Advancing Life & Work

Prepare for any challenges - discover your unique transferable skills and talents

Photo of a bright blue clear ocean view on a recent vacation Bill and Kathy enjoyed.jpg

Above is a photo of a bright blue clear ocean view on a recent vacation Bill and Kathy enjoyed.

During times like these, when organizations are transforming, it is crucial to discover, re-evaluate and recognize our unique skills that enable us to represent our values. As corporations adjust to the market, they must also leverage their work-force and employees’ skills.  Thus, we should take this opportunity to be proactive. It is critical to recall our past experiences, difficulties and successes. We need to formulate our past life’s lessons into words that can clearly articulate our values and what we can offer as transferable skills. Internalizing and appreciating such skills, and directly correlating these values to align to new opportunities, will help in any career path.

When looking to find meaningful work, this list of transferable skills will help our prospective employer, our sponsor, stakeholder and/or our customers to quickly recognize the values we have to offer that will help us all succeed.

Describing transferable skills to those who do not understand the value of utilizing the differences, the unique abilities of the disabled and others who are perceived to be different, can be challenging. In my opinion, we should all value differences, considering that some skills are unique and rare and if leveraged into transferable skills, can be highly valued and a unique selling point.

It is inevitable that we will experience different challenges in life at some point that may force us to take a step back and evaluate our own situation.

Sometimes, it is easy to take work for granted. Becoming blind helped me to really appreciate what it means to have a job. After long dark nights during my stay in the hospital, I would welcome the roaring sounds of the garbage trucks arriving to pick up the trash. I thought about each of the workers and how much he or she was contributing to society. I wanted so much to contribute again.

I could also hear the passenger jets start their engines with a low rumble at Mineta San Jose International Airport. I pictured the flight crew and the pilot in their uniforms walking to their airplane across the runway, carrying briefcases with flight plans and maps – getting ready for their day. I thought about how fortunate they were to have this opportunity and wondered if they realized it, as they moved through their daily routine.

At first, I found it hard to imagine what a blind person would do, since, at the time I lost my eyesight I did not know any person who was blind. As I laid in my bed each morning, these productive people outside started in me – wishing with all of my heart – a desire that I would be able to help others again in some meaningful way. I remembered thinking if only some person would let me, I would crawl around on the ground on my hands and knees to pick up trash, using my hand to find the papers I couldn’t see. I promised myself that if I could be useful in this world, I would be so very happy. Those early dreams helped me build bigger dreams. Soon I had a single-minded vision. A mission of reinventing everything about myself, so I could return to work. As a result of my own life experiences and passions to be a successful and productive employee I have identified some of my transferable skills which I have noted in the examples below.

* Strong technical and project management experience, unique innovational viewpoints– over 30 years of technical and project management experience.  Becoming completely blind instantly has enabled me to develop a rare, unique innovational viewpoint that enhances my technical and project management skills.

* Delivering innovative solutions to complex technical and organizational challenges - I was blessed with the opportunity to live as a blind person, learned how to walk again, become skilled very quickly in many new technologies enabling me to return to work after a very critical life threatening event. Overcoming many other obstacles has heightened my ability to be innovative at solutions I deliver to complex business challenges.

* Experience in working remotely with little supervision with many interdependent global workers, which requires effective relationships and flexibility working across many time zones. -  Responsible for Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) global accessibility programs, managing large projects to assist in enhancing accessibility and usability in products and services HPE customers use as well as web pages and tools the employees use. Responsibilities include accessibility evaluation and testing, training, procedures and policies. I encourage accessibility design to enhance product accessibility, increase customer satisfaction and loyalty, and reduce unintentional exclusion. I educate my customers about the value of developing accessible products and services and how it can capture the twenty percent of the population who are elderly and/or disabled and increase revenue.

* Skilled in working on a wide range of projects, domestic and international – My employer has given me many opportunities to work on a wide range of projects alongside a diverse group of individuals, which always enhances our deliverables.

* Not afraid of taking risks; excellent entrepreneurship and innovative ideas - Helped to establish an Internal Accessibility Group at my place of employment.  Initially on my own, until I received buy-off for my idea and sponsorship to help increase inclusion and reduce accessibility barriers for HP/HPE employees.

