After acquiring a disability, Alexandra Moon built her dream career at PRIDE Industries. She tells her story in her own words:
Before I joined the company in 2016, my mental health was at an all-time low. I was recovering from paralysis in both legs after being in a wheelchair for three years. I had no sensation or strength on the entire right side of my body; my internal organs were shutting down. Most of my doctors didn’t think I would recover and had written me off—suggesting that I file paperwork for permanent disability.
From the exterior, I looked like a healthy person. Internally, I was facing many physical and emotional challenges. What kept me fighting through my recovery was my son, whom I was raising on my own. Whenever I looked at him, I knew giving up wasn’t an option.
During this time, I only felt comfortable being around others with disabilities. I met many friends that had various disabilities. Some were in wheelchairs—like I was. I saw their willingness to work hard, and I got inspired to do the same.
As I continued to go to physical therapy, I began volunteering at the California Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) to help individuals with disabilities find jobs. Through my volunteer work, I helped participants to fine-tune their resumes and to practice interview skills. My clients made me realize that we all have abilities, and if we focus on those, there is nothing we cannot do.
Then, one day, my employment specialist notified me that PRIDE Industries was looking for a real property and community planning specialist. Immediately, I knew this job was made for me. Before acquiring my disability, I had studied to become a construction engineer. However, after the challenges I wound up facing, this dream seemed to have slipped away. Now, with newfound confidence gained through volunteer work, I was ready. My DOR counselor, therapist, and job coach were also extremely excited and encouraged me to go for it. With a bit of preparation, I aced the interview and got the job.
Developing a Dream Career After Acquiring a Disability
From that day forward, my life completely changed. I felt hopeful and excited—emotions I had not experienced in a very long time.
PRIDE Industries re-introduced me to a world of possibilities. In my position, I serve our military customer, the 61 CELS Squadron, at Los Angeles Air Force Base. Through this interaction, I’ve become thankful for our U.S. Air Force customer and have adopted their values—integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all we do. I’m proud to say they always appreciate my efforts to keep the base in top shape.
Having a supportive manager, General Engineer Raymond Minassian, made all the difference in boosting my confidence. When I experienced fear of failing in my position, Raymond assured me, “I have no doubt they’ve chosen the right person for this position. You’ll do an excellent job.” Even now, if insecurity starts to pull me down, these words always lift my spirits.
PRIDE Industries has supported my employment in other ways, too. As my successes accumulated and I let go of my fears, I soon realized that I could also go back to school and get my degree. Thankfully, PRIDE Industries fully supported me along the way. In addition to allowing me to work modified hours around my classes, they have always endorsed my accommodations—including frequent rests so that I can perform my daily stretches and physical therapy.
I have accomplished a great deal during my five years at PRIDE Industries. I earned a promotion to field inspector, regained the feeling on the right side of my body, and underwent three major surgeries—all while attending school full-time, being a mom to a teenager, and working. I relearned how to go up and down stairs—something my doctor said I would never be able to do again. I also earned two degrees—one in Business Management and the other in Construction Project Management. In the process, I gained five scholarships and graduated with honors alongside my son.
Beyond academia, I have learned how to educate others about the importance of treating people with disabilities with respect. In PRIDE Industries’ inclusive environment, I’ve built relationships, learned how to appreciate others, and provided the support my managers need.
There is never a day when I don’t thank God for PRIDE Industries. I thank this company for helping me prove to myself and the world that people with disabilities can accomplish anything. Whenever I get discouraged, I look at the notice board to the left of my desk and read a quote from our late CEO, Mike (Zig) Ziegler. It says, “No one gets to PRIDE Industries by accident.” I do not doubt that I belong here.