Lola Adebiyi came to Booz Allen to continue building her professional career in healthcare quality and process improvement. She found a perfect fit on the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of Community Care project, helping implement region-based contracts to provide healthcare services to veterans in their local communities. Her team’s efforts help create more choices and streamlined access to healthcare for veterans by combining multiple resources into one consolidated program.
Around the same time Lola joined the firm, she married her soulmate, and they had a healthy baby boy. She remembers asking herself, “Is it really possible to be this happy?” Within months of welcoming her son, Lola received a terminal diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.
Thrown into a new reality, Lola enlisted a cadre of support at home and work and found a new motivation and perspective carried by unflinching courage—turning her kryptonite into a superpower.
How does your diagnosis impact your client work?
Coincidentally, veterans are twice as likely to develop ALS as civilians. People with an ALS diagnosis, like most patients with complex health needs, require intensive medical and social services coordinated across multiple providers. My frequent interactions with the health system have given me a deeper appreciation and understanding of the need for a full range of high-quality medical, mental health, and case management services within the VA’s Community Care Network (CCN). This helps me to better communicate veterans’ needs to the CCN’s providers and partners so that veterans can achieve an optimum level of wellness, self-management, and functional capability.
How do you lead with purpose?
Dealing with ALS has given me a greater understanding of the importance of diversity and inclusion. Every time I visit a website, attend an event, write a briefing, among other things, I think about how people of all different abilities would experience it. My diagnosis has given me a new perspective on how to solve some of our most pressing healthcare challenges. I’ve been able to share what I’ve learned on this journey with others through the ALS Association and was a speaker at the organization’s 2019 DC Dine to Defeat ALS event.
How does Booz Allen empower you?
Since Day One, the firm's disability accommodations team has worked hand in hand with my managers to ensure I have the resources I need to be successful. The firm provides me with assistive technology, such as speech-to-text software and eye gaze equipment, that enable me to “type with my eyes.” My flexible telework schedule allows me to attend regular medical appointments and spend precious time with my son. All of this, combined with the continual support from my team and leadership, helps me maintain a clear mind, do my best client work, and continue contributing to society. I have never worked for an organization so invested in the well-being of their employees, and I’m grateful to be a part of it.
Finish this sentence: The future is…
Full of hope and promise.