A disability network that helps you Thrive at Enterprise
Thrive is a disability support network led by Enterprise employees that helps colleagues meet one another and share stories. Whether they are experiencing a disability or supporting a family member or friend with a disability, it encourages employees to get help and bring their authentic selves to work. Thrive has hosted several events and sponsors many initiatives on campus.
We asked Ellen Pearce, a member of the Thrive committee in Egham, to share her disability story with DRIVE to raise awareness for what the network can offer employees.
Ellen Pearce started as an intern in 2017 and is now a full-time member of the business management team. Her story is around an invisible disability.
"My team has helped build me up and everyone is so supportive"
Ellen was 13 when she first experienced back pain and after multiple rounds of physio with varying success, she was diagnosed with EDS hyper mobility at the age of 16. This condition falls under a group known as Ehlers-Danlos syndromes that affect connective tissues. In addition to pain, it can also make Ellen more prone to bruising. Although the pain was minimal at first, Ellen’s lower back and other joints have progressively worsened, meaning she now lives with chronic pain.
Ellen recalls how she struggled during her early experiences with EDS hyper mobility:
“I felt restricted and unable to do what every teenager my age was doing. I struggled to drive, as sitting and concentrating for long periods of time caused excessive pain. I would often sit down at the earliest opportunity when I was out in public."
"On the outside I looked ‘normal’ but on the inside I was suffering"
“I started suffering from anxiety and situational depression as a result. I was constantly worried about what people thought of me sitting on the floor in a shop or walking around with a hot water bottle. On the outside I looked ‘normal’ but on the inside I was suffering.
“I was worried I would lose my social circle as I would cancel plans at the last minute due to the pain.
“When I started at Enterprise I was shy and had little confidence. How that has changed! My team has helped build me up and everyone is so supportive.
“The culture is very accepting, and Enterprise offers brilliant initiatives such as Thrive, that are designed to create a better environment for everyone.
“I am now in a better place mentally, and my pain management treatments are helping with the pain. I don’t worry what other people think of me as much anymore.
“I still struggle with the thought of career milestones as I know there will be obstacles in the future, but I’m confident that I will be supported, and arrangements can be made to best suit me. I am sharing my story as I know what it’s like to live with an invisible disability. If I can help one person with their struggles, then it makes it all worth it.”