Legally blind from birth, Brian Lee has had to overcome many challenges to succeed in a world that isn’t typically designed with his needs in mind. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce, and is a chartered professional accountant who works as a manager of internal audit at CIBC. Lee’s job requires him to review documents with his audit team, senior management and clients.
For most of his career, Lee has relied on his white cane, a good memory and his team members. As part of a pilot program run by CIBC in 2019, he was able to help test a new technology called eSight glasses. Made in Canada, the eSight glasses have micro-cameras embedded in the frames which display on screens within the device, magnifying a user’s field of view. “The glasses are extremely helpful and have given me more confidence because I can now perform my job at the best of my ability,” says Lee.
Working to remove barriers for employees is an integral part of the bank’s broader commitment to inclusion. CIBC has invested in a range of programs that support team members living with disabilities, empowering them to thrive. “We want a workforce that reflects the clients and communities we serve because that allows us to create more inclusive products and services that support a wide range of experiences and abilities,” says Catherine Braeken, CIBC director of client accessibility.
CIBC has 10 employee-led resource groups called People Networks. These groups engage and connect over 25,500 members who participate in networking, education, and career development opportunities. Lee is co-lead of the CIBC WorkAbility Employee Network, which connects employees with disabilities. He is regularly consulted about the development of new products and services.
“I feel really passionate about improving accessibility,” he says. “And while there is still work to be done, our bank has taken bold and concrete steps to remove barriers for both employees and clients, helping turn their ambition into reality.”