Having interned at UBS and Goldman Sachs, Walter works as a marketing executive at a German logistics firm. But his story is far from conventional: he has around ten percent of a normal person’s vision, just about enough to read one word if it filled up a computer screen.
“For a while my mother doubted whether if I would go on to university, or find work after ninth grade.” However, excelling at school, he was roused by the opportunity of a professional career. Graduating first in the business track of his high-school class, he then majored in economics at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and became fluent in German.
During an exchange program in Leipzig, Germany, he joined a conference to train as a guide for Dialogue in the Dark, an international initiative where blind guides lead museum visitors through various settings in absolute darkness.
His volunteering as a Dialogue guide led him to a Managing Director at Goldman Sachs, who goaded Walter to apply for a human resources internship at GS. “I initially forgot to apply,” he admits with a laugh, “But the mentor emailed me, asking why I hadn’t, so I sent in my resume.” He got the job.
Walter (center) works on a CareER project with his co-founders.
After a series of difficulties in adjusting to the fast pace of corporate life, Walter discovered the power of technology. Without the knowledge of Braille, Walter was shut off from a world of information. Now, with the voice-over function on his iPhone, he could do everything from read audio-books to navigate maps on the fly.
With technology, Walter suddenly became capable of publicising his experiences and achievements. He began making a website over the New Year holiday, using Strikingly. “I liked how simple the interface was to work with, even for me.” He took a week to collect all his work experience, press mentions, and photos. Then, magnifying the screen by a factor of ten, he filled the template with content, reviewing it piece by piece.
He distributed his website at career fairs as a go-to reference for recruiters. While applying for his current job at Mairon International, he knew that the interviewer had read his page. “They were bringing up my work experience for me,” he says. “They understood I was an atypical candidate.”
The clincher came when the interviewers asked Walter about his computer skills. Walter told them he designed his website himself. The recruiters gave him an offer through the contact page on his Strikingly.
Walter’s work with technology doesn’t stop there. In his spare time, he creates video tutorials for blind people to operate an iPhone, and consults for startups to make their apps accessible to handicapped users.
“The gift of my disability,” he says, “Is that it forces me to be proactive, to empower others, to inspire more change in the world.”