When Kelly Shumaker, Human Resources Director at Pharmaceutical Associates, Inc. (PAI) was looking for new employees to work at PAI’s Greenville plant, which manufacturers and markets generic liquid pharmaceuticals, she wasn’t looking to fill open positions with someone with a disability. In fact, PAI had never actively recruited or hired someone with a known disability in its 50+ year history of making suspensions, oral solutions, elixirs, syrups and liquids in Greenville. That changed when Greenville CAN’s Laura Bogardus contacted Kelly and introduced Debra Davenport, a client of Thrive Upstate, who was actively seeking employment opportunities.
According to Kelly, “Laura has opened my eyes to many inclusion activities and ideas that extend beyond what idea traditional diversity brings to mind. Through her, I have become a champion of sorts to think outside of the box when it comes to people with differing abilities. From a tactical standpoint, Laura is instrumental in connecting people, working through issues, sharing resources. She is truly an inspiration and helped me be more forward thinking in my role at PAI.”
Laura has worked with many companies like PAI to remove many of the barriers and misconceptions that face individuals with disabilities so that they aren’t misunderstood and underestimated in terms or work productivity. When Kelly reflects on the education and resource Laura has been for her she says, “we don’t know what we don’t know and because of
Laura’s assistance, I have a highly