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Vatsana Ferrell — Being Part of a Conversation

Vatsana Ferrell, Customer Care Training Center Specialist, says that if there was one thing in the world she could change, it would be “the mindset of automatic stereotypes where people judge someone before they know them. I would want people to be open-minded and allow themselves the opportunity to meet and learn about a person for who they are, not what differences they have.”

As a member of USAble Life's Inclusion Council, Vatsana says, “I am able to be part of a conversation where my voice matters and, in turn, am making an impactful change in our workplace culture.” Being part of the Inclusion Council is also a learning experience, and she says, “I get an opportunity to pour out into the community what I've learned from my fellow council members about what it means to be included and equal regardless of our differences.”

She feels that diversity and inclusion are a platform that allow people to be different without judgment, where everyone can feel “respected, welcomed, supported, and appreciated.” Vatsana is inspired by those who step up and advocate for others. She says, “I applaud everyone and anyone who supports others in their fight for justice and equality.”

Vatsana is proud of her Asian heritage and deeply influenced by her grandparents. She is inspired by how fierce and strong they were, despite being soft-spoken, in their determination when migrating from Laos, a Southeast Asian country, to the U.S. and becoming U.S. citizens. She says, “I admire how they paved the way for our family to have an equal opportunity.”

Vatsana was the only child out of three born in the U.S. and is grateful for her opportunity to attend and graduate from a historically black college or university (HBCU) — Philander Smith College in the Management Institute Program. She says, “Being of Asian descent, some had their stereotypes or biases of me attending an HBCU. However, who I was physically, never deterred my classmates or anyone on campus from engaging with me. I was always included.”

Vatsana believes that knowledge is power, and no one can take your education from you. She feels that education is a tool when it comes to diversity and inclusion. For Vatsana, being on the Inclusion Council means gaining knowledge and wisdom that will allow her to “support those who also want to make changes that positively impact our society for diversity, equality, and inclusion.”