Erin ThompsonErin Thompson is not the kind of person who loses focus often. And that attention to detail makes her invaluable to her colleagues at Rosetta Stone's headquarters in Arlington, VA, where she's worked for more than six years. As an administrative assistant, Erin works five days a week, handing a variety of tasks such as data entry, processing expense reports, filing, delivering mail, and keeping the cooler and coffee station stocked. According to her coworkers, she is a great member of the team, and her detail-oriented approach helps keep the busy office running smoothly.

After graduating from George Mason University's Learning Into Future Environments (LIFE) program in 2010, Erin, who has Down syndrome, immediately started looking for a job that combined her skills and interests. As she was encouraged to do in her classes, she began networking through personal connections at Best Buddies and ServiceSource, both nonprofit organizations serving people with disabilities. But it was Erin's public speaking abilities that first brought her to the attention of Rosetta Stone's human resources department. The company participated in the Best Buddies Challenge, a charity walk, run and bike ride, for many years, and Erin was a guest speaker at the event's kick-off in 2011. Her poise and passion impressed a Rosetta Stone employee, who in turn contacted Best Buddies asking to be connected with her.

For Erin, like many other people in the Washington, D.C. area, transportation is an important employment support; she travels to work each day on Metro, the region's public transportation system. She also has a job coach who visits her about once a month to offer support and suggestions on how to address any challenges she may face at work. Outside of work, Erin's very active in volunteer activities, including serving on the Self-Advocate Advisory Board of the National Down Syndrome Society. She also continues to be involved with Best Buddies, paying it forward to help others with intellectual disabilities seek and succeed in employment.

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