In the spirit of Autism Awareness Month this April, Wyndham Worldwide Headquarters in Parsippany, New Jersey, held an Autism Awareness Event for their New Jersey-based employees. The theme of the event revolved around leading autism advocate Dr. Temple Grandin’s famous saying, “different, not less,” and focused on the unique gifts that those with autism have to offer our society.
The event started with opening remarks from Paul Cash, Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Wyndham Exchange & Rentals, who talked about his personal connection to the cause through his 16-year-old son Zachary. Cash, who has worked closely with Autism Speaks as one of our champions for the past decade, discussed how the Wyndham community could change the conversation about those with disabilities by acknowledging their abilities in the workplace.
Cash was followed up Tom Conforti, Chief Financial Officer of Wyndham Worldwide, whose son, Peter, was diagnosed with autism at the age of three. Conforti told the audience that 21 years later, his son Peter has been able to make great strides through the dedication of his family and the worth ethic of his son.
Finally, the event concluded with a speech from Autism Speaks staffer Kerry Magro. Magro, who has become a national speaker and best-selling author, was diagnosed with autism at the age of four. Now at the age of 27, Kerry has spoken at more than 400 events over the past four years. His theme, “different is beautiful,” encouraged those in the audience to look beyond the label of someone with autism and instead look at who that individual is as a person.
Cash said of Magro speaking at Wyndham, “Kerry Magro is one of the most compelling presenters I have ever seen. We learned. We laughed. We cried. His story is inspirational, and his passionate advocacy for differently-abled individuals is simply incredible. I have seen him speak many times, and every time I am overcome by his courage, his brilliance and his heart. Autism does not define Kerry Magro. He defines it.”
Wyndham Worldwide was just highlighted in Forbes on the 2015 100 Best Corporate Citizens list. DiversityInc also listed Wyndham Worldwide as the 29th best company for diversity in 2015. Autism Speaks thanks the Company for its continued efforts to help our community!