Zarin Hamid was named the 2020 Disability:IN NextGen Alum of the Year — and there’s no question as to why. 

About a year ago, Hamid started as a Security Intelligence Analyst at The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc., commonly known as PNC. She moved states for the critical cyber security role, providing her a chance to live independently that she never thought she would have — especially after a difficult job search. Now, after being impressed with the company’s efforts to hire candidates with differing abilities, she works with PNC to advocate for and educate on disability employment. 

Her work often involves being a mentor, ally and leader for other people whose struggles and successes she understands intimately, making her the perfect person to give advice. Recently, she did just that. Hamid gave us an inside look at the journey that brought her to be a change maker at PNC and the work the company is doing for the disabled community. She also shared her advice for women with differing abilities who are looking to grow their career and what she’s learned from her own mentors. 

How long have you been working at PNC, and what about the company made you want to join?

I was recruited by PNC in 2019 at a Disability:IN conference in Chicago. I went through a series of interviews, the final one being about five hours long with multiple teams from PNC. I was drawn to the company because of their efforts to hire candidates with differing abilities. I was also impressed by their warm and friendly demeanor. 

What does your role entail?

I work in the preventative side of cyber security. We analyze trends and report on major attacks, check for potential vulnerabilities and make leadership aware of possible security breaches. Reading and research are key in my role. I also collaborate with other team members in the security defense office to ensure malware signatures are in place to warn us of a possible incident. 

You were recently named a 2020 Disability:IN NextGen Alum of the Year Award recipient. What does this award recognize? 

This award recognizes candidates who have demonstrated the importance of disability employment and been a value to their organization and community, all while promoting disability inclusion. 

Why is this type of inclusion work important to you, both personally and professionally? 

I needed a lot of help trying to launch my career, and it would be selfish of me to accept help and not offer it to others. There could be someone else who is struggling finding a job and needs the right resources just like I once did. Through my struggle finding employment, I found my passion to help others achieve their employment goals and educate those who don’t know about disability employment. Professionally, this helps me build my skills as a leader. 

How does Disability:IN’s support reflect PNC’s culture? 

Disability:IN is working to educate the workforce on disability employment statistics. The organization works with employers across the U.S. that are disability inclusive, like PNC, and I do not believe they would partner with a company that didn’t value their mission to expand opportunities for people with disabilities. 

What does disability inclusion mean to you?

Disability inclusion means that the voices of disabled employees are included — that they are heard, and we are taking active steps to address their concerns and needs. Disability inclusion means the disabled employees’ work ethic is valued more than their disability — no matter what they look like or how “different” they may appear. 

What’s the one career move you’ve made that you’re most proud of? 

In order for me to accept my position at PNC, I had to move out of state. I never thought that when I began my career, I would also have the chance to move to a new area, start from scratch and live independently. It is the best feeling in the world to smash stereotypes about being disabled and live your dream. 

What’s the most memorable piece of career advice you’ve received? 

When I began my search, I really wanted a job in specific cities. When I decided I would broaden my search and look at any reasonable offer, my opportunities increased. Sometimes life surprises you and gives you more than what you expected. 

Also, focus on what matters to you — professionally and personally. Many young people get hung up on the next big thing, the next promotion, but how much have you learned on the job? Do you like what you do? Are you in a position to pursue hobbies and interests outside of work? 

What’s your No. 1 piece of advice for women with differing abilities who are looking to grow their career?

Be patient, and never give up. I often talk to people who are discouraged about their job hunt. It is hard, but having a negative mindset will only make it worse. Toss out the excuses, and believe your perfect job is around the corner. Many people want jobs in a preferred city or company. Accept that may not be the path for you and something better will come along.  


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