Dell's True Ability Employee Resource Group (ERG) hosted the very first Dine in the Dark event for central Texas team members in late June. Ten team members experienced a taste of what it would be like to navigate lunchtime at the Round Rock campus while blindfolded to simulate blindness.
David Campbell, Executive Director in Finance and executive sponsor of True Ability North America, participated in the inaugural event, donning a blindfold and assisted by a sighted guide.
"This Dine in Dark event has been…I'd want to say eye-opening although that would be somewhat against what's actually happening here," Campbell said. "It's amazing. My other senses are definitely heightened. I taste food more than I normally do. I am appreciating the smells around me."
Though this is the first time the event has been held in North America, several True Ability chapters across the globe have hosted their own Dine in the Dark event over the years. Dell’s True Ability chapter in Malaysia hosted a large-scale version in October 2014 across all three campuses for over 220 participants in conjunction with World Sight Day. Dell India hosted one shortly after in December 2014.
Marketing Ops Senior Advisor Francesco Tuzzolino (pictured above, right), True Ability member and the organizer of the Central Texas event, was blown away by the enthusiastic response. He had regularly participated in volunteer activities at the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital For Children in Austin Dallas, TX and was looking for a way to serve in a similar capacity at Dell. When Campbell pitched him the event idea, Tuzzolino ran with it.
"It was an amazing journey. We love the energy of people within True Ability," said Tuzzolino. "Everyone took ownership of a specific task that was needed. And then people just jumped on board like, 'How can I help you? What can I do.'"
Like Campbell, Tuzzolino took a break from coordinating to participate in the event while blindfolded.
"It's a very humbling experience," he remarked. "And sometimes we take for granted what we actually have and we only realize what we have when we missed it."
True Ability is an affinity group sponsored by Dell that educates, raises awareness and serves as a resource for team members impacted by disabilities or special needs. The group has enjoyed a remarkable year with Global Chair Bob Feiner being recognized as at the North America 2015 Disability Matters Awards as the 2015 Disability Champion in addition to successfully hosting a myriad of other events worldwide.
"I think Dell's strategy and Dell's purpose to enable people everywhere to grow, thrive and reach their full potential is perfectly exemplified with the True Ability ERG," says Campbell.
Dell has 11 global employee resource groups which aim to connect team members who share common ethnicity, gender, nationality, lifestyle or sexual orientation. They provide personal and professional development through mentoring, volunteerism and community involvement.
Learn more about ERGs and how Dell supports an inclusive workforce at dell.com/diversity.
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