Behind the Mission: Inclusion and Disabilities at the World Bank Group

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Behind the Mission: Inclusion and Disabilities at the World Bank Group

Follow the event on Twitter #BehindTheMissionWBG

For this episode of Behind the Mission, we talk to three staff members, each of whom have not only overcome their disabilities, but have flourished in their careers at the World Bank Group. They share their insights and offer tips and advice on careers at the WBG. To post a question or comment, go to the chat box on the right. Feel free to post ahead of the show, which is on Dec. 1, at 11am EST.

We’d also like to invite you to our virtual job fair on Dec. 3, which is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. We hope that you can join us at this career fair and learn more about the opportunities to work with us. To learn more, click here

The Bank Group's recruitment policy is to hire staff of the highest caliber, on as wide a geographical basis as possible, with preference to nationals of WBG member countries or countries of operations.

Read the transcript


  • 0:00 [UPBEAT MUSIC]
  • 0:07 [THE WORLD BANK GROUP BEHIND THE MISSION]
  • 0:10 [INCLUSIONS AND DISABILITIES & WBG]
  • 0:11 - Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening.
  • 0:14 And welcome to Behind the Mission.
  • 0:15 Our monthly series here, where we discuss what it takes
  • 0:17 and what it's like to work at the World Bank Group.
  • 0:20 [SRIMATHI SRIDHAR - EXTERNAL AFFAIRS ASSOCIATE] I'm your host Srimathi Sridhar and it's my pleasure
  • 0:24 to be guiding you through today's discussion on inclusion and disabilities at the World Bank Group.
  • 0:28 Now I'll be joined by an excellent panel of guests
  • 0:31 that include Charlotte McClain-Nhlapo
  • 0:33 who is our global disability advisor at the World Bank Group,
  • 0:36 Karthik Tiruvarur, an investment officer with the International Finance Corporation
  • 0:41 and Özgül Calicioglu, an environmental engineer at the World Bank Group
  • 0:45 who is also part of the 2019 cohort for the Young Professionals Program.
  • 0:50 Now ahead of international day of persons with disabilities on December 3rd,
  • 0:54 Charlotte, Karthik and Özgül are here to share with us their experiences,
  • 0:58 debunk some common myths and answer your questions.
  • 1:01 So do talk to us throughout the program,
  • 1:03 leave your questions for us in the comment section of this chat
  • 1:06 and join us online using the #behindthemissionWBG.
  • 1:11 And with that being said, Charlotte, Karthik and Özgül,
  • 1:14 welcome to Behind the Mission.
  • 1:16 I want to start off by asking each of you a question
  • 1:18 and please feel free to also introduce yourselves at that time.
  • 1:22 Charlotte, let me start with you.
  • 1:24 You've spent your entire career advocating inclusion for persons with disabilities
  • 1:28 on a national and global scale.
  • 1:31 So as awareness of inclusion has grown,
  • 1:34 what changes have you seen over the years?
  • 1:37 - Thank you very much, Sri and thank you so much for having me.
  • 1:40 By way of introducing myself,
  • 1:41 I'd like to say my name is Charlotte McClain-Nhlapo, [CHARLOTTE MCCLAIN-NHLAPO]
  • 1:44 I'm the global disability advisor at the World Bank Group [GLOBAL DISABILITY ADVISOR, WORLD BANK GROUP]
  • 1:47 and for those who may not be able to see me,
  • 1:50 I am a brown skinned woman, I have brown long hair,
  • 1:55 I wear tortoise shell glasses, I have greenish eyes
  • 2:00 and I'm wearing big gold hoops
  • 2:01 and I have a jacket on that is dark blue with some black spots on it.
  • 2:07 So to your question, I think over the years, Sri,
  • 2:10 I've witnessed a significant uptick in awareness around disability inclusion.
  • 2:16 And I attribute this, in a large part,
  • 2:19 to the UN convention on the rights of persons with disabilities
  • 2:22 that has now reached almost universal ratification.
  • 2:25 The convention, like many of the frameworks,
  • 2:28 has really began to take root in society and it's beginning to guide and direct
  • 2:32 how we engage with persons with disabilities
  • 2:35 and how we ensure that persons with disabilities are part of the development agenda.
  • 2:39 I'd also like to say that organizations of persons with disabilities across the globe
  • 2:45 are advocating for their rights based on the convention.
