We’re All in this Together: Lessons from a Help Desk in Changing Culture


Presented at 8:00am in Windsor on Wednesday, November 20, 2019.



  • Vanessa Zuroski, University of Minnesota

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 1-hr
  • Format: Lecture
  • Expertise Level: All Levels
  • Type of session: General Conference


Using change management and consensus gathering theories used to support customer-first focus at the UMN Technology Help Desk, we will discuss strategies to promote accessibility as one of your organization's values. Participants will learn vocabulary needed to identify the layers of resistance in their teams, build buy-in, and create change.


When working through projects, accessibility is sometimes considered the last step in the process, a barrier to designing a product as the majority of customers would like to use it, or a process too onerous to implement easily. Accessibility advocates can experience burnout if they are the only voice on their team pushing for better practices.

To help prevent advocate burnout, we can work towards a cultural shift and build accessibility into the organizational value statement. This presentation will outline how to communicate the desired change, generate buy-in, remove layers of resistance, and build the mindset that accessibility is valuable.

Examples will be drawn from the presenter’s experiences as a consultant who supported campus website content management tools, and as a team lead who implemented process changes resulting in fewer requests for inaccessible items, more discussions of accessibility earlier in project planning, and overall higher reported end user satisfaction.


  1. Growing your population of accessibility advocates
  2. Removing layers of resistance to accessibility
  3. Building a culture shift to where accessibility is valued

Disability Areas

All Areas

Topic Areas

Other, Uncategorized

Speaker Bio(s)

Vanessa Zuroski

Vanessa Zuroski is the team lead for the Research and Enterprise Services Support team at the University of Minnesota. She partners with business units across the University campus to support a diverse portfolio of technologies, including customer relationship management systems, end user support tools, reporting and analytics tools, and the University’s web portal. Vanessa also manages daily operations for her team, analyzing metrics to help guide process improvements. She is a member of the University's Technology Advisory Council, providing consultation on User Support perspective when new technologies are brought to campus. She also is a member of the University Women In Technology (WIT) Events Committee, supporting different types of events to promote knowledge, networking and development in the WIT community.


We're All in This Together