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Finding Refuge in IDAN after a Life-Changing Diagnosis

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Marco Brenes has spent 23 years at Intel. He manages the Global Supply Chain and Factory Enabling Team and is part of IDAN, Intel’s Disability and Accessibility Network in Costa Rica.


He was diagnosed with severe OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) around 20 years ago. He precisely remembers the day because it was like flipping a switch in his head. At one moment, he was well and celebrating the Holidays; the next moment, he suffered a Panic Attack (and did not even know what it was).


It was scary to continuously think of all the strange thoughts that terrible things would happen. This continued for days and days, and it made him believe that he was losing his mind. He was fortunate to have a friend who was very open regarding this topic and asked him to go to the Psychiatrist.

After the conversation with the doctor, he explained that Marco had a mental health illness that needed to be treated. That made him feel better because he had identified the cause, but then the anxiety continued in other forms, he thought:


  • What if someone finds out that I am seeing a physiatrist?
  • How is this going to affect my work?
  • Am I considered someone who can be trusted because of mental health issues?
  • Will this crush my dreams of growing in the company?


He remembered that even going to the doctor and being in his waiting room caused anxiety, always thinking about who could see him there. Also, going to the pharmacy was stressful as it was scary to think someone would see him there purchasing the medicines.  Trying to hide everything from everyone, as he did not want anybody to know. Ashamed for more than 15 years…


Then one day, around five years ago, something changed. He noticed that Intel had posted a sharing about Disability Awareness and encouraged people to tell their stories. I felt that that was a message directed to me; Intel gave me a Physiological safe space to talk about my disability and hopefully help others.


That’s why he joined IDAN. It gave him the chance to become that person that helped others know that everything was going to be OK. It allowed him to be the person that he needed 20 years ago, to tell him that he was going to be able to grow at Intel and that everything was going to be okay. IDAN opens spaces to education, reaches out to people, and makes them feel included.


Now, he doesn´t feel ashamed anymore, the total opposite. He feels at peace, appreciated, and blessed to be part of a Company that genuinely enables Groups like IDAN to empower people to be proud of who they are.


IDAN in Costa Rica


IDAN Costa Rica was created in 2018 with just six passionate members aligning to create a better place for people with disabilities and their caregivers by influencing innovation, fostering an inclusive & accessible environment, and empowering individuals to realize their full potential. 


Today, the IDAN board in Costa Rica comprises ten members, and the community has grown to almost 200 members in the last four years. This energetic and determined group of people has invested in educating the population of all Intel CR on what disability means and that we should not fear asking questions and learning about it—also creating inclusive learning events such as LESCO Learning workshops and helping managers and employees across all organizations in regards of disability to find inclusive solutions.


The marvelous work these volunteers do to make Intel and the world more inclusive has enormous benefits for all, like Marco, bringing his whole self to work!