  • 2:49 And they're beginning to influence and direct policy
  • 2:52 and increasingly assuming positions of leadership.
  • 2:55 So as a result of this, as a result of the awareness,
  • 2:59 we're seeing, nationally, an increase
  • 3:01 in the number of anti discrimination disability laws.
  • 3:05 Currently, about 45 countries have laws.
  • 3:08 so definitely room for improvement here.
  • 3:10 And globally, I'd say the awareness of disability inclusion and disability rights
  • 3:15 are also being internalized by many bilateral donors.
  • 3:19 Many of whom now have disability strategies or policies in place.
  • 3:24 And then, of course, the awareness of disability inclusive development
  • 3:28 is finding traction in institutions like the World Bank,
  • 3:31 where we have a disability inclusion and accountability framework,
  • 3:35 as well as the environmental social framework
  • 3:38 that prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability.
  • 3:41 And also further provides triggers for disability inclusion in our projects.
  • 3:46 So I'd conclude by saying,
  • 3:48 yes I have seen significant advancements
  • 3:51 in the development of laws and policies
  • 3:56 and now we need to focus on enforcement and implementation,
  • 4:00 the collection of more robust disability data.
  • 4:03 And we need to ensure that persons with disabilities are not left behind.
  • 4:07 And this is particularly important given COVID-19
  • 4:11 and our efforts to build back better.
  • 4:16 - Absolutely, it's great to have you here, Charlotte, thank you.
  • 4:19 Karthik I want to now turn over to you.
  • 4:22 You're someone who has worked out in the field in different country offices,
  • 4:25 so tell us more about what that experience has been like for you.
  • 4:30 - Absolutely.
  • 4:32 Hi, everyone, I'm very excited to be speaking with you,
  • 4:36 [KARTHIK TIRUVARUR - DISRUPTIVE TECHNOLOGIES] my co-panelists and everyone who's joined us live.
  • 4:39 [INTERNATIONAL FINANCE CORPORATION] I'm Karthik, I grew up in India, as a way of introduction.
  • 4:43 I moved to the U.S about eight years back when I came here for my grad school
  • 4:48 and joined the World Bank Group as a young professional
  • 4:51 and based here in our IFC headquarters in Washington, DC.
  • 4:55 When I was nine years old, I met with an accident
  • 4:58 that ended up in me having an amputation of my right arm and right leg.
  • 5:03 And I have been wearing prosthetic limbs for about 25 years now.
  • 5:08 To the specific question on working in local offices,
  • 5:11 Sri, I had a brief stint of two years in the IFC South Asia office in Delhi
  • 5:17 and as a young professional, I spent one year in our Beijing office.
  • 5:22 As part of the experience in the field, I'd say I had the opportunity
  • 5:25 of working across multiple countries in South Asia.
  • 5:28 So Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka and when I was in Beijing
  • 5:32 I ended up traveling to a large part of China, and through the last five years,
  • 5:38 as a young professional here based in DC,
  • 5:41 Turkey, Brazil, Mexico, you know, the works.
  • 5:44 So I've had the opportunity of traveling a lot
  • 5:47 and I would say that's been one of the best parts of my job
  • 5:50 in terms of, you know, meeting local managements, companies,
  • 5:54 understanding cultures.
  • 5:56 Now owing to the use of a prosthetic limb,
  • 5:59 specifically the leg, strenuous travel can be a challenge for me.
  • 6:03 And one thing that enables me to travel well
  • 6:07 is how understanding my colleagues and supervisors have been,
  • 6:11 in terms of any budgeting when we are planning travel,
  • 6:15 there is usually an accommodation of a gap day, if I seek one,
  • 6:19 and things around that.
  • 6:21 Also when it comes to travel,
  • 6:23 given, at the World Bank Group, we are able to travel business class for the large part.
  • 6:29 I have found that to be fairly accommodative in the sense of travel for me
  • 6:36 and I have always been able to perform
  • 6:38 on our colleagues who have no disabilities in that context...
  • 6:44 physically in terms of prosthetic limbs.
  • 6:47 So, in a nutshell I think, the travel, and, you know, the colleagues
  • 6:51 make working in the field offices an absolute pleasure.
  • 6:57 - Well, thanks for sharing that with us Karthik
  • 6:59 and we're so happy to have you here with us today.
