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Celebrating All Students for Disability Pride Month: Meet Heath Huggins

In honor of Disability Pride Month, Wake Forest SPS would like to take the time to recognize our outstanding students who also live with disabilities.

Heath Huggins faces challenges head on. Heath Huggins, SPS Student

As a person who is deaf, he’s experienced trials throughout his life that forced him to adopt this mindset. Right out of college, with a degree in business administration, Heath found himself struggling to get his foot in the door at many places due to poor inclusive work environments.

“When I entered the job market, it was before we had videophones, text chats, mobile access,” he notes. “Those things weren’t really used.”  

Not letting anything hold him back, Heath used the roadblock as an opportunity to pivot. He developed a diverse resume of experience from retail and customer service management to real estate sales and investment. Over time, he began to realize that his biggest learning opportunity was finance, specifically accounting. 

Instead of ignoring the knowledge gap, Heath decided to do something about it. He went back to school to earn a Masters of Accounting in 2015, as well as his CPA credentials in 2019. Heath also earned his MBA in 2020.

“Accounting was my least favorite and weakest class in undergraduate,” he says. “If someone would have told me that I was going to be a CPA, I would have said ‘no way’.” 

That decision to tackle a challenge jump started his current career in finance. 

Today, Heath serves as Director of Finance at CSD Social Venture Fund, an investment firm committed to enabling each Deaf-led business to thrive. In this role, he found his true passion for promoting financial inclusion. It was also in this role that, once again, Heath noticed another opportunity in his skillset – technology and the future of finance. 

“I looked around and was seeing all these changes with technology and finance. There’s so many amazing things out there, but technology is not my strong suit,” says Heath.

Just like he did when he noticed his weakness for accounting, Heath faced the challenge head on and decided to pursue a Master in Financial Technology and Analytics from Wake Forest University’s School of Professional Studies. 

This will be his third graduate degree, and the progression of inclusive practices has amazed him. Prior to online learning environments, Heath required a live interpreter or CART services (an in-person transcriber) in every classroom. Now, he’s able to rely on technology most of the time during classes. 

“Artificial intelligence has changed everything,” he explains. “It generates automatic captions that appear on my screen. It might not always be perfect, but it’s enough right now for me to follow along and get what I need.”  

If Heath required additional accommodations, he would have no hesitation asking for them. He never views his deafness as a reason to count himself out of the conversation and wants others with disabilities to do the same: 

“I encourage any students or professionals with disabilities to have ambitions. With the technology we have today, education is more inclusive than ever before. Don’t hide yourself and never be afraid to ask for what you need.”  

SPS Students who need support or accommodations can contact Wake Forest University’s Center for Learning, Access, and Student Success.

To learn more about SPS programming, please contact us