Amy L., a senior recruiter on Kimberly-Clark’s talent acquisition team makes the most out of life, all while living with a rare genetic disorder called Osteogenesis Imperfecta (O.I.). As a member of Kimberly-Clark’s employee resource group called “Capabilities First”, she believes it’s essential to recognize, value, and leverage differences in our workplaces and communities.
You are fairly new to Kimberly-Clark. How did our purpose of Better Care for a Better World impact your decision to join the company?
I started in February 2022 and am thoroughly enjoying my role as a senior recruiter on our talent acquisition team. I feel honored to work alongside such experts in the talent and acquisition arena. Kimberly-Clark is investing in recruiters with diverse and/or non-traditional backgrounds, technology, talent marketing, and talent intelligence to bring exceptional talent into the organization.
The company is cultivating a culture that empowers authenticity and embraces diversity. Everyone is inspired to do their best work, and differences are not only recognized but also valued and utilized.
Our purpose is inspiring! We’re built on our 150-year history of purpose-led innovation – which all led to our global, iconic brands that improve the lives of people around the world. We embrace and act on the responsibility we have to our employees, our consumers, and our planet. I’m so proud to be part of the Kimberly-Clark team!
What’s a common misconception about your disability?
An estimated 25,000 to 50,000 Americans have Osteogenesis Imperfecta (O.I.). It’s sometimes called “brittle bones”, which is misleading because it’s actually a collagen disorder. One side effect of O.I. is thin and brittle bones that do not heal correctly once they’re broken. In every childhood picture, I’m donning a cast, brace, sling, or bandage (sometimes all at the same time!)
There are many other challenging side effects from having O.I., but I have always considered myself lucky, because it hasn’t hindered my sense of humor or my ability to live life to my fullest potential. Using a wheelchair full-time for mobility has allowed me to take lots of detours and roads less traveled and meet wonderful people along the way that I might not have met otherwise!
My wheelchair makes my disability visible, but for people with non-visible disabilities – this is not the case. Disabilities go beyond the physical and can appear at any time, at any age, and in many ways. People must look beyond the obvious. Awareness of this is the first step. We must continue the important work to be inclusive to people of all disabilities -- in our workplaces and our communities.
I’m passionate about disability rights and awareness and have served on local, state, and national boards to advocate on behalf of people with disabilities. We all need to have our voices heard. Even with the Americans with Disabilities Act in the U.S., it’s still a matter of being invited to the table first in some areas to begin the conversations.
Through the years, I’ve been involved with several nonprofit organizations, including an 11-year governor-appointed role as a member of the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities, which afforded me an incredible experience of reviewing proposals and awarding grants to entities to help people with disabilities in Texas.
I am also active with the Osteogenesis Imperfecta Foundation (OIF). I have participated in national and local OIF conferences where I shared how I stay physically active with adaptations and how to find joy when times are tough. I still serve as an advisory member of the Jamie Kendall Fund for O.I. Adult Health.
In 1996, I served as Ms. Wheelchair America through the Ms. Wheelchair America Organization. It is not a beauty pageant for women with disabilities – it’s a nonprofit organization and competition based on advocacy, leadership, and achievements.
Why is Capabilities First important to you?
Kimberly-Clark has been so welcoming to me – at every level. As someone with a disability my entire life, advocacy, inclusion, and education are paramount.
I feel so encouraged and excited about Capabilities First, especially in the college recruiting efforts of identifying talent that often gets overlooked or missed by traditional recruiting efforts. Capabilities First recruits directly through the disability services centers at colleges and universities in the U.S. This helps Kimberly-Clark attract a workforce that is as diverse as the consumers that we serve.
In addition, Kimberly-Clark’s culture of Flex that Works provides an excellent option for people with disabilities. Not everyone with a disability wants or needs to work from home or needs a reasonable accommodation. It creates the option for those who have difficulty commuting, or who lack privacy in an office setting to manage their personal or medical needs.
Capabilities First has done so much great work. As just one highlight, the group helps potential job candidates prepare for the job application process and presents information regarding the disability disclosure and accommodation process. This helps candidates feel more prepared and confident. There’s even more to come with the team. The future is bright!