Courageous… optimistic… relentless… independent… nurturing and ambitious… These are the characteristics that define Corina Salinas, STLB’s 2022 Employee of the Year for Indirect Labor and nominee for National Industries for the Blind’s nominee for the Milton J. Samuelson Award for Career Advancement. It’s individuals like Corina that make National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) what it is and such an important cause to celebrate and promote this month.
“Putting myself out there and trying new challenges are what I look forward to most. Whether people see me loving the life I live or the cane in my hand, that’s not my concern. Easy-going is not who I am. I’m not one who takes comfort in what is easy. We do not grow from what does not challenge us.”
It might be tempting for those with disabilities to take the easy way out with the mindset that it’s enough of a struggle to deal with their disability. Not for Corina. She’s always up for a challenge in spite of going blind at 5 years old from Cone-Rod Dystrophy. She enjoys the outdoors, gardening, camping, going to the beach, fishing, marathon training, weight training, doing cross-fit, terrain races, going to concerts, rough housing with her dogs, building things, bungee jumping, horseback riding and axe throwing just as much as her sighted peers might enjoy those things.
Her can-do, positive attitude has allowed her to thrive in her career at STLB. In January 2021, Corina made Corpus Christi her home to be closer to family after moving down from Houston. After starting as a Material Handler at our main production plant in Corpus Christi, Corina transferred to her current position at our Base Supply Center at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi as a Sales Associate.
“STLB allowed me to start my new life in Corpus Christi without fear or doubt. I’m so much closer to my grandma, and I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and working with people who’ve become an excellent family to me.”
Though her current position is relatively new, Corina brings a wealth of experience from her job as a Contract Mail Clerk for the IRS. Each day at work starts with a staff meeting to discuss the tasks each sales associate will be tackling for the day. Other tasks related to her job include communicating with customers who request quotes, status updates on orders or product information via phone or e-mail, as well as preparing approved orders for pick-up by pulling products from inventory and notifying her managers of what products need to be ordered. Her vision loss is no obstacle to these tasks. She uses ZoomText to magnify the computer screen, a CCTV to magnify printed documents and hand-held magnifiers to read product labels on shelves. To prevent eye strain at times when extensive reading is involved in her work, Corina uses Non-Visual Desktop Access (NVDA), a screen reading software that reads out to her what is on the computer screen. But, the best part of her job?
“Customer service is most definitely my favorite part of the job! Equal to customer service is working with my amazing managers, Ram and Carla, and my great co-workers, Jose and Stephen, greatly brightens my day! We will receive several deliveries each day and work as a team to process and stock products.”
Thus, it’s no coincidence that she describes STLB as team-building. It is only through team work that everything can get done on a typical day, especially on busy days with high demand in the store.
“Having appreciative leadership to instruct our way though it all, along with having reliable co-workers to carry out our services, is very satisfying.”
In the near term, Corina strives to follow the example of the leadership of the managers she has the privilege to work with, as she strives to know better, do better and be better with their encouragement to learn and build upon her skills.
“Lack of experience isn’t a reason for you not to try something new. We learn by putting our best foot forward and shooting our shot. A failed attempt is better than a missed opportunity.”
From the entire STLB family, congratulations on your accomplishment Corina! Keep on keeping on like you do!