#plugintodevin - Your Mark on the World with Devin Thorpe
When you purchase an item after clicking a link from this post, we may earn a commission.Devin: What is your superpower?Adrienne: One of my superpowers is being able to have difficult conversations with people, being able to talk about issues and appreciate people's discomfort and help them see them from a different vantage point so I can reach them. Unfortunately, our society is set up with a lot of issues in a taboo arena that [make] people automatically feel uncomfortable. Being able to disarm them and connect with them such that they are ready to grow and that they feel that they can confront and tackle these issues that come across their plate—it's really rewarding. So I would say that that's my superpower.Adrienne Lawrence, author and consultant for Jennifer Lawrence Consulting, works to empower companies and thought leaders to adopt workplace diversity, equity and inclusion efforts and helps them avoid trending on social media.“I specialize in keeping people from trending on Twitter because they stepped in it,” she says, adding a key for success in this area: “Be humble and recognize that, ‘hey, I'm not going to have all the answers and I am going to step in it.'”AI Summary1. Adrienne Lawrence is a VP and consultant at Jennifer Brown Consulting.2. She helps workplaces become more inclusive, and individuals become more inclusive within their work. 3. She works in anti-racism to help organizations understand diversity's uniqueness and value.4. One of the fundamental principles for creating a more inclusive workplace is being humble and hungry for information.5. She is the author of Staying in the Game: The Playbook for Beating Workplace Sexual Harassment. 6. Her book offers guidance on navigating workplace sexual harassment. 7. Sexual harassment in the workplace is not just a women's issue; men can also be impacted.8. She offers tools and strategies for individuals to navigate and combat workplace harassment.9. Lawrence emphasizes the importance of having difficult conversations to break down barriers and improve communication. 10. She provides information on her consulting firm, Jennifer Brown Consulting, and how individuals can learn more about her and her work.Adrienne says we should all be aware that “There may have been things that occurred historically that our parents' generation, grandparents or even hundreds of years before had created that situation. And the legacy lives on today. I'm not responsible for that, but I am responsible for this relationship.”Given the essential nature of interpersonal relationships in the workplace, she says that understanding “you're not going to have all the answers, you're not going to see the landmines—but that's okay. When you step in it, there is an opportunity there to mend that relationship, to grow and to exercise greater self-awareness.”Too often, she says, people think of diversity too simply as being exclusively about race. She sees DEI as a broad umbrella covering a range of “isms,” including sexism, homophobia and transphobia. She sees sobriety status, religion and neurotype as also needing representation. “It's all of the little things about each one of us that makes us unique.”She sees The Walking Dead as a model for valuing diversity. Every member of the core cast had a unique skill that, combined with the others, allowed the group to fend off the zombies successfully. Earlier in her career, Adrienne took an on-air position with ESPN. After surviving sexual harassment there, she wrote Staying in the Game: The Playbook for Beating Workplace Sexual Harassment. “The book is the first of its kind guide, largely for employees to help people understand and navigate this form of bullying,” she says.Adrienne uses her superpower, her ability to have difficult conversations with people, to help her in her work.How to Develop the Ability to Have Difficult Conversations As a Superpower“One of the things I do is executive coaching and mediation,” Adrienne says. “Sometimes you might have people who are great at what they do, but when they come together, they clash, which is often the case when you have type A personalities, people who are go-getters.”She offers guidance for resolving conflicts and having difficult conversations.To ease conflict, it's essential to remove yourself from the equation. Centering yourself and worrying about how others perceive you can hinder progress. Instead, focus on the goal and recognize that other people's responses are not necessarily about you. By de-centering yourself, you can approach the situation with more power and effectiveness. Ask yourself, “What is my focus here?” and consider different dynamics to reach your goal. This mindset will allow you to do your best work.By following Adrienne's example and advice, you can develop the ability to have difficult conversations that enable you to resolve conflicts and grow as a human being, enabling you to do more good in the world.Guest-Provided ProfileAdrienne Lawrence (she/her):Vice President, Jennifer Brown ConsultingAbout Jennifer Brown Consulting: Workplace InclusionWebsite: www.jenniferbrownconsulting.comTwitter Handle: @jbcinclusionCompany Facebook Page:Other URL: www.adriennejlawrence.comBiographical Information: As an impactful workplace equity educator and devoted inclusion advocate, Adrienne Lawrence does more than just talk. The former big law litigator-turned-VP and Consultant for JBC is passionate about reaching professionals through informative, thought-provoking conversation. In addition to delivering memorable keynote speeches, Adrienne crafts effective and forward-thinking diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs and strategic plans that serve her clients' needs in the now and equip them to succeed well into the future. Leveraging her range of knowledge, she also thoughtfully coaches executives, conducts informative workplace assessments and offers a DEI experience that is truly unmatched. Adrienne has had the honor of working with an array of organizations—from NASA to Toyota to the American Red Cross. After becoming the first on-air personality to sue ESPN for gender discrimination, Adrienne wrote a first-of-its-kind business book in 2020 titled Staying in the Game: The Playbook for Beating Workplace Sexual Harassment, which won several awards and was heralded as a must-read for every woman in the workplace (Penguin Random House, 2020). When not speaking on workplace inclusion, Adrienne shares her insight as an award-winning legal analyst and commentator. Her voice has been heard on platforms like NPR, and her words featured in outlets like Harvard Business Review and The Washington Post, among others.Adrienne holds an M.A. from the University of Southern California, a J.D. from The George Washington University Law School, an M.A. from CUNY-John Jay College, and a B.S. from Cal State Sacramento.Twitter Handle: @adriennelawLinkedin: linkedin.com/in/lawrenceadInstagram Handle: @adriennelawrence Get full access to Superpowers for Good at devinthorpe.substack.com/subscribe
EPISODE 1477: In this KEEN ON show, Andrew talks to SparkLabs Group co-founder Bernard Moon about the latest innovation in South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam Bernard Moon is a Co-founder & Partner at SparkLabs Group, which is a network of accelerators and venture capital funds that has invested in over 350 companies across 6 continents since 2013. With 8 accelerators in locations such as Seoul, Taipei, Sydney, Singapore and working with major research universities, such as Arizona State University. SparkLabs Global Ventures is a seed and Series A fund that primarily invests in the U.S. and Asia. SparkLabs Ventures is a Series A fund in South Korea. Bernard was previously Co-founder & CEO of Vidquik, a web conferencing & sales solutions platform, and continues to serve as an advisor and board director. Previously, he was Managing Director of the Lunsford Group, which is a private investment firm consisting of entities in technology, health care, and real estate. He was Co-founder and VP of Business Development at GoingOn Networks, a social media platform for companies. He led their product development where BusinessWeek recognized GoingOn in their "Best of the Web" list for 2007. Bernard is also a guest writer to various technology journals, such as VentureBeat, Mashable, TechCrunch and ReadWriteWeb. Prior to this, Bernard was a Director at iRG, a leading boutique investment bank in Asia. Prior to iRG, Bernard was Co-founder & VP of Business Development & Marketing at HeyAnita Korea, a leading voice portal and solutions provider, which was joint venture between Softbank and HeyAnita, Inc. Bernard was responsible for establishing strategic partnerships and helping to build the company from its conceptual stage to a 54-person operation. Named as one of the "100 most connected men" by GQ magazine, Andrew Keen is amongst the world's best known broadcasters and commentators. In addition to presenting KEEN ON, he is the host of the long-running How To Fix Democracy show. He is also the author of four prescient books about digital technology: CULT OF THE AMATEUR, DIGITAL VERTIGO, THE INTERNET IS NOT THE ANSWER and HOW TO FIX THE FUTURE. Andrew lives in San Francisco, is married to Cassandra Knight, Google's VP of Litigation & Discovery, and has two grown children.He serves on the advisory boards to Seoul National University's Graduate School of Data Science and Nanyang Technological University's EcoLabs (Centre of Innovation for Energy), and sits on the Board of Directors for the American Red Cross of Silicon Valley. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Jody Hudson was born in Michigan but has moved a number of times since graduating high school. She spent 15 years in the retail industry. She then spent five years being a stay-at-home mom before finding new employment in the nonprofit sector. Her story sounds somewhat typical, right? Not really. Jody has a much different story to tell which you will get to hear on this episode of Unstoppable Mindset. Jody is the penultimate unstoppable person. Jody's second child, Alex, was born in 1995. Alex was a very active child and worked hard at everything she did. While in the fifth grade, Alex began exhibiting physical symptoms which eventually lead to her no longer being able to be an athlete and active person. In high school, she began losing weight. No doctor could diagnose what was happening. It wasn't until college that happenstance lead Jody and Alex to a doctor who correctly diagnosed Alex's condition as Lyme's Disease. Listen as Jody tells hers and Alex's story. She will tell you about the book she wrote as well as about the Alex Hudson Lyme Foundation. This episode is very powerful, and Jody leaves us with strong advice we all can take to heart when we are presented with life challenges. About the Guest: Jody Hudson, Grants and Philanthropy Director for California CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), is a fundraising professional with over 15 years of nonprofit leadership experience. She is the CEO and founder of the Alex Hudson Lyme Foundation, an organization that seeks to increase research efforts and patient support for Lyme disease and MCAS. Before joining California CASA in 2021, she served as Vice President of Development and Communications for Girls Scouts of Central California South and, before that, led the Catholic Charities Diocese of Fresno as Director of Operations. In 2018, Jody was honored with the Marjaree Mason Center Top Ten Professional Women Award. Hudson is also an author and speaker. Her book, My Promise to Alex: Through Pain Comes Purpose, is a memoir about her daughter's journey with Lyme disease and her passing at the age of twenty-two on March 24, 2018. For more information on Alex's foundation, please visit www.alexhudsonlymefoundation.org About the Host: Michael Hingson is a New York Times best-selling author, international lecturer, and Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe. Michael, blind since birth, survived the 9/11 attacks with the help of his guide dog Roselle. This story is the subject of his best-selling book, Thunder Dog. Michael gives over 100 presentations around the world each year speaking to influential groups such as Exxon Mobile, AT&T, Federal Express, Scripps College, Rutgers University, Children's Hospital, and the American Red Cross just to name a few. He is Ambassador for the National Braille Literacy Campaign for the National Federation of the Blind and also serves as Ambassador for the American Humane Association's 2012 Hero Dog Awards. https://michaelhingson.com https://www.facebook.com/michael.hingson.author.speaker/ https://twitter.com/mhingson https://www.youtube.com/user/mhingson https://www.linkedin.com/in/michaelhingson/ accessiBe Links https://accessibe.com/ https://www.youtube.com/c/accessiBe https://www.linkedin.com/company/accessibe/mycompany/ https://www.facebook.com/accessibe/ Thanks for listening! Thanks so much for listening to our podcast! If you enjoyed this episode and think that others could benefit from listening, please share it using the social media buttons on this page. Do you have some feedback or questions about this episode? Leave a comment in the section below! Subscribe to the podcast If you would like to get automatic updates of new podcast episodes, you can subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher. You can also subscribe in your favorite podcast app. Leave us an Apple Podcasts review Ratings and reviews from our listeners are extremely valuable to us and greatly appreciated. They help our podcast rank higher on Apple Podcasts, which exposes our show to more awesome listeners like you. If you have a minute, please leave an honest review on Apple Podcasts. Transcription Notes You have been listening to the unstoppable mindset podcast. Thanks for dropping by. I hope that you'll join us again next week, and in future weeks for upcoming episodes. To subscribe to our podcast and to learn about upcoming episodes please visit w w w dot Michael hinkson.com/podcast. Michael Hinkson is spelled mi ch AE l h i n g s o n. While you're on the site. Please use the form there to recommend people who we ought to interview in upcoming editions of the show. And also, we ask you and urge you to invite your friends to join us in the future. If you know of anyone or any organization needing a speaker for an event, please email me at speaker at Michael hangsen.com. I appreciate it very much. To learn more about the concept of blinded by fear, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com forward slash blinded by fear and while you're there, feel free to pick up a copy of my free ebook entitled blinded by fear. The Unstoppable mindset podcast is provided by access cast an initiative of accessibility and is sponsored by accessibility. Please visit w w w dot excessive b.com excessively is spelled ACC e ss IBE. There you can learn all about how you can make your website inclusive for all persons with disabilities and how you can help make the internet fully inclusive by 2025. Thanks again for listening. Please come back and visit us again ne Michael Hingson 00:00 Access cast and accessibly initiative presents unstoppable mindset, the podcast where inclusion, diversity and the unexpected meet Hi, I'm Michael Hinkson, Chief mission officer for accessibility and the author of the number one New York Times best selling book, Thunder dog, the story of a blind man, his guide dog and the triumph of trust. Thanks for joining me on my podcast as we explore our own blinding fears of inclusion, and acceptance and our resistance to change. We will discover the idea that no matter the situation, or the people we encounter, our own fears, and prejudices often are our strongest barriers to moving forward. The Unstoppable mindset podcast is sponsored by accessibility, that's a cc e ss I, capital B II. Visit www.to. Access a b.com to learn how you can make your website accessible for persons with disabilities. And to help make the internet fully inclusive by the year 2025. Glad you dropped by we're happy to meet you and to have you here with us. Michael Hingson 01:20 Well, Hi, and welcome to unstoppable mindset. Today we get to interview Jody Hudson and Jody has got a very good and strong and compelling story to tell. She is a person who has worked in the world for a while. She is the Director of of grants right for California casa. Jody Hudson 01:43 That's correct. The advanced philanthropy director, Michael Hingson 01:46 advanced philanthropy director Wow. And, and, and again, but there's a lot more to Jodi than that. So we're gonna get to it. So Jodi, welcome to unstoppable mindset. Now, where are you? Exactly. Jody Hudson 01:58 So I'm in Fresno, California. And we have just been getting hit with these recent rains. It's really sad to see what's going on out there. But in fact, before I jumped on, we just had another big downpour. So we're, we're right now good, but you never know when a next one is going to hit us. Michael Hingson 02:18 Yeah, we don't get that level of rain in Victorville. I don't think it's rained here today. We had a little bit of rain Tuesday, but we just don't get that kind of rain here. And as I mentioned earlier, I heard on the news that there are a few places in the Sierras that have had something over 670 inches of snow, and they've gotten more snow this week. So how will this affect the drought it will, at least in the short term, but whether this is really going to have enough of an effect on the aquifers to really give us long term aid remains to be seen. But the way it's going, I think we're going to see more years of a lot of rain and other things happening. So we'll we'll kind of see how it goes. Jody Hudson 03:05 I yeah, I agree. It was crazy. Last week, the 99 was shut down because of flooding. So you just never know what's going to happen. Right? Michael Hingson 03:15 Go figure I know. Well, so let's start a little bit by you maybe telling us some of your background. As a younger God, what you did when going to school and all that give us all the highlights from an earlier time. Jody Hudson 03:33 Oh my goodness. Okay, we could be here a long time because I'm not a young man. You know, I'm in my early 60s here now. But now I'm teasing. Michael Hingson 03:41 So just talk about the early parts. Jody Hudson 03:44 So I'm a Michigander born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan, went to school at Central Michigan University where I graduated with a degree in retail. I've always loved fashion clothing. And so that's what I did for quite some time. Worked at Marshall Field's Lord and Taylor made my way west to Los Angeles. My claim to fame was that I was the manager of the Chanel boutique on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. I felt like I had arrived, so to speak. Then got married and made my way to Fresno where I currently reside. Two children, Garrett and Alice, my son's 29 My daughter's 22 And I stayed at home for about five years just to be a stay at home mom. And then when I decided to get back into the work environment, I got into the nonprofit world which I absolutely love. I have a servant's heart and it really spoke to that worked at Catholic Charities for about 1314 years. I worked at Girl Scouts for a little bit until I couldn't eat any more cookies. It was not good for my waistline and at all. And then I've been with California, Casa for two years, and we oversee all of the 44 Casa programs throughout the state of California. I am a product of foster care, I was born to a single mother who put me up for adoption. So I was in the foster care system for the first six months of my life until I was adopted. So I've kind of come full circle in that whole realm. But so that's what I'm currently doing. And then we'll get more into my true purpose and mission, which is the Alex Hudson line foundation. Michael Hingson 05:46 So Marshall Fields, so did you get good deals on Franco mints? Jody Hudson 05:50 Oh, my gosh. I know, Chris, and at Christmas time, because I worked out in Chicago at State Street at their flagship store. And during Christmas time, they'd have like the big pyramids of frango mints and I just devoured those. Like there was no tomorrow I have a weakness for sweets. I could not have sweets in my home, because they will be gone. I don't have willpower. I don't know what the word means. Michael Hingson 06:17 No. Have you ever had mint? Meltaways? Yes. Which do you like better? Franco mints? Yeah. I like them both. But I do have to admit that there is something about Franco mints. Jody Hudson 06:29 Oh my gosh, that just brought me back. I love that brought me back in time for sure. Yeah, and I miss them. I do too. I do too. I love those Frank moments. So good. It's kind of like melt in your mouth. Michael Hingson 06:42 Yeah, really tasty stuff. Jody Hudson 06:44 I think that's probably why girls with the Girl Scout cookies, then men's is my favorite. Because I was born and raised with the kids go mess with men. Go into the cooking mode. Then minutes. So what's your favorite Girl Scout cookie? Michael Hingson 07:00 And Miss? Then Miss? Yeah. Although I've also enjoyed venture foals, which is one of the newer Well, Jody Hudson 07:06 that's yeah, that's one of the the newer ones. Michael Hingson 07:09 A new one rasberry one that I haven't tried yet. Yeah, you Jody Hudson 07:12 know what I'm not a big fan of of the data, kind of like to keep my my the fruit and the chocolate all separate love them both, but really like the the combination together, but anything with chocolate, mint, peanut butter, I'm down for all of that stuff. Michael Hingson 07:31 So I bought a case of Thin Mints. Well, actually, last year, I guess, I bought a case of Thin Mints. But somebody misunderstood and they made the order for two cases. Oh, and so I accepted that and I took them all. But even with the one case, what I did with two would have been the same with one which is they all mostly get put away mostly in the freezer. And for me, especially out of sight out of mind. And so most of them are still there. And they will be eaten over time. Which makes it a little bit frustrating for the Girl Scouts every year because I don't buy a case every year. It'll take me three years sometimes to eat those two cases, as I said, out of sight out of mind. But I do know where they are now having thought about them. This may cause a open so Jody Hudson 08:26 I think I know where you're going after this little conversation here. Michael Hingson 08:31 Yeah, I promise I won't get up and go do that while we're talking. Okay, but still. So So you got into this whole idea of the nonprofit Well, I actually another memory going back to Chicago and Marshall Fields. Do you remember Robert Hall? I do. Where the values go up, up, up and the prices go down? Down? Down? Jody Hudson 08:52 Yep, yep. Michael Hingson 08:55 Ah, those were the days having been born in Chicago and live there for five years and been back occasionally. But still. Great stories, great stories. Jody Hudson 09:05 Yeah, I just don't like Chicago when it's December, January. It's like 80 degrees below with the windchill factor and you're trying to make your way from where you live in Lincoln Park down to State Street a little bit. Michael Hingson 09:18 A little bit tough. And even with the L it could be tough. Oh yeah. Jody Hudson 09:23 Oh, yeah. But boy, I had good good times there. I just graduated from college. So I was making a little bit of money hanging out and living with my sorority sisters. So it was just like an extension of of college. But when you have a little bit of money, it's a little bit more fun. Yeah. Michael Hingson 09:41 Well, you were you bring back memories for me also, a few years ago, I was in Chicago for a speech or I was there for a convention I don't recall which now, but they were doing the event where you Um, to raise money for something, they did the Polar Plunge so everybody would go and jump in Lake Michigan. And I think Rahm Emanuel was the mayor. And Jimmy Fallon was there and they decided they were going to go do the plunge. And I was watching it with my cousins on TV. And they went in the water. It was zero or colder. Oh, we were very happy to be in a heated house. And the reporter said, these guys are doing it all wrong, because they went in in their suits, you know. And as soon as you get out of the water, you can go into a tent that was warm, where you could dry off. But just before they got out, a woman got out who was just wearing a bathing suit. And the reporter said, How much smarter she is because it'll dry right off and she won't be cold very long. And they were right, you know, but Well, that's the difference between intelligent people and politicians sometimes, I guess. I don't know. Jody Hudson 11:01 My gosh, when my dad had a summer camp in Grand Haven, Michigan, and that brings me back to those memories that summertime with like the Polar Bear Plunge, we had that with the kiddos getting up early in the morning, like at six o'clock and going down. And if you if you did it every day, then you got like a special award. But yeah, I never did it. I watched my campers go in. But I'm like, Yeah, that's too cool for me. Michael Hingson 11:29 Yeah. But you know, it's part of our country. And it's always fun to go to, to different places. And of course, go into Chicago go always for me at least. There I'm sure better places. But I like to go to UNO's and get a nice good deep dish pizza to Jody Hudson 11:46 deep dish pizza. And it's a fun place to be in Chicago on St. Patty's day too. So Oh, yeah. That's always a blast. Dine the river green and drinking green beer and all that good stuff. Yeah, Chicago. Chicago is a fun fun city. Michael Hingson 12:02 Yeah. Memories will tell us about California casa a little bit. So you've been doing that for now? What two or three years? Yeah, Jody Hudson 12:10 for two years. And as the grants and philanthropy director, I helped to raise money not only for California, casa, but for our network. So California, CASA is the the parent, the umbrella so to speak, over the 44 Casa programs throughout the state of California. And we our initiatives, our mission, our you know, philanthropy, everything is in support of foster children. And there's 80,000 foster kids in the state of California. And what a casa does is they are that one person that link to help these kiddos to navigate through the court systems to be that voice for them, to help them where maybe they don't have a mom, dad and adult anybody to help guide them through life. And it can be transformational for these children to have a casa appointed, watching over them, it really makes a big difference. Michael Hingson 13:24 Do foster parents help with any of that? Or is this really kind of pre them or our in spite of them? Sometimes, Jody Hudson 13:31 you know what I mean, it's kind of done in conjunction with them as well as a CASA is a volunteer, they go through a training which I went through a training as well, just to kind of better understand what a CASA volunteer does, it's about a 3040 hour training commitment. Once you go through, you actually get sworn in as a casa and the in the court system. And then you are assigned a child and you could be assigned a child for maybe a year, two years, some people have had classes for, you know, even greater longer periods of time. It just depends upon, you know, the the cases. But it really is such a great meaningful program. And we definitely, you know, right now, we have probably 12,000 classes, but as I said earlier, there's 80,000 foster kids, you know, in the state of California, so there's definitely a gap. And that's what we try and do is you know, raise money raise funds to recruit classes, to train them to help the local network, you know, really pouring into the hearts of these foster kids. Michael Hingson 14:51 So are their centers that these people are based out of or how does it work? Jody Hudson 14:55 The classes themselves? They Yeah, so There's, you know, like I said, 44 class of programs throughout the state of California. So there's like a casa in Kern County, there's a casa and Fresno County. It's all, you know, based upon that the counties, each county is really supposed to have a CASA program. And, you know, there's what 51 counties, I think, in the state of California, so, yeah, 58 So we're, we're missing obviously, a couple of Casa programs, but each CASA program is you know, their own 501 C three, they, you know, raise their own funds money, they have their own board, executive directors, own staff, and we come alongside them to support them, and to give them you know, additional training, additional resources, and help where we can, we were lucky enough California casa, to be working with a lobbyist team who petitioned and we did receive a state appropriation in Governor Newsom budget for $60 million. And that is, you know, going to be funneled out to our Casa programs. However, as we know, the state of California is a little messed up right now with with budgets, and we only received the first wave of that $60 million, we received $20 million, and we were able to pump out that money to our network. But the other two bases are in jeopardy right now. And we are petitioning and trying to get that money back. So we will see Michael Hingson 16:39 is that because of the legislature in some way or what? Yeah, Jody Hudson 16:45 we are very grateful for what we did receive, and that was a blessing, we didn't even think that we were going to get that. And it really is to help our, our programs with infrastructure, it's to help them with, you know, recruiting, it's to help them just really build upon their their programs. So yeah, we're hopeful though, the, you know, legislators and other government officials and senators and people in the Capitol, they were not happy that our funding was was cut, because they really have become aware of our programs and the impact on the foster children. So we do have some really good people in our corner. So we'll, we'll see what happens. Michael Hingson 17:30 He cut it. Who cut the funding, if the governor had it in his budget, and so on what happened, Jody Hudson 17:37 it was in the legislative portion of the budget. So I don't know all the details. Yeah, in our inner workings of how all that happens. And, you know, with politics, things can be moved around, things can be cut, because maybe they're negotiating and looking for something