Rockville, Maryland, April 1 – After spending more than 22 years working for the Coca-Cola Company, Vincenzo Piscopo has defined success for disability inclusion within the workplace supported by philanthropic involvement. Leveraging opportunities for people with disabilities within the company’s marketplace, educating employers within the company, and encouraging volunteerism in the community are all ways in which Piscopo achieves success within the Coca-Cola company’s philanthropic endeavors.
Piscopo’s career within the Coca-Cola Company has taken him to several different areas of the organization, including finance, IT, marketing and innovation. His extensive background in advocating for disability within the workplace has given him a broad understanding of what companies lack in terms of employing people with disabilities as well as other minority groups. He has been the Director of Community and Stakeholder Relations for a year now and has been given the opportunity to “fill his file cabinet,” as Piscopo would say, with knowledge about how to advocate for minorities such as women, Hispanics, African Americans, LGBTQ, people with disabilities, etc.
Marketplace, Workplace, and Community
The Coca-Cola company has created a Business Resource Group (BRG) to promote inclusion in the workplace. There are subgroups for specific minorities. Each group has three main objectives within the BRG: marketplace, workplace and community.
The goal in terms of the marketplace is to make sure that the Coca-Cola Company leverages opportunity that people with disabilities bring to the company as consumers. “Yes, it’s the right thing, but it’s also an opportunity,” says Piscopo when discussing the business standpoint of hiring people with disabilities and the value they bring to the workplace.
The workplace objective refers to increasingthe hiring and retaining of employees with disabilities. Piscopo discussed the importance of educating people within the company on disability etiquette, how to recognize when something is not accessible, how to provide accommodations, etc.
The third and final objective, community, works to provide community partnerships and collaborate and promote volunteerism.
It’s on Us: Disability in the Workplace
Often times advocates find themselves becoming frustrated with those who do not know how to conduct themselves when working with people with disabilities. Piscopo points out, however, that “it’s on us” to educate and make people aware. Often times, the reaction from people without a disability comes simply out of ignorance.
Piscopo worked for Coca-Cola before an accident that ultimately left him paralyzed from the waist down. Since his accident, Piscopo’s employees have become more curious about the disability community and genuine accessibility.
Hestates that it is not an issue of discrimination, but rather one that stems from the fear of the unknown. Diversity in the workplace expands our “file cabinet” and gives employers more resources as it pertains to expanding knowledge.
RespectAbility, a nonprofit fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for people with disabilities, is proud that Vincenzo Piscopo is a member of our board.
JOIN OUR TEAM!
RespectAbility is a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for and with people with disabilities. This spring, 15 Fellows had the opportunity to learn from a variety of guest speakers. Learn more about the National Leadership Program and apply for the next cohort! Contact BenS@RespectAbility.org for more information.
ALL FELLOWSHIP OPPORTUNITIES
- PUBLIC POLICY/EMPLOYMENT
- COMMUNICATIONS/DIVERSITY IN FILM & TELEVISION
- NONPROFIT MANAGEMENT
- COMMUNITY OUTREACH/GRASSROOTS ORGANIZING
- JEWISH INCLUSION