#ChangeMakers in the Disabilities Community: Marc Woods

Marc Woods // photos Kathy Tran

Growing up, Marc Woods and his family called many places home at one point or another. Since childhood, he has lived in Michigan, Mississippi, Indiana, Tennessee and Kentucky — just to name a few. However, 10 years ago after accepting a position with Bank of America in Dallas, Marc became an official Texan.

When asked about his thoughts on living in the Lone Star State, he simply said, “Texas has been good to me.”

And as it turns out, Marc has been good to Texas.

As Bank of America’s senior vice president and senior group operations manager for Support Services in Dallas, Marc Woods manages more than 85 employees in the department, including adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

Teaming up with Plano-based My Possibilities and its LaunchAbility Career Services program, Bank of America took a step forward in welcoming the special needs community to its already diverse workforce in 2018.

Marc Woods // photos Kathy Tran
#ChangeMaker Marc Woods // photos Kathy Tran

My Possibilities gives adults with IDD an opportunity to build independence and vocational skills in a safe and nurturing environment. The in-house LaunchAbility Career Services program concentrates on disability hiring and strategic talent management.

“I think the [special needs] community is an underserved community in the corporate workplace,” Marc said. “I think there is a lot of value for people in this community because they have a skill set that other members of the community just don’t have.”

According to Marc, Support Services takes over projects other departments within the bank are unable to complete or complete effectively for one reason or another, such as low customer relation scores or a high turnover rate. His team takes on about seven projects each day.

“While somebody like you or me may have a low Employee Engagement score because we think of our tasks as mundane, they thrive in it,” Marc said, referring to his employees with IDD. “Their quality never dips, and their enthusiasm for coming to work never does, either. I think there’s a lot that people in that community bring to the table.”

The special needs community has always been a huge part of Marc’s life. His brother, Ishmael, who is six and a half years older, has Autism, very limited speech and learning disabilities.

“In the past, my brother, who can never be independent enough to work at a Bank of America, would be taught in high school how to roll silverware, to wash dishes, to make ornaments or just real passive tasks that aren’t very highly respected,” Marc said.

But, according to him, My Possibilities and the LaunchAbility Career Services program are giving people the tools they need to go into a workplace and be successful. “We’ve had four people in the last three months here at our Dallas office alone get promoted into traditional lines of business out of Support Services.”

It is evident to all parties involved that Marc is making a huge impact on both the hiring and managing aspect of maintaining a more diverse workforce.

“Marc has created a culture of understanding and smooth processes, which greatly benefits Bank of America,” said Michael Thomas, executive director for My Possibilities. “It’s clear he understands the value of a team with diverse abilities. Not only does he equip his team for the day-to-day tasks, he prepares them for future opportunities as well.”

Most of all, Marc enjoys the culture that working with adults with IDD creates — it’s a family-like atmosphere. But it’s not just Bank of America benefiting from these partnerships.

“I love the joy that everybody brings from knowing they are contributing,” Marc said. “They are members of the workforce in the community; they are taxpayers instead of tax recipients; they have full benefits and a 401(k), and they can provide for their families.

“They can do all these things that they never thought they’d be able to do. That really brings a lot of joy to my heart on a personal and a professional level.”

My Possibilities >

 


The above content is sponsored. We have partnered with My Possibilities to spotlight #ChangeMakers in the disabilities community.

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