else. Who knows what goes into all of those discussions. But like I said, we've got a lot of good champions and people in our corner, and it wasn't just cost of that was cut, there was a lot that was cut. So yeah, we're just hoping that we're gonna get that back. Michael Hingson 18:14 I remember. Now, a number of years ago, the national level, there was a major discussion about the government. And what it had been doing through what was called the Talking Book program, which later became the National Library Service of the Blind and Physically Handicapped. And they, the Congress decided that they wanted to cut a bunch of the funding. They said, we can get things from other ways. And one of the magazines that was produced under the program was playboy. And the Congress people's fee with a conservative said, Well, that's ridiculous to publish Playboy, that blind people can take advantage of all the pictures and stuff. And the answer to that was, that's correct. But go read Playboy read the articles, because there were there were many, well written articles. And mostly, they are really good articles in Playboy. The original story, the short story, the fly came out of Playboy among other things, and eventually it got dealt with, but people do get some very strange ideas about things from time to time, don't they? Jody Hudson 19:26 They sure do. And, you know, I've never seen a playboy, but I did hear that. There are some really great, great articles in there. So but yeah, so you know, well, we'll just have to kind of wait it out. I mean, we're so full speed ahead. And we are, you know, implementing what we can with the the funding that was awarded to us in our in our programs and and we're grateful for that. Michael Hingson 19:49 We are a 501 C three, right. So you do you obviously do a lot of soliciting outside of what the government provides. Jody Hudson 19:55 Oh, absolutely. I mean, we have, you know, government money. We've got you no private funding. So, yes, we have different pockets that we definitely, you know, reach out to. But, you know, from the pandemic, it's it's tough. Yeah, for for fundraising for nonprofits, I mean, everyone, you know, that was was losing out because they weren't able to have fundraising events and other things. And people were really tightening up their belt. So, yeah, well, we'll have to see how how things work out. But the nonprofit world is definitely definitely hurting. Michael Hingson 20:37 Yeah, and it's gonna be a process. Well, for you, though, what made you go into the whole idea of doing nonprofit stuff? So it's different than what you've done in the past? Jody Hudson 20:49 Oh, absolutely. Retail and nonprofit, very, very different. But Michael Hingson 20:54 although you, you can tribute it to the nonprofit of Marshall Field's with Franco mints, but that's okay. Jody Hudson 21:00 That's right. So, so I had my son in 93, I had my daughter and 95. And then I stayed home for for five years. And then when I was deciding to you know, get back into the workforce, one of my girlfriends, became a development director over at Catholic Charities, and she called me up. And she said that she was going to be starting this position at Catholic Charities, and she was going to be forming a women's Guild and that she wanted me to be on it, there was gonna be about 12 of us that were going to, you know, be the the pioneers of this Guild, and a common, you know, take a tour of the facility and see what I think, see what I thought so sad to say, I mean, I'm Catholic, but I had never heard of Catholic Charities before. So got my car went and down and opened up the doors, took a tour, I saw the clientele, I saw the people there that were, you know, waiting for services. And I just had this aha moment where this was where I was supposed to be, I was supposed to be giving back. I was supposed to be helping those, you know, less fortunate. And I told my girlfriend Kelly at that time, I said, Yes, I go, I want to be part of this guild. But even more importantly, I want to see if there's employment here, I would love to work at Catholic Charities. And as luck would have it, there was a position open. And it was for in the food pantry overseeing the food pantry. And check this out, overseeing the thrift store. Well, I think with my degree in retail, and working on Chanel boutique, I qualified to oversee the Catholic Charities thrift store. So the joke was always, you know, hidden, here's Jody from Rodeo Drive to Fulton Street, where Catholic Charities was and yeah, the price tags are just, you know, a couple of zeros off, but hey, she's, she can handle those. So, I fell in love with it. And it was so good as my kids were getting older, you know, to bring them to these, like food drive events, and, you know, the the farmers market that we would have, and they would see what the face of poverty looked like. And they fell in love with it. And you know, they were always there supporting my fundraising efforts. And and, you know, just supporting, giving back. So it was it was wonderful. It was really good. It must Michael Hingson 23:45 get pretty emotional. Because you see so many people who are facing challenges and so on. How are you able to just move forward and not take it so emotionally personal, if you will? Jody Hudson 23:59 You know, that's an excellent question. And it was very hard for me in the beginning, I wanted to take home these children that I saw, I wanted to fix everything I wanted to be the Savior. I wanted to be the knight in shining armor and I realized that I couldn't do it right. I mean, there I was limited in what I could do, but I could go out and raise money so that the pantry would be full of food so these families could eat so these families could you know go into the thrift store and purchase clothing or be given clothing, clothing and hygiene every so often so I can I can do you know what I can do in my in my wheelhouse. But you're right, it was tough. The first six months, I took it home with me there was no separation of my work and my life. But it just became more of a driving force for me in my job, more motivation to really get out there. and get the community involved with our mission and what we were doing. And even though the names of Catholic Charities, we never asked what people's religion was, hey, if you have a need, then we're going to be there. And we're going to meet that need. Michael Hingson 25:18 Yeah. And it's, it is a an issue and a challenge for, for I know a number of people to get beyond the being so emotionally involved that you can't separate it, while at the same time developing a greater empathy. And I in fact, I think it's, it makes sense to develop the empathy and the understanding. But you can't take it personally because you didn't cause it all. And all you can do is try to work to fix it. Jody Hudson 25:45 Right? And, you know, I said about my children going down there and being exposed to that, to this day, my my son, he'll tell me, Mom, he goes, it's a blessing and a curse, this empathy that has been passed on to me because he wants to be now that fixer, and he wants to, you know, when people come to him and share their problems, I mean, he wants to, you know, help them and he's going through that process right now realizing that he can't fix everyone's problems, right? He can, he can only do so much. But yeah, it's definitely tough. What does he do? So he used to work at Merrill Lynch. He graduated from ASU in 2008. Teen got a job right out of college, I mean, super smart, young man. And he worked at Merrill Lynch for over a year. And that just wasn't him. Like I said, he has that empathy, that very sensitive heart. And we also had a, you know, family crisis during that time. And I'll get into that later. But he just really, and then we had, you know, the pandemic hits. So he left Arizona, came home to Fresno to try and figure out what it was that he wanted to do. And now he's been with his current job for over a year. And really, really excelling in it and doing well. And I think he has found his niche. And he works for this organization called behavioral stars. And they are assigned troubled children from the school system. And he meets with these kids one on one, he has about 12 kids right now in his caseload, and he really tries to work with them on behavior modification, trying to work with them on just, you know, being a positive influence in their lives, because so many of these kids come from such troubled homes that they don't have that. And so Garrett is kind of trying to fill that void. And he's done very, very well, just this morning, he sent me over a text and he had to present to his team on some like motivational, inspirational messages. And it was like a 2030 minute presentation. And I love the two YouTube clips that he shared, and one of them spoke about how, you know, you can't let your past you know, dictate what you're doing today. It's like the overcoming and, you know, we're all going to have challenges, but how it's how you rise above from it. And I love it, because as he is administering to these kids, and helping them with their life challenges is also healing for him. Michael Hingson 28:44 And it's clear, you've passed on a wonderful legacy that that he is taking advantage of, and he'll he'll expand out and I suspect, Jody Hudson 28:58 Oh, absolutely. And, you know, I wrote a book, and I keep telling my son, I go get, your story is going to be even far greater than mine. And I can't wait to read your book one of these days, because it's going to be so inspirational with everything that you have gone through. I mean, I'm just really, really proud of him for climbing Klein, and just, you know, making it happen. Michael Hingson 29:25 Well, we've talked about Garrett, and we should get to Alex, I know you want to talk about all of that. So you said that Alex was born in 1995. Correct. And, and a lot of things have happened. So tell us a little bit about Alex, if you will. Jody Hudson 29:42 Sure. So Alex was supposed to be a Christmas baby. Her original due date was December 25. But she came a little bit early and she was just a sweet, sweet baby. She and her first five years I mean just a very sweet, shy, innocent little girl. And then she discovered sports and the tomboy in her really came out along with the the big brother that was right by her side helping her. So she was very active. She played soccer, she played softball, she ran track, she did cheerleading, volleyball, you name it, and she was very, she was a very good scholar to her brother definitely had more of the smarts. But he didn't apply himself out, worked much, much harder for her grades, and did very well with that. And then in the fifth grade, she started developing joint pain, inflammation, and we thought it was all related to her sports. And that's what the doctors thought as well that she was just an overworked you know, athlete. And so she would suck it up. She would like tape up her legs, ankles, do the ibuprofen. Well, that went on for several years, and nothing really changed. In fact, it just kept getting worse. To the point where her freshman year in high school, she was playing basketball running on the court, and her knees ballooned up to be like the size of grapefruit. And she dropped to the ground. And she was carried off by her teammates and coach. And they ran some X rays. And they discovered that she needed to have knee surgery that she had some issues with with her knees. So she had one knee surgery done on her right knee and they said if that took and did well, and it was successful, then they would do the left knee. Well, it didn't help but it didn't change anything. So basically from her freshman year in high school on Chica never run again. She it was the beginning of the the end for her because she couldn't play sports any longer. Everything that she had identified with was gone. And in high school, that's especially hard when you lose your your peer group. And so she really went through a dark period for a while only had maybe a friend or two, started losing weight started developing digestive issues. Then we, you know, started thinking, well, maybe he's got anorexia or an eating disorder. I mean, we just really went through hell and back. And she graduated from high school went to a junior college because we were still trying to figure out what was going on with her health. And she did well at junior college and applied to several colleges and ended up getting a full ride at UCLA. But she wasn't able to carry that out because she was losing weight. And she was down to about 87 pounds. And we were going from doctor to doctor probably 40 Plus doctors, and Alex on her own just by going on the internet, found this doctor down in LA who specialized in digestive issues. And she said mom goes I think I found a doctor that might be able to help me. And at that point, I'm like, Sure. What's what's another doctor? I mean, we we've been, you know, striking out with all of our local doctors and everybody at this point, just that she and I both were crazy, right? Because they would run tests and they couldn't find anything wrong with her. So we got in the car went down to LA. And within a half hour of talking with this doctor, he asked me Mrs. Hudson, has anybody test tested Alex for Lyme disease. And I innocently said, What is Lyme disease. And then he told me what it was and this was in 2017. And I'd really had never heard about it. And here I am from Michigan, you know, thinking that maybe I would have heard about it growing up. But we consented to her getting tested for Lyme disease and a couple of weeks later, sure enough, came back with a diagnosis that she she had Lyme disease. So now test, what's the test the test. If you go to a regular doctor, most of them are still testing with an outdated western blot test, which will give you false reads on it. This doctor was smart enough to have outs tested through iGenex and iGenex is out San Jose area. And they are very detailed. I mean, it's everyone sends people to iGenex just to because they know that testing that's part of the problem with Lyme disease. testing can be so. So what's the word I'm looking for? Not not reliable, inaccurate, inaccurate? Yeah. So tested her with the iGenex. And that's what it came back with. So in that moment, you know, I had to first of all, as a parent, figure out what this diagnosis was. And then second of all, how do I treat it, because I'm disease, you just can't go to any doctors, so many of them don't know about Lyme disease and how to treat it. And therein lies the problem trying to find proper doctors that know about this disease. And also, you know, the the treatment, because it's not like cancer, where there's a tried and true path. With Lyme disease. It's almost like, here's your buffet, you can do antibiotics, you can do this, you can do that. Or maybe you can do a combination. And it's a trial and error. But Alex didn't have have time to go through a trial and error. You know, she was at 80 pounds and 2017, down to a handful of foods that she could eat without reacting. And I had to get her better quick, like, Michael Hingson 36:17 do you before going on? Do you have any sense of how she got Lyme disease? Jody Hudson 36:25 No. And that's the thing. 35% of people that get Lyme disease will have what's called the classic bullseye rash, where it's a circular little red ring on your body of the point of impact where people are a bit, the majority of people don't know they have Lyme disease, until maybe they've been sick for a while. And by then it's hard to treat, because it's you know, once it gets into your bloodstream, and in your system, it can wreak havoc on every part of your organ. I mean, people have died from Lyme disease, because of, of, you know, getting into their heart, people have died from it from, you know, getting into their brain. It's, it's really quite horrific. And I mean, that can be adopted at this point from everything that I had to get schooled on real quick like in 2017. Till she passed away in 2018. But yeah, the majority of people when when you first have Lyme symptoms, it's like a summer flu. So you, you know, might have just being you know, feeling lethargic, joint pain, inflammation. And it's not until other symptoms appear when it can really become quite critical, like an Alex's case where it affected her whole digestive system. Michael Hingson 37:53 You How did you how did you end up handling it? What did you do, because you certainly had to do something in a hurry. Jody Hudson 38:01 So what I did was, you know, social media can work for you or against you. And in this situation, it definitely worked for me two things happen once I got Alex's diagnosis. Interestingly enough, she was diagnosed in May, which may is Lyme Disease Awareness Month, and our local TV station, KC 24 had just done a episode a segment on Lyme disease. And I knew these people very well through all of my fundraising efforts at Catholic Charities. So I called them up and said, Hey, you guys just did a episode. You guys just did an episode on on Lyme disease. My daughter has just been diagnosed with Lyme disease. I need to know these three women that you spoke with because I need to find out how to treat my daughter. So that was number one. Number two, was I took to Facebook with Alex's consent. And I basically made a play saying, you know, my daughter has just been diagnosed with Lyme disease. I'm still trying to figure out what Lyme disease is. If anybody has any resources, know of any doctors locally, can put me in touch with people, please, you know, DM me, and you'd be surprised at how many people that I didn't realize had Lyme disease in the central valley that reached out to me. And Jessica Devine was one of them that lived right in Clovis, a couple of you know, Fresno, who had been diagnosed with Lyme disease had been battling it for a couple years. And she gave us the name of her doctor in Pismo Beach, and that's where we started. So it definitely helped by, you know, getting the message out there. And when you're a parent, parent and your child is struggling and you need answers, you do what it takes. aches. Right? Michael Hingson 40:00 Right. So you reached out to that doctor. Jody Hudson 40:04 So we reached out to that doctor. And then at the same time, we googled best Lyme facilities, best line treatment, because, you know, I'm a mama bear. I single mom at that time, Alex's dad wasn't in the picture at all, financially, emotionally, any of that. And I was working parents. And I thought, Okay, I need to tackle this, right. I'm going to roll up my sleeves, we've got a diagnosis, we're gonna get the doctor treatment, she's going to be better in a couple of months time, I was so naive. I had no idea what I was facing. And so we had this appointment with, you know, this doctor in Pismo in June. So Alex had been diagnosed in May that this appointment for June. But then I started researching best Lyme clinics. Sofia Health Institute was one, there was a couple others and I basically got on the phone. And I begged and pleaded to get into these facilities. And insurance doesn't cover a lot of this. In fact, it didn't cover most of it. In a year's time, I spent over $100,000 Trying to get Alex better, I sold cars. I had people give me money. I mean, it was crazy what I did. But again, any of us would do that in our situation with a sick child. So we went to the doctor in Pismo, we also went to Sofia Health Institute. And with every doctor that we saw, it was a whole new protocol. Everybody, you know, had their own opinions. And it was just, it was just really tough. Like I said, you know, with cancer, it's tried and true. These are the treatments that you go through. But with Lyme disease, because there's so many different co infections. You have to figure out who you know what symptoms are the most troublesome, you start there, and it's like, okay, eliminate that. So that symptom, and then let's move on to the next. And that's what we were trying to do with Alice. But at the same time, she kept losing weight, and she couldn't be strong and healthy enough with her treatments. Because she was so malnourished, so it was just, it was a mess. Michael Hingson 42:35 And no matter what happened, nobody was able to come up with any solution that seemed to help. Jody Hudson 42:41 We had a team of about 12 doctors we had, because as I said, once Lyme disease is in your blood system, which for Alex, it had been since. You know, if you go back when her symptoms first started, which we thought was just that overworked athletic body. It was in fifth grade. Now here she is in college, right? So I mean, it'd been 10 years that this had been living in her her system. So she had cardiologists she had a gastro doctor. She had, you know, a doctor, the doctor in Pismo that was kind of like the the lead on this. But we had so many other people that we had to bring onto the team. And then not to mention, just she was in and out of hospitals, just trying to get IVs and other stuff in her system to keep her healthy. Michael Hingson 43:42 When did you get to the point where you realize that you weren't going to be able to fix her and how did you reconcile that? Jody Hudson 43:52 So May of 2017 She got the diagnosis by December after going through a whirlwind of in and out of hospitals, different doctors. I knew in December that I was losing her she was we just we couldn't get a leg up. And from June until December, we literally had gone cross country Now mind you, I was still trying to hold down a job at this time, right? So I was just going back and forth and people were giving me their their sick time and vacation time. And I was just trying to uncover anything that I could to get her her better. But we realized that not only did she have Lyme disease, she had something else called mast cell activation syndrome, which she basically was allergic to almost every type of food she was down to like four or five safe foods. She could eat. And I detail all this in my book because I mean, it could take hours and days to go into all of this because it's just such a crazy, crazy disease. But Michael Hingson 45:12 was that caused by the limes? Disease? Jody Hudson 45:15 Correct? Yeah. When your immune system is compromised, it creates havoc in your in your system. And so everything gets Miss wired. And her histamine levels, everything we're, we're off. So you know, her treatments, she would try and have different types of treatments. And her supplements things that normally she could take before now, it was as if it was an enemy entering, you know, a danger zone here, she would try and swallow these supplements and take her, you know, treatment. And her histamine levels would just start attacking, thinking that was, you know, something bad that was coming into her system. Just horrific the pain that she was going through, but it was December. And I remember, you asked me, How did I reconcile with this, I remember getting in my car, and just driving. And I pulled over and I found it on the dashboard. And I had the serious conversation with God. And I was in tears. And I basically said, listen, here's the deal. Like I'm telling God what to do, right? I said, here's the deal. I go, you either take her right now, because I can't deal with this anymore, or you heal her. But this purgatory is not working for me, I cannot do this any longer. And that says, you know, and so that's what he did a couple of months later. Michael Hingson 46:47 So you had so hard and I have some associations with Lyme disease in a different way. First of all, when I was living in New Jersey and the selling some products, I knew a couple guys who had accompany the turns out they they did have Lyme disease, it was apparently somewhat controlled, but they did have it. And I only know that because they told me but my fourth guide dog was bit by a tick relatively soon after we moved to New Jersey and we knew she was bitten we, we got the tick and we got it out of her and and the vet said there's nothing you know, we can do to analyze it or anything. And you know, as long as she's okay, she's okay. Well. One of the things I've learned about guide dogs is that they are and a lot of dogs, especially when there's a lot of love, and they want to please, they're incredibly stoic. We never detected any illness in her until May 1 of 1999 When I called her to dinner, and she didn't come and we found her on her bed, almost unresponsive. And through getting her to an emergency vet and then going elsewhere and so on. And finally meeting a woman who we regard as a very dear friend, although I haven't talked with her for a while Tracy Gillespie, who is in the University of Penn system. And working for emergency vet in Toms River, New Jersey, as I recall. She said Lynnae has glomerular nephritis. And it is morphed from Lyme disease. So she wouldn't keep the good stuff in her system, the kidneys would pass it out along with the bad stuff because the Lumeria went bad. So she had to retire. And we were able to keep her for three more years. But still, we we knew that there was was something there but it was just one of those things. So I appreciate all you are saying that's my closest brush, fortunately, or whatever with Lyme disease, but it's it is a very insidious thing. Jody Hudson 49:04 It really is and you know, that's can be carriers of Lyme disease and, you know, with with the ticks and that's why I always when I'm you know talking make make sure that I recognize that it's not just humans. I'm glad that you shared that story. I mean, it is, you know, as we do tick checks from head to toe on our body, we need to do that as our animals come in from the outside because they are just as susceptible to it as as we are. Michael Hingson 49:38 Well I'm being a guide dog. We kept a close eye on her so we found it right. Still it occurred. Well so. So Alex past, God listened to you and and did take her then what did you do? Jody Hudson 49:57 So, what I did was yes, she she passed on March 24. In fact, tomorrow's her five year anniversary, I cannot believe. Yeah, I can't believe it's been five years and some aspects of it, I feel like it was just five, five minutes, five days and other times. So I feel like maybe it's been longer. But she and I were very close, we were just with everything that I'd gone through being divorced. And being a single mom, I mean, the mother daughter bond is very strong. To begin with, and ours was especially strong just with our our life experiences and challenges. And when Alex was, I mean, she was bedridden for for several months before she passed away. And she was always so positive. And she kept, you know, thinking that she was going to be this Lyme warrior, she was going to, you know, get to UCLA, finish that degree and start her own nine nonprofit. And when we knew that, God, you know, had other plans for her, I made a pact with her and said that I was going to basically carry her torch for her. And so after she passed, money started just flooding in. There was a GoFundMe account that someone had set up for me and I started receiving quite a bit of money. And I knew that was going to be my my seed money to start the outsets in line Foundation. And here again, I was working for a nonprofit, I was still working at Catholic Charities. And I thought, Okay, I'm gonna, you know, petition, I'll get someone to help me to, you know, see what that looks like. And, you know, people have told me, it's going to take about a year to get a nonprofit up and running. So that okay, good, that will give me time to adjust and make the transition. Well, I received status that I had been awarded 501, C, three for the outsets, in line foundation in 30 days. And in my classic CPA, comment, my CPA when I got the letter, I said, Okay, roll in, tell me that this is like a joke. Like, this isn't true, right? Like, I really didn't get this approved so quickly. And he said, God, sometimes the good Lord does things that there are no explanations for Congratulations. You have a 501 C three. Yeah. And so yeah, we were up and running in June, we started our first fundraiser, we were able to work with global Lyme Alliance and do a research grant with them, we were able to award some financial grants to lyme patients. So we, you know, we're doing everything according to Alex's wishes, and five years later, we're still doing that. So it definitely, like I said, before this mother daughter bond, I know I'm not doing it alone, I know that she, you know, is helping me every step of the way. And you wrote a book. And I wrote a book. And that was something that I did not expect at all, like I am a business woman, I write reports. I don't journal I don't write for fun. But this was something that was just laid on my heart. And I was a member of the Fresno State book club. And there was a gallon there who had just written a book, and I started talking to her. And I said, you know, I feel like I need to get this stuff out of my head and onto print. Because just as I'm chatting with you, there's so much that people didn't realize of the journey that Alex and I went on, especially that last year, even my closest group of friends, you know, when they read my book, they're like, God, God, we just didn't realize everything that you had gone through, we thought we did. And I said, No, I, I feel bad. I wasn't able to catch everybody up on this, I said that I was running so fast to get my daughter better, that I didn't have time to bring my team along with me. So this book was written for so many different reasons. Just to let people know how amazing my daughter was and what she went through, also to, you know, give people hope, inspiration. And also just to, you know, give validity to this horrible disease that so many people's still in the medical community don't recognize, or, you know, give it such a stigma. So the book came out. Last February, I self published it and Uh, you know, it's, it's done pretty well, I mean, I've received over 100 plus five star reviews on Amazon, which, to me, if I just, you know, was able to impact one or two people at that, wow, that would be great, you know, people would really understand what I'm trying to convey. But you know, just the, the impact, and what I'm getting back from it that people, you know, write to me or call me. It's just so overwhelming, you know, and for them to appreciate my daughter and love my daughter, with what she went through, it's pretty, pretty touching. Michael Hingson 55:42 What a blessing. Well, tell me, what would you like people to take away from listening to you today. Jody Hudson 55:51 So what I want people to take away from listening to meet today is, no matter what challenges you have going on in life, it's how you show up that people are going to remember. And for me, in that moment, when Alex passed away, it could have been so easy just to throw the covers over my head, and give up and be, you know, this grief girl, but I didn't want to be defined by that I wanted to, you know, have people look at me, and be that example, for others be that example for my son, be that example for my friends, that no matter what I had gone through, that I can still show up every day, and that there's still like to be lived. And to do that, also, you know, in honor of my daughter, right, with everything that she went through, how could I just lay it in bet. And I mean, she's suffered far greater than, than I did, and, and I just, I couldn't do that. So I needed to make some, you know, purpose out of what she went through. And that's what I'm I'm trying to do and I'm trying to accomplish? Michael Hingson 57:05 Well, how can people reach out to you and communicate, correspond or learn more? And Jody Hudson 57:11 yeah, so we have a website alexhudsonlymefoundation, website, www dot alexhudsonlymefoundation.org, there's ways that you can get a hold of me on the website, you can also go into Amazon, and look for my book, my promise to Alex written by me, Jody Hudson, I would love it if you know, people would, you know, by the, by the book, and, you know, support me through that, because all the proceeds from that book, go right back into the foundation. And, you know, if people are out there, struggling right now with, you know, medical mysteries, you know, check out Lyme disease, check out and see maybe if that's something that you might have in the doctors just haven't been able to diagnose. You know, be your own advocate, never, never give up. And that's one of the things that Alex and I never did, no matter how many times that door was slammed in our faces from the medical community. We still kept opening it up and trying to get to answers. Michael Hingson 58:22 Never giving up is extremely important. We do it all too quickly. And we, we don't realize that we can do a lot more than we think we can. Jody Hudson 58:33 Amen. Amen. You don't know you know how strong you need to be until you are in those moments where strength is all you got? 58:42 Well, I want to thank you, Jody, for being with us today. And for telling your story and having the courage to do it and to continue doing, what you're doing and anything that we can do to help through this podcast and so on, please let me know. And we met through accessibility, which I'm really happy about. And I appreciate your desire to help in dealing with inclusion and website accessibility but more important, anything that we can do to continue to promote what you're doing. We're in so I want to thank you for that. And I want to thank you for listening to us. We really appreciate it reach out to Alex through Jodi reach out to Jodi especially and Alex will know and we want to hear from you please email me at Michaelhi at accessibe.com. Accessibe is A C C E S S I B E.com. Or go to www dot Michael hingson h i n g s o n.com/podcast. Please give us a five star rating wherever you're listening and like especially if you're on iTunes, please give us a five star rating. Those tend to show up a lot and we appreciate it. But Jody most of all, once more. I want to thank you for being here and for not only inspiring us but I hope educating a lot of people about Lyme disease and just being stronger and more unstoppable than we think. Jody Hudson 1:00:00 Thank you so much for having me and listening to my story and Alex's story It really means a lot to me Michael Hingson 1:00:11
