Aidan Pierce Testimonial

22 Mar 2024, 09:49

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As a Dyspraxic person, finding and going into my first corporate job was terrifying and anxiety inducing. I would not apply for certain roles because I did not believe I had the experience or talent and would worry about how I would cope in certain situations. Not believing in myself and also dealing with the constant rejection from the applications I did send in (if I even received word back) further reduced my confidence and increased my imposter syndrome.

The strain of applying for jobs was affecting my ability to achieve my very best during my Masters.I almost didn’t apply to work at PepsiCo, it was one of my last applications I was sending in before I just stopped and focused on my studies, I am obviously very happy and grateful that I did.

The application process with PepsiCo was more straight-forward than other companies. I only had a psychometric and a singular interview to do, instead of multiple interviews and assessments, both individually and in a group. I disclosed my dyspraxia immediately when applying, and PepsiCo were very keen to offer any reasonable accommodations that I may need, which put me at ease for the process going forward. When I got the call that I got the job I was surprised, I thought I was only being told I was moving onto the next round!

I began my graduateship during the highs of Covid, so even though that presented its own issues I could immediately tell that the culture was very supportive. I was paired with a mentor, and colleagues took time to pass on their knowledge that they gathered throughout the years, from how to better organise yourself, how to compose emails and just general etiquette, which really helped me adapt. I was given work responsibilities from week one, and it was great feeling that even in my first days they trusted and relied on me.

From day one I was very vocal as being dyspraxic, I felt it would be known after a while so I may as well tell people. This led to me being asked would I tell my story at the end of a guest speaker’s seminar from Invisible Disability Ireland. I was only three months into the job but jumped at the opportunity, and the response I received was enormous. I received messages from people from around the globe saying how they resonated with my experiences and that it really impacts them hearing this from a colleague. To this day it’s one of the things I am most proud of.

My responsibilities grew throughout my graduateship journey as well, I was responsible for innovative projects and representing PepsiCo at a global level, all the while continuing being supported whenever I needed it. I was also allowed to explore responsibilities outside of my regular work, so I joined two Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) in Equal (LGBT+) and Enable (Disability support group). I was also able to see the great work that the WIN (Women Inclusion Network) All these ERGs are doing fantastic work and to play any part of that gave me a lot of joy. My experience working with these groups gave myself and a few other colleagues the idea to propose a new program that we called Ally to Advocate. This program focuses on certain topics and encourages participants to voice their opinions and speak on their experiences. We pitched the idea to HR who absolutely loved it, gave us advice, support and budget. Their excitement for the program was more than I expected, we almost had to reel them back at times, they were so supportive that they wanted to go beyond what our resources allowed! The pilot of the program ran last year with 15 participants, and the value and learnings I received from it was awe-inspiring and encouraging. I can definitely say I am a better person from being part of this program. We are expanding it to a larger audience this year, and who knows after that!

As you can see from what I’ve written, I am a very happy and proud employee at PepsiCo. All my worries about working with a disability have gone as I’ve learned to prop up the areas that I may struggle, and that can be attributed to the support I received. The ability to be part of other areas that interest me (Equal and Enable) gives me a lot of satisfaction and how we were able to create our own program that was rolled out to huge success is something I could never have dreamed of! I would definitely encourage anyone to apply to work here.

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