Employee Interview - Masaki Ogino -Diverse People

Employee Interview - Masaki Ogino -

In an environment where I am entrusted to work as a valued member of the team, I want to give courage to the next person.

Technology and Information Systems Group, Communications System Division
Joined the company in 1990. After working on the design of amateur radio sets, he is currently engaged in the operation, management, education and maintenance support of CAD-related tools that are essential for radio set design and in making efficiency improvements in design work.
In October 2010, he developed a cervical epidural abscess. While emergency surgery saved his life, he was left paralyzed from the neck down. After about a year in hospital and with intensive rehabilitation, he was able to move around in a wheelchair and drive a specially-equipped car, and he returned to work in February 2012.

It is important to first try. The answers can come later.

It is 27 years since I joined the company, but my attitude toward my work has never changed. My policy has always been “if you don’t try, you will never find the answer” and “rather than thinking about what you can’t do, think about what you can do.” Our mission as engineers is to give shape to new ideas, but humans have a tendency, when embarking on new challenges, to go on the defensive. We start to question ourselves. “Can this really be done? Isn’t this too difficult?” But if we were to give up then, we would be left behind by our competitors. What is important is that we try. The answers can come later.
Of course, everyone has a different way of approaching their work, but continuing to take on challenges is what helps us to grow. That is why I tell my colleagues on a daily basis, “Let’s just give it a try!”

Respecting the individual and entrusting work to them will give their work worth and meaning.

At the moment, in my position of supporting product design, I am constantly on the lookout for missions that will lead to new approaches. JVCKENWOOD is a company that respects the diversity of every individual employee. Whether a person has a disability or not, everyone is entrusted as a valued member of the team with work that suits their ability.
In this environment, I can think freely, take the initiative to find things to do and make suggestions about what I can do. Recently, I proposed an operational change aimed at improving efficiency in component measurement. As a result, many requests for measurement are now coming in every month and it makes me so happy that I have been able to contribute to speeding up the process of product design.

What is important is an attitude of “never giving up.”
The company was also very supportive in creating the environment for my return to work.

It was 2012 when I overcame my illness and returned to work. After not being able to move at all immediately after surgery, I started rehabilitation by first training to stay in a sitting position. My first goal was to be able to achieve the basics necessities of life by myself, such as dressing and feeding myself. After about six months, I was finding it difficult to picture myself returning to work and I had some very difficult times, but after I moved to a specialist rehabilitation hospital, I gradually started to regain the movement needed for living. There were many challenges that I had to overcome, such as physical training to be able to get over uneven ground and climb slopes in a wheelchair and learning how to drive a car just with my hands, but by sticking with my rehabilitation and not giving up, I recovered much better than expected and I was able to achieve my goal of returning to work. When I first got sick, my children were still in university and high school, so there were tuition fees to pay, and I was very worried about how I was going to be able to provide for my family. When I was able to return to work, I remember being very relieved that I would be able to look after my family again.
To enable my return to work, various changes needed to be made to the workplace environment, such as restrooms and ramps, but the company acted swiftly to make those changes and I was able to come back without problem. Even after that, whenever new equipment was to be put into the office, they always came to ask my opinion about whether it would not present any problems for my wheelchair. The way in which the company listens to and acts on what people on the ground have to say and the systems it has in place for supporting an amenable working environment gives me a real sense of the company’s diversity.

New inspiration may come from the horizontal connections formed by diverse people.

I think that there are many other areas, besides office facilities, where the company can take advantage of our opinions. JVCKENWOOD has various technologies such as audio, visual and communications systems, and if we could combine those technologies with the opinions of employees with disabilities like me, perhaps we could come up with products that nobody else can. For example, in the development of products like video cameras and earphones, if we could have discussion sessions about how easy things are to use and what kinds of functions are necessary, we might be able to come up with easy-to-use products that other companies don’t have.
There are many other employees with disabilities like me, so I hope people will feel free to come up and talk to us.

Not being conscious of diversity will be true diversity.

Through my own circumstances, I want to convey to many other people with disabilities who are thinking about working that they do not need to be afraid just because they have a disability and that they will be able to work in a way that suits them. I want to give them courage. My future goal is to raise JVCKENWOOD’s profile as a company where people with disabilities can actively participate and succeed. I want to do anything I can to help achieve this, such as telling my own story both in the company and to the outside world, and actively talking to people around me across divisional barriers. I also hope that I can help to create an inclusive* corporate culture in which it is completely natural for diverse people to work together, without anyone being particularly conscious of that diversity, in all of JVCKENWOOD’s workplaces.

*  Inclusiveness
A culture in which people with a variety of backgrounds, such as gender, nationality, physical ability, and sexual orientation, respect each other and accept each other naturally.

* Job titles and affiliations are as of publication time.

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