I enjoy laughing about myself

Who I am

My name is Elena, and I was born in southern Italy. I am 1.3 meters tall, so I was born with certain limitations. I try to deter any physical deterioration through endurance sports and strength training. I am a big fan of Inter Milan and went to a game at the Giuseppe Meazza stadium. I love food and sports I enjoy laughing about myself, and I am happy when others laugh with me. I have a positive attitude towards life, but I am a bit reserved with strangers at first.

My parents are very open and positive about my disability. I owe them a lot. When I was three years old, my parents decided to emigrate to Germany – partly because of better treatment options and better professional opportunities for me. Despite resistance from teachers, they supported me in attending a regular elementary school. After that, I went to Realschule and completed my Fachabi with a focus on business administration.

From my studies to a management position

In 2019, I completed my training at ING, and I have been working in the Fraud Prevention Team ever since. I enjoy the work a lot. I don't need any special support, but was very happy to get a reserved parking space in the underground garage. The only thing I don't have a good handle on is the agile boards, which my colleagues help me with. Lately, since we work from home due to the coronavirus pandemic, we have digitalized all our boards. Together with a colleague, I serve as a trainee supervisor. I have set myself further ambitious goals and would like to finish my bachelor's degree in business administration in 2023 and take on a management role at some point.

Three wishes

If I had three wishes, I would first wish for "real" inclusion. That is, that people are not reduced to their limitations and that we deal with each other openly and without prejudice. I would also wish that my health does not deteriorate. And lastly, I would like to make my parents proud. They have invested so much in me and done so much for me.

What I would pass on to others

Finally, I want to encourage everyone who feels they are different and don't fit a norm: believe in yourself and don't listen to others too much. Set your own goals and always keep them in mind. Be confident, do not hide or even be ashamed. It helps to approach other people openly. Of course, there will also be hard times, but you can learn from them and, above all, they are sure to pass.

At ING, we live diversity and inclusion. Everyone can contribute to ING with the entirety of their personality. With or without a disability.

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