Partner Veteran Health Administration (VHA)Panelists:Michelle Spivak - former Senior Communications Officer for Veterans Health Administration Office of Communications.Kenneth L. Heyward, MHA - US Army Signal Corps Veteran and Management Analyst with the VHA Office of Integrated Veteran Care in Washington DC
Our guest this time is Vanessa Womack who now lives in Richmond, VA. Vanessa grew up in Virginia, but moved to New York to attend college. After college she worked in the publishing world at McGraw Hill for five years. Wait until you hear what she sold for them, something that is today a relic, but I am not giving it away. Vanessa clearly had a bit of the wanderlust bug as she eventually moved to California for jobs, then moved back to New York for a brief time and eventually settled down in Richmond. In her life she has created and published several courses on DEI and Leadership. Also, she has written several books. She has worked for a number of nonprofit organizations and clearly has a passion for breaking through culture and inclusion barriers to help people realize much about themselves as well as others. About the Guest: Vanessa Womack is a facilitator in leadership, governance, DEI, soft skills, and team dynamics. As an experienced course designer, she developed the successful LinkedIn Learning course “Managing A Diverse Team” which launched in 2018 and has accumulated over 100,000 global learners. In addition to the course, Vanessa publishes a monthly newsletter entitled Pass It On, about diversity, leadership, and education on LinkedIn. She wrote the audio course on Listenable, “Practicing DEI Can Improve Organizational Culture”, launched in 2020. She completed a certificate for training from the University of South Florida – MUMA School of Business for DEI in the Workplace. She has recently taken a contract position of DEI Coordinator for the Alliance for Building Better Medicine, which is part of the Cluster Accelerator for Advanced Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturing (APRM) and Activation Capital. The APRM was launched to fast-track the development of a globally competitive essential medicines manufacturing hub across Central Virginia. The DEI Coordinator will be responsible for driving region-wide DEI strategy to support an inclusive culture for life sciences as part of the DEI plan component of the Build Back Better Regional Competition grant award from the US Economic Development Administration (EDA). Other experiences include being BoardSource Certified Governance Consultant; Lead Faculty-Area Chair in the School of Business at the University of Phoenix former local campus in Richmond, VA; coaching and facilitating career transitioning clients for future jobs and entrepreneurship; public speaker and radio show host, On Track with Vanessa Womack. Earlier in her career, after being an actual marrow donor, she became the local spokesperson in Virginia for the National Marrow Donor Program (now Be the Match) recruiting and promoting the marrow registry in Black communities. She has facilitated community dialogue through Initiatives of Change/Hope in the Cities' presentation, Unpacking 2010 Census: The Realities of Race, Class, and Jurisdiction. Vanessa earned her undergraduate degree from Baruch College (CUNY) and MBA from Averett University, (Danville, VA). She is a member of Leadership Metro Richmond (LQ 2006) in Richmond, Virginia. Vanessa has published two multicultural STEM children's books, ‘Bookie and Lil Ray: In the Game' (2021) and ‘Emerald Jones: The Fashion Designer Diva' (2020). She is the author of the novel, ‘Paint the Sky Purple' (2010) and co-author, ‘The Female CEO: Pearls, Power & Passion' (2014). About the Host: Michael Hingson is a New York Times best-selling author, international lecturer, and Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe. Michael, blind since birth, survived the 9/11 attacks with the help of his guide dog Roselle. This story is the subject of his best-selling book, Thunder Dog. Michael gives over 100 presentations around the world each year speaking to influential groups such as Exxon Mobile, AT&T, Federal Express, Scripps College, Rutgers University, Children's Hospital, and the American Red Cross just to name a few. He is Ambassador for the National Braille Literacy Campaign for the National Federation of the Blind and also serves as Ambassador for the American Humane Association's 2012 Hero Dog Awards. https://michaelhingson.com https://www.facebook.com/michael.hingson.author.speaker/ https://twitter.com/mhingson https://www.youtube.com/user/mhingson https://www.linkedin.com/in/michaelhingson/ accessiBe Links https://accessibe.com/ https://www.youtube.com/c/accessiBe https://www.linkedin.com/company/accessibe/mycompany/ https://www.facebook.com/accessibe/ Thanks for listening! Thanks so much for listening to our podcast! If you enjoyed this episode and think that others could benefit from listening, please share it using the social media buttons on this page. Do you have some feedback or questions about this episode? Leave a comment in the section below! Subscribe to the podcast If you would like to get automatic updates of new podcast episodes, you can subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher. You can also subscribe in your favorite podcast app. Leave us an Apple Podcasts review Ratings and reviews from our listeners are extremely valuable to us and greatly appreciated. They help our podcast rank higher on Apple Podcasts, which exposes our show to more awesome listeners like you. If you have a minute, please leave an honest review on Apple Podcasts. Transcription Notes Michael Hingson 00:00 Access Cast and accessiBe Initiative presents Unstoppable Mindset. The podcast where inclusion, diversity and the unexpected meet. Hi, I'm Michael Hingson, Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe and the author of the number one New York Times bestselling book, Thunder dog, the story of a blind man, his guide dog and the triumph of trust. Thanks for joining me on my podcast as we explore our own blinding fears of inclusion unacceptance and our resistance to change. We will discover the idea that no matter the situation, or the people we encounter, our own fears, and prejudices often are our strongest barriers to moving forward. The unstoppable mindset podcast is sponsored by accessiBe, that's a c c e s s i capital B e. Visit www.accessibe.com to learn how you can make your website accessible for persons with disabilities. And to help make the internet fully inclusive by the year 2025. Glad you dropped by we're happy to meet you and to have you here with us. Michael Hingson 01:21 Welcome to another edition of unstoppable mindset mindset. If I could talk I'd be in wonderful shape. Please forgive me. Today, we get to meet Vanessa Womack, who is a facilitator and leadership, governance, diversity, equity and encourage inclusion and a lot of other kinds of things. And I don't want to give it all away because she's going to be able to tell her story much better than I do. Isn't that usually the way of it? Vanessa, thanks very much for being here. And welcome to unstoppable mindset. Vanessa Womack 01:50 Well, thanks, Michael, for this opportunity to be here. And now we tried this once but, you know, technical glitches happen. So we're doing it again. Good to see you. Michael Hingson 02:01 Well, it's good to see you. And yeah, technology happens. And so we do what we do, but glad we're here. So, lots to get to of course, but I'd like to start as usual. Tell me a little bit about you growing up and kind of where you came from, and all that kind of stuff. Vanessa Womack 02:17 And okay, well, let's see now. I grew up the in the Commonwealth of Virginia, in a small city called Danville, Virginia. Where I grew up in a household I was, well, if you look at the, I guess the placement, I am the middle girl or middles girl of three, and I have a brother so and household with mom and dad, pretty typical, and not poor neighborhood. But we had such great values, Christian values, and we were very active in the community, finish high school there. And then started my first year at an HBCU, Tennessee State University. But I became what can I say? Not bored but adventurous and moved to New York City to finish my education at CUNY City University in New York Baruch College, and began my career mostly at corporate New York. My first job in New York was at McGraw Hill publishing company. And after that, I had many other jobs. Say, if you want to ask me about those pretty adventuresome. Michael Hingson 03:54 Yeah, you've been involved in a lot of different things. Needless to say, well, so you said you started with McGraw Hill. What did you do there? Vanessa Womack 04:02 I was in the classified not to give my age away. But yes, I am a. We've talked Michael Hingson 04:09 about this before he asked Vanessa Womack 04:10 me did I am a boomer. But I started in classified advertising in the early mid 70s, mid 70s, where I did the clippings for some of the magazines like chemical engineering business week. And I did that for a couple of years and then promoted to public affairs where I actually was the editor of the McGraw Hill directory, the worldwide directory, putting that together and even had opportunities to conduct tours in Rockefeller Center. When I was in public affairs, I would do tours for groups that would come in To visit McGraw Hill and the surrounding buildings, take them through the tunnels at Radio City Music Hall. Oh, yes. And one of the groups I remember either educators or students or even some on foreign visitors. There was even a group I hate to say that now I'm not going to hate to say it, but from Russia. So it was exciting to do that. And after that, I was at Saks Fifth Avenue. I even worked at the NFL and water publisher services. Michael Hingson 05:43 So where you were in New York, did you ever eat at Hurley saloon? Vanessa Womack 05:50 Yes, I think we talked about that. Yeah, yes. I think I had a drink there. Michael Hingson 05:57 I'll never, I'll never forget one of the stories that I heard about Hurley's. They leased the Hurley brothers leased the building in the 1890s. And they had 100 year lease. And then when Rockefeller Center was being built, they wanted to buy out Hurley's and her least didn't want to sell. And that's why there's this little four story building on one corner of all of that, but all of the reporters like the NBC reporters who worked in, dealt through Rockefeller Center and BC, would go down there and somehow they connected a phone line and a phone from the newsrooms to a phone behind the bar at Hurley's and so they could be down at the bar and then come A call came in then somebody would get the reporters or whatever, and they get the calls and go to what they needed to do. But they could spend their time in hurleys. Ah, people are creative. Vanessa Womack 06:56 Yes, yes, we are. Michael Hingson 06:59 Well, and we talked, and we talked about, of course, talking about classifies I mentioned Conde Nast. And you know, again, another one where it was all about classifieds. And you know, whether it's called classifieds or something else. The fact is that people are still selling advertising today. Vanessa Womack 07:16 Oh, yes. That's why I say I'm pretty old school, I remember. And there were, and there's old fashioned fax machines, where we were communicate between the McGraw Hill offices, for instance, between New York and Philadelphia. So but, you know, we've come a long way in technology. Michael Hingson 07:39 Yeah. Now we also have this thing about audiobooks, which course I'm very precious about unlike and I'm glad that most of the major publishers are doing a lot more with that. And it's all electronic. So it's a lot easier to create, and not store so much stuff, because it's now all audio oriented, or even print books are oftentimes electronically oriented as well as print, but I think that there's rightly so a group of people and it's still a very large group that likes to hold a book of their hand and reprint and there's a lot of value to that no matter what someone says a Kindle isn't quite the same as a book. Vanessa Womack 08:16 That's, that's true, but it's fortunate that we have those options. Michael Hingson 08:23 Yeah, well and being blind, a Braille device that can have on nonpermanent or refreshable Braille display and you can put a book file on it is still not the same as reading it with paper. But either way, reading is reading and it's still a wonderful thing that we all get to be able to do. Vanessa Womack 08:42 And I've enjoyed reading ever since I was a young child in elementary school. In fact, one of my I guess, what do you call it nicknames? Was said a bookworm? Michael Hingson 09:00 That's pretty cool. Vanessa Womack 09:01 Yes, because I always said I liked. I enjoyed getting lost in the in the novels in the book service read. Yeah. Michael Hingson 09:10 Yeah. And I still do today. And what did you want to be when you were growing up? Vanessa Womack 09:16 Well, I wanted to be a court stenographer. Because of the business classes I had in high school. I wanted to be a court stenographer, but at one point, I also want to be an FBI agent. However, I was told either by the teachers that I was not the right color or was also a little girl or female, that I couldn't. I would not be accepted in something like an FBI. So my mother encouraged me to go into business. And I took shorthand all the required business courses in high school and I took shorthand. And I thought, wow, court stenographer would be cool. But then my mom said, No, you need to go to college. So I did continue to take shorthand or practice it for a little while. And I thought was pretty cool. But I went to Tennessee State University for my freshman year and started my, I guess, my curriculum into business management or a bachelor's in Business Administration. Michael Hingson 10:40 Who influenced you most? Do you think while you're growing up and so on, would it be your mom? Or is there another person who stood out even more? Vanessa Womack 10:48 I think my mom course might my dad too. But my mom was, she was pretty straightforward. very conscientious about her children being better or being better. And succeeding in life. So she encouraged all of us. And I was very much influenced by her to continue my education. I mean, I was I was smart. But I mean, I didn't know some things came better to me, like writing, which I enjoyed doing. And I enjoyed writing. And I still do I wish I had embarked on writing stories at earlier in life, so. But yes, my mother was a great influencer. And we are also I'm also from a family of faith. So I always have to give, give my God all the glory, and they can for bringing us all so far. Michael Hingson 12:00 Yep, that's, of course, extremely important to do and makes makes not only a lot of sense, but the reality is God is with us and in us and all around us. And more of us ought to recognize that. But you know, what, what can you do? That's an individual choice. Vanessa Womack 12:19 Yes. And it's very sustaining. And it gives me and so many who are faithful hope, especially in these such troubling times. Michael Hingson 12:30 Yeah. And a lot of ways my wife passed away in November. And Vanessa Womack 12:37 I'm so sorry to hear that, because I remember she was there before going. Yeah, we tried this. Yes. Sorry to hear for sorry, for your loss. Well, her body Michael Hingson 12:47 was just not keeping up as to 2020 22 went along. And as I tell people, the body doesn't always keep up with the Spirit. But the other side of it is she's still around here. And, and I know if I misbehave, I'm going to hear about it. Yeah, you got to keep on the straight and narrow somehow, which is fine. Vanessa Womack 13:09 And it's important to keep those who have left this are the ones we've loved, near and dear to us, because they are and will always be a part of us. Michael Hingson 13:19 Well, I'm, as I tell people, you don't move on from 40 years of marriage, but you move forward. And I think the difference is if you talk about moving on, and you're going to leave it behind and forget it. And that is something that I will not allow myself to ever do and shouldn't Vanessa Womack 13:34 be very good at. I agree. Michael Hingson 13:37 So what was growing up like in the South for you in terms of how did that affect or have any influence on what you've done and what you do with your life? Was the south an influence for you? Vanessa Womack 13:51 Well, I had no choice to grow up where I was. Michael Hingson 13:54 Yet South Korea course. Vanessa Womack 13:57 I and it was a good childhood. It was full of fun. sene interesting things like being outside now is I don't know if children get out and play like we did growing up. It was so free willing and and we could explore neighborhoods, we could go into the woods and pick blackberries. Bring them home and mom would make blackberry cobbler and we went to an elementary middle and high schools that were very, you know, they welcome in that especially in elementary was segregated and a segregated school but the teachers and the administration were so nurturing and then in middle school, or what we call back then Junior High in your head. Yes. Michael Hingson 14:55 I always remember that. Oh, school. None at all. All Vanessa Womack 15:00 Oh, yes, I still have a young mine and but back then it was at the beginning of the integration. And I walked to school. I mean, we had maybe one school bus. It wasn't consistent on throughout the school year, but I walked to school, like all my other classmates from my segregated neighborhood. And, you know, I was a good student. There were some challenges. I remember when Martin Luther King died in a white classmate had some very awful things to say. And that resonated with me. I was like, This is not right. And, but this is how it is. And that was the awful thing about is like, you know, that's just, that was just a word we grew up in. And high school, I excel and became very active with some of the student groups. Even with the marching band, I was didn't play an instrument, I was one of the I guess you call a major nature it Yeah, majorettes. But I was very active. And my friends were black and white and Asian. So you, one becomes, you live in that world, and you say this, this is, this is who I am in this world. But how can I be effective? How can I make change and make a change meant to make friends and understand them and have them understand me, but it's it was, it was a good time. Yet, it was transformative for me in such a way that it prepares me little prepares us for what we have to deal with what was still dealing with, when it comes to, I guess, diversity and being inclusive and accepting one another. When someone asked, I think you would ask me, What makes me qualified to be a Dei, a consultant is that I live the life. It's the Skin I Live In. It's, it's the world in which we live in and having a voice to affect change. It's so critical. Michael Hingson 17:46 Well, it is and I love so many things about what you just been saying. I am always amazed at my own experiences, and they really coincide with yours. Somebody made some comment when we were much younger, and it stuck with us and sticks with us or somebody observed something where we were taught something, and how, especially as younger people, when we're searching, and we hear something that really sticks with us. We we don't forget it. And it's unfortunate that somebody said something extremely negative about Martin Luther King, but at the same time, I think history has demonstrated the kind of person he was and the character that he had. But it is it is very true that history is history is. And I think it's so important. We don't forget that. You know, I collect old radio shows as a hobby. And I'm fascinated by the people who want to, for example, Ban Amos and Andy from radio collections. And they want to ban one thing or another and they say well, that's not who we are. It is what we were. And there are other parts about it. Like I wrote one of the authorities on Amos and Andy once a email. Because when I was growing up, I actually first listened to a miss an ad on television. I had absolutely no idea that they were black. And one day Amis nanny was no longer around on TV. And it was years later that I found out that they were taken off here because people didn't like the depiction of black people that Amos and Andy represented and while I appreciated that and and understand it, it is still what we were at the time. But then when I learned about that, and I went back and listen to old radio shows, mostly I didn't hear overt references to being black. Oh yes, there were the accents and so on. But I never heard the really overt references. So I emailed this authority, and I said, so I don't hear a lot of references to Amos and Andy on the radio being black. And she wrote back and she said, Well, when the show first started, and they came to New York, and one of the first questions, they asked us where to the dark people live. And she said, there were some references. But by 1937, references to color had completely gone away. And the reality is, it was a show that everyone listened to and love because of the quality of the humor, it had nothing to do, really with race, unless you allowed it to be. And so we really need to keep our history, because it teaches us so much. Vanessa Womack 20:43 And I couldn't agree with you more, because it is knowing that history, which is critical for us now, if you don't know history, you're doomed to repeat it. But I listened to Amos. I listen to this show on the radio when I was little. And it just it fascinated me to know that there were people, people of color negros, who were actually acting, and I thought that was very significant as a young, very young child to hear that. And then to see, as I was growing up in the 60s, we had black and white television, but to see some of those shows like Julia and some black actors who were on some of the sitcoms and also like, Maddix, gosh, to see actors get involved, it was very important. And then to know how far we've come now, because we, as a black and brown people, we want to we've advanced so much, and we want to we're so capable, we have done so much. And we have been influenced and we've been encouraged to do even more now, which is exciting. Michael Hingson 22:18 One of my favorite TV shows growing up was room 222. Do you remember that? Well, yes, I do. Yeah, that's never any reference to race on that show. And it was a show again, that that provided good entertainment. If you chose to focus on skin color, then you did, but the reality is that wasn't really any thing that was referenced in the in the show at all. Vanessa Womack 22:50 Yeah, the focus is on you. Yes, your students then yeah. And relating to each other, helping each other that was that was the that should always should be the focus. And so anyway, it's it's disheartening now to read about books being banned, or talking about wokeness, which is just, you know, I don't want to say silly, but it is ridiculous, athletic. If you take a word like that, and you just make it sound so horrible. If you're not woke, then you must be asleep. You need to know what's going on in the world, you need to be aware and that's really what it's all about being aware of how our society has disenfranchise so many people to the point where they can lead the racism and discrimination continues. And we should be well beyond that as a society as a as a country and not to go backwards but to go forward to and to embrace and each other is who we are. Anyway, I've try not to get on my soapbox, no, Michael Hingson 24:12 it's okay. And we should I one of my favorite books, and I think we've talked about it before is To Kill a Mockingbird or corpse which really is as dramatic a demonstration of how people were treated simply because of skin color, and the explorations of scout and learning about it. And, and of course, her father, then the movie, Gregory Peck, who did such a powerful job of dealing with that. how anyone could consider banning that book it. It makes me think that most of the people who want to do that are listening to someone and have never read the book and certainly have never processed it. Vanessa Womack 24:55 Yes, I think those those folks who are a I think are living in fear of just afraid and afraid to knowing the truth. Michael Hingson 25:09 Yeah, and that fear manifests itself in so many ways. And it is true that there's a lot of fear. And there are so many people who still get away with things. And hopefully one of these days we can see reality kick in, and that the whole issue be addressed. And it isn't just race. The one of the things about unstoppable mindset as a podcast as the tagline says, We're inclusion, diversity in the unexpected meet. I worded that way because diversity has decided not to include disabilities in any way. Whereas inclusion, either you are going to truly be inclusive, or you're not inclusive, and you can't be inclusive. If you don't include disabilities. Well, we're partially inclusive, we don't, we don't pray, we're not prejudices against race. But disabilities, you can't leave out if you're going to be inclusive. And so it's it is a different animal. And it's why I emphasize inclusion first. And the other part about it is societally speaking, technically speaking, and realistically speaking, everyone has a disability. And we've talked about at some on unstoppable mindset, one of the disabilities for most people is your light dependent, you don't do well, if there isn't a light on, and Thomas Edison and creating the light switch has invented a way for you to cover up the disability. But make no mistake, it's there. And in reality, we we all have challenges. I was at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel around the time of the Oscars, and I checked in and my niece nephew and I were there and we dropped our luggage off in room and then we went downstairs, all of a sudden, people started screaming, and I said what's going on? Turns out we had a power failure not only in the hotel, but in the blocks around it. And, of course, some of us said it was all Jimmy Kimmel's fault, because he's the host of the Oscars. This was the day before the Oscars. But but the reality is people didn't know what to do with lighthouse. And just so many people had such a challenge didn't bother me a bit. We all have challenges. And we should recognize that just because some challenges and some people's challenges are different than ours doesn't make them less than us. Vanessa Womack 27:29 And I agree, and sometimes by instance said, we