Empowering resilience and strength

Tylo Sargeant, Senior Associate, Assurance, PwC South Africa

As a recovering paraplegic, Tylo has often felt the sensation of being left behind. While she paused her university studies to battle bacterial meningitis, her friends were able to continue with their studies, go to parties and live a normal life. Despite being very supportive, life for her friends and family just went on, but Tylo seemed stuck. 

When it came time to find a job after Tylo got her honours degree, she was apprehensive about how potential employers would see her. A lot of companies turned the other way, unsure of how Tylo’s situation as a meningitis survivor would affect her and affect their business. Fortunately, her experience at PwC South Africa was different. In the final round of interviews, her future directors and senior managers asked Tylo to share her story. Fearful that this would end the interview process like her prior experiences, Tylo was shocked when she heard that they saw her disability as a positive. The team looked beyond her disability to see her as a whole person and appreciated that her experiences made her the person she is today. One of the partners even said "I don't see you as a meningitis survivor. You are the most positive person in the room, someone with a lot of resilience." For Tylo, it was the first time since her diagnosis that she felt seen as more than a person with a disability, but as a person who was able to bring something special to the table.

Since that interview, Tylo has decided to prove those partners, directors and senior managers right everyday. She is determined to use her experience as fuel for resilience. While she experiences difficulties that come with being a meningitis survivor, her colleagues are very supportive, encouraging her to take the time she needs and come back stronger. Tylo’s team reinforces the way she now views herself -- a person whose background and trauma are not a weakness, but a strength.  

“People tend to treat you differently. But here at PwC I feel equal to everyone else. I've been provided the same opportunities as everyone else to upskill myself, to have a voice, and to share my story.”

With the support and acceptance from her team, Tylo is flourishing inside and outside of the office. As a wellness champion at PwC, she has a platform to tell her story. In speaking about her experience, she hopes to inspire others to have the confidence to tell their stories and bring their whole and best selves to work. She is a believer that when colleagues feel safe sharing their lived experiences, it creates an environment of belonging where everyone can thrive. The partner on her Assurance team also supports her passions outside of motivational speaking, encouraging Tylo to pursue her longtime Olympic dream as she trains to attend the 2024 Paralympics and compete as a sprinter. She’s chasing that dream, spurred on by her PwC support system who is there to cheer her on. While Tylo felt as though she was being left behind before joining PwC, she is now fearlessly leading the way. 

LIGHTNING ROUND: quick questions and quick answers

From your experience, how do you sum up Inclusion & Diversity at PwC?

It is a cup of coffee that kick starts your day. The coffee beans are PwC empowering you to be your authentic self, which make this wonderful cup of coffee possible. The milk is the love and support. The sugar is the fun. Finally the water is PwC helping you to boil to reach your potential.

What should others know about PwC’s commitment to Inclusion & Diversity?

People at PwC really embody the value of care 100%. They provide you with the support that you need and they see you as who you are -- not what has happened to you or what background you come from or the trauma that you have experienced.

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