Looking beyond disability: Unlocking opportunities with inclusion
Seven years ago Hayley Bellamy was giving a talk at PwC as an ambassador for Don’t Dis My Ability, which aims to educate organisations and encourage the employment of people with disabilities. Unbeknownst to Hayley, CEO Luke Sayers was in attendance and after hearing her short but inspiring speech, he offered her a job.
“I don’t really know what I said in that moment. I was just really lucky Luke was there.” With a degree in psychology and a bachelor of arts in design, Hayley was a capable and desirable candidate. But it wasn’t until coming to PwC and meeting Luke that her potential as an employee was seen. “People don’t really like to take a chance on somebody with a disability because they don’t think we can perform a role or that we have special considerations and need support to do our job, or just in general they don’t understand the disability.”
Hayley was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy at 18 months.
“Basically what that means is I have severe muscle weakness. That means the signals my brain tries to send to my muscles through my spinal cord are blocked and over time the muscles lose strength and deteriorate.”
“So I’m doing like extreme weight-lifting when I’m picking up a glass of water!”
Her disability never held Hayley back, even as a child. When asked about challenges she may have faced in childhood, Hayley’s simple answer is “there isn’t much to tell.”
“I was always very active, I went fishing, kayaking, I had horses and a little quad bike to go around our property."
"I think I was quite naive as a kid because I had all the same experiences that everyone else would’ve had.”
Supported by her dad and nan, Hayley made the move to Sydney from country New South Wales over 12 years ago.
“I live with my nan, she helped me get to university and build up my independence. I'm now looking at moving into another apartment on my own, which is going to have disability accessibility options like lights, blinds and doors I can control from my device.”
After seven years at PwC working in our corporate affairs digital team, Hayley is looking forward to the next challenge.
“The best thing about PwC is that the work moves quite quickly, there's always new things in the pipeline. So I’m excited to see where I’ll be going next in the realm of PwC.”
And when she’s not working Hayley is an avid gamer, movie buff and photographer, she is also planning a trip to celebrate turning 30 earlier this year.
Want to create your career with PwC? Here’s Hayley's advice: Take advantage of all that PwC has to offer as it is a fantastic company to build a rewarding career and achieve your full potential. There are always new opportunities to continue developing your skills, never be afraid to challenge yourself.