become so accustomed to things that or the way we live, or we just don't understand how not having a disability or light or being able to maneuver out of a walk without the assistance of crutches or a wheelchair, we, we need to understand that. This is not something that people can not live with. We have to and we have to embrace those who may not be able to do the same things you are or I could do. And that needs to be in that word inclusive that needs to be recognized with organizations who say that yes, we are inclusive. But then you may ask, do you have? Do you provide accessibility on your website? Do you provide accessibility in your stairways in your office environments? And it doesn't always, of course, have to be a physical disability. It could be autism, it could be some other neurodiversity. Yeah, yes. And you don't visibly see that. So some people will just make assumptions that Oh, you're okay. There's nothing wrong with you. Michael Hingson 29:18 And and then of course, we have the most significantly group of our significant group of people with disabilities at all, and that's politicians, but their disability is self imposed. Oh, they're fun to pick on though. Vanessa Womack 29:33 Yeah, yeah. Pick on them anytime you want. Yeah. Michael Hingson 29:37 But I'm an equal opportunity abuser you notice on me? Yes, Vanessa Womack 29:39 I am. And say that to my to my students on an equal opportunity picker Michael Hingson 29:43 honor. Many of them were born into it, and they've been losing ground as ever since as Fred Allen, the old radio comedian used to say, but that's true of a lot of people these days, but you know what it is, what do you do? Have you had any real significant event So stand out in your life that have changed you or really have affected you. Vanessa Womack 30:06 And I always said, besides be becoming a mother, that will do it. Definitely. There was an opportunity. And I had an opportunity I did, I was a bone marrow donor and saved the life of a little girl spin over 30 years ago. And Katrina's her name, or was her name. She had been diagnosed with leukemia. And the National Marrow Donor Program at the time it was called now it's called Be The Match. Yeah, had numerous campaigns, bone marrow recruitment campaigns in the Washington DC area, putting particularly focus on a teenager who a black teenager, little girl Well, young woman who needed a bone marrow transplant, and no one in her family matched and it became a national campaign to save Joanne. So many people came out from churches, community groups, businesses, to just give a tube of blood or to get into registry. And all of that happened during a time where I had just been married for I don't even know if I was married, we were married a couple of years, a few years, and trying to have half a baby. But I submitted that blood sample for just to go in the registry. And lo and behold, a month or two later, I was called to as a preliminary match for another child, somewhere in the United States, went through all the required follow up tests and became the match for Katrina. And that was in 1991. And during the time that I was being prepped for the bone marrow extraction. Katrina was at the at the time, I didn't know but she was on the other side of the country in Washington, Seattle, Washington, the prepped, removing all of her disease, bone marrow, and I was being prepped to have a my bone marrow are harvested. And during the time that I was they were doing tests in a hospital and I guess I have to give it away it was in Reader's Digest. So story and Reader's Digest. One of the blood tests for me came back that I was pregnant. very ill, and I was, and they said, you can't donate narrow because the test says you're positive for pregnancy. And I said, I am not pregnant. And they said, you have to decide. I mean, I I couldn't stop the process because Katrina was already at death's door. So anyway, I said, I am not changing my mind. I'm going to do this. And you can test me again tomorrow morning before the harvest starts. And they tested again, it was negative. So that whole experience of becoming a bone marrow donor and then having the fear Well, I wasn't fearful. I knew I wasn't pregnant. To go through with it. Regardless of that test result to say Katrina's life, and that's what happened, she survived almost 19 years after that donation and miracle of all miracles, she had a little girl which according to you know, medical statistics once you are you go through a bone marrow transplant you you you lose the ability for fertilization, having children, but she did she had a miracle baby that changed my life. Michael Hingson 34:34 Why? Why is it that being pregnant is a problem? Do you know? Well, Vanessa Womack 34:42 the actual harvest standing of the marrow at the time and this was the nut through a stem extract stem cells, but it was through the iliac crest crest the lower back. I think harvesting the bone marrow may have impacted the, the the fetus if there had been. So I don't know how but they said it would it would be dangerous and they would not or could not do it if I was pregnant, but I really knew I was not pregnant. Michael Hingson 35:19 But I gather you're saying that today it's different. And well, today they are you doing stem cells? And so yeah, different. Yeah. So Vanessa Womack 35:28 I think it'd be different today. The process is dance since that time, and actually was a poster child for the bone marrow procreate? Michael Hingson 35:40 Well, and you had children since then? Vanessa Womack 35:42 Yes, I did. There you go. Yes. And they are adult children. Wonderful, wonderful children, one of each. Michael Hingson 35:51 And they are probably as Mark Twain would say, so surprised at how much you've learned as they grew up. Vanessa Womack 35:58 Then they might say he probably didn't learn enough. Michael Hingson 36:01 It's possible to Vanessa Womack 36:03 Yes. Yeah. They're they're very. They're wonderful adult kids. Michael Hingson 36:10 That is really great that you have been able to go through that experience. And obviously, it sticks with you. And it certainly takes courage to be a bone marrow, well, transfer person? Vanessa Womack 36:25 Well, it did, it did. And that was something that happened well over 30 years ago. But I also had a new one, I want to say probably a more recent or relevant experience. And that relates to my current career as a LinkedIn learning instructor, when I did the course managing a diverse team. And to me, that was a professional career highlight. Michael Hingson 36:58 Tell us about that, if you would, please. Vanessa Womack 37:01 Sure the the course is managing a diverse team. And it is on the LinkedIn learning platform. It was recorded back in 2017, and released in 2018. Now it is in along with English in nine languages, which is kind of exciting to see so many global learners who respond that they've taken the course on the LinkedIn platform. And as you can imagine managing a diverse team, it talks about how, you know, team management and being inclusive in embracing the team members, given them opportunities to become voices, functional team members, and how to deal with the conflict, too. And how to deal deal with some precede disagreements that might be discriminatory or an ad, and are racists and how do you work with people who might have different opinions, but I think there are some lessons learned in the course that gives the learners the audience some good information and how to deal with certain situations on the team, how to embrace diversity, how to celebrate diversity, and how to deal with culture in, in the in the organization. So it's called Managing a diverse team. And it's been on the platform now for five, almost five years. Michael Hingson 38:56 So what is your career today? And where do you work? Or do you focus mainly on the LinkedIn course or what? 39:03 Oh, no, that said, I, it's it's great that people did still take the course but professionally, I navigate in the space of leadership, DEIA, or on the leadership side, I do facilitation consulting for boards of directors in that space and roles and responsibilities, helping them understand what that is and how to work strategically with each other and in the governance. area, and then with the DEIA have been operating or doing consulting work in an exciting industry. that is growing and developing in this region of Virginia, Richmond Petersburg region, which is the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry. And there are a cluster of businesses and educational institutions and biotech and biosciences organizations that are building that pharma industry here to make medicines more affordable, and to have that production in the United States, as opposed to outside the United States. Michael Hingson 40:45 So you have your own company, or do you work for another company? Vanessa Womack 40:49 Yeah, I have, I'm a small independent, I call myself a solopreneur. Michael Hingson 40:56 There he goes. Vanessa Womack 40:59 However, over the last two, three years, I've keep telling myself I need to hire someone, indeed, I do. Not to put a ton of spin on that, but Michael Hingson 41:12 I get it. You do need Vanessa Womack 41:18 to grow this solopreneur into more of a bonafide small business by hiring at least part time person to help grow the business. And that that is something I will be focusing on in the next several months to the next couple of years, just growing that part of the business to expand the services of whether it's the governance piece or the diversity piece, beyond the pharma manufacturing industry, in the pharma manufacturing industry, the cluster that's growing here in the Richmond Petersburg area, it is very important to in be inclusive in how we grow that industry to include communities of color, black and brown communities, communities that have been traditionally underrepresented in business growth and development. And that is going to be very important to provide that these in companies that are here, and those that come here, we hope to grow the region by bringing in more companies, that those companies would be diverse in their vendors and to create jobs that help these communities for employment, and to become more trained to build pathways into the jobs that would come at it the growth of the pharma manufacturing industry here. Michael Hingson 43:10 How did you get involved in doing pharma kinds of things specifically? Vanessa Womack 43:14 Well, let's be clear. I'm not in the menu. Right. Right. Right, however, but Michael Hingson 43:21 how did you get involved with them as clients specifically? I'm just curious, Vanessa Womack 43:25 I'll tell you, it was a heck I have to say it was a godson after I was separated from my full time job in 2021 thing, timing is everything. Yeah. It was time for me to start to look at growing my small gig, consulting solopreneur business. So I was putting out resumes responding to opportunities to bring in more income, and was approached or actually selected by this company called activation capital. And I am very grateful for them, because the President CEO of that organization, said, you know, interviewed me and follow up interview and offered me the consulting contract for the DEI a portion to grow that industry in this area. So it's basically a startup with the Alliance for building better medicine to make medicine more affordable and to make medicine here in the United States. Michael Hingson 44:48 And you've been doing it ever since. Vanessa Womack 44:51 Yes, it's been about a little over a year about a year that I've been doing the consulting work that I do have I've had other clients, particularly in the governance world, where I have the utmost for year have done some board a we called huddles, meet with the group in Kentucky. So it's nice to have out of state clients. And that was that worked out really well and hope to continue to grow in that aspect too. Michael Hingson 45:31 Are you going to overtime update the LinkedIn course? Or do you think it won't need it? Or is it pretty evergreen the way it is? Vanessa Womack 45:39 It's pretty Evergreen. And I say that because LinkedIn, they they own the course. And they can they recently updated it. And as I had mentioned, it's in different languages. So they have translated into so many languages, Spanish, German, Polish, Italian. Michael Hingson 46:06 And you had to learn all those languages to run right guys. That is a really cool though, that that it's appeared in so many languages. Well, you know, I know that you also are an author. Tell me about that. Vanessa Womack 46:21 Oh, my gosh, yes. And let's see my first book, my first novel, I should say, is a combination romance novel and a me what do you call it the growing up in your head? So one who is about a young woman who, who left Hall seven state to move to New York and really try to find her career? Sounds like everybody we've been talking. Yeah. So I'll I did use a lot of my imagination, which made the whole process of writing so exciting. Literary license, yes. And that first book is called a paint the sky purple paper, Sky purple. And I had a writing coach at the time. And she said, Vanessa, you're my first writing author client at the time, and I wrote the book and seven months, she said, I can't believe you did seven months. That was only because I had a little more time and I was excited. And every weekend I would keep writing, keep writing. Anyway. That was my first novel, and I'm still trying to write this second one. But I did publish two children's books on stem. The first one is Emerald Jones, the fashion designer diva, and Emerald downs ECERS. The children's books are for grades three, through five for ages eight to 12. To encourage students and teachers to really promote STEM science, technology, engineering, math and steam art in the classroom. The Emerald Jones is about a little girl who wanted to become a fashion designer, but she wants to quit school. However, she was very good in math. And she was encouraged by her principal and teachers not to think about quitting school, but to advance her math skills. And she did. The other one. The other one is bookie, and little array in the game. And bookie and little array are rivals in school. However they find that they have something in common. They both like designing games or wanted to be a computer game designers. So there's the technology, the engineer and the math skills that require that. So they bonded after some rivalry and became well at the end of the book. They become partners in a successful gaming business. Michael Hingson 49:37 Cool. What's your next book project going to be then? Vanessa Womack 49:42 Well, I have been toying around with it with a couple of different ideas. I have one that has been sitting in the computer for the last several years, about to two friends who have been friends since early high school, and they have a disagreement. But they come back together in their adult years and doing a very chaotic disaster, so to speak, where one is trapped in a building, and the other one's nearby to help her. And then they go on an adventure, not to give away most of the plot and they are there on an adventure to save not only family members, but save a company from really poisoning. It's its clients and it had to do with a medical procedure or a a invention that goes wrong. And anyway, well, that Michael Hingson 51:04 well, you'll have to let us know when it comes out so that we can definitely put it up on unstoppable mindset. So what what's next for you? What, what are your plans going forward? Vanessa Womack 51:15 Well, I I am working on it, as I said to grow, Vanessa Womack, consulting LLC, that is really what I need to do to as we say the business scale up. And there's another I guess I can call it a startup called broaden your board that would match boards, board of directors with people of color, or diverse to be more inclusive, to bring diverse candidates. That would be a good fit for their board to be, I guess, a match, bring the matches to them? Michael Hingson 52:06 Well, I hope as you go forward, maybe in addition to color, and so on, you can think about disabilities and so on as being an option of of different Oh, Vanessa Womack 52:16 absolutely. At boards. Absolutely. And when, when we're, when we want to be inclusive, all that would be part of the, you know, the opportunity to find candidates, that would be a good tip for these boards. Michael Hingson 52:33 Well, that definitely is a cool thing. And it sounds exciting, and I'm anxious to hear more about it as it grows, as well as when that new book comes out, let us know. And we'll, we'll make it well, we'll have to have you back on Savile bind to talk about all that is as we go forward. But it is definitely exciting. And I'm really glad that we were able to, to spend the time and redo this. And I know you have to leave pretty soon. So we'll go ahead and thank you for being here. And for all the things that we had to say any kind of last words of wisdom you want to tell to people before we end this. Vanessa Womack 53:14 Now, I want to thank you again for the opportunity to be on the broadcast. And for those who have been or those who will be it's a nice conversation to have to talk about the things that are, you know, life changing, or the important things in life to be in encouraging to, to have the opportunity to share different ideas. It is so important to have that connection. So thank you so much. I appreciate it. And when the book does come out, I'll let you know Michael Hingson 53:53 you should that will be great. How do people reach out to you if they want to maybe engage your services or learn more about what you do? Vanessa Womack 54:02 Now, there's my website, Vanessa womack.com. Very easy to remember. Can you spell please V A N E S S A W O M A C K.com They are so so the LinkedIn you can always reach out to me at LinkedIn. You can find me at the Vanessa Womack on LinkedIn or look for the course managing a diverse team. I'll also want to put up put a plug there that right now it's free. So if you want to take manage a diverse team, it's free for just a little bit longer. I can't say how much longer but you can go on and search for it and take it Michael Hingson 54:53 well thank you very much for being here with us and for all the interesting things the fun things that we've had a chance to talk about and definitely you got to come back on again, when you've got books and other things all set to talk about, we would love to have you be back on here with us again, and I want to thank you for listening to us. You can reach out to Vanessa, we would love that. And you can certainly reach out to me, I want to know what you think about our podcast today. Please email me at Michaelhi M I C H A E L H I as accessibe A C C E S S I B E.com. Or you can visit www dot Michael hingson.com. And click on podcasts and go there and listen to more episodes of unstoppable mindset. Or you can find them wherever you find any kind of podcast. So iTunes and Spotify and I heart and all those other kinds of places. We really appreciate you taking the time and we do want to hear from you. We want to hear your thoughts, your comments on this or any of our podcasts. And of course if you know anyone in Vanessa as well if you know anyone who might be a good guest to come on and stop by and said please let us know. We'd love to hear from you about that. And once more. Vanessa, thanks very much for being here with us today. And let's do it again soon. Vanessa Womack 56:14 Okay, very good. You take care and everybody else please take care out there. Michael Hingson 56:24 You have been listening to the Unstoppable Mindset podcast. Thanks for dropping by. I hope that you'll join us again next week, and in future weeks for upcoming episodes. To subscribe to our podcast and to learn about upcoming episodes, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com slash podcast. Michael Hingson is spelled m i c h a e l h i n g s o n. While you're on the site., please use the form there to recommend people who we ought to interview in upcoming editions of the show. And also, we ask you and urge you to invite your friends to join us in the future. If you know of any one or any organization needing a speaker for an event, please email me at speaker at Michael hingson.com. I appreciate it very much. To learn more about the concept of blinded by fear, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com forward slash blinded by fear and while you're there, feel free to pick up a copy of my free eBook entitled blinded by fear. The unstoppable mindset podcast is provided by access cast an initiative of accessiBe and is sponsored by accessiBe. Please visit www.accessibe.com. accessiBe is spelled a c c e s s i b e. There you can learn all about how you can make your website inclusive for all persons with disabilities and how you can help make the internet fully inclusive by 2025. Thanks again for listening. Please come back and visit us again next week.
Joe Madison talks about the critical need for swimming lessons in the Black community and shares a story about when he almost drowned.Get swimming safety tips and find a class from the American Red Cross here: https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/water-safety/swim-safety.html
The Situation with Michael Brown
The FBI botches a training exercise inside a Boston hotel, actually arresting a guest by mistake. And the Department of Defense Army's Special Ops was involved. What the hell is going on? The ASPCA is not saving animals. Woke corporate America is losing shareholder value. And where the heck is that Nashville Manifesto?
Northside Hospital has donated $50,000 to Gwinnett County to help train lifeguards with American Red Cross resources and materials. Gwinnett Parks and Recreation is one of the largest providers of lifeguard training in the state and trains all lifeguards in-house using American Red Cross materials. The donation will help cover the cost of leadership and safety training and fund additional training in cultural competency. The county's outdoor pools will open on May 27, and lifeguards will receive starting pay of $16.50, while the entry pay for senior-level lifeguard II positions is $18.50. Gwinnett County pools and aquatic centers receive around 540,000 visitors annually, and lifeguards are tasked with ensuring their safety. The Stone Mountain Chorus, a vocal music group specializing in acapella singing, is holding a special concert on May 13 at Mountain Park United Methodist Church. The “Sounds of Spring” performance will showcase the chorus' repertoire of popular barber shop quartet music. The event will introduce new choral director Justin Han, and will feature a mixed ensemble called “Harmony Expressions”. The group, created by Kathy Stone, will allow men and women singers from various Atlanta choruses to perform together. Stone Mountain Chorus is a Greater Atlanta Chapter of the Barber Shop Harmony Society, and donates a portion of proceeds to FOCUS. Grayson senior Brady Daniels signed recently with the Middle Tennessee State University men's track and field program. Daniels won this season's Region 4-AAAAAAA championship in the 400 in 48.00 seconds, and was fifth in the 200 in 21.98. He also was second at county in the 400 and sixth in the 100. Middle Tennessee State is a division one program in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. The Blue Raiders compete in Conference USA. For more information be sure to visit www.bgpodcastnetwork.com https://www.lawrencevillega.org/ https://www.foxtheatre.org/ https://guideinc.org/ https://www.psponline.com/ https://www.kiamallofga.com/ https://www.milb.com/gwinnett https://www.fernbankmuseum.org/ www.atlantagladiators.com See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Northside Hospital has donated $50,000 to Gwinnett County to help train lifeguards with American Red Cross resources and materials. Gwinnett Parks and Recreation is one of the largest providers of lifeguard training in the state and trains all lifeguards in-house using American Red Cross materials. The donation will help cover the cost of leadership and safety training and fund additional training in cultural competency. The county's outdoor pools will open on May 27, and lifeguards will receive starting pay of $16.50, while the entry pay for senior-level lifeguard II positions is $18.50. Gwinnett County pools and aquatic centers receive around 540,000 visitors annually, and lifeguards are tasked with ensuring their safety. #CobbCounty #Georgia #LocalNews - - - - - The Marietta Daily Journal Podcast is local news for Marietta, Kennesaw, Smyrna, and all of Cobb County. Subscribe today, so you don't miss an episode! MDJOnline Register Here for your essential digital news. https://www.chattahoocheetech.edu/ https://cuofga.org/ https://www.esogrepair.com/ https://www.drakerealty.com/ Find additional episodes of the MDJ Podcast here. This Podcast was produced and published for the Marietta Daily Journal and MDJ Online by BG Ad Group For more information be sure to visit https://www.bgpodcastnetwork.com See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Ross W. Lilley grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from New York University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics. Later he received his Masteries in Divinity from Andover Newton Theological School. He moved to Massachusetts to accept the Senior minister role at South Acton Congregational Church for nearly 20 years. However, he was always feeling a different call. Ross grew up with an interest in persons with disabilities and always felt and saw around him the lack of understand and discrimination these people experienced. When he graduated high school in New Jersey he took up the sport of windsurfing. While serving in his ministerial role, Ross began think about and eventually forming AdccesSport America, a company to help teach windsurfing and other sports to persons with disability. When his son was born with a disability Ross felt that he was destoned to help his son and others through his dream. In 2001 Ross left the church and officially took on the full-time position of leading his company. Now, he works with thousands of persons with disability teaching them a number of sports and showing them that no matter their disability they can do more than they thought. He and his staff teaches soccer, tennis, baseball, basketball and, of course, windsurfing as well as other sports. Ross' story is much more than an inspirational one. You will see how he is even developing new technologies that he hopes will greatly assist even more persons whose mobility skills are seemingly limited. You will, I think, love what Ross is doing. I hope what you hear on this episode will show you that all of us are more unstoppable than we think especially when we have a team to help. About the Guest: Rev. Ross W. Lilley grew up in Tenafly, New Jersey, graduating from high school in 1975. That same year, he began windsurfing on the Jersey shore. He graduated from New York University with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics in 1978 and Masters in Divinity from Andover Newton Theological School in 1983. He was the Senior Minister of South Acton Congregational Church for close to 20 years. In that time the seeds for founding AccesSportAmerica began to grow. In 1983, Ross began developing windsurf adaptations to make that sport more accessible. The endeavor to adapt the sport was part of a greater interest in creating places and activities to overcome disparity and discrimination in the disabled community. Since that time Ross has been adapting and teaching sports and training for people with disabilities. In 1986 the Lilley's son Joshua was born with cerebral palsy and resulting spastic quadriplegia. Although Joshua uses an electric wheelchair and can walk with assistance, Josh and Ross began windsurfing together when Josh was four years old. Eventually the two sailed in their own windsurf marathons. Because of their efforts, the Lilleys have appeared in over twenty publications and televised programs including Good Morning America, Inside Edition, The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald and American Windsurfer Ross and his family have received several awards including being a two time recipient of the Heroes Among Us Award from the Boston Celtics, honoring "people who have made an overwhelming impact on the lives of others…" and presented to individuals who, "…through their unique commitment and humanitarian spirit, have made exceptional and lasting contributions to our community". Ross is known for creating adaptations and game systems to truly include all people in sport and training. Most recently the TheraTrek, gait training system was patented after more than a decade of research and development. Rev. Ross Lilley lives in Acton, MA with his wife Jean and their son Joshua. Their daughter, Hanna, lives in Maui but still works camps and runs clinics with Ross and AccesSportAmerica. Social Media Links: Our website is www.goaccess.org Instagram is AccesSport Facebook AccesSportAmerica About the Host: Michael Hingson is a New York Times best-selling author, international lecturer, and Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe. Michael, blind since birth, survived the 9/11 attacks with the help of his guide dog Roselle. This story is the subject of his best-selling book, Thunder Dog. Michael gives over 100 presentations around the world each year speaking to influential groups such as Exxon Mobile, AT&T, Federal Express, Scripps College, Rutgers University, Children's Hospital, and the American Red Cross just to name a few. He is Ambassador for the National Braille Literacy Campaign for the National Federation of the Blind and also serves as Ambassador for the American Humane Association's 2012 Hero Dog Awards. https://michaelhingson.com https://www.facebook.com/michael.hingson.author.speaker/ https://twitter.com/mhingson https://www.youtube.com/user/mhingson https://www.linkedin.com/in/michaelhingson/ accessiBe Links https://accessibe.com/ https://www.youtube.com/c/accessiBe https://www.linkedin.com/company/accessibe/mycompany/ https://www.facebook.com/accessibe/ Thanks for listening! Thanks so much for listening to our podcast! If you enjoyed this episode and think that others could benefit from listening, please share it using the social media buttons on this page. Do you have some feedback or questions about this episode? Leave