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Thomas Ng’s Feature on UVU Women in Business Impact Lab Podcast: “Empowering Marginalized Communities”

The unique story and noteworthy journey of Genashtim continue to capture the interest of many, and Thomas Ng has always been obliging in telling the tale of the social enterprise. Recently, the UVU Women in Business Impact Lab’s podcast invited Thomas to share Genashtim’s founding history and development with Jonathan H. Westover and Angela Owens-Schill, DBA, MBA, MEd, MLitt.

Thomas began by recounting his transition from a successful corporate expat to a social entrepreneur, spurred by his profound experience at a blind school in Manila. Witnessing the untapped potential of the visually impaired students and disheartened that none of them were successful in getting employment, Thomas decided to establish Genashtim in 2008 to employ them. Since then, Genashtim has become a pioneer of remote work and has been constantly improving its fully remote operations while being wholly dedicated to providing sustainable employment, especially for people with disabilities (PWDs).

Acknowledging his wife, Genevieve’s support, Thomas stressed that her trust in him contributed to Genashtim’s founding success as Jonathan agreed – spousal support is crucial when pursuing such revolutionary endeavors.

Thomas then shed light on the challenges and triumphs of integrating PWDs into the workforce. Initially, he was hesitant to reveal to clients that Genashtim relied on PWDs due to common misconceptions associated with disability. “I didn’t want them to think that we’re an NGO or something,” he said. Later, his openness about the organization’s PWD workforce turned out to be a blessing. Companies impressed by the PWDs’ involvement in operations began offering projects to Genashtim. Today, the social enterprise is more transparent about its employees and their disabilities.

When Angela expressed amazement at Thomas’ executive assistant with cerebral palsy – Nadia Saidi, he proudly highlighted some of the PWDs who have been with the company from its early years, elaborating how they embody resilience and resourcefulness and find ingenious and personalized ways to maximize efficiency.

In his closing remarks, Thomas asserted the significance of remote work and the hiring of individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, lamenting the lack of will in holistic implementation. He pointed out that COVID-19 showcased the practicality of remote work and Genashtim served as an example of how it can be intertwined with empowering disadvantaged individuals. “It doesn’t matter if a person is a refugee, disabled, blue, green, white, whatever. We have so many resources at our fingertips to tap into. So, why not?” concluded Thomas, echoed by Jonathan and Angela.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the UVU Women in Business Impact Lab podcast for providing Thomas with a platform to share his visionary brainchild. As we forge ahead on our journey, our unwavering commitment remains: to foster stable livelihoods and empowerment through sustainable employment for the disadvantaged. Listen to the podcast here.

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