As Disability Program Manager, what Annette Carr does matters because she works to ensure TSA has a barrier-free work environment, allowing all employees to be successful in carrying out TSA’s mission. To understand her passion for advocacy and attitudinal change, slip into her shoes for a moment.
Carr was born legally blind with Retinitis Pigmentosa, a progressively deteriorating retinal disorder. She’s quick to point out that she accomplishes the same things a sighted person does, just in a different way. Inspired by her personal experiences, her professional life is dedicated to providing solutions to physical and attitudinal barriers for persons with disabilities.
Graduating high school in the top 10 percent of her class, Carr was an Honor Society inductee and excelled in sports and extra-curricular activities. Her resiliency in overcoming challenges and resourcefulness in working through adaptations has served Carr well as she competed and won coveted spots in academic and professional venues.
Carr graduated on time with a Bachelors in Education, minoring in computer programing and music, and holds a Masters in Special Education and Assistive Technology. She has work experience as a Special Education teacher; in writing and implementing grants related to the educational and employment needs of people with disabilities while employed at George Mason University; and a Reasonable Accommodation Analyst for employees with disabilities at the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). Carr came to TSA in July 2020, having served as DOT’s Acting Departmental Disability Program Manager.
The biggest challenge
Sometimes, discussing matters related to disabilities can be difficult or uncomfortable. Often in the workplace the conversation is triggered by a barrier being faced by an employee with a disability. Emotions can run high when the employee is frustrated by not having access and feeling excluded, and the person responsible for the meeting, event or product feels blamed for something they were not aware of.
The most rewarding part of my job
I believe that everyone, regardless of whether they have a disability or not, should be able to have the job of their dreams. Based on my experiences, this can be achieved when we focus on the results of everyone’s contributions, and not the differences that produce the final product.
The one thing you want the traveling public to know about why you serve them at TSA
Advocating for a workplace that embraces abilities and not disabilities will ultimately promote equal access to the services TSA provides to the traveling public.