a comment in the section below! Subscribe to the podcast If you would like to get automatic updates of new podcast episodes, you can subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher. You can also subscribe in your favorite podcast app. Leave us an Apple Podcasts review Ratings and reviews from our listeners are extremely valuable to us and greatly appreciated. They help our podcast rank higher on Apple Podcasts, which exposes our show to more awesome listeners like you. If you have a minute, please leave an honest review on Apple Podcasts. Transcription Notes Michael Hingson 00:00 Access Cast and accessiBe Initiative presents Unstoppable Mindset. The podcast where inclusion, diversity and the unexpected meet. Hi, I'm Michael Hingson, Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe and the author of the number one New York Times bestselling book, Thunder dog, the story of a blind man, his guide dog and the triumph of trust. Thanks for joining me on my podcast as we explore our own blinding fears of inclusion unacceptance and our resistance to change. We will discover the idea that no matter the situation, or the people we encounter, our own fears, and prejudices often are our strongest barriers to moving forward. The unstoppable mindset podcast is sponsored by accessiBe, that's a c c e s s i capital B e. Visit www.accessibe.com to learn how you can make your website accessible for persons with disabilities. And to help make the internet fully inclusive by the year 2025. Glad you dropped by we're happy to meet you and to have you here with us. Michael Hingson 01:16 Hi there once again, it is time for another episode of unstoppable mindset today, we get to meet Ross Lilley, we're actually Reverend Ross, Lilley Ross has got a story to tell. He is not a person directly as I recall with a disability, but he has a son who is and he has had a long time interest in that. And there's a lot more to his story than that. And I'm not going to give it away. So Ross, welcome to unstoppable mindset. How are you? Ross Lilley 01:49 Thank you, Mike. Oh, great. Thank you. We are in our mid we got here just in time. Michael Hingson 01:56 Right. And I was just gonna say, if people haven't figured it out by now we record these podcasts. And sometimes there's a little bit of a delay before they get up just because we do have some backlogs. And in Ross's case, we are taping or taping my gosh, you can tell how old I am. We are recording this episode on January 23 2023. And for us the temperature got down to 26 degrees here in Victorville and you have a snowstorm. Ross Lilley 02:25 Oh my, wow. Yeah. I work with people that are all younger than me, pretty much. So I say tape all the time. We put out a lot of videos for our training sessions. And they're all wondering what to tape is. Michael Hingson 02:41 I remember when we lived in New Jersey and I worked in New York at the World Trade Center. We often and saw among other things, one or wolf on I think it was channel two in New York. And he always said let's go to the videotape. Well, they weren't videotaping back by that time. Well, let's let's learn a little bit about you tell me about you kind of growing up and just sort of how things got started and all that. Ross Lilley 03:07 Sure. I I grew up in New Jersey, and I remember Warner well. Yeah, I'm, I'm old too now. But like, let me see I was a if we're going back that far. I I always had an interest in in inclusion, I guess I would say and I used to coach and and create things where people could get involved a lot more a lot of sports stuff. I remember even growing up and always was kind of the one who was like, let's get a game going and getting people going and and so one of the sports I really loved was windsurfing. I got to do that when I was high school and I you know it's first paycheck I ever got actually was to buy a wind surfer and anyways fast forward a little bit I went to for for no good reason I went to seminary to become a minister Michael Hingson 04:06 and there must have been a reason yeah there is you Ross Lilley 04:09 when you when you go to seminary they all everybody you sit with your classmates in a circle and they all talk about their call the so called call and and in some of these stories go on and on and on and people tugging and God pulling and all that kind of stuff. And my was just, it just sort of hit me that I probably should go to everybody told me I'd be a good minister and I should go and I just somehow said okay, I gave into this process, but there was no no hit on the head kind of experience like a lot of these other folks. But anyways, my mentors all taught me that good, good religion, like good life was inclusive, and that if everybody couldn't come it wasn't maybe worth taking the ride. Michael Hingson 04:54 Since you started down that road of the whole concept of inclusion. Well Ross Lilley 05:00 I think it was just something in me and then I, in a resonated when when I had these mentors who were similarly minded, like minded and especially, you know when I could make it so some of the whole market ministry it seemed like I was in the right place. And when so ministry was going that way in at the same time, I was windsurfing, and that was kind of at odds with what I believe because it's a pretty exclusive sport. And so I, I devoted all my spare time to try and make the sport of windsurfing accessible to people of all abilities. You look like have something to say, no, no. Okay. So so I started just going up to people on the beach and saying, You look like I have a disability, you want to go windsurfing, which is really nice. No, no, no under a slapped me, but there you go, they should have. So I used to take people with kind of just will say light ambulation issues out windsurfing and figure out ways to make it more accessible. And even, I made some adaptations, which it turned out I was pretty good at and then I was my son was born in 1986 with cerebral palsy, and spastic quadriplegia tetraplegia. And he became kind of a you know, that's where the rubber would hit the road, I guess is if, if I really believe this about inclusion, I would make a choice there i My wife and I made a choice that everything that we would do, we were going to believe that he could do as well. All the things that we thought were good in our lives, we're going to make a choice that we're going to ram it down his throat that these things were going to be good for him too. So So for good or for bad. He was born into the right or wrong fam family and he became this test pilot for a lot of the things we do. And anyways, we started to to do wind surf marathons. And I found that based on the fact that I found that this sport really excited him to stand where he couldn't stand in a standard for more than 10 minutes, he could stand leaning against me. And we could go for really long distances. And some of these wind surf marathons we did he was seven, eight years old. And we're going a mile out into Cape Cod Bay and back. You know, we did one which was memorable over three hours was 10 Miles net that caught the attention of like the globe and Good Morning America and things like this. And that's how we started our program and proper. Michael Hingson 07:39 So you, you talk about inclusion. And my note here, are you using the word diversity? How come? Ross Lilley 07:49 How come I go again? Michael Hingson 07:52 You call it inclusion? And I don't hear you using the word diversity. Why inclusion and not diversity? Ross Lilley 08:00 Oh, gosh. I guess they're pretty similar to me. Is there? I don't know if there's a huge difference in my mind. Michael Hingson 08:09 Well, there shouldn't be. Yeah, but typically, diversity doesn't include disabilities in the discussion, which is why I react well to inclusion because some of us who talk about it, don't let people ever get by with saying, Well, we're in. We're inclusive, but we don't deal with disabilities yet. Well, then you're not inclusive. You can't the word just diversity has been warped, it seems to me and I've said that a number of times on the podcast. So I love it when you are using the word inclusion and inclusive because that's really what it should be about and diversity should be as well, but it's not very rarely do you ever hear disabilities is included in that? Ross Lilley 08:55 I strongly agree. Yeah, in our program, we have a lot of the when we're going for grants, a lot of people are talking about diversity and how diverse we are. And it and when they when they want that to go along racial lines or whatever I'm I'm always surprised that like we're you know, we're sort of inclusive all it just doesn't occur to me that that that would be our main criteria compared to how we're including so many people have so many abilities. So yeah, I yeah, I always think about inclusion. It's funny. Michael Hingson 09:33 So how did you end up in Massachusetts from New Jersey although it's not that far of a ride it is still another state and it's a little ways away? Ross Lilley 09:45 Wow, it's funny I figured my story so boring. I'm I was like I got I got out of college. And I I wanted to be a musician. Although my degree was in economics in mind. or music. And my brother was selling stereos up in Boston. And I came up here just to get a job. And that's how I got up here. And I thought I'd also find it and I thought there was a pretty good musical community up in Boston, I thought I'd get into that. I was a I studied for 10 years with the principal percussionist in the New York Philharmonic, and I thought I could make a go of it as a drummer as a jazz drummer, but I was wrong. Work out on now. Michael Hingson 10:33 Well, then you ended up in the ministry along the way. Yeah. I guess, actually going into the ministry. Ross Lilley 10:39 Yeah, we I was, I guess that back to that story there. The when I was selling stereos, and when dreaming about music people, the people who said, everybody knows you should be a minister, but you Ross were people who were also in ministry. And that was they were great to steer me into it. It was it was good idea. Michael Hingson 11:02 So are you at a church now? Ross Lilley 11:05 No, I, I left in 2001. To do this full time. Before the pandemic, we had 2000 People coming to the program, each year to do adaptive sport and training. And even before that, when we were you know, 400 is, it was pretty much a full time job while I'm trying to, you know, be at a church as well. So I had to make a choice, that church, church life is a good one, but it's tough. And when I was at a great church, but it's, it's tough. And you know, if you do it, some people do it. So they're, they taken a professional approach more professional than I would take in the strict sense of the world. So they could, they could put it aside at night and, and, you know, kind of decompress and be away from the church. I couldn't I took everything in and and felt it for like everybody, and it just kind of wears on you after a while. Michael Hingson 11:59 Yeah. Well, and you've kind of gone in a different direction and do sort of the same thing. But you're applying all of it to sports, adaptive sports and disabilities, and so on. So how do you do take your son windsurfing? How does all that work? Ross Lilley 12:16 Well, now he's is, is 36, and is a pretty big guy. So what I used to do, where I could just pick up with one hand doesn't necessarily work. So when we go in serve now, I'll use a standard or a railing standard, and things like that on the board. And I might have someone on a board with me, we have lots of different rigs that we've created. And, you know, well, my focus won't be necessarily on on the distances we did before, but more of him being able to hold a sail on his own, with me just holding the mass to the sail and things like that. So it's Michael Hingson 12:52 once again, the same you're on the same board. Yeah. Ross Lilley 12:55 Right. If, if you and I were to go I windsurfing I would put you on a similar board with to sales, you could be standard or seated to get comfortable with the sale, and I could be in front of you on a second sale. And I could help control your sale. And then as you as you got better, I would go to less stable boards, and you would focus on you know, you could then focus on balance as you had mastered your sales technique. Right? Michael Hingson 13:25 The whole idea is that you have boards, they have sales, and that's how you move, right? Ross Lilley 13:31 Faster. In all of our sports, anything we do. The general rule is the faster you move, the more stable you are, when you get going. When you're stable, then you can do a lot more if you're just sitting there getting ready to go. It's pretty wobbly. Michael Hingson 13:45 You know, I bet sort of like the whole well, a little different sort of like the whole concept of a gyroscope when you spin it fast. It keeps you stable. Ross Lilley 13:54 Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. I like that. Michael Hingson 13:58 Well, that's that's pretty cool. So you are you're able to do it well. And so do you do you still do a lot of wind surfing with him? Ross Lilley 14:09 I do more wind surfing with our it's funny you would think I would do a lot but I do more teaching have other folks in our program. Is he doing? So again? What does he do? Josh? On those days, he might come to beach and help us out or might go to a program. But Josh does a lot in your sports in the summer. The way we operate as a sports in the summer are designed for you or your family member to see themselves as athletes as viable athletes, and then to use that as an incentive to train for higher function. And the sports in the summer we have or or windsurfing and Hawaiian Hawaiian outrigger canoeing, stand up paddling, kayaking, and we also have traditional sports like tennis and and soccer and In football that we also apply these inclusive game systems to. And Josh, more times than not, if Josh is at our site and working, Josh will be a part of a crew in an outrigger canoe. He has a fairly functional right hand. So we have all sorts of adaptations where we might, you know, use a Ace wrap to keep his left hand on his bent paddle or something like that. You get a sense of two hands going. But he'll, if he comes down, he's usually paddling more than anything now. Michael Hingson 15:34 Does he work? Does he have a job? Or is the program kind of what he does? It's kind of a day Ross Lilley 15:39 program. But they have program. He lives with us though. And yeah, and well, no. Michael Hingson 15:46 Does your wife wins? Does your wife win serve? Ross Lilley 15:50 She did. And she doesn't really now. She, we do a sports camp in Florida every year and she comes out and and comes out and help and she's actually pretty skilled at it. Yeah. Michael Hingson 16:04 That's pretty cool. Maybe she, what does she What does she do? Oh, go ahead. Ross Lilley 16:08 Where does she she's, she actually works with us right now. She's, she's an interior designer. And, but she left that to work for us. And we also it takes, it takes a lot to you know, raise a kid with a disability and yeah, and to keep me going. I know which side my bread is buttered on. Michael Hingson 16:34 Good move on your part. Yeah, Ross Lilley 16:37 she does a lot that she helps teach with us. And she helps train with us as well whenever she can. Michael Hingson 16:42 We were a two disabilities family. My wife was a chair and a chair her whole life was a T three para, but she passed away in November. So now it is me and a dog and a cat. And, you know, it's it's fun. I miss her and and so on. But at the same time, we we do have a lot of fun. And the dog and the cat keep me honest. Ross Lilley 17:10 Wow, it's still fresh. That is every day and I'm sure for the rest of your life. Right? Michael Hingson 17:15 Oh, we'll be we were 15 days shy of being married for two years. Oh, my. Yeah. So it is. It is one of those things, it will be with us. But as I tell people, the Spirit just goes faster than the body sometimes. And that's what happened here. Ross Lilley 17:30 The spirit goes faster than the body. Yeah, the Michael Hingson 17:33 spirit moves faster. Ross Lilley 17:35 Oh, I wish I wish I was preaching now I would use this. Well, there's some good explication of it for me. Wow. Michael Hingson 17:43 There you go. That's terrific. Well, we we, we function we continue. But tell me, do you do sports in the winter as well? Or what do you do in the winter. Ross Lilley 17:53 So today we have a special. So we're good at adaptations and inventions. And we've discovered a lot of our athletes who are training more than anything wanted to could walk on a treadmill with assistance. And so we've invented a device, it's a it's a gait training device that will probably sell for like $5,000. And we have a gym when which we specialize in doing gait training with people. So we do a lot of that. And we also go to schools and we train people in Boston public schools and some other schools. And we do a it's a sport based program. And it's also one that we can do online. So and we do tennis, we do tennis and cycling when the weather it's good for cycling, but tennis all year as well. Michael Hingson 18:43 Yep, cycling, probably not right now. Ross Lilley 18:46 Well, if it's above 45 degrees, we go out. Well, yeah, but not today. Michael Hingson 18:52 Not today. That's what I mean. The snow, the snow falling off. And so as a result, not a good time, but yeah, I hear you. So do you have any distinctions or differences regarding kinds of disabilities? Or do you care and or as a disability as a disability as far as it goes? Ross Lilley 19:15 It certainly is we would take we'll take anyone of any ability disability from ages like five up to 100. And if we can accommodate them, we'll create something so we can so we build arm braces, airplane braces, sort of for people with limb differences. We've created a lot of seating particular for particular people to do any of our sports, a lot of stuff. And our you know our intent is to is to include anybody, especially people who have no other place where they can, where they can participate in these kinds of sports. Michael Hingson 19:52 So that probably gets to be I won't say a challenge, because it is but but it does get to be a An issue that you get to be able to deal with people with neurodivergent issues as well. So you can deal with autistic or, or people who have Down Syndrome and so on. And you're just as welcoming to do that as, as you do people with physical disabilities, like you're talking about. Ross Lilley 20:15 Exactly, yeah. Well, and the variety really makes it interesting. And that we love that challenge, especially if, if you know, everybody's different in their own way. And so no rule, no generalizations apply. And if we don't expect something miraculous to happen, a session, we're, we're missing the point. You know, every every session, we find something that's different in every session, we find something where people surprise us. Michael Hingson 20:44 So I assume things sort of dropped off a little bit when the pandemic hit. Ross Lilley 20:48 Big time. Yeah, well, we, we never stopped, we created an online program for our year round program, year round athletes and for school program. And that was, that was kind of cool. Because we made this unique system, where we have six variations of high intensity interval training exercises. And it was like in the can ready to go. And and we put it right in within a week of the pandemic and the onset of that and people being in shutdown. We had that online and going with people. Michael Hingson 21:22 It's really cool. how that worked out quite well. We're Ross Lilley 21:25 using it now. It's still we have over close to 80 exercises with these progressions, and then we we put together combinations, the exercises and put it live for a lot of our classes. And I Michael Hingson 21:37 for for adults as well. Do you find that people who participate in the summer, continue to stay with the program and will work in the winter or? Yes, same same clients and so on? Right, which is cool. How many people are part of the program now? Ross Lilley 21:57 Well, last summer, I think we had, again, our high point was about 2000. Now we're about 1200, I think. And so we you know, in the summer, we have a camp for we're including kids into a camp of, of junior high aged kids. And then we have a program with the Flutie foundation for kids on the autism spectrum. And then we have our own site, where we have anybody in any any one who wants to come out. So there's a bunch of teams on several sites in the summer. And then from those, they participate in our year round programs. Let me see, probably about half participate in year round programs. We have a soccer and conditioning program as wellness in in a winter. Michael Hingson 22:39 Boys, girls, men, women, everyone. Yeah, which is so cool. Oh, how do you do soccer? How does that work? Ross Lilley 22:48 Let me see when we have when, let me see for we let me we created these these game systems where everybody is vital to the system. And you have anybody have any ability has to meet certain requirements of in the game for people to go on. So if you know lice would say if you score and then you can't score again until the rest of our team scores or for our team to fray our points to count everybody on a team has to at least have an assist or a block. So there's all these and then there's certain goals that they shoot at, there's some that are easier to get than others. So there's there's all these accommodations we make depending on who's playing so that everybody can be vital to their team and everybody's working towards that. And it's designed so everybody have every ability is challenged to their utmost as well. Michael Hingson 23:48 May not be using the right word. But soccer is sort of a ferocious or certainly a hard hitting fast sport. And in general, how does that work when you're dealing with people with disabilities and a lot of different skill sets and so on? Do they do the people still tend to play as ferociously as they can? Ross Lilley 24:11 They do and they don't. So there's, there's things we have an inappropriate challenge rule where we try to put like abilities against each other. And, you know, the people that the best so called Able bodied players are working really hard to get balls to people to make assist or to involve them. And then people maybe who have ambulation issues are doing their their best to get into a position even if it makes them going you know for five minutes getting down the length of the field to get there. That's their goal to get in a position where they might have a chance at a goal or to get back to defense. So there's there's things we invent for everybody that make them slow this game down for them without without Making anybody really slow down that much? Michael Hingson 25:02 So, do you find challenges of getting totally ambulatory people, for example, to play and play well with people who may not be as ambulatory or work as well? Moving around? Ross Lilley 25:17 Yeah, it's a that's a challenge, you know. And so when we call is trying to find the perfect game, and it is a challenge, but you know, it's a skill to play to is a skill to learn how to play with varying abilities at once. And, you know, we do when we do this camp in Florida, that's our, our proving ground for this, and you live with this for a week, and people get very good at the game by about the second day. Michael Hingson 25:42 So people grow accustomed to it and grow into it. And at all. Yeah, Ross Lilley 25:47 yeah. Our whole community is about getting out of the way of yourself. And so if and trying to let something bigger come through yourself and something bigger come through each of these games. Michael Hingson 26:00 Are you teaching people to be competitive? Or is it more teaching people to, to work together and have fun together? Or is it kind of a combination? Because a lot of the sports, like soccer, like tennis, football, and so on, are more competitive sports, and they're usually viewed as being very competitive. But is that the same way it comes out for you? Or is it a little bit different in terms of mindsets? Ross Lilley 26:29 It's funny, I don't, you know, like, in popular sport, I think great competitors aren't necessarily great people, right? They're just insecure about losing. And I think it's, we all need to learn how to lose so we can learn to live with something that's bigger. But in ours, we do teach to can be competitive, but in the end, Ron, we want people also to have perspective about it. And I saw like, the worst thing that could happen is where you have people come in, who don't care. So it's nice to care. And but it's even better if they compete with themselves more than anything else, right and drive with strive for more function drive for some, something that they they've accomplished on their own. And even farther than that, it's great to be a part of a team and to feel like, maybe for the first time in your life, you're valued on a team. Right, and that, that you're not just a throw away, and that there are people aren't condescending to you, and you're on the field of play. We have an example we have a friend of ours, one of our athletes, was on ESPN for playing a cerebral palsy, and some, you know, ambulation was a little a little slower than most folks, and they put them into a high school football game, right. And so one play they gave, you know, the other team was in it, they gave him the ball, and they let him run and eventually ran out of bounds. And I almost think that that kid should have been tackled, that maybe there's an art to tackling and but people deserve the dignity of failure they deserve to be treated with with some seriousness, and that their accomplishments aren't something where, you know, there's all these videos of, of Little League games, where people are some kid hits with cerebral palsy, and is going around the bases, while people fun falling down for the ball and all this stuff. You know, throw a kid out every now and then make them work for accomplishment, make, make them understand what it's like that that you know what they truly appreciate what they've done. If I went even further, it's like races. We like we like we have sometimes we have races, and we like people in the races to do something that they have to train for if someone doesn't train for it. It's just, you know, it's not that compelling. And people on the outside need to see people with disabilities training, and being really true athletes. So we like things where people train for it. And people accomplish something. That makes sense. Michael Hingson 29:03 It does. It absolutely makes sense. Because we we find so many people who behave exactly as you're describing, oh, it's great that he was able to run 20 or 30 yards. Wasn't that wonderful that he had the ball. But by the same token, we're not really dealing with, with what's going on and who's the one that really comes out feeling good about that? Well, I suppose that there is some truth to the fact that the person involved is excited that they had the ball, but the people are really doing it for themselves so that they can feel good that they can feel superior, rather than as you said, tackling somebody after a while, by the way, there's nothing wrong with tackling somebody rather than them running out of bounds. Even if they go 15 yards and then you tackle them. That that says something to and you're right there's an art to tackling that. it. It's all about changing in a sense, the definition of winning. Hmm. Ross Lilley 30:05 I love that. Yeah. I never heard that. But I think that's a great concept too about the defining redefining winning. Michael Hingson 30:16 There's, there's nothing wrong with winning and being competitive. But if you have to win, then are you really winning? Ross Lilley 30:27 Oh, that's even better. Yes. We are very much on the same page. Yeah. Michael Hingson 30:33 And the the fact is that, I realized that with most modern sports, it's all about winning. But is it really or should it really be something to think about? Hmm, that's Ross Lilley 30:49 Yeah. So you you have thought about this. You are into it? Are you Are you a big sports fan yourself? Michael Hingson 30:55 I listened to, to sports more than anything else. But I, I grew up with some really great sports announcers to be my teachers as it were listening to them and just their philosophies of dealing with the game. I mean, you know, baseball, you can't do better than having Vin Scully describe the games and just all the things that he talked about, and I know that he understood, winning and, and he always wanted the, I'm sure the Dodgers to be the victorious team. But the way he announced the games, no matter who won, it was really all about the game, which is what it ought to be. Hmm. Ross Lilley 31:32 Wow. Is he still alive? Really? Michael Hingson 31:36 Did he now he passed away last year? This year? Yeah. Yeah, he retired at the end of I think 2016 and then passed away last year. Ross Lilley 31:48 That's well put, and I'm glad I'm glad you've put time to think about that. I I think about it all the time as well. And I always wonder if I'm the only one. Sailor staff thinks about it. And especially when you're putting game systems together. Michael Hingson 32:03 What's your favorites? Which Oh, go ahead. Ross Lilley 32:06 Go now my favorite, your favorite sport to teach? I guess, all of them because, like our game systems, you know, if it's team sport, our game systems work across all the main team sports, football, basketball, and soccer and even floor hockey. We work with some Boston Bruins on floor hockey and we work with some of the New England Patriots on our on our training systems. And as long as people are moving, and we work with the Red Sox as well, but the as long as they're moving for a prolonged period of time, if this sport gets them going like that I like anything that drives that it's not so much the sport is is to me as much as people participating in it and getting into shape and belonging to something Michael Hingson 32:57 the professional athletes been in terms of working with him and so on. And how does all that work out? Ross Lilley 33:04 Pretty good. Let me you know, it's good. Somebody from your area, Jimmy Garoppolo. injured, San Francisco 40 Niners quarterback. He came to about three of our clinics when he was with the with the Patriots. He and some other players really got it. They