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Misty Koper, Talent
A member of the AccessAbilities Steering Committee who has a genetic, chronic condition called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, Misty believes that working differently inspires innovation.
Learn more about Misty
- What is your role at EY?
I work on the Human Resources Projects team at Ernst & Young LLP on acquisitions and special projects. I am also the Abilities Champion for the McLean office and a member of the AccessAbilities Steering Committee.
- What differing ability do you have? Please share any background that you are willing for others to know about.
I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. It is a genetic and chronic syndrome that causes pain, mobility issues, and occasional sudden injuries. As a result, I move along the visibility spectrum of abilities, meaning that I sometimes have a visible indicator (like a cane), and sometimes, my disability is not visible to others.
- What is the one thing you want people to know about your differing ability?
I never thought of myself as having a disability. Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome is something I've had since birth, so it is a part of my very DNA. As a result, I have "worked differently" than others since the day I was born. I've walked differently, moved differently, and thought differently about how to achieve the same results as others.
Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome is unpredictable, and scheduling can become a challenge. Doctors’ appointments or physical therapy may need to be worked into an already full week. EY allows me the flexibility to rearrange my schedule in such a way that I can attend appointments, while still getting all of my work done.
- Ernst & Young LLP has been ranked by DiversityInc as the #1 company for people with disabilities. How has the firm and your team colleagues worked with you to make you as comfortable as possible and enabled you to perform at such a high level?
My entire team works remotely, which affords me the opportunity to work anywhere. I can see specialists in other cities, while maintaining my ability to work in a local EY office, or from a hotel.
Most days, I work from home, giving me the ability to arrange to accomplish my work, while still managing my condition. For example, I have a monthly medical test that I arrange at 7:00 AM, so I can be home and working by 8:30 AM. When a need to work differently arises, my team and I work together to develop a plan that helps me manage my condition, but also allows me to meet my commitments to the business.
- What does building a better working world mean to you, specifically as a person with a differing ability?
I believe that working differently inspires innovation. If two people want to achieve the same goal, and one has to achieve the goal differently, there is a greater likelihood that the second person will come up with something new and innovative. The challenges that I have working, going to school full-time, and managing a chronic condition leave room for plenty of innovation in scheduling.
Being able to work from home saves the time that would usually be expended commuting to and from the office. I can channel that energy into my job and use the time effectively, so I reserve the time that I feel well throughout the day. This also allows me to schedule doctors’ appointments early in the morning, or in the late afternoon, without cutting into an average work day. When I need to see specialists far away, I can even connect to the network remotely to continue to work efficiently. Using time differently keeps my energy level higher than it would be otherwise.