With support from people like Jason, you can't lose
If you ask Jason Hamilton to cite the best thing about working for TIAA Bank for 17 years, his answer, "My paycheck!" will make you laugh. But he’s not pulling your leg. The truth, according to Joseph LeCates, TIAA Bank's Vice President and Facilities Director, is that Jason is just one of a few people in all of Jacksonville, Florida with full-time jobs, employee benefits…and special needs. Jason has Down syndrome.
You might think this would hold him back, but Jason says, "What I have is a gift from God," and he doesn't intend to squander it. Jason's bright, enthusiastic personality has won him hundreds of friends and the respect and affection of his TIAA Bank co-workers. "We all love him here. He's a fantastic person, just a phenomenal man," said LeCates, Jason's manager.
Show him the money
Jason is a vocal champion of the special needs community, serving as a Self Advocate on the Board of Directors for The Arc Jacksonville, which helps people with intellectual and developmental challenges. Jason speaks at the Arc annual fundraising dinner and challenges the audience to "Show me the money!" by matching or beating his own donations.
Jason is also a Self Advocate board member for the National Down Syndrome Society. Annually, he travels to Washington, D.C. to speak with Congress about challenges faced by people with disabilities. For example, limitations exist on how much money a disabled person can have in a bank account before their Supplemental Social Security benefits are affected— something Jason would like to see changed.
Jason's career accomplishments can motivate companies to create more jobs— like TIAA Bank has— that are inclusive of the special needs community. "If people can work and want to work, they deserve opportunities," he said.
Huge Jaguars fan
There's another thing Jason feels passionately about: the Jacksonville Jaguars. Each week, this season ticket holder and his family go to the team's post-game broadcast. As the Jaguars' most dedicated fan, Jason was given two tickets to Super Bowl LII! Calais Campbell, a defensive end for the Jaguars, treated Jason and his sister to all accommodations to Minnesota— and they even got field time on game day!
Jason has advice for anyone who'd like to make an impact in the world. "Start by just being yourself." Now that's a winning strategy.