didn't they didn't come with any condescending condescension. And they didn't settle for you know, they held the bar high for our athletes. It was pretty good. So I'm surprised at this. We've had other guys like Andrew Ray Croft from the from the Bruins came out, and Terry Rozier who's now with the Charlotte Hornets. He was with the Celtics they came out in and within minutes, I thought they pretty felt pretty comfortable that population, I thought they will be talking down to him. But they were always really good. Michael Hingson 33:55 That's really pretty cool. And nothing like having some of those folks coming out and teaching because you're getting taught by the best in the business. Ross Lilley 34:05 Right. Yeah. And also, it's nice when they're sort of humbled by what we do. That's a nice, that's always a nice gesture when they are when they have done football clinics before and run them. And they defer to us. I think that's really that's a nice, that's a nice recognition for us. Michael Hingson 34:27 So how large is your staff? Ross Lilley 34:30 We have in the summer, just about 20 of us. But during the year we have just three of us full time who are trainers, and we have other support staff staff. We have actually we also during the year have interns who are terrific. We use a lot from local universities. Michael Hingson 34:48 Do you have or ever have any people with disabilities on the teaching staff? Ross Lilley 34:53 That's a really good one. And if it was during the year yes, you You know, but under water, we, we don't, mainly because of safety and needing to, if we need to jump in the water and rescue somebody, and we can only afford, you know, three or four people on a team, we can't we can't go rescue one somebody with a disability. It's a really, it's something we agonize with all the time because we're on the water. But we are not good in that regard. Only because we, you know, we have to decide who we're going to pay. We have limited resources, and we need everybody to be, quote unquote able bodied, to help with rescues if need be. Michael Hingson 35:37 Right? Well, I think of the possibility of people like people who happen to be blind, who might very well be able to help and rescuing there are several centers around the country that have blind teachers teaching in a variety of environments. Including taking students out to lakes and doing various things in the summer. And again, it's it's all a matter of looking and learning. But there you have someone who's a lot more ambulatory, if they learned to listen and really are aware of what's going on around them. Ross Lilley 36:17 Ya know, that that's probably a good point yet, I just don't have anybody in front of me, like, like that. But, you know, in a way, I probably should be more proactive and seeking people like this in in the least bit, because they can, they can have other folks. I don't wanna use the word inspire, lightly, but they could help inspire other folks with a similar abilities to come out. Right, right. I guess we're all role wary of using the word inspire. But I still love the word. Well, there's nothing Michael Hingson 36:51 wrong with inspire, again, if you're doing it for the right reason. And this is, as we were talking about earlier, with the whole issue of running 30 yards, and then running out of bounds, but not being willing to tackle someone who is at this really being inspired as opposed to just feeling good. And there's nothing wrong with true inspiration, something that motivates someone to do more and feel better about themselves than they did and shoot for higher goals. So that's okay. I think, I think that's what in part has to come from inspiration. Ross Lilley 37:29 Well, well said, Michael Hingson 37:32 and it's a, it's a process, but for you, what's the most rewarding part of what you do, you're certainly doing something that has to do a lot of things that I don't want to use the word make you feel good, but inspire you. But for you, what's the most rewarding part of what you do? Ross Lilley 37:52 When, when, when it works? When when we do works. And again, if I can, you know, there's, there's something that bigger that bigger than me that kind of is in this organization, even though we my wife, and I, my son and my daughter are founders of this, we we've found that there's a there's a culture that's developed in this that that goes behind us and I love it to see when when people remind me of some of the original tenets of how we started, you know, and like, or if I see some protocol or device or technique work with somebody, when it shouldn't, I'm really I love that. Like, instead of like we've worked for 12 years plus on this gait trainer. And when I see people's gait, improve after a half hour on the machine, and just it's incredible to me, or when I see you know why I'm not a really confident person outside of this, but I'm really confident what we can do with people on a windsurfer on a stand up paddleboard and a canoe and I know, when even when families say this won't work, I know that I can make certain things work and to see that is really something or to see someone surprised me and show what they can do. beyond what I ever expected, I love that. Michael Hingson 39:16 Tell me about a real surprise something that happened or a person that came to the program and you didn't think necessarily they could do all that they ended up doing and they really surprised you. I'd love to hear a story about that. Ross Lilley 39:33 I got a bunch but they all start with my son, right he's you know, by all rights he should be. He would be without what we do. He would be in a power chair with contractures all day long, and now he can because we have trained so much I can walk with him just holding one hand is rigorous but I can hold one hand and walk with Him. So that's that's somebody you know, by definition no functional use of his, either of his legs or his arms and I can hold one hand walk. So he, and you know, the way that he did some of those marathons, some of that was the greatest athletic feats I've ever been a part of in my life. Other than that, we have people who are running now who had hemiparesis and you know, we're in coma, and then came out of this and work with us and train with us and now can run and play in some of our games. Those guys are amazing. And there's other people still who were up and using some our equipment and training in keeping you know, in like this, like somebody I work with today's that he has MS. Cannot wait bear. But in our in our machine, he was up and standing in propelling this machine on a treadmill today all by himself. That's kind of incredible. Michael Hingson 41:02 How does the machine work? What does it do? Ross Lilley 41:05 We've, what we've done is we without a motor, but yes, using pressure on a treadmill. And and this unit that we've built off the back where we grab, this device grabs people at their lower leg. And as a piston is connected to essentially a rebuilt, spin cycle. And we can determine how long their length of stride is going to be how much hip and knee flexion or bend they're going to have. And then you put it for in a uniform fashion on a treadmill for, you know, half hour to an hour at a time. And we can pedal people through to weaken, we can slow people's rate down or increase it and it's it's emulating what a $400,000 device can do. And it works really well. Michael Hingson 41:55 Have you ever looked into? Or Has anyone ever taken any of these and manufactured them and maybe did more mass producing of them? Ross Lilley 42:04 We're on were doing that now. Actually, we're working with a manufacturer on on that. Except the process is long. And there's lots of parts to this. But yeah, Michael Hingson 42:14 and you got to go through approvals to get the whole legal aspect of it addressed as well. Ross Lilley 42:21 Well, we have our patent down, and lots of other patents associated with it. And now we need to get FDA approval. Michael Hingson 42:28 That was what I was going to ask you about how the FDA figures into it all. Ross Lilley 42:34 Where it's semi medical exercise. So we're trying to navigate those waters and I, I'm relying on one of our board members to do it to work with me on it. Well, Michael Hingson 42:45 it does. It does sound really exciting to to do and to see the things that are happening. And again, I think one of the most significant parts about this is that you're welcoming to everyone. Do you have any? What we would call able bodied people come to the program? Or do they just come to staff? Or do you ever welcome people without disabilities into the program as well? Ross Lilley 43:10 All the time? Yeah. Mostly into our games. So if someone wants to volunteer or if they want to play, we'll put into like a Thursday night soccer program or or have played tennis with us something like that. Yeah. You I know we decided I think told me early you you're not you're not actively playing a sport now. But if you could, what would it be? Michael Hingson 43:39 Oh, gosh. There are several I'd love to play even if it's just to learn more about them. I've always been a baseball fan. So I'd love to. To do more with baseball. I'd love to learn more about football. I enjoy listening to football, although baseball is still always been my number one interest but I'm spoiled as I said before by Vince Skelly. But, you know, I, I think that sports in general would would be fun to experience no matter what it is because there's so much of it that I don't know a lot about and for me playing it would be as much as anything a way to and a reason for learning about the sport. Ross Lilley 44:26 So I mean, you never day with a beep ball or anything like that. Michael Hingson 44:30 never really did anything with a beat ball. There wasn't a group around to do it with for me. Ross Lilley 44:36 Wow. It's a ride. I've tried to it's a riot. Oh, yeah. Yeah, I thought it's a genius and, Michael Hingson 44:46 and then there's the new one talking about soccer and so on dodgeball. Oh, yeah. And I don't know whether I want to be up Be a person who just has to run around drop on the ground might get kicked in the head and going after a ball. So Oh, no. Ross Lilley 45:10 Soccer is amazing, right? directly on the sides like three versus three. Yeah. That is an amazingly well developed sport is incredible. Michael Hingson 45:21 And Basketball is fun. What else? Again? I'm spoiled. We had Chick Hearn out there out here and when I lived in the east, the first time I lived in the east, I lived in Winthrop, Massachusetts. And of course we had Johnny most. Ross Lilley 45:37 Yep. Yeah. All right. Let's stop settling down which Michael Hingson 45:42 will check stole the ball. I have that record. Ross Lilley 45:50 Wow. Winthrop, we it's a good surfing beach or Winthrop. Michael Hingson 45:54 Yeah, yeah. And Winthrop and Revere Beach and so on. Sure. Ross Lilley 45:58 One of our programs looks at Revere. Winthrop, by the way, one of the islands where we have a program. Uh Michael Hingson 46:03 huh. Wow, wait. So I keep up with sports. I've just never been very active in that regard. I was in the boy scouts, but we didn't do sports stuff other than hiking and camping. Which, which I did. So that was that was okay. You're a scout? Yeah, I was an Eagle Scout. Ross Lilley 46:25 Holy smokes. Really? Michael Hingson 46:29 Well, you know, you got to do something to to keep functioning and active. Ross Lilley 46:34 So being on the bestseller list are Eagle Scout, they're about the same, aren't they? Michael Hingson 46:41 They're fun to do. Ross Lilley 46:43 Holy smokes. And what was your What was your project as an Eagle Scout? Michael Hingson 46:48 Oh, gosh, I was involved in doing some radio stuff and doing some things relating to publicity in Palmdale where I grew up. Ross Lilley 47:02 I used to, I used to be familiar with that. Because we would have you know, kids would come by the church, and we're our program and they need to find a project, right inevitably would be us building more times than not, it was let's create a ramp for somebody in town, you know, wheelchair ramp. Michael Hingson 47:21 I'm on the board of an organization that works with scouts up in Santa Rosa. And they've built benches for the the center and done a number of things. It's been a favorite place for Eagle projects, Ross Lilley 47:33 benches, benches, that's a big one. Right? Those are good. Michael Hingson 47:36 Those are always good. What's the biggest challenge that you tend to face from the community are in the community? In Ross Lilley 47:45 the mean, as I was running in running the program here or in my life, which to both? Oh, gosh, I was hoping you take the first one. Michael Hingson 47:57 You get both. Ross Lilley 47:58 I mean, I think more than that I you know, we're always rubbing two nickels together to make it by right. We're we're in the black all the time. But it's funding for programs like this, I spend more time doing programming than I do on fundraising. And I always grateful for donors who free me up so I can free us up so we can focus more on programming than anything else. So that tends to be a kind of a worry that goes with with our work. I I guess but I also worry that I'm I won't live long enough to see some of what we have come to fruition or perfection, I guess, especially with in regards to our gait training. I think what we do well, we've, we've come up with a system that I think is a true game changer. But it needs to be perfected. And it needs to be something that we universally have out there that that makes everybody improve their gait. And then this other thing are big challenges. How do we how do we train people, kids in schools with disabilities, where the resources they are, they're underserved, and his resources are slim, and they need to build habits that will stick with them after age 22. And so those are things that kind of gnaw at me that I you know, we just got to get it done gotta get done, and I don't know how to do it on a broad scale. So sad that Michael Hingson 49:35 at the same time, um, how, what are what are some stories about people and how they have improved because of what you've done from an attitudinal standpoint, because it must be for people who really internalize it. People who go through the program, whether it's just dealing with gait training, or who are going off and playing sports, and we talked about winning and all that but just playing Seeing should be a lot for people, but how have you truly helped people and their attitudes and their outlook on life really improves. Ross Lilley 50:12 I can tell how they've helped me that what the best part of this is a community that we have a community that claims people for life, you know, if you're if you're part of this community, you're with us, and we'll never let you go. And so I, I am part of that as well, these the my friends, all my friends, and the closest people I have here are those with whom I work and those and the athletes in the program so that you buy you on a Sunday morning. I so as far as athletes go, I hear all the time, people who say, you know, you, you've shown us a different side to our son, or I'm so grateful. One guy you wrote literally said you, you helped us be brave with the wind. I love that one. I was I was teaching on Martha's Vineyard in in someone who just couldn't believe they were out in the water doing this. So I hear that kind of all the time where people come to program and they expect to do something, you know, they they've heard that people could kayak and then and then we try to steer them to something that might be a little bit tougher. And then we know we can have success with and then when we do that, they just can't believe it. They're blown away. Yeah. And so lots of people like that. Which is tougher when surfing or kayaking. Windsurfing, ah. That's why I mean, I guess you can say there are as tough as you want to make them and to go high level on something, but to get involved in independent I think is tougher. But you know, it's also when we can have more success with I'm not as huge a fan of kayaking as I am as the other sports we do them. But the seating alone, because you're long sitting it, it makes your posterior chain really tight, your hamstrings are tight and it and it pulls your pelvis back. So you're kind of in a tough position, and people aren't necessarily as loose as they were if they could sit more upright. Michael Hingson 52:23 Right? Well, and well, I don't know, I was gonna say, I would think that there are probably more balance issues also, with the board and interacting with the board with windsurfing than there are with kayaking, Ross Lilley 52:40 right? Where we can, we have all sorts of boards that we've designed where we can be very stable. And you know, we've had people on events on our boards before because we were so confident they weren't gonna fall in, you know, so you can get as stable as you want, and then graduate to less and less stable as you go on. Less, less stable is faster, Michael Hingson 53:02 yours. Right? Right. Well, for you and all that you've done. Have you ever thought of writing this story, creating a book or anything like that, to help educate more people about what you do and get them to realize that people with disabilities are just the same as everyone else? As I like to say, we need to change the definition because disability does not mean lack of ability. Ross Lilley 53:31 Yeah. Well, I was hoping I'd meet a best seller author. I did at one point, and then I think it's like an invention that gnaws at you, I gave out, I gave up on it. You know, and I'm not that gifted a writer. So I, when I was in seminary, I took a course at Harvard. And it was on writing in the teacher that, of course, was a friend of mine, who's an editor at The Atlantic Monthly Michael Curtis. And so over the course of 12 weeks, I had one sentence in one paragraph where he said, Good job. But then again, I started writing a book, Cory, more to the point of what you're saying, I started writing a book about our experiences. And he loved it, which really just blew me away that I gotten to the point where this guy would like it, but the process and to come up with stuff would be tough. I think people want you to my advice was a one a more personal stuff than I wanted to give. They want to know about the struggles and how it plays itself out in your marriage and things like that. And I wasn't gonna go that deep into that. I mean, so if they want a little bit of any controversy I could have as well, which I didn't have a ton of. Michael Hingson 54:55 Yeah, yeah. Everybody seems to like to have controversy and that doesn't necessarily help all I think that the personal aspects telling personal stories can be done without jeopardizing individuals, but the stories and the accomplishments I would think would be very meaningful and make a book like that really be something people would value. Yeah, exactly. Ross Lilley 55:19 Yeah. Yeah, I mean, I mean, and I haven't been that specific with the stories, I think I, I would be better if I had given you some stories of some of these folks. And I was, I was just thinking that there was one guy who had it who had a stroke in his by his late 40s, and came to the program. And, and he used to run, he was a middle distance runner. And we have been working with him on his gait. And we we put him into our sports camp in our Florida sports camp. And he started, he started just blocking things. And by the end of the camp, he was he was running for balls, and even sending balls, he developed a pretty good kick, which was really remarkable. So he's planting with this, this almost straight leg, almost less functional, very less functional than the right leg and his planning on that and kicking and shooting. And so by the end of the camp, he was just so surprised with himself and so grateful for this. Yeah, have you had Michael Hingson 56:33 people who you worked with, who felt well enough about themselves and who could do it, who went off and maybe found a job or got a job or went back to working because they suddenly realized they could do that? Ross Lilley 56:49 I wish that were true. But more times than not, it's just it's such a tough nut to crack, right? We've had people go off, we have had people go off and get jobs, and then over time, gave up the jobs because even as they wanted to work, the job was somewhat beneath their skill set. Right that before the before their accident or their injury, they you know, some of these people had pretty high level jobs managers or, or writing code. And then, you know, the focus wasn't thereafter and they were doing things that are overtime seem what menial to him. So, yeah, we haven't had, I mean, we've had success in that people wanted to dream for that kind of thing. And people have more function, and they brought more to the relationships. But as far as jobs goes, I haven't seen a lot of sustainable kind of improvement there. I'm sure you've seen the same thing, right? Michael Hingson 57:48 Well, I see a lot of it when you know, in the case of blindness, specifically your loss of vision. The fact is that, for the most part, losing eyesight doesn't mean you can't go back and do what you were doing. There are so many people in so many different kinds of jobs, that the proof is really there that you can go back to doing what you did. You've got to learn skills, but you can still do it. There are very few jobs where that really isn't the case. Unfortunately, there are all too many people who think it's not the case. That's what makes the big difference. Yeah, it's still mindset. Ross Lilley 58:29 And if you were in the workplace, I mean, I I work with people, you know, especially when we have kids on the autism spectrum, we'll work with people until if they will keep coming, we will work with them until they succeed in some form. And I think that Sure, I wish that I wish that were the same in the workplace is to that the upside for this population is so enormous you just are you wish you had that kind of patience in the work in the workplace? Well, I Michael Hingson 58:54 might be another dimension where you have to involve some other organizations or some other entities to make that happen. Yeah, it isn't like you have to do it all but at the same token you at least start the process so in in the camp in the program obviously you want people to have fun Where does I've got to ask because I always always think about these things where does humor fit into all this Ross Lilley 59:21 I'm I'm humorless and always appropriate. So I know I'm Michael Hingson 59:29 it's always one in every crowd Ross Lilley 59:31 that I know I'm, I'm I'm I guess I would say hi effect. I've been rich, rich asset kind of person. And always looking for the gleam in people's eyes and always requiring that evolve the people that work for us that they they look for the gleam in people's eyes and connect. Yeah, and for me to do that, almost nine times out of 10 takes humor and not in and on the border of appropriateness, whatever it takes to reach people. is part of it. So yeah. And we also don't like to take ourselves too seriously. And so you need humor to help people not take themselves too seriously. And to help people. You know, in our program, there's no tragedy. No one comes in here leave are leaves this place thinking that their lives are tragic. No one allows anybody to feel like that. It's not as it's not overt, but it's just a kind of a sense you have and part of that is laughing at ourselves all the time. You know, I'm, I kind of like the king of self deprecation, and I'm fine with it. If people want to poke fun at me to, to laugh at and to laugh a little bit at the situation. I love it. So Michael Hingson 1:00:45 which gets us back to our whole issue of winning, right? You're you you can be self deprecating, you can have fun. And as you said, not take yourself too seriously. No, seriously, maybe sort of kind of, but not too seriously, which is really important. Well, I have to say to you, sir, contrary to what you believe, and believed, it has now been an hour that we've been doing this and you didn't think you had a story to tell? Ross Lilley 1:01:18 I had a story. I didn't know if it's gonna be that interesting. So I'm glad. I'm glad we've made it is 10. Very easy. And you're you're so engaging is great. Michael Hingson 1:01:26 Well, thank you. Tell me about the name of the program, how people can reach out to learn more about the program. And, of course, being prejudiced about these kinds of things, make donations to the program. Ross Lilley 1:01:37 So we're Access Sport America and it's our website is access. Access sport America, sport America. Okay. Yeah, so just just two s's in it, but you go, our website is goaccess.org, G O A C C E S S dot org. And you can learn more about us there. And also, if you want to make a donation, you can as well and we're primarily bait boss, Boston based or northeast based in Northeast Ohio, our our programs for schools are, you know, becoming national, we're hoping that we can expand that program and help people in different school systems with that system. And as far as our gait training, go, glad to handle anybody who may be want to come out in the area and work for a little while. Although that takes that takes weeks and weeks. If they had they need to have the wherewithal to do that. But if our fire device is manufacturable that will be on our website and in probably about a year and how to get that. Michael Hingson 1:02:39 That'll be exciting. Yeah, and again, it's access sport America. ACCE SS p o r t. Ross Lilley 1:02:47 E S S P O R T. Yes. Yes. Well done. Michael Hingson 1:02:51 Cool. Well, and if people want to reach out to you, how do they do that? Do they best do that through LinkedIn or? Ross Lilley 1:02:58 I can write me a Ross at Goaccess.org R O S S at Go. access.org Michael Hingson 1:03:04 There you go. Well, Ross, Lilly, it has been absolutely fun. And I've learned a lot I am looking forward to somehow getting back that way from out here and getting a chance to meet you and shake your hand in person and go windsurfing. Ross Lilley 1:03:20 We might do some clinics in California, and if we do we will now Michael Hingson 1:03:23 we're talking Okay, well, that would be fun. And I'll bring my dog. Yes, please. Of course, cat won't come the dog will. I don't know whether he'll want to windsurf, but you never know. But I want to. I want to really thank you for being here today. And being with us. I think this has been absolutely enjoyable, inspirational and fun. And that's as good as it gets. Ross Lilley 1:03:52 Thank you. Same here. I wish I had asked you more questions to learn more about you Michael Hingson 1:03:56 will see now you'd have to start a podcast so you can do that. Pretty sure. Michael Hingson 1:04:03 Well, I hope you've liked listening to us today. Please reach out. I'd love to hear from you. You can reach me at MichaelHI at accessibe A C C E S S I B E.com. Visit our podcast page www dot Michael Hingson H i n g s o n.com/podcast. Where you can listen to the podcast or as you may have found us elsewhere. That's okay too. Please give us a five star rating. Like go to apple and iTunes and give us a five star rating. We really appreciate the ratings you give us and any comments and thoughts that you have in Ross, for you and for everyone listening. If you know of anyone else that we ought to have on this podcast, please let us know reach out, let us know or give us an introduction. I would appreciate it we're always looking for interesting, new and fun guests. So please let us know and we'd love to hear hear from you about that. But again, Ross, thank you very much. We really appreciate you being here and anything we can do to make the program successful. We're in. We're wanting to do it. So thank you very much. And we will hopefully do this again, huh? Oh, yes. Ross Lilley 1:05:14 Oh gosh. Yes. Michael Hingson 1:05:16 Well, great. Well, thanks again and we hope that you'll continue to listen to podcasts for us. Ross Lilley 1:05:22 Thank you. Michael Hingson 1:05:27 You have been listening to the Unstoppable Mindset podcast. Thanks for dropping by. I hope that you'll join us again next week, and in future weeks for upcoming episodes. To subscribe to our podcast and to learn about upco
Open Space Radio: Parks and Recreation Trends
The May issue of Parks & Recreation magazine is out now, and on today's bonus episode of Open Space Radio, we're diving deeper into the feature article, “Building a Culture of Safety for Aquatic Facilities,” by Stephanie Shook, CPRP, the senior product manager of aquatics and instructors for the American Red Cross. I'm so thrilled to be joined on the show by two individuals who were highlighted in the article: · Dr. William Ramos, a member of the Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council and associate professor at Indiana University School of Public Health · Nichole Bohner, the aquatics division manager for City of Round Rock, Texas, Parks and Recreation. They each share their experience when it comes to building a culture of safety — something that is of the utmost importance at aquatic facilities and the wide range of other park and recreation offerings. Tune in to our full conversation below to learn how you can create a culture of safety in your community. You'll also learn: What a “culture of safety” really means Why leadership being present is critical to a culture of safety The importance of communication and employee engagement Challenges to building a culture of safety Intentional steps to building a culture of safety, and much more! Additional Resources: American Red Cross Training Services Round Rock Parks and Recreation: Lifeguards
okie okie we can't contain our excitement fr!!! maria thacker goethe is equally deeply committed to her important non-profit work & the development of biotechnology ecosystems!!! thacker goethe received her B.A from Sweet Briar College before attending Tulane School of Public Health & Tropical Medicine where she studied health marketing/communications & maternal & child health. thacker goethe's dedication is notable; she has worked at georgia bio for almost seventeen years,,, climbing the ranks from marketing, project, & membership manager to president & ceo. additionally, she is a board member of the CJD Foundation & the American Red Cross of Georgia. we are like,,, truly!!! really!!! so lucky to discuss her experience in non-profit & impressive accolades in this episode!!! Wahoo!
