Beyond Vision

2017 Employees of the Year



Introducing our 2017 Employees of the Year

Kristin Moke – AbilityOne Base Supply Center – NASA – Customer Care

A young woman with dark brown, curly hair smiles in a group of people.When asked to describe Kristin Moke, her co-workers all begin with the same two things – she is kind and hard-working. If you ask Kristin, she will modestly say that she just loves being able to work and loves interacting with people. They’re both right!

Following high school, Kristin had a few temporary babysitting jobs and worked at a day care. She was also taking community college classes. Legally blind due to Aniridia, she worked with an organization in her area called Sensory Access in the Bay Area. They were able to arrange an internship that brought her to the AbilityOne BSC at NASA Ames Research Center in 2004.

Since that time, she has gained not only the respect of all the people she interacts with, she has provided support to allow the growth and success of people around her. Over the past several years, she has come out of her shell as a diligent employee and stepped up to take ownership of her role, her store and her team. Because of her willingness to grow and learn, she’s opened doors for co-workers to move into leadership roles…and opened doors for her to do the same! She wants to move into a management position because she now sees herself as able to move up, something she didn’t think was possible when she first started.

Born and raised in California, Kristin Moke enjoys a wide variety of activities when she isn’t the driving force at the AbilityOne BSC at NASA Ames Research Center. Her low vision hasn’t slowed her from enjoying abstract drawing and painting. In addition to her creativity, she has built her leadership skills as a member of Toastmasters and volunteering at the Santa Clara Valley Blind Center. The best part of Kristin’s hobbies, square dancing!
She says she is happiest with many things to do. Her activities really demonstrate that!

 

Julius Perez – Beyond Vision – Assembly & Packaging 

A man with a goatee and a red fedora is wearing a suit.Julius Perez considers coming to work at Beyond Vision a ‘meant-to-be’ accident that saved his life. His path to Beyond Vision had several twists and turns. Born with congenital glaucoma, Julius was never passive. Over his career he has worked as an LPN, trained and worked as a chef and ran his own business, all while legally blind.

Julius’ health was deteriorating. For several years he’d struggled with weight issues, addiction and personal frustrations. He lost the remainder of his sight in 2013 due to a medical complication that left him in a coma. When he woke up, he decided to come home to Milwaukee to say goodbye to his family. His prognosis was grim.

Newly blind and very ill, he planned to find a nursing home to enter into hospice care. On the bus ride to meet the staff at the nursing home, he wondered if there was a way to change his situation after all. Julius decided to give Beyond Vision a call…just on the off chance they had an opening. Not only did he find work, he also found a community who knew he could succeed even when he had so many doubts in himself. This change in his perspective also motivated him to lose over 150 pounds, helping him gain control of his health.

Julius works in Assembly and Packaging where he excels both in quality and quantity of work. A natural leader, he offers guidance to everyone in his department. More than that, he is known for his friendliness, patience, and his willingness to help coworkers, friends, and anyone needing advice or a helping hand. This includes organizing fundraisers with his team. He was eager to point out, “Usually people see blind people in a position of need. The break in there is when you (as a person who is blind) can be in the position to give back and help someone else.”

Since participating in the Advocates for Leadership Program for the 2016 NIB/NAEPB Public Policy Forum, he has been even more driven to share his message that Beyond Vision makes his career possible. He has also been working on his computer skills with the goal of becoming a trainer for Beyond Vision to guide more people who are blind into successful employment.

When Julius sees a need, he finds a way to help. He has brought the department together on more than one occasion to raise money in creative ways for people in need. This includes hosting a lunch with proceeds going to a blind grandmother who had never been able to buy Christmas presents for her grandchildren.

Help doesn’t always mean giving a donation. Julius also wants to encourage people to use their skills to help themselves. A friend who was working to overcome personal issues in her past was worried about being able to buy winter clothes for her children. Her young son had been helping Julius in his weight loss mission by going to the gym with him. The solution that Julius offered was $230 worth of donated cake mixes so she could bake and sell cakes to earn the money herself.

Through his involvement in two churches, Nuevo Pacto and Faithbuilders, he has been able to help troubled youth by creating opportunities. Julius created a job readiness curriculum to teach at-risk teens about the interviewing process and raised the funds for the pilot program. Some of those same teens have steady jobs today.

While Julius has only been with Beyond Vision for a few years, he’s made a great impact. In 2016 he was part of the Advocates for Leadership and Employment program and was an enthusiastic participant in the NIB/NAEPB Public Policy Forum. That experience has led Julius to step into a role as mentor with his team in the Assembly and Packaging department.

The leadership he feels has made him rally his team to create fundraisers and even set up lunches for people that are retiring. He’s a real spirit booster and community builder for his co-workers. And he is mentoring a younger generation of employees, showing them that a strong work ethic is important, even if this is their very first job. He explains to them that he didn’t think he’d be able to work when he lost his vision completely. Even in this system. Now he realizes that he can excel and has access to career growth.

Julius is also participating in a Sales Training & Development program at Beyond Vision that will give him the tools to help support sales efforts in the Machining and Assembly & Packaging Departments. His input helps leadership understand what his work means to him, and helps Julius understand the work that other departments are doing. Making him even more motivated.

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