* Enhanced listening, auditory and other interpersonal and physical senses. - Now that I don’t have any eyesight, my other senses have been heightened. My special and unique senses allow me to employ my unique talent in business collaboration, negotiations and follow up skills to help keep my many projects on track.

* Developed written communications that have been published in a variety of sources to educate, inspire and give readers new insights - My weblog, where thousands have read and participated, "Networking Forum", "ACM Ubiquity:", "Careers and the disABLED ", "Blind Californian" and other publications.

* High regard for excellence with relentless determination to deliver it - My relentless determination to deliver value has been documented in many publications and books. This includes “Putting Our Differences to Work: The Fastest Way to Innovation, Leadership and High Performance”, “Hidden Talent: How Leading Companies Hire, Retain, and Benefit from People with Disabilities”, “Positively M.A.D.: Making a Difference in Your Organizations, Communities and the World”, Careers and the disABLED Magazine among other publications.  I was nominated by Hewlett-Packard and nationally recognized as the recipient of Employee of the Year awarded by Careers and the disABLED Magazine.

* Being extremely adaptable, able to handle immediate drastic and critical changes - Went from going into a three month long coma in May 1999, losing all vision instantly, being hospitalized for seven months, to having to learn how to do everything all over again and eventually returning to work in May of 2000. This took extreme dedication, will, desire and passion to re-skill myself to succeed.

Photo of Bill and Kathy walking down the beach enjoying the ocean breeze.jpgAbove is a photo of Bill and Kathy walking down the beach enjoying the ocean breeze.

 If we review past life experiences, translating them into transferable skills, we can leverage these to find exciting, rewarding and gratifying opportunities.

We should not hold unfortunate past experiences in our hearts when we relentlessly, tactfully and ethically pursue our goals. This diminishes our effectiveness for success. We should partner and network with others who share our passion for life and positivity. These partners will keep our forest of life strong and vital, keeping any minor set-backs and embers of doubt from igniting into anything that cannot be easily contained and managed.

Live and work with vitality, motivation and positivity and let your vision and passion be leveraged as your energy to succeed in life!


Above is a photo of Bill Tipton standing smiling wearing a dark    charcoal grey suit with a white dress shirt and red and blue  paisley tie.Above is a photo of Bill Tipton standing smiling wearing a dark charcoal grey suit with a white dress shirt and red and blue paisley tie. For over five years, Bill Tipton was the leader of HP’s Global Employee Resource Group (DNRG) for employees with disabilities. Under his leadership, the DNRG went global with membership growing from less than ten employees from one country, to more than 120 employees from 17 countries.

In 2007, Bill Tipton was honored to represent the company as one of the "Employees of the Year" by Careers & the disABLED Magazine for his professional and advocacy efforts on behalf of people with disabilities in the workplace and his community outreach. He is also actively involved in business networks and councils, including the American Council of the Blind (ACB), California Council of the Blind (CCB), and Silicon Valley Council of the Blind (SVCB).


About the author

Bill Tipton has worked in the technology field for more than three decades, including the last 21 years with HP/HPE. Bill also has over 16 years of accessibility and usability experience. He enjoys spending quality time with friends and family, especially in the outdoors, taking walks through the woods and forests, breathing in fresh ocean air, going to antique shows, flea markets, farmer’s markets, enjoying motorsports, as well as being included in a good game of bocci ball on occasion.   Bill is a true cat lover, who shares all his adventures in life with his wife, Kathy.

Learn more about Bill and how he helps people with disabilities in their professional and personal life through his blog: or connect with him on LinkedIn 

Excerpts from the above were taken from Bill's blog at the Global Dialogue Center.

About the Author


Employer brand and digital media evangelist. Proactively searching for new trends and best in class practices to find, converse, share, engage and refer potential candidates and bring the best Talent for the company.


 During your time at a company, you gain specific knowledge on how things work in that given organisation - those are not transferable skills. Having to work for a number of companies, in different cultures and geographies broaden your horizon, develop your learning and adaptability skills - and that is probably the most important thing you can bring into a new role: A curious mind to figure out quickly how your new family works, identify key people, immerse in their culture!