This episode is, I believe, one of the most engaging discussions about Inclusion and Diversity that I have had the pleasure to conduct on Unstoppable Mindset. Terra Davis is a graduate of Howard University with a degree in Journalism. However, she was lead not to take up a journalistic career but rather she began to work in the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion workplace. Today, she works for a law firm as its chief diversity officer. She will tell us that story, but for Unstoppable Mindset that is only the beginning. Terra and I discuss a wide variety of ideas and issues surrounding both the diverse workspace and how disabilities have systematically been left out. However, we also discuss how she is helping to work to change that. On top of everything else, Terra and her family love to seek out the ice cream stores that claim they are the “best”. You get to hear about her favorite. I look forward to hearing your thoughts after hearing Terra. As always, thanks for listening. About the Guest: Terra Davis is a diversity, equity and inclusion advocate and practitioner in the legal industry. She supports diverse legal talent and clients in deepening client relationships and business strategy around common goals and DEI initiatives. Terra is a member of the Association of Law Firm Diversity Professionals and served as the co-chair of the Legal Marketing Association DEI Shared Interest Group, where she was responsible for developing DEI educational programming for its members. She is passionate about serving marginalized communities and pushing the needle forward for change. When she is not working with these organizations, she is spending quality time with her husband and two-year-old daughter, Zoey. As a New Jersey native who was born in Bermuda, Terra loves to travel, meet new people and visit any ice cream store or stand that boasts it's the best. She is a graduate of Howard University and has her D&I certification from Cornell University. Social media link: https://www.linkedin.com/in/terrasjohnsondavis About the Host: Michael Hingson is a New York Times best-selling author, international lecturer, and Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe. Michael, blind since birth, survived the 9/11 attacks with the help of his guide dog Roselle. This story is the subject of his best-selling book, Thunder Dog. Michael gives over 100 presentations around the world each year speaking to influential groups such as Exxon Mobile, AT&T, Federal Express, Scripps College, Rutgers University, Children's Hospital, and the American Red Cross just to name a few. He is Ambassador for the National Braille Literacy Campaign for the National Federation of the Blind and also serves as Ambassador for the American Humane Association's 2012 Hero Dog Awards. https://michaelhingson.com https://www.facebook.com/michael.hingson.author.speaker/ https://twitter.com/mhingson https://www.youtube.com/user/mhingson https://www.linkedin.com/in/michaelhingson/ accessiBe Links https://accessibe.com/ https://www.youtube.com/c/accessiBe https://www.linkedin.com/company/accessibe/mycompany/ https://www.facebook.com/accessibe/ Thanks for listening! Thanks so much for listening to our podcast! If you enjoyed this episode and think that others could benefit from listening, please share it using the social media buttons on this page. Do you have some feedback or questions about this episode? Leave a comment in the section below! Subscribe to the podcast If you would like to get automatic updates of new podcast episodes, you can subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher. You can also subscribe in your favorite podcast app. Leave us an Apple Podcasts review Ratings and reviews from our listeners are extremely valuable to us and greatly appreciated. They help our podcast rank higher on Apple Podcasts, which exposes our show to more awesome listeners like you. If you have a minute, please leave an honest review on Apple Podcasts. Transcription Notes Michael Hingson 00:00 Access Cast and accessiBe Initiative presents Unstoppable Mindset. The podcast where inclusion, diversity and the unexpected meet. Hi, I'm Michael Hingson, Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe and the author of the number one New York Times bestselling book, Thunder dog, the story of a blind man, his guide dog and the triumph of trust. Thanks for joining me on my podcast as we explore our own blinding fears of inclusion unacceptance and our resistance to change. We will discover the idea that no matter the situation, or the people we encounter, our own fears, and prejudices often are our strongest barriers to moving forward. The unstoppable mindset podcast is sponsored by accessiBe, that's a c c e s s i capital B e. Visit www.accessibe.com to learn how you can make your website accessible for persons with disabilities. And to help make the internet fully inclusive by the year 2025. Glad you dropped by we're happy to meet you and to have you here with us. Michael Hingson 01:21 Well, hi once again and welcome to unstoppable mindset. As usual. We hope to have a lot of fun today. We have a great guest, Terra Davis, she's got a lot to talk about. I am sure she's involved in diversity, equity and inclusion. She's a graduate of Howard University and the most important thing about Terra the absolutely most important thing is that she likes to visit ice cream score stores who claim they're the best. And so we definitely need to delve into that. Well welcome to unstoppable mindset and thank you for being here. Terra Davis 01:58 Thank you, Michael. Michael Hingson 01:59 So let's get into this ice cream store business who do you think is the best so far? Terra Davis 02:04 So I grew up in a very small town in New Jersey and South Jersey to be exact and so I grew up around a bunch of mom and pop ice cream stores if you will my for most of my life. And I have to give a shout out to cravings ice cream. They are locally all around and they have incredible ice cream. But if I'm looking at the guest the big retailer ice creams spots that you could find all over the country. Jenny's ice cream is definitely one that I would recommend as the the up and coming Michael Hingson 02:50 so when I lived in Westfield we would go over to I think it was in Cranford or Scotch Plains scoops, which I n people who work for me love to go to so we had a lot of fun go into scoops and thought it was pretty good. I wouldn't say it's the best but it was definitely something that made life worthwhile for us. And so we always enjoyed scoops. Terra Davis 03:14 I have to check that out. Michael Hingson 03:17 Yeah, I don't know. If they're there, where do you live now? Terra Davis 03:22 So now I'm in Dallas, Texas, Michael Hingson 03:24 here in Dallas. So yeah, that's a little far from scoops. But, Terra Davis 03:27 but when I travel, I try to make it a mission of mine to go out and find an ice cream. Michael Hingson 03:35 The best place I ever experience was in Berkeley, a place called bots. And I learned about it from Hazel timbre who was the wife now the late wife of the founder of the National Federation of the Blind Dr. Jacobus, Tim Brooke. And the family had their biggest meal of the day at breakfast because that was when everybody was together. And also if you ate a big meal at breakfast, you didn't need to eat as much the rest of the day and you had more energy and one of the things that they did was they would go down the hill from where they lived on Shattuck road and go to boxes, ice cream, store company and buy a quart of ice cream that had to weigh if it was a quart, two and a half pounds. It was about the richest and the most wonderful ice cream I think that I have ever experience it isn't there anymore. There was another one I think in San Francisco called Bud's which was pretty good. And I think it's still around somewhere but bots was always great. Loved it. Terra Davis 04:42 Well Bravo here in Dallas is phenomenal, Michael Hingson 04:45 too. Well, you know, we're just going to have to get to Dallas and go with you and do an ice cream tour. Well do. So now that we've dealt with the substantive part of the podcast. Tell me a little bit about you growing up and and all of that kind of stuff. Terra Davis 05:00 Yeah, so I mentioned I grew up in a really small town in south Jersey, and I was about 1520 minutes outside of Philadelphia. And when most people think of New Jersey, they oftentimes think about New York. And they never think about the southern part of this itty bitty state. But that is where I grew up. And I grew up in a house of educators, my mom and my dad, are both teachers. And they have been in the industry for a very long time. And they really instilled upon me the importance of one education, of course, but also just treating people well. And my dad, actually, his, his father, was the NAACP, president of his local chapter in New Jersey. And my grandmother was very involved in the NAACP and also on the civil rights movement as well and met between the two of them a lot of civil rights pioneers, who they would invite over to their home, they would invite to come and speak. And so my dad, really growing up around that, could never leave that, and would oftentimes tell stories to my sister and I, about some of those experiences. And I think that now, you know, di is a part of what I get paid to do. But it's always been a part of who I am, as a result of just who I have in my life and their own experience. Michael Hingson 06:50 So you, you've been enculturated, if you will, into the Civil Rights world, especially right from the very beginning, Terra Davis 07:00 from the very beginning. So go ahead, go ahead. No, go ahead. Michael Hingson 07:04 What was it like going to school? Terra Davis 07:07 It was so undergrad was amazing. I was actually just speaking to someone about this the other day, because at the time, I didn't realize I, I didn't realize that I wanted to go to Howard University. I knew a little bit about its legacy. And it really wasn't until I stepped foot on campus, that I knew that that was the place that I was meant to be at. I really valued not only the professor's but the conversations that we were having about racial injustice. And what that looks like from a systemic approach. Even though my major was in journalism, I wasn't necessarily and I didn't have this, in my mind is something that I would be doing later on. It was it was just embedded in everything that we did in every class that we took. And on top of all of that, I really learned just how I think how broad the diaspora is, if you will of, of black people, not only in the United States, but outside of the United States. I think when I growing up in a really small town, I grew up in a bubble, where I only saw the people who I saw who looked like me, we shared very similar cultural values because of the area in which we grew up. But going Howard University, it really expanded my my view of others who might be black and living in Sacramento black and live in New York, black and living in Cincinnati, Ohio. And one of the things that I think is so important in that is understanding that people and cultures aren't necessarily a monolith. And it really depends on your environment and your lived experiences. And so I think that that was the it was one of the greatest teachers was just being there at at the university to be able to learn that. Michael Hingson 09:27 What was it like when you were younger, going to elementary and secondary school and so on in terms of how you were treated or what your environment was like and how things were. Terra Davis 09:38 It was lonely, but not I mean, the area that I grew up in was not very diverse at all. And so for me, I would usually be the one of only person of color, black person In my classroom or in my classes, and that can be an isolating feeling when you realize, because there's a moment that you realize that you don't necessarily know it going in. But when you realize that your are one of one of one or one of the few, it can become increasingly very lonely and very isolating. And usually, I would find myself getting picked to answer the questions around black culture, especially during Black History Month, which will be next month. And there's tremendous weight and being responsible for an entire group of people that, like I said, I learned, you know, just depending on your environment, and your lived experiences we all are coming from, we all have different views and vantage points. And so to have to speak for an entire culture, it just was it was, there was a tremendous amount of pressure. I think that also growing up at the same time, in that environment, and going to Elementary Middle School in these areas that weren't very diverse. It really prevented me from having the opportunity to get to know people from other cultures that weren't white or Caucasian. And so it really wasn't until probably later in middle school, and certainly not until high school, that I was able to interact with other other demographics, and get a better understanding of who a person was in what they believed and how their culture influenced their behavior and their personality. And it felt like it was done it it was it was such a meaningful experience for me, especially when I would watch Friends or peers who hadn't had that opportunity, and hadn't had those experiences, and had the stereotypical viewpoints in their minds of who people who are, are, are Michael Hingson 12:27 did. Did you grow in any way to accept the concept that being one of a few are the only one maybe also gave you the opportunity to be a teacher? Or was there just too much pressure that that just didn't really strike you or seemed like it was a relevant thing to do. And I'll tell you why I asked that, because we who happen to have physical disabilities as our characteristics, and I'll talk about specifically blindness, most of the time, we're the only one. And today as an adult, especially, again, the only one that most people interact with. And people are always asking questions. And so you can resent that you can accept it, you can decide, well, this is a chance to educate. How did you react to all of that? Or how has your view changed over time? Possibly is a better question to ask, Terra Davis 13:32 Oh, I welcomed it. I think I'm a unicorn in that sense, because I took it on as an opportunity for someone not to walk away from our conversation the same way that they entered. And so that way, when they met someone else, who looked like me, they had a better understanding of who that person might be. Because of it. Hey, so knew that there were some things about me that were not necessarily what those persons saw on television, or read in the newspaper when the newspapers were around, or it just just what they thought of. And so I really welcomed it because I thought that it broke barriers when we had those conversations. And also I don't want anyone to walk to be walking on this earth, ignorant when they don't have to be and ignorant in the truest sense of its definition or just not knowing. And so, if I'm around, I feel comfortable with I feel comfortable with someone asking me those Questions and wanting to understand it, I got questions about my hair, I got questions about the music that I liked the food that I eat, my family, just and then and then some of the more the more uncomfortable things about what people might see on television and the different portrayal of, of black people and fiction and also in documentary form that I was able, I hope to shed more light on. Michael Hingson 15:32 It's interesting, the way you describe it, and I understand it fully, for lots of reasons. Do you find it at all interesting or amazing that so often, people are uncomfortable, just because someone looks different than them, Terra Davis 15:53 I find it just a part of the human condition. Especially when you have this upbringing where, and this was the case, especially where I grew up, where if you don't, if you don't want to, you will never have to see anyone else who who doesn't look like you. Or who doesn't have or who doesn't have an experience or similar, you never have to, you never have to experience that person, or see that, at least in the very early stages of your life. And, you know, one of the things that I've observed is observed that most people will, depending on where they are living, will spend more time with people that look like them outside of the workplace. And when they're at work, if their workplace is just slightly diverse, they will find themselves interacting with co workers but only during the nine to five time and then once five o'clock, it's it's like I'm back to my my world with with my my one group that I feel very comfortable with. And I really challenge that I think there's there's a space in place for you to be around like minded individuals, and those individuals who look like you and have very similar experiences to you, I think that that's healthy. But I also believe that you should challenge yourself a bit. And because for me, I didn't have the choice to just be in an in a one in one environment. Um, I didn't have that I didn't have that as a as an option. And from from the nine to five, even past the five, that's not necessarily an option for me, especially depending on where I'm living at the time. And for some people, especially those who are in the I wouldn't say I'm saying majority, but I'm saying it very loosely, who are in the majority. You don't necessarily have to you don't that's you have to be more intentional about it. And so I challenge it, but I think it's all just a part of the human condition. Well, it's Michael Hingson 18:22 part of the the human environment. But we also don't need to allow ourselves to be conditioned that way from me, for example, I don't focus on what people look like. Color is, is pretty much for me, for example, a meaningless concept. I understand it, I understand, and could talk to you about it from a physics standpoint all day long. But it amazes me that any one of one color could look down on someone else from another color because for me, it's irrelevant. And maybe I'm very fortunate I do know blind people who are and have learned to be prejudice. But I don't know that especially if they're totally blind from birth, whether they truly understand the whole color concept, but it's it's still very fascinating that we can look at someone and who just because they look different than us another color or any number of other characteristics can decide that we're less than they are especially when the day is the typical white majority. And there are more white people than in this country especially then there are other people although that is slowly evolving. But still, I think that that each race or each color tends to have some of that attitude where we tend to not be comfortable around the people that look different than us. And for me, that's kind of really just an amazing concept. Terra Davis 20:07 It is for me too. And I noticed growing up the people who are very uncomfortable, I mean, I'm a woman. And so the uncomfortability that I experienced is so much different from, from my spouse, who's a man who's a black man. And his level of what he experiences in terms of people who are uncomfortable around him is much more high end, people are usually afraid of him when he's walking down the street. And we can definitely see that. And for me, I could pretty much go up to anyone. And I can sense that they might be uncomfortable from the start. But it's much easier and faster to break down that barrier than it is for him. Especially with like the preconceived notions and ideas that they might have about me. Michael Hingson 21:03 I remember once going with my wife to a restaurant for breakfast, my wife was in a wheelchair her whole life. So she told a different, and she passed away this this past November. But I have 40 years of memories. So that works. But we went into this restaurant for breakfast and went up to the counter. And the woman behind the counter, I, as I learned later just kind of stood there looking between us. Because me Being blind doesn't necessarily make direct always eye contact. And Karen being shorter, and in a wheelchair. This woman didn't know who to talk to just to say, Would you like a table or a booth or anything like that? And so she stood there mute. And finally, Karen said to me, I don't think the hostess knows who to talk to or what to ask. And so I said, Well, you know, she could ask us if we want breakfast, and where we want to sit and all that. And we could kind of go from there. And that did break the ice. I'm sure she was a little bit embarrassed. But then she, she did ask all the right questions. And we went, and we sat down and we ate. And people were comfortable with us. But it is just amazing that we can live in a world where we're taught. And I believe that's really the issue is that we're taught to think that people because they look different, or have some characteristics that we don't, are different, and not necessarily as good as we are. And we are taught that all too often. And it's it's a problem that we have to address at some point. When we talk about diversity. The problem that some of us have with diversity is it is completely thrown out disabilities, when you ask people to describe what diversity means they'll talk about race, sexual orientation, gender, and so on. Social justice and other things. You never hear disabilities mentioned, or, or so rarely, that it doesn't even count to do it, which is unfortunate. But then they talk about Dei, and they talk describe it as the same. And my position is you can't do that if you're going to talk about inclusion. Either you are inclusive, or you're not. And that really means you got to change your mindset. And recognize that people who have so called disabilities are really part of the world. And as I describe it, disability needs to be learned as something that does not mean a lack of ability, but just a characteristic. And we we it's amazing how we are so stuck in our attitudes about how to deal with all of that. Terra Davis 23:41 Oh, absolutely. I have watched people retreat as soon as they encounter someone with a disability, especially a physical disability. And I guess a one where and also a disability disability that is visible because there are some mental disabilities that are are visible. But the ones that are invisible takes an out you take time to actually have a discussion and talk to someone and sometimes that person then has to disclose it in order for you to know and then all of a sudden it turns into this Alright, now how should I act around you? What should I do and and I find that fascinating as well. And also that the DEI conversations that we're having, it seems like the country as a whole is starting to get comfortable being uncomfortable discussing race, discussing ethnicity, discussing gender, discussing, even sexual expression and orientation. And when it comes to disabilities, and neurodiversity, all of a sudden it's like retreat retreat retreat Michael Hingson 24:59 because cuz we're afraid that we could become like you. Mm hmm. And one of the things that we have to somehow get the world to understand is, so what? So you become like me, does that mean that you're less of an individual and I know so many people who have had to go through the rehabilitation process, people who have become paralyzed, or blind or whatever, and they go through a process. And most of the time, I'm, again, dealing with blindness, but most of the time, the agencies will teach you to use some technologies and so on. But they don't really get to the root issue of attitude and philosophy. It's a fairly small number of agencies that truly will work to get their clients to understand that blindness is okay. It may be taking a different Lane down the road of life, but you're still on the road of life. And it is something that we just tend not to deal with. And a lot of the professionals in the field of work for the blind, although they would deny it truly don't have a great positive attitude about blindness themselves. And so the result of that is that they tend to operate in a way where they're not really helping people who come to them to live up to or learn to live up to their full potential. It is still such a fear that we haven't dealt with, Terra Davis 26:40 for sure, and not knowing how to respond. I remember watching that with my grandfather, who I mentioned to did all these incredible things and was president of his local NAACP chapter and he was World War Two that, but he was blind as well. And he wasn't blind to his entire life. But I but my entire life, that's, that's what I knew I knew of him. And I remember watching people who would meet him for the first time, he was well over six foot, and had a very deep voice that commanded your attention, and have that type of personality as well. But I would watch people want to treat him with kid gloves, and treat him as if he, he was a child in a sense, because of the fact that he was blind. And he didn't, he didn't need that treatment, he would very quickly let you know, in his own way, that, you know, he was this, this powerhouse of a person. But it's, it just always intrigued me to watch people who were meet him for the very first time, we just see that. Michael Hingson 28:09 I'm amazed when somebody meets me, maybe I've talked with them on the phone or whatever. And they say, You didn't sound blind. And I'm sitting there going, what the heck does that mean? Oh, well, you know? No, right. It's amazing. Well, you know, you went to Howard University, then what did you do? Terra Davis 28:32 So after I graduated from Howard, I ended up sort of falling into. I really didn't know what I wanted to do next. I knew that it wasn't going to be journalism in the traditional sense. And I knew that my passion and my gift was in communications. I just didn't know where to put that. And I sort of fell into this place where I found myself doing more of like corporate communications and somehow someway ended up in the legal world. Did you major in journalism? I did, okay. Just want to hang out there. Oh, yeah. Michael Hingson 29:20 And one of those reporters A. Terra Davis 29:24 And they're just so happened to being these, these law firms that were looking for people with journalism and communications backgrounds, because they needed people to be able to write and write well, and write in a way that as a journalist who who's writing for someone who may only have a fifth grade education or you're writing for the year as someone who is very simple So I understand like I can, I don't need to do a whole lot to get the point of what you're trying to say. And so I fell into this little industry. And one of the things that I quickly realized was that I was in an environment very similar to the environment that I grew up in the environment that I went to elementary school and middle school and where it was, there was maybe one or two of me. And there might be more people who were serving as enrolls that weren't necessarily business professional roles like and like executive positions. And I, and then also, there weren't, there wasn't a whole lot of diversity with the lawyers. And I wanted to understand why that was. And so I started asking questions, and I started attending different events and noticing the same thing in the legal industry over and over and over again, and I really wanted to change that I really wanted to be that person who not only increase the diversity, so it looks like the world in which we live in. But one where someone who looks like me, can come in and feel comfortable being themselves there, and not feel like they have to wear a mask, when they're working. And when they're with their peers. And then when they go home, they can take that mask off, and there's a sense of relief. Yeah, Michael Hingson 31:39 it's, it's amazing that we hide so much sometimes, isn't it? Terra Davis 31:46 It is, it is. And I noticed that I mean, maybe auspices in this is probably in other industries is is probably also in the medical field. And it's probably also in the corporate world, when you look at it, that there are so many people who just feel like they cannot be authentically them. They feel like they have to speak a certain way. And they have to have a certain educational background and a certain familial background. And they also need to potentially come from money, and they need to dress a certain way in order just to be accepted. And we spend so much of our time at work more time at work than we do at home with our family and with our friends. And that can become exhausting. And not only can it become exhausting, it can hurt you mentally, it can hurt you physically, it can hurt you, emotionally, and I I knew coming from Howard University, I didn't want to I didn't I didn't want that for my life. I didn't want to go to a workplace where I couldn't be myself. Michael Hingson 33:07 Why do you think that circumstances like that tend to be the case? Why is it that in the legal profession where we are supposed to not pay attention to those kinds of things, and that we're supposed to really work for justice for all? Why do you think that still, the prevailing attitudes are as you describe them? Terra Davis 33:34 I think it's the systems and I better set up. And I think that it is, for a long time in the legal industry, and in particular, the corporate legal industry. What I believe has been happening is those who are diverse, don't always have didn't always let me say Not right now. But let me say you didn't always have the means or way to get into law school, to go to law school and to succeed in law school. And so you end up with this oneness when when of graduates who complete the program, who go to the top schools who have the best grades, and then they go into this corporate law firm setting, and they create their own culture that mirrors the culture that they're used to. Michael Hingson 34:41 It gets back to society, dictating this whole concept of you need to be stereotyped in a certain way. And there's no allowance for difference. Terra Davis 34:54 Absolutely, absolutely. There's none. It's, it says if It's as if difference is something that is similar to having a cold or something that's not necessarily supposed to be in your body that your body rejects as a result, and I feel like difference is, is viewed the exact same way. It's like, oh, no, this is something that isn't, is it right to have and we need to reject it. Michael Hingson 35:25 Do you think that with more people, say, who are black or of other cultures? And I would hope over time, and I think there's some of this that is happening, people with disabilities going into a law, environmental legal environment, do you think that this will change any of the attitudes of not really tolerating difference and so on, that we see? Or are they just going to conform to the system? Terra Davis 36:03 Oh, I definitely think the attitudes will change. I'm seeing it right now. Where there is an intolerance for not not accepting the change and not welcoming it. And being resistant to that. And I'm watching it with the policies that are created, I'm watching it with the positions that are being created to make sure that the culture reflects an environment that is much more welcoming and inclusive. I, I have hope, I also believe that there's this younger generation that's coming in. And the world in which they live looks much differently than the world that I grew up in, in the world that others who come before me have lived in. And I think that they just don't have the patience for that type of environment. And I definitely am seeing a shift. If I didn't see the shifts before, when I first came into this industry, which I hadn't seen those things happening. I definitely saw it in 2020. And I am hoping to see that continue to evolve and expand beyond some of the groups that we spoke about. And I'm hoping to see that expand into disabilities more than it has already. I think that we we are due for a shift. Michael Hingson 37:49 And that will be a good thing. If that can continually happen. That will be a really exciting thing to see. And I hope that it does. Where do you work? Terra Davis 38:00 So I actually work at a firm called Norton rose Fulbright. Michael Hingson 38:05 So you actually are at a law firm, I am at a law firm. And do you? Well, so what what exactly do you do there? Terra Davis 38:15 So I am a dei manager. And my primary responsibility is to ensure that the clients that we have, that are really looking to us to make the change as well. And see equitable opportunities for diverse attorneys and inclusive practices adopted, that it's happening. And so what I'm doing is I'm communicating that with our clients, and I'm collaborating with our clients on those efforts, and coming up with, with what I hope are good ideas, to make sure that that we aren't moving backward and that we're moving forward and that we are actually practicing what we preach and walking the walk and not just talking the talk Michael Hingson 39:11 as a person who clearly has some deep thoughts and in good ideas and knowledge about this whole concept of inclusion and so on. Do you get ever to be involved in any writing of legal arguments and so on to or other things to ensure that things are presented in the most inclusive way? Or do you get to be involved in that into the legal aspect of it just because of your journalism background? And clearly you're a great communicator. Terra Davis 39:43 Thank you. Now I don't I'm not involved in the legal aspects of everything. I save that for everyone who, who went through their years of law school and pass the bar. What I am I'm really inspired by our, the written policies that firms like mine are putting down to paper, to institutionalize inclusive practices, so that those things can only get built upon and not erased for the next person entering that is, is looking for an environment that is one that they can thrive in. And so what I'm really looking at is, what do we talk about? Having persons with disabilities and making life a lot easier for them in the workplace, but what accommodations do we have in place? We talk about the fact that we would like to see more LGBTQ plus attorneys in the workspace, but how are we allowing them to be their true and authentic selves and not feel like that's a part of them that