  • 7:02 And finally, I want to turn to Özgül.
  • 7:05 Now, Özgül you joined the World Bank Group
  • 7:07 through the Young Professionals Program in 2019.
  • 7:09 So tell us more about that process and how it was like for you?
  • 7:16 Oh, and Özgül can you just unmute yourself please?
  • 7:20 - All right, do you hear me better now?
  • 7:22 - Yes.
  • 7:23 - Okay thank you very much first of all for the opportunity to share my experiences.
  • 7:27 I know that there can be many that can relate to
  • 7:29 [ÖZGÜL CALICIOGLU] and I'm happy to also take the conversation offline.
  • 7:33 [ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEER, WORLD BANK] Again, that being said, my name is Özgül, I am a Turkish national.
  • 7:38 I grew up in Turkey mostly and partly in Russia
  • 7:41 and I am an environmental engineer.
  • 7:45 So in this is actually a good question for me,
  • 7:49 because the Young Professionals Program is actually...
  • 7:52 it's known that it has a very structured
  • 7:55 selection process.
  • 7:56 And, in my case, I really needed some modifications in that
  • 8:01 because I have low vision, I'm legally blind,
  • 8:04 and depending on the elements of the interview,
  • 8:07 sometimes I can need bigger text, or a large monitor or screen reader.
  • 8:14 So I basically decided to disclose right away.
  • 8:18 I just wrote that I had a disability on the application form online
  • 8:21 and then I was selected for the interview,
  • 8:24 I also had the chance to go back and forth
  • 8:26 with the recruitment team and to make sure
  • 8:29 that all the accessibility needs were going to be met.
  • 8:32 And this was also, of course, a fine tuned discussion,
  • 8:36 because you also don't want to get excess of information
  • 8:39 about the interview because you also want it to be fair
  • 8:41 for the other candidates, but after all, and eventually,
  • 8:46 all of the disability accommodation needs were met
  • 8:49 and the assessment center was very accessible and I passed the interview.
  • 8:54 And even after that, and during relocation and onboarding,
  • 9:00 the recruitment team was very practical, very approachable
  • 9:03 to make sure that all of the accessibility needs were met.
  • 9:10 - I'm happy to hear that Özgül, and thanks for being here with us today.
  • 9:13 Folks, if you're just joining us,
  • 9:15 you're watching Behind the Mission where today I'm speaking
  • 9:17 with Charlotte McClain-Nhlapo who is our global disability advisor at the World Bank Group,
  • 9:22 Karthik Tiruvarur, an investment officer with the International Finance Corporation,
  • 9:27 and Özgül Colicioglu,
  • 9:29 an environmental engineer at the World Bank Group
  • 9:31 who was a part of the 2019 cohort for the Young Professionals Program.
  • 9:35 Now, ahead of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, on December 3rd,
  • 9:40 we're talking about the importance of disability and inclusion in the workplace.
  • 9:44 Now we've had a question come up from our online audience
  • 9:46 that I'd like to pose here now.
  • 9:48 And it's that oftentimes a question that comes up in an interview
  • 9:52 is wanting to know "how will you accommodate my disability?"
  • 9:56 Charlotte, I'd like to turn to you here.
  • 9:58 Can you share with us your experience
  • 10:00 as to how the World Bank Group has worked with you
  • 10:03 to ensure that your needs are met?
  • 10:05 [CHARLOTTE MCCLAIN-NHLAPO] - Sure, so, you know, I will say I use a wheelchair
  • 10:09 [GLOBAL DISABILITY ADVISOR, WORLD BANK GROUP] and I think that one of the ways in which my needs were met
  • 10:13 was that I needed to have a desk that was slightly higher
  • 10:17 so that I could roll under my desk.
  • 10:20 And that was really pretty effortless.
  • 10:22 We were able to go through the disability accommodations fund at the bank,
  • 10:26 put in applications to enable me to have this desk.
  • 10:30 And soon after it was, it was purchased and I had it.
  • 10:35 So there are all those types of tweaks that need to happen
  • 10:39 and those usually happen pretty quickly.
  • 10:42 I think it's really important
  • 10:44 that, when a person with a disability joins the institution,
  • 10:48 that the person is very explicit about his/her/their needs.
