Jennifer St. Louis has been with Envision for 15 of these 90 years. Since she was born, she has had Oculocutaneous albinism (OCA). This is a group of four autosomal recessive disorders caused by either a complete lack of or a reduction of melanin biosynthesis in the melanocytes resulting in hypopigmentation of the hair, skin and eyes.
Originally from Dallas, Texas, Jennifer started working at the Dallas Lighthouse for the Blind, before it became
Envision Dallas, as a Machine Operator in manufacturing at 18 years old. She heard about the Dallas Lighthouse for the Blind through her friends who were also blind or visually impaired in Texas.
“At that time, I didn’t know what I wanted out of my life, I was just looking for a job. But that job became much more than that. I have seen the evolution of Envision and all the different ways that Envision can change lives,” said St. Louis.
Jennifer worked as a Machine Operator for eight years, during which time the Dallas Lighthouse for the Blind became Envision Dallas. “When I worked in the manufacturing department, I started my family. I had very supportive supervisors. They always understood that I had children and that they were my first concern. My children grew up at Envision Dallas, and many of the staff there know my kids and were able to spend mornings with them when my babysitter would meet me at work to watch my kids for me,” said St. Louis.
Jennifer moved her way up to a role in customer service at Envision Dallas, working there for four years. “Being a part of customer service let me see a bigger picture of Envision’s mission,” said St. Louis. “I didn’t understand the full grasp of what Envision does for people who are blind or visually impaired until I was talking to people every day and experiencing through them how Envision has helped them.”
When presented with the opportunity to work as a Customer Service Representative at Envision headquarters in Wichita, Kansas, Jennifer accepted the position. With grandparents who lived in Wichita and her kids growing older, Jennifer wanted to be closer to her family. She worked as a Customer Service Representative from 2019 to 2021 and was then offered the role of Inside Sales Representative.
“Being in both Dallas and Wichita, I formed close bonds with people who I would consider family. Envision has seen so much in me that at times I wasn’t sure I saw in myself. I was given the confidence to succeed,” said St. Louis.
When asked why she has stayed with Envision for so long, she replied, “I’ve never wanted to leave. I have always loved the community and culture I am surrounded by; I can be who I am! Nobody judges me for the tools I use to get the job done, they focus on me as a person. I always noticed in other circumstances when I used accessible technology or other tools for low vision to do my job, people were always surprised, and it was more of a “pity trip” than seeing you for what you are capable of. Envision doesn’t do that. They see me as a person, not just someone who is blind or visually impaired.”
While Jennifer has been successful in her career with Envision, she attributes much of this success to her supervisors along the way.
“I could not have made these strides had it not been for the support of my supervisors in both Wichita and Dallas who didn’t accept failure as an option for me. They always pushed me to go to the next level, knowing I was more capable than I ever believed about myself.”
Jennifer is still currently the Inside Sales Representative for Envision in Wichita.