to see how the organization reacts. So in my first year at BC Transit, I couldn’t even get to the lower floor of our main offices wasn’t accessible to me. And so I assisted the project team for our renovation on all things accessibility.
MELISSA: With the new renovations, we have really been able to apply an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion lens to that. And so Adam was also instrumental in that process as well.
It was really an opportunity to say we’re committed to accommodating people and making sure people can be their best selves at BC Transit.
ADAM: We have a gorgeous main office now. I can get to both floors. BC Transit really took a tangible step in accessibility.
And the first step was to admit that they had gotten it wrong. I’ve found that as long as I’m open about what I need, it’s often reciprocated.
And my hope is that by continuing to educate employers that will become more successful for others as well.
[NARRATOR: A smiling co-worker with short dark hair wearing a black and white polka dot shirt and a blue lanyard enters Adam’s office. They greet each other and have a brief conversation. After she leaves, Adam continues working at his desk.]
MELISSA: We’ve recently created our Equity, Diversity and Inclusion forum that’s made up of unique individuals that are interested in providing their insight to our organization to make sure that they’re as inclusive as possible.
Erinn, our CEO, and President has the most incredible open door approach to her leadership style.
Having leadership set the tone makes all the difference for the rest of the organization to feel confident and comfortable.
[NARRATOR: Adam and Melissa sit in the kitchen at a wheelchair-height counter having a conversation over mugs of coffee.]
MELISSA: Erinn joined a group of leaders with Presidents Group and they are all committed to making accessibility a priority at their organizations and to champion that change within British Columbia.
[NARRATOR: Sun peeks behind green leaves. Water glistens through black wooden railings. Adam is on a boardwalk in the late afternoon, moving along a scenic riverside while admiring the view.]
ADAM: Being in a leadership role as somebody with a visible disability was really important to me because you can’t miss it. You see it every time you see me.
And if I can show the next person with a disability that I’ve done it so why can’t you? Then I’ve done my job. Representation matters.
[NARRATOR: Adam and his wife are in their yard with their young son Archer. They sit on the grass surrounded by colourful baby toys. Adam plays with Archer. They pass a blue ball together. Adam’s wife smiles wide as Archer laughs gleefully. Adam holds Archer while they sit in his walker. The family smiles at each other.]
ADAM: The example I hope to set for Archer is one of resilience.
I hope that he knows that he literally can accomplish anything he wants to and I hope I can instill a kindness in him where he approaches people with curiosity and not a misconception.
[NARRATOR: Fade to white, words appear: Presidents Group funding provided by the Government of Canada through the Canada British Columbia Workforce Development Agreement.]