  • 10:53 This is very important for the person to say
  • 10:55 this is what I need, because you cannot make any assumptions
  • 10:59 that your manager or the person you're reporting to knows what your needs are.
  • 11:05 I think the other point to just point out here
  • 11:08 is that there's, you also shouldn't be ashamed
  • 11:11 of what your needs are or afraid to articulate them.
  • 11:16 And that's really important to be able to get past that,
  • 11:19 and recognize that you have a right to this.
  • 11:24 - Wonderful, and I mean, Charlotte, let's dive into this a bit further,
  • 11:28 because, in 2018, the World Bank Group
  • 11:30 signed up to 10 commitments which included an undertaking
  • 11:33 to promote disability inclusion in client projects
  • 11:37 with a specific goal to hire more people with disabilities.
  • 11:40 How far have we come with that?
  • 11:43 - So thanks for asking that question, Sri.
  • 11:45 So, I mean, I think I should just start off by saying
  • 11:48 [CHARLOTTE MCCLAIN-NHLAPO] that these 10 commitments were made
  • 11:50 [GLOBAL DISABILITY ADVISOR, WORLD BANK GROUP] at the global disability summit in London two years ago.
  • 11:54 And the commitment was to increase the number of staff
  • 11:58 with disabilities in the World Bank.
  • 12:00 And the idea here was that, yes it's great that we're looking
  • 12:03 at making our projects more disability inclusive,
  • 12:06 but we really need to walk the talk,
  • 12:08 and, therefore, we need to think about what we're doing in in-house.
  • 12:11 So, many of you have already mentioned the World Bank's Young Professionals Program
  • 12:17 and it has made significant strides
  • 12:19 in ensuring the recruitment process is inclusive
  • 12:22 of full staff with disabilities and it's looked at not just hiring,
  • 12:27 but onboarding and beyond.
  • 12:30 And, as you can see, we have a cohort with us here today.
  • 12:34 What's also been important about this process around the YP Program,
  • 12:37 is that they built in an ongoing feedback loop.
  • 12:41 So we're constantly looking at ways to enhance this process
  • 12:45 and, again, focusing on outreach, recruitment and onboarding.
  • 12:50 And I'll just say, what's been very important in this regard
  • 12:53 is to partner with other universities.
  • 12:56 For example, the University of Johannesburg.
  • 12:58 We've also had partnerships with University of Gallaudet
  • 13:02 and other groups like Mobility International and the Federation of the Blind.
  • 13:07 Finally, I need to say that what we're seeing
  • 13:10 is that it's important to have these pieces in place,
  • 13:15 programs that are inclusive, but there is a need for training internally.
  • 13:20 And, in this regard, the disability and inclusion team
  • 13:23 has completed a filming of a virtual reality training
  • 13:26 called "Picture Yourself Included - Disability Inclusion",
  • 13:31 and this training is being rolled out shortly.
  • 13:34 And, then finally, I'll just say that this event today
  • 13:37 is exactly one of the indications that the bank really is interested
  • 13:41 in attracting staff with disabilities into its fold.
  • 13:48 - Absolutely, Charlotte.
  • 13:48 I'm so glad we're having this conversation right now.
  • 13:51 You know, guys, this next question is really for all of you.
  • 13:55 It can be intimidating to talk about having a disability
  • 13:58 when applying for a job for a number of reasons, right?
  • 14:01 There's the fear of being seen as less capable, of it being too time consuming
  • 14:06 or even too expensive to make the necessary accommodations.
  • 14:09 And, of course, there's also the fear
  • 14:11 of how you'll be treated in the workplace once you begin.
  • 14:14 So what I would like to know is what is your response to that fear
  • 14:18 and Özgül I'd like to start with you on this one.
  • 14:23 - Yeah, sure thanks for this question.
  • 14:25 I know how intimidating it can be and, to be honest,
  • 14:32 I also feel like it's good to also try to overcome these fears
  • 14:37 mainly because of two reasons.
  • 14:41 [ÖZGÜL CALICIOGLU] So the first reason is out of dignity and self-respect.
  • 14:45 [ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEER, WORLD BANK] Personally, I'd rather work for a company,
  • 14:47 or an organization, which actually lets me bring in value.
  • 14:53 So which is going to be having more time and interest
  • 14:59 and resources for inclusion,
  • 15:01 so that I can truly bring in my competencies and skillsets.
  • 15:05 So if a company is not there to provide this environment,
  • 15:08 maybe it's even better to learn this sooner than later.
  • 15:13 And the second point is mostly about more disability education that's right.
  • 15:21 Unfortunately, in the workforce,
  • 15:23 the representation of the disabled people is not as high.
  • 15:27 So, I mean, as much as the people with disabilities have their,
  • 15:32 fears, their coworkers or the visitors have their own as well.
  • 15:36 And this is not necessarily a fear of disability,
  • 15:41 but it's more a fear of unknown, in some cases,
  • 15:45 and this is a natural human behavior.
  • 15:47 So I take this opportunity as a disability education moment,
  • 15:53 so that, you know we can really open up the space,
  • 15:55 we can address each other's fears and actually communicate and find solutions,
  • 15:59 and basically prove that it's actually not as scary.
  • 16:03 Accomodations are oftentimes very easy.
  • 16:05 And this is, I think, kind of this proof that I need that communicating openly
  • 16:12 has more benefits than negative points.
  • 16:16 Thanks.
  • 16:17 - Yeah, it's true, that awareness is very crucial.
  • 16:20 Thank you, Özgül.
  • 16:21 Oh, Charlotte, I'd like to turn to you now, what is your response to fear?
  • 16:28 - So my response is that I guess it can be fearful,
  • 16:33 but it really doesn't have to be nor should it be.
  • 16:37 And, in many ways, I think this points to the need
  • 16:39 for changing of mindsets and attitudes,
  • 16:43 if we're really serious about being inclusive.
  • 16:45 But I think unfortunately what we still see
  • 16:49 is that there is a sense amongst some staff
  • 16:51 that they are unable or uncomfortable in disclosing their disability.
  • 16:58 And this is particularly the case
  • 17:00 when the disability is an invisible disability
  • 17:04 or they feel intimidated to ask for reasonable accommodations,
  • 17:07 and this is still widespread.
  • 17:10 And we know that this does not lend itself
  • 17:13 to having an inclusive work environment.
  • 17:16 So I would say that the responsibility
  • 17:18 should really not lie with the person with a disability
  • 17:21 to dispel the fear and stigma that others have towards them,
  • 17:26 or really it's not the responsibility
  • 17:29 for the person with disability to make the case
  • 17:31 for why they need accommodations, right?
  • 17:35 So I would argue that the responsibility is really that of the hiring manager,
  • 17:41 for him/her to be a lot more aware, to take the necessary tradings
  • 17:47 and address, you know, maybe unconscious or conscious bias
  • 17:52 that they may have, to certainly familiarize themselves
  • 17:56 with institutional supports I mentioned earlier on,
  • 17:59 the disability accommodation fund that the bank has in place.
  • 18:03 And to then really speak
  • 18:05 to the person with disabilities and ask them
  • 18:07 and learn about what, what their specific needs are.
  • 18:11 And so I think this is really important,
  • 18:13 because if we don't do that, we run the risk
  • 18:16 of having the person with the disability prejudged
  • 18:20 in terms of their ability or to really start looking
  • 18:24 at what the costs could be for that and the question should be
  • 18:29 ask the person with the disability what they require.
  • 18:34 As I mentioned, sometimes the cost is a once off cost,
  • 18:38 it might be a recurring cost, but that should never be the determining factor
  • 18:43 for hiring a person who's qualified to do the job.
  • 18:49 - Absolutely, Charlotte, thank you for that.
  • 18:52 And, Karthik, finally, let me turn over to you.
  • 18:55 What are your thoughts on this?
  • 18:58 - I think great points were made by my panelists there, Sri,
  • 19:02 the only point that I had to, you know, that have already been made,
  • 19:05 [KARTHIK TIRUVARUR - DISRUPTIVE TECHNOLOGIES] is an interview tends to be an organic conversation
  • 19:09 [INTERNATIONAL FINANCE CORPORATION] and I recollect one of my conversations while, you know,
  • 19:13 I was getting interviewed for my role at IFC,
  • 19:16 where I did, you know, specify what my disability was
  • 19:21 and, you know talk to the manager around what necessary,
  • 19:25 you know, accommodations would have to be made.
  • 19:28 And that candid conversation actually opened up doors
  • 19:31 to, you know, the interviewer
  • 19:32 actually sharing one of their temporary disability
  • 19:36 in terms of, you know, a back issue that they were going through.
  • 19:39 And we spent a good five, six minutes
  • 19:41 in that 30 minute interview, I remember, speaking about,
  • 19:45 you know, her own experiences, right?
  • 19:47 And, so it did end up forming a really organic bond between,
  • 19:53 you know the interviewer and me at that point.
  • 19:55 And also the other thing I would add is,
  • 19:58 you know, my role entails scoping investments
  • 20:03 and presenting that to, you know, the management
  • 20:06 and one of the key elements of that is talking about both the positives,
  • 20:10 but also the risks and, you know, what challenges exist.
  • 20:13 And while it might seem intimidating and, you know,
  • 20:18 there is a lot of fear about, you know, talking about disabilities,
  • 20:21 I think one who thrives in an organizations like the World Bank Group
  • 20:26 is one that's able to articulate both these equally well.
  • 20:29 And the fear is mostly in the mind
  • 20:30 I would say now having looked back at my journey
  • 20:33 at the World Bank Group for about six years, it was exactly the way, you know,
  • 20:37 the interviewer explained it to me in terms of,
  • 20:39 you know, how things would be when I'm here.
  • 20:42 So it's in the mind, I would say.
  • 20:45 - Great, thank you, Charlotte, Karthik, Özgül,
  • 20:48 for sharing with us your thoughts on that.
  • 20:51 And before we get to the last couple of questions,
  • 20:53 I actually want to take a few moments here
  • 20:55 to get your reaction to some common myths
  • 20:57 around working at the World Bank Group, as it relates to, you know this topic
  • 21:02 that we're talking about today.
  • 21:04 You can react to any of these but tell me what you think.
  • 21:07 The first myth is that it's very difficult for persons with disabilities
  • 21:11 to find opportunities to work in the field, true or false?
  • 21:19 And to Karthik maybe I'll turn to you on this one,
  • 21:22 [MYTHBUSTER #1] what are your thoughts on this?
  • 21:25 [IT'S VERY DIFFICULT FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES] - Sri you know, just as had mentioned
  • 21:27 [TO FIND OPPORTUNITIES TO WORK IN THE FIELD] worked in the IFC Delhi office and Beijing office,
  • 21:30 one thing that stood out to me is that, you know,
  • 21:34 this is what Charlotte alluded to, as the World Bank Group,
  • 21:37 we do have policies and procedures in place when we look at office locations,
  • 21:42 when we look at travel policies,
  • 21:45 and so I do believe that there is a common thread
  • 21:48 that runs across our local offices and our headquarters
  • 21:52 and equally so managers and staff that I have spoken to
  • 21:57 I do believe have a very, you know,
  • 22:00 nuanced understanding of the inclusion and diversity aspects
  • 22:05 of what the role entails.
  • 22:08 And so, from that perspective, I do feel that,
  • 22:10 while I was either in South Asia or East Asia, in Beijing,
  • 22:15 or am here in DC, I've had all the possible,
  • 22:22 you know, aspects taken care of
  • 22:25 and all the accommodations have been handled in a similar way.
  • 22:30 And so I would say that that myth of finding local offices
  • 22:34 to be more challenging, actually not quite true.
  • 22:39 - Great Karthik, thank you.
  • 22:41 The second myth is that mental illness
  • 22:43 ´MYTHBUSTER #2] is not considered a disability.
  • 22:47 [MENTAL ILLNESS IS NOT CONSIDERED A DISABILTY] Is that true or false?
  • 22:49 Who would like to take that one? Perhaps, Charlotte?
  • 22:52 What are your thoughts on this myth?
  • 22:54 So happy to take that one, Sri.
  • 22:57 It's a myth so it's not true.
  • 23:00 So I think, you know, mental illness is increasingly defined as a disability.
  • 23:06 I think what's important about thinking about the definition of disability
  • 23:10 is that it really is an expansive spectrum
  • 23:14 and within that, as I mentioned earlier on,
  • 23:18 you have people who have invisible disabilities
  • 23:21 and often mental health issues may not be the first thing
  • 23:24 that you notice about an individual,
  • 23:27 but we need to think about mental illness
  • 23:31 as part of the broader understanding of disability.
  • 23:36 And I think that then would enable us
  • 23:38 to really develop support and accommodations
  • 23:43 for people who have episodic mental health crises
  • 23:49 and this really is... it's a great way to make the workplace more inclusive,
  • 23:54 to think about how mental illness forms part of disability
  • 23:59 and how it can be addressed more broadly.
  • 24:02 - Absolutely, thank you, Charlotte.
  • 24:04 [MYTHBUSTER #3] And for our final myth here there are no disability accommodations
  • 24:08 [THERE ARE NO DISABILITY ACCOMODATIONS] in World Bank Group offices.
  • 24:11 [IN THE WORLD BANK GROUP OFFICES] Özgül, how about I turn this over to you?
  • 24:15 - Yeah, sure.
  • 24:16 Actually I'm giving a direct example of qualification of business,
  • 24:23 because even before... starting from the very beginning
  • 24:29 of the recruitment process and beyond, I've always had accommodations.
  • 24:34 So it's all about, you know,
  • 24:36 really sharing what you need and World Bank is a place
  • 24:42 that really asks about those proactively.
  • 24:47 So as long as, you know, you just identify yourself
  • 24:51 and then you ask for certain accommodations, as Charlotte also mentioned,
  • 24:56 there's even a disability accommodation fund.
  • 24:59 And for example, I use that fund to get a sit stand desk
  • 25:04 and the larger monitor and even, really, the managers are very proactive.
  • 25:11 My COVID home office is also very accessible.
  • 25:16 They even took initiative
  • 25:17 beyond what's really in the policies according to this,
  • 25:22 because this is a very special circumstance.
  • 25:25 So definitely the mindset and also the resources
  • 25:29 are there for disability accommodations.
  • 25:37 - So, Özgül, Charlotte, Karthik, you know,
  • 25:39 thanks for taking the time to dispel some of these myths.
  • 25:42 I know, I think it's really important
  • 25:44 as we talk about diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
  • 25:47 And, you know, as we head to the end of the program,
  • 25:50 Charlotte, the World Bank Group is actively recruiting people with disabilities.
  • 25:55 So what support does a bank provide for staff with disabilities?
  • 26:00 And especially now, when many of us are having to work remotely.
  • 26:05 - So great question, I think, like Ozgul said,
  • 26:08 you know, the support has been really very good,
  • 26:12 but, then, I think, you know, for a lot of people with disabilities,
  • 26:16 [CHARLOTTE MCCLAIN-NHLAPO] they have their home environments that they've already made accessible,
  • 26:20 [GLOBAL DISABILITY ADVISOR, WORLD BANK GROUP] so supports are not necessarily needed.
  • 26:25 So in my case, for instance, I'm quite comfortable at home,
  • 26:27 I haven't had to have any additional supports,
  • 26:30 because my home has been adjusted to me and me using a wheelchair.
  • 26:37 But I do think that it's really important, again,
  • 26:40 to be able to be upfront with your manager and talk about what your needs are
  • 26:46 because nobody can guess what you're thinking,
  • 26:49 and, so, having that candid conversation is very important.
  • 26:54 And I just wanted to pick up on a point
  • 26:56 around mental illness and mental health more broadly,
  • 26:58 because I think that, you know, given the COVID-19 pandemic,
  • 27:02 and the fact that many people are at home, the issues around mental health
  • 27:06 are really going to escalate.
  • 27:10 And so we need to start thinking about how we address this
  • 27:13 and how we provide the accommodations to ensure that we are inclusive.
  • 27:21 - Great, thank you for that, Charlotte.
  • 27:23 And, you know, guys, now for this final question here,
  • 27:27 I would love to know what is your one takeaway
  • 27:30 for persons with disabilities that are looking to work here
  • 27:33 at the World Bank Group?
  • 27:35 Karthik, let me start with you.
  • 27:41 - Sri, I guess the way I have approached my job
  • 27:43 is, you know, I, I think of bringing my whole self
  • 27:47 to the workplace and not just my technical skills
  • 27:50 and let me tell you more, right?
  • 27:53 What stands out to me the most about the World Bank Group
  • 27:56 compared to, you know, some of the other work places where I've worked before,
  • 28:00 is that we are a truly diverse set of people, right?
  • 28:03 People from different countries, people who speak multiple languages,
  • 28:08 who've had very different carrier paths.
  • 28:11 And so when I'm on a team, it's very usual that,
  • 28:15 you know, there's probably not more than two people
  • 28:17 who are from a similar context, right?
  • 28:19 Be it country, or, you know speaking a language
  • 28:21 or have similar industries as well.
  • 28:24 And what that brings is a very, you know robust methodology of problem solving
  • 28:30 and thinking about, you know, hard challenges
  • 28:33 which we are trying to solve here at the World Bank Group.
  • 28:35 And so as I think of myself, you know
  • 28:39 that there's four different languages I speak,
  • 28:42 there are multiple countries I represent, disability is one element of it.
  • 28:46 And, you know, I do end up bringing that aspect to the workplace as well.
  • 28:49 And so, one recommendation I would have for whoever's,
  • 28:52 you know, thinking of the World Bank Group
  • 28:54 and who's live on this chat is to bring their whole self,
  • 28:57 you know, to the institution and this is one institution
  • 29:00 that leverages multiple cultures and multiple talents really well.
  • 29:05 - Thank you, Karthik. Bring your whole self, that's great advice.
  • 29:08 Özgül, let me now turn over to you, what is your advice?
  • 29:14 - Okay, so I think I'll echo Karthik a little bit here
  • 29:17 and say that the workplace is very, very diverse
  • 29:21 and it's really trying to get more and more inclusive every day.
  • 29:24 And that's what I also see even since I started at the bank
  • 29:28 there has been some improvements.
  • 29:30 And I just want to kind of, you know, allude on the twin goals of the bank,
  • 29:36 which is eliminating poverty and boosting shared prosperity.
  • 29:39 And this is all about equal opportunities worldwide,
  • 29:43 and it's really reflected to the workplace too.
  • 29:46 So I would just say that there's no need to be intimidated
  • 29:52 and it's definitely a place that I feel represented,
  • 29:57 as Karthik was saying, that fits all aspects of my personality and my individuality.
  • 30:02 And, really, it's great to use all of these things
  • 30:07 that you have and, you know, it's like, you don't think out of the box,
  • 30:14 but live outside the box as person with a disability,
  • 30:17 because it really makes you think in different ways to come up with solutions.
  • 30:21 And I think the World Bank is a place
  • 30:23 that you can make good use of these positive skills.
  • 30:30 - It certainly is, thank you, Özgül.
  • 30:32 And finally, Charlotte, what is your one takeaway?
  • 30:36 - Not to repeat my colleagues, I totally agree with them,
  • 30:39 but I would just say it is gratifying.
  • 30:43 So I would really encourage people
  • 30:45 who really want to see issues around addressing poverty and boosting shared prosperity
  • 30:51 to apply and to join.
  • 30:55 It's really a great place to work.
  • 30:57 - It really is and, you know, on that note,
  • 31:00 Charlotte, Karthik, Özgül, it's been, you know, a really inspiring conversation,
  • 31:04 it's been great speaking with you and learning more
  • 31:07 from you and about you, so I want to thank you again so much
  • 31:09 for joining me here today on Behind the Mission.
  • 31:13 And, you know, a big thanks to you, our online audience,
  • 31:16 for joining us here today.
  • 31:18 You know, we hope our conversation has inspired you
  • 31:20 and also just giving you more insight
  • 31:22 into working with us here at the World Bank Group.
  • 31:25 Now, do remember that the International Day of Persons with Disabilities
  • 31:29 is coming up on December 3rd, that's this Thursday,
  • 31:32 and we'll actually be having a virtual job fair
  • 31:35 where we hope you'll connect with us and learn more
  • 31:37 about the opportunities to join us here at the World Bank Group.
  • 31:41 We'll be sharing the invitation to that event on our LinkedIn channel here,
  • 31:44 so do keep an eye out for it.
  • 31:46 In the meantime you can always follow the conversation online
  • 31:49 using the #behindthemissionWBG.
  • 31:52 and be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
  • 31:56 Thanks again for joining us here today.
  • 31:58 I'm Srimadhi Sridhar and I'll see you next time, bye-bye.
  • 32:02 [UPBEAT MUSIC]
  • 32:05 [THE WORLD BANK GROUP - BEHIND THE MISSION]
  • 32:08 [DISABILITIES INCLUSIONS AT THE WORLD BANK GROUP]
  • 32:20 [THE WORLD BANK GROUP - BEHIND THE MISSION]

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