they have to hide when they come into the office every day. So really, what I'm looking at are more of the policies and best practices and things that make someone not only want to work for a firm like mine, but what to say. Michael Hingson 41:19 And that, of course, is really the issue. It isn't just getting there, but it's wanting to stay. And a good work environment, a positive work environment is, of course, second to none anywhere. Terra Davis 41:35 Absolutely, I mean, I don't know how many cultural statements I read on various websites of companies and firms that said, we value our people, just just the standard language. And then, you know, when you get into those places, you find that none of what they've communicated on their website, or in their handbook is necessarily how it is how it is. And so I believe in training, I believe in uncomfortable conversations for the betterment of, of the place that you are at, I believe, in, like I said, pot adopting policies that are put to paper, but just, I think dei work at its core, and I know, others in the space will argue with me on this is is valuing and accepting people, but also caring for them for just who they are, and not expecting them to, to assimilate or form themselves into into something that they're not. At the same time, someone could argue and say, Well, does that mean that I believe in this? And I believe in I, I don't believe in, in gay marriage. And I come into the workplace, does that then mean that I shouldn't have to work with someone who is gay? And I absolutely challenge that because I think that everything that we do, as DEI practitioners should be rooted in a place of love and acceptance. And the end of the day, when we're building on we're building up in our on what we're doing. That should be the foundation that we look to and what we're doing, like, is this bill in a place of love and acceptance? Michael Hingson 43:55 Yeah, it's it's the usual thing that we tend not to tolerate difference very well, what my, my view about whether gay people should marry or not is really irrelevant. As far as they're concerned. That's their choice. And, you know, I'm amazed when people talk about God, and religion, and this isn't right in the Bible. But Jesus also said, you know, render under Caesar, would a Caesar render unto God, what is God's and the reality is, ultimately, if there is a problem, no matter what it is, that goes against God, that's up to that individual and God to deal with. And there'll be a time that they have to do that, but it's not my place to judge that. Terra Davis 44:49 Absolutely. And I think a lot of things are also just built in, built with fear. And I think we have to check that I think because that we find ourselves when when when we find ourselves saying no, because we have to really take a look at why we're saying no. And if there's some fear attached to that, no, then it's probably not a good reason to say no. And I think when it comes to dei work, there's resistance. More often than not, because of fear of the unknown. And we've got to, we've got to do I think, a better job of, of leaning into that fear and, and understanding Well, where is this coming from? And why are we doing that? And why does that need to be maintained? Michael Hingson 45:43 Also, the fear of the unknown is easily addressed, because what is unknown, especially in this kind of environment, with what we're talking about, can certainly become known. People can learn more, if they will. Terra Davis 45:57 Or they can, I mean, I'm like, especially when I was in college, and even before then, the tools and access that I had were very limited. And so it took a much more conscious approach and effort to get to the information that I needed to get to. And now, I mean, we all have, we all have cell phones and our cell phones or little mini computers, and we can get that information right there. I mean, it's discerning what information is the right information at. But I think that I think just using that, and using it as an excuse, as I just didn't know, when I didn't understand is not one that we can lean on anymore. Michael Hingson 46:48 I know for me, just picking up a cell phone and doing that kind of research willy nilly at the drop of a hat is a little bit more of a challenge and slower to do. But I'm amazed when I go to family gatherings and so on, somebody makes a comment. What I discover is everybody's on their computers, or actually their cell phones, or their iPads, looking up the information and and talking about what they they read, which I think is is exactly what you're saying the information is there if we would take advantage of looking for it and using it and learning from it. Terra Davis 47:27 Absolutely. Michael Hingson 47:30 And it's it is it is so much of an information oriented world and the information is there, the internet is such a treasure trove. It is that is amazing that more people don't do it and use it. And I realized that we have a lot of our population that is growing older, and they tend to not gravitate to it as fast. But I think even if they would, they would be amazed and would discover an incredible world that they could learn a whole lot more about which would benefit them and everyone else. Terra Davis 48:06 If we were doing a privilege walk as a country, one of the things that we would all be able to step forward for is is technology, I think AXA and some some capacity. So I agree with you on that. Just how far do you want to step out of your comfort zone to access the information? That's Michael Hingson 48:28 exactly and of course, it's always all about moving out of your comfort zone, we tend once we get used to something, we just don't want to change what we do. And there's nothing wrong with taking a little bit of risk, it doesn't mean that you have to jump out of an airplane with or without a parachute. But you can certainly learn a lot more about skydiving. And maybe you'd find out well maybe this will be fun to do or not. Personally, I am not interested in jumping out of an airplane even with a parachute. But I also know that if I were in a situation where I needed to do it, I could adopt a mindset that says okay, that's what I got to do. I know that much about me whether I want to do it or not. I can still do it. And probably that comes from being a risk taker most of my life and going to strange places doing things that I never thought I would do things that other people take for granted. But for me, it's a new experience or something that, as I said involves from my perspective taking risks, but that's okay to nothing wrong with a little risk to make life far more fun and exciting and adventurous. Not at all. It's it's always a good thing to do. So, what would be one thing that you think people should learn or know that they don't know about? This whole idea of inclusion that we're talking about? Terra Davis 50:00 There are so many things that I think people should know. But if I had to drill down on just one thing, it's, it's really going back to what we were speaking about, which is it only takes you, it only takes you to step outside of your comfort zone, to want to understand, to want to learn to want to grow in this space. And I think what ends up happening is we lean on, people like myself who are, are dedicating our profession to this area, and not realizing how much we can influence it. On our own. Michael Hingson 50:48 You live in a world where you're constantly being challenged, you're facing differences and so on. And it has to get from time to time frustrating speaking from experience, what, what motivates you, what's keeping you motivated, Terra Davis 51:03 what's been keeping me motivated lately, is remembering why I started to do this in the first place. When I got into this, I would say what I did when I decided to dedicate my time to this and move away from what I had initially been doing, which was that communication side of everything. I was sitting in a hospital bed, I had just given birth to my daughter, and George Floyd's funeral was on. And I remember one of the hospital workers who was responsible for taking vitals and, and cleaning out the rooms. She came in my room and she stood by me and we, we didn't really know each other all that well at all, because you're only in the hospital, but for so many days after you give birth. And we were in the room in silence, watching the funeral. And immediately, we're connected from that. And I think when I go back after a challenging day, and I remember the way that I felt watching it, and the way that I was able to connect with the stranger watching it, it reminds me that there is greater good and doing the work that I'm doing that far outweighs the challenges that I have in a day. Michael Hingson 52:59 Even so, what keeps you up at night, obviously, there are a lot of things that go on and weigh on your mind because of all this so what keeps you up at night, Terra Davis 53:07 hoping that people get it open the people get what I do, and why it's so important. And, and understand that I know, as of late, there's been a huge focus, and a huge driver. I when it comes to the I work around the dollar, and that there's monetary gain in focusing on diversity. And while I know that that is true, Terra Davis 53:45 I, I What keeps me up at night is hoping that we can Terra Davis 53:52 we can see a deeper reason beyond the monetary game. And that's and that when we look at and I hate to say this because it sounds so it sounds so Speechy right. But and so motivational like but when we look at our kids and when I when I look at my my daughter's two now when I look at her, and I look at her friends, and I think about the type of world that that they're going to be in and I think about the type of workplace that they'll be working in and and the hurdles that I faced when I first got in to into into the workplace are the hurdles I face just at school because I was different. I would like to believe that people aren't looking at making it better for them just for the sake of mine. I would like to believe that people are looking to make it a bit better for them because that's just The right thing to do and because there's such good in it, Michael Hingson 55:06 what is one thing, you've done a lot of things, and you've had some pretty amazing experiences. But what's one thing that you haven't done that you'd like to do? In addition to finding more ice cream stores? Terra Davis 55:23 I think that I would definitely hold on to, we talked about risk earlier. And I'd like to be able to take many more risks that I have so far. I, I'd like to challenge myself in specific areas, inside and outside of this, this work. And risk for me is just as trying something new, not necessarily skydiving, but trying something new and in a slightly different environment. And I am hoping that I am able to, to find what that looks like, in the next couple of years for me, and take that leap. Michael Hingson 56:12 What's What's one thing that you can think of? Or can you think of something right now as an example of taking that risk that you haven't taken, Terra Davis 56:20 I would have to say that, right now a risk that I hadn't necessarily taken or pursued in a way that would be beneficial for me, is understanding more about these leadership roles. And these executive positions in the space, understanding a bit more about social impact Parilla dei lens, I'd like to, to see myself not only learning more about that, but stepping into that a bit more Michael Hingson 57:00 makes a lot of sense. And I think makes for an interesting adventure. And when you do that, we want to have you come back so we can hear more about how it all went to. I would love to now, what would you like your legacy to be? How would you like people to remember you just kind of curious Terra Davis 57:19 as someone who genuinely cared, as someone who not only genuinely cared, but when I, when I get up in the morning, my challenge to myself is to make sure that I am influential in a way where it's giving someone else it's getting someone else closer to where they want to be, and what they're hoping to achieve. And doing it in a way where because of what they look like, because of who they are. isn't, isn't the reason why they can't get to those things. And so I'd like my legacy to be the person that helped them do that. And even if it's not 1000s of people, and it's just a few, I feel good about that. And even if they don't know my name, and they don't know, that was the thing that I did in a piece of what helped them was something that I did, I'm okay with that. But that's what I'd like my legacy to be Michael Hingson 58:51 at the end of the day, or each day. Do you ever just take time to sit back and think internally and think about what happened in the course of the day and do self assessment of what was good? What wasn't? How to maybe improve the things that weren't? Or what could you have done better that even worked out great, right from the outset? Sort of self analysis, introspection, Terra Davis 59:18 all the time, it's and so when people ask you the question of what's, what's a weakness of yours, that introspective thinking is definitely one of mine. And at the same time, it's a strength because I think that it's important to do that, because then you can learn from from the day or the events that happened in that day. At the same time, it hurts me when I fall into this negative thought pattern around those things. I was just talking to someone about this, not that long ago, about how I Couldn't get so caught up in my head, thinking about things that I should have said should have done, that I miss, I can miss the good things that happened. And I can miss the things that went right. Because I'm, I'm holding myself to the fire to do everything the right way and say all the things that I needed to say. And that's just not how that's just not how our lives work. If they did work that way, I don't think we'd ever grow. Michael Hingson 1:00:34 And putting things in, as you say, the right way, the fact is the right way. Might need to evolve or will evolve over time, because what seems right, maybe needs to change sometimes. Terra Davis 1:00:50 Oh, absolutely. I was just listening to someone. So I've Sirius XM. And I was driving home from picking my daughter from school. And I was listening to someone who was asking the question of the day, which was, what things did you use to believe? Or stand by that no longer serve you? Or you've, you've now realized that that's not really that's not a part of who you are your core value or what you believe anymore? And it was interesting to hear some of the things that that people thought about and what and what they were their responses were to that question. And you're exactly right. The right thing might be right, right now in this moment in the second, but it's not necessarily going to be the right thing. In the next month or the next year or the next few years. Think about all the things that this country thought were right at the time, and they just simply and they could have been for that person or those individuals. And then later on, we come to find out they weren't the right thing. Michael Hingson 1:02:07 It's It's fascinating to think about it. And I think we all need to look at evolving our thought processes. And I'm a firm believer and introspection and firm believer and evaluating us each other, our ourselves every day. We're our best teachers, we're going to be the ones who can teach us the best. And we really should take advantage of that. It's a wonderful gift. Terra Davis 1:02:37 It absolutely is. I'm thankful for that. Again, like I said, I'm I'm thankful for when I when I'm able to do it in a way that isn't bringing me down. And is it is it? Is it serving me in a way that's helping me get to the point of growth that I need to be. And it's it's how I how I live, it's how I started planning for my next few days, it's how I how I can plan my life really is just having those quiet moments to myself. And some of that comes in journaling as well. Michael Hingson 1:03:21 Yeah, I have never been a great journaler. But I understand it. And I tend to just try to think about things and keep things in my mind. But I do from time to time, find ways to make sure that I will remember things. I find reminders and other things that my little echo device and other things can do to remind me are very important things to do. So I appreciate the whole concept of journalism, journaling and vision mapping and so on and treasure mapping because they are extremely important tools, if we would use them to remind us and keep us centered. Absolutely. Well, Tara, this has been absolutely fun. I hope you've enjoyed it. And I certainly have. And I think that we have talked about a lot of things and given each other and hopefully you who are listening out there, lots to think about and I really am serious. We need to do it again, especially when you take a few of those risks and want to come back and talk about it. I am ready to do it wherever you are. Terra Davis 1:04:33 Thank you Michael. I enjoyed my time. This has been a great discussion. And he really had me thinking with a with several of these questions. I'm gonna go back and look at my journal tonight and then start to map out. I've so appreciated it and I would love to join you again. Michael Hingson 1:04:55 Well, we will have to absolutely do and I told you this would be a conversation and we'd go in All sorts of directions that probably never thought of doing at the beginning. But I appreciate all of your help and preparing for it. And I appreciate you and your time. And I'm very much looking forward to the chance to do it again. I hope that you listening will give us a five star rating go to Apple or wherever and please rate the podcast. It's valuable and it helps us a lot. And also, I would appreciate it if you want to make comments, feel free to do so you can email me you can do comments with your ratings, but I always ready to receive emails, you can send me an email at Mike at Michael hingson.com. Better yet do Michaelhi at accessibe A C C E S S I B E.com How Terra can people reach out to you? Terra Davis 1:05:52 You can certainly reach out to me on LinkedIn, you can find my name T E R R A Davis D A V I S. And that's really the best way to reach out to me honestly, I found myself getting off of social media slowly but surely, over time. Consuming, it's too time consuming, but I'm certainly on LinkedIn. Michael Hingson 1:06:21 Well, I hope that you all will respond and let us know what you thought. And you'll be back with us again next time when we do unstoppable mindset. You are also if you need to learn more about some of our other podcasts Welcome to go to www dot Michael hingson M I C H A E L H I N G S O N.com/podcast. And check us out and listen to some of our past episodes. Also, I will just tell you, I do keynote speaking and if there's ever an opportunity where you feel that I might be able to add value and come and talk to your organization or some organization that you know, please reach out to me I'd love to hear from you. But again, Terra, this has been fun. And thank you again for being a part of this and giving us all of your time today. Terra Davis 1:07:10 Likewise, thank you for having me. Michael Hingson 1:07:16 You have been listening to the Unstoppable Mindset podcast. Thanks for dropping by. I hope that you'll join us again next week, and in future weeks for upcoming episodes. To subscribe to our podcast and to learn about upcoming episodes, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com slash podcast. Michael Hingson is spelled m i c h a e l h i n g s o n. While you're on the site., please use the form there to recommend people who we ought to interview in upcoming editions of the show. And also, we ask you and urge you to invite your friends to join us in the future. If you know of any one or any organization needing a speaker for an event, please email me at speaker at Michael hingson.com. I appreciate it very much. To learn more about the concept of blinded by fear, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com forward slash blinded by fear and while you're there, feel free to pick up a copy of my free eBook entitled blinded by fear. The unstoppable mindset podcast is provided by access cast an initiative of accessiBe and is sponsored by accessiBe. Please visit www.accessibe.com. accessiBe is spelled a c c e s s i b e. There you can learn all about how you can make your website inclusive for all persons with disabilities and how you can help make the internet fully inclusive by 2025. Thanks again for listening. Please come back and visit us again next week.
Linda Hunt did not start out knowing about or in any way dealing with disabilities or accessibility. She grew up primarily in Canada. While getting her college degree she began a 15-year career with the Superior Court in her town. Along the way she married a man who worked for a screening company that silkscreened t-shirts and other products. Eventually, Linda's husband started his own screening company and after 15 years Linda began doing work for the new company. In 1999, because Linda began feeling tingling in her extremities, she consulted a physician and was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. As it turned out, after ten years she became one of the 50% whose disease progressed until Linda began using a wheelchair. Of course, Linda then became much more interested in the whole concept of accessibility and she began doing more work with organizations and companies in the field. I asked her about how she remained so positive and how she was able to deal with the unexpected changes in her life. Her answer will show you why I regard her and her actions as unstoppable. Linda's story will show you that no matter what befalls us we can move forward. About the Guest: Linda Hunt Is an Award-Winning Accessibility Consultant, Speaker, Podcaster and Author. She is the CEO of Accessibility Solutions an accessibility consulting firm that aids businesses and organizations to remedy barriers for people with disabilities. Their mission is Making the World Accessible. Linda is the Treasurer of Citizens with Disabilities – Ontario. A member of The Rick Hansen Foundation – Accessibility Professional Network. A Certified Community Champion on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and it's Optional Protocol. Linda was elected to Brantford City Council in 2022. She is the first person with a physical disability to be elected as a Brantford City Councillor. Linda first became a person with a disability in 2004 since then she has become an advocate for all things related to accessibility. Linda has more than 30 years of experience in senior management roles in the public, private and not-for profit sectors. Based in Brantford, ON Linda and her husband Greg have operated their own business Grelin Apparel Graphics for over 30 years. Free Gift– 1:1 meeting with Linda https://calendly.com/accessibilitysolutions/meeting-with-linda-hunt Accessibility Solutions – Social media links https://www.facebook.com/solutions4accessibility https://www.linkedin.com/company/accessibility-solutions https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRBqblsq_vxrKbdvEp2IOWQ Accessibility Solutions – Podcast site https://accessibility-solutions.captivate.fm/listen Website www.solutions4accessibility.com Email firstname.lastname@example.org Phone 519-753-1233 About the Host: Michael Hingson is a New York Times best-selling author, international lecturer, and Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe. Michael, blind since birth, survived the 9/11 attacks with the help of his guide dog Roselle. This story is the subject of his best-selling book, Thunder Dog. Michael gives over 100 presentations around the world each year speaking to influential groups such as Exxon Mobile, AT&T, Federal Express, Scripps College, Rutgers University, Children's Hospital, and the American Red Cross just to name a few. He is Ambassador for the National Braille Literacy Campaign for the National Federation of the Blind and also serves as Ambassador for the American Humane Association's 2012 Hero Dog Awards. https://michaelhingson.com https://www.facebook.com/michael.hingson.author.speaker/ https://twitter.com/mhingson https://www.youtube.com/user/mhingson https://www.linkedin.com/in/michaelhingson/ accessiBe Links https://accessibe.com/ https://www.youtube.com/c/accessiBe https://www.linkedin.com/company/accessibe/mycompany/ https://www.facebook.com/accessibe/ Thanks for listening! Thanks so much for listening to our podcast! If you enjoyed this episode and think that others could benefit from listening, please share it using the social media buttons on this page. Do you have some feedback or questions about this episode? Leave a comment in the section below! Subscribe to the podcast If you would like to get automatic updates of new podcast episodes, you can subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher. You can also subscribe in your favorite podcast app. Leave us an Apple Podcasts review Ratings and reviews from our listeners are extremely valuable to us and greatly appreciated. They help our podcast rank higher on Apple Podcasts, which exposes our show to more awesome listeners like you. If you have a minute, please leave an honest review on Apple Podcasts. Transcription Notes Michael Hingson 00:00 Access Cast and accessiBe Initiative presents Unstoppable Mindset. The podcast where inclusion, diversity and the unexpected meet. Hi, I'm Michael Hingson, Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe and the author of the number one New York Times bestselling book, Thunder dog, the story of a blind man, his guide dog and the triumph of trust. Thanks for joining me on my podcast as we explore our own blinding fears of inclusion unacceptance and our resistance to change. We will discover the idea that no matter the situation, or the people we encounter, our own fears, and prejudices often are our strongest barriers to moving forward. The unstoppable mindset podcast is sponsored by accessiBe, that's a c c e s s i capital B e. Visit www.accessibe.com to learn how you can make your website accessible for persons with disabilities. And to help make the internet fully inclusive by the year 2025. Glad you dropped by we're happy to meet you and to have you here with us. Michael Hingson 01:29 Today we have Linda Hunt as our guest, Linda is an award winning accessibility consultant. She's a podcaster. She's an author, and she now is a politician. She's a member of a city council. We're going to have to learn more about that. And she also happens to be a person with a physical disability. So we have lots that we can talk about. And we hope that this will inspire and educate. And I'm certainly looking forward to it. I hope all of you are as well. So Linda, welcome to unstoppable mindset. Linda Hunt 02:00 Oh, thank you, Michael. And thank you so much for having me. Michael Hingson 02:03 Well, it's really a pleasure. Let's start, as I love to do tell me a little bit about you growing up and just where you came from, and kind of what got you to what you do as an adult? Linda Hunt 02:16 Yes. So I'm, I'm a Scottish loss. Actually. I was born in Scotland and I emigrated to Canada when I was about two with my parents. And they came to Canada with me as a two year old had two other children. And then my, my mum was homesick. So we moved back to Scotland and I actually started school here. I started kindergarten here. But when I went back to Scotland, I went to school for a few years and came back when I was in grade three. So I've I've been here ever since I was about eight years old. And as far as you know, growing up, did the traditional school, I graduated high school in the depression of the early 80s. And my parents couldn't afford to send me to post secondary education. So I got a job. Well, I had a job in high school that became a full time job. And and then I started working actually for superior court when I was only 19 years old. So following that, I decided to pursue post secondary education. So I have a degree in business administration, which took me 10 years to get before the days of online learning. I had to commute almost an hour each way to actually attend university. So that's, you know, that's kind of what got me as far as my post secondary education. I have two children, they are grown. They're 25 and 30. Now and wow, that was a that was a forget my own birthdays. My son turning 30 was was a milestone for me, which was just at the end of November. But so and professionally, I mentioned I spent 15 years working in superior court. My husband and I had opened our own business in 1990, which we've had for just coming up on 33 years. I myself spent a significant amount of time working as a business consultant for the federal government, and then went on to be executive director of a national health charity here in Canada until 2009 When I gave up what I called the commute down the highway for the commute down my office or sorry, down the hallway to my office. which is how I ended up starting accessibility solutions, which is an accessibility consulting firm that AIDS businesses and organizations to remedy barriers for persons with disabilities. So that kind of got me to where I am now, from a professional perspective, you've mentioned that I have a physical disability, and yes, I do, I am in a power wheelchair. I was diagnosed in 1999, with multiple sclerosis. For the first five years, I could still jog and high heels. And then we eventually started to see some disability progression. To the point between early 2006 and late 2007, I went from one cane to two canes to a walker to a scooter to a wheelchair in the span of about 18 months. So adapting, adapting adapting to disability progression as we moved along. So that's my history in a nutshell, as we will say, Michael Hingson 06:07 Well, I like the idea of going down the hall to the office. And so do I very much enjoy it, I think it's a great thing, I think there's a lot of value in being able to work at home, as long as you are able to do it and keep up with what it is that you need to do. It's it takes a lot of discipline to work at home and some cases, more than even working in an office of the when you're in an office, there's a lot of gossip and talking and interaction that takes place and some of that's valuable. But working at home is a lot more of a discipline. And it it has its own challenges. Linda Hunt 06:46 It does. I know when I first started working from home I that was in as I said in 2009, which I mean, since the pandemic remote working is become a norm for a lot of people. But in 2009, a lot of people thought if you worked from home, what did that mean? You you went on your computer, and then you went and watched, you know, TV or did something along those lines. But I did miss the as you said the watercooler the gossip, I miss the interacting with other adults. And so I've really embraced, especially since the pandemic zoom, and being able to connect with people like yourself, who we would never be able to connect in person just because of geography. But it's certainly become the norm for a lot of people to be working from home. And you're right. I do tend to take a little bit of a break around 430. But I quite often am back in my office at about six o'clock till maybe eight o'clock. So one of the things that I find about working from home is is almost like you live at work, because for me the temptation to go into your office and maybe do something or catch up on something that you didn't finish earlier in the day is just right there. Michael Hingson 08:21 And that can be a good thing. And it could also be a thing that you have to watch, of course, but I've in my career had several jobs where I have done a lot of things remotely as it were. I remember starting out working well my first job was actually involved with a device called the Kurzweil Reading Machine for the blind. And literally, I traveled all over the country for 18 months, where we in the National Federation of the Blind place machines in various places. So right from the outset, I did everything kind of remotely. So I would interact with people where we put machines, but the other people within the organization, and within the process of my job responsibilities within the organization was all remote. So I got used to that. And then I went to work for Kerswell in an office. And that was great until I was asked to relocate to California to help Kerswell integrate with Xerox on the West Coast. And there I was, again in a situation where pretty much for three years my office was really an room in my home. So I got used to that pretty early. But I do like both settings. I think there's value for both. So I'm I'm glad that you're you're able to succeed at doing it. You seem to be pretty comfortable working down the hall as it were. Linda Hunt 09:55 Yes. Yes, I really I really am and it and I do a lot of work with companies around inclusive hiring and it makes a big difference from an inclusive hiring perspective. To have to have your workforce be able to work remotely. Michael Hingson 10:17 Yeah. So when you worked for the Superior Court, what did you do? Linda Hunt 10:22 I was a, I started out as the Deputy Clerk of small claims court, which is basically, I think at the time when I first started, it was small claims under $1,000. And I think it went to $3,000. In today's, you know, realm, it's somewhere in the neighborhood of $25,000. But it was basically civil litigation. So I was a court services, representatives. So basically, in a, in an environment where no one was happy to be there. But the other thing that Superior Court in Ontario, Canada, at least does is trials that get basically bumped from Provincial Court. So things like murders and that kind of thing. So Superior Court. While we do a lot of civil litigation, there, also has a very high end criminal components. So I would do a lot of the work around juries. And basically, it's paperwork that has anything to do with the court system, or anything to do with law or legal work has, has lots and lots and lots of paperwork. Michael Hingson 11:48 I have too busy. Linda Hunt 11:50 Yeah, yeah. And I mean, I, as I said, I started there when I was 19. I mean, I left. When I left there, my daughter was only two. So you know, I really grