We’re building bridges to empower our people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
HEART (Helping Each Ability by Respecting and Teaching) is our employee resource group (ERG) dedicated to increasing awareness and education around the needs of people with disabilities. Through HEART’s Pittsburgh chapter, our people in the Pittsburgh office have access to American Sign Language classes, which have been widely used by those who work closely with deaf or hard of hearing (D/HH) colleagues. One such individual is Mark Sharpsteen, a KYC (Know Your Client) Administrator in Client Service Delivery in BNY Mellon’s Oriskany, NY office. A member of the BNY Mellon team since 1990, Mark is deaf. He described how BNY Mellon has helped him to prosper in his career: “Over the years, I’ve taken many career and professional development courses that have helped me become a better leader, and I’ve been able to advance by gaining experience and acquiring new skills. My style of leadership is inclusive; I include my colleagues in everything I do and have built trusted relationships with my team members.”
Regarding tools and resources to facilitate communication and connectivity, Mark said: “BNY Mellon has provided me with a videophone to give me equal access to the telephone as my hearing peers. This is a tool with a camera and a screen that allows me to sign with a live interpreter, who relays my message to the other party on the line. The company also provided me with an Apple iPad for mobility access to the videophone, as well as VRI (Video Remote Interpreting) when needed. For the past five years, we have been fortunate to have a live interpreter on location four hours a day who assists with our in-person meetings and training classes. I’ve always given my best effort to contribute to this company, just like all the others, regardless of my deafness.”
Another way we support D/HH employees is through our strong, long-standing relationship with Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). This renowned private university in upstate New York has the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID), one of its nine colleges serving more than 1,500 D/HH students. Mark earned his accounting degree at NTID. RIT/NTID bring a strong pipeline of D/HH talent to BNY Mellon through our summer internship program, and a significant percentage of interns have eventually joined the company in permanent positions.