Fraser Petley, Divisional Director, Investors Group Financial Services, London: Investors Group is one of Canada’s largest financial planning firms. We help people achieve their financial goals and objectives. Bethany’s role is essentially my right hand.

Bethany Maltby, Executive Assistant, Investors Group Financial Services, London: My name is Bethany Maltby. I am an executive assistant to Fraser Petley who is a divisional director for Investors Group.

I have fibromyalgia, which is a chronic-pain disorder. It can be crippling at times, it limits my mobility a lot.

[ After completing university, Bethany applied for Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) Employment Supports to help her find a job in a suitable field.

She was connected with community service provider, Leads, who helped both her and Fraser make a great employment match. ]

Bethany: When I got to Leads, it was amazing, especially with Michelle. She’s fantastic about encouraging what I’m capable of, encouraging what I know I can do.

Michelle Ross, Employment Specialist, Leads Employment Services: Leads is an organization that helps people with disabilities and barriers to employment find paid employment. We receive funding from ODSP employment supports both for helping clients find and for retaining employment.

I see two really strong benefits, especially in this example, that Fraser gained.

One is the idea of sometimes you’re getting an untapped labour market, you’re getting an entire pool of people who you might not normally be getting a chance to interview.

The other real advantage that I see, is that there’s already been somebody who’s screened out and made sure these are the strongest people.

These are the people who, you know, have the abilities you’ve asked for, who have the personality to work in this sort of environment, who are really interested in this job so you’re starting with only having top candidates.

Fraser: Bottom line would be that she cares deeply about the end result, and that’s not unusual with people with disabilities.

It’s a consistent level of feedback that you’ll get from an employer that has hired somebody with a challenge is that they get an exponentially higher level of effort.

If it’s a matter of a very small expense or an accommodations type of expense to find the person that can fit a role for a long period of time, I’m left to wonder why a lot of employers wouldn’t call a place like Leads first.

Bethany: It’s really nice that the government has a program like ODSP in place, because without them, companies like Leads wouldn’t be able to help the people that they do.

You know that you’re not being viewed on the basis of your disability, you’re being viewed on what you can do, not what you can’t. And I feel settled now.

I feel like I have my career, because I could easily see myself doing this my whole life.

It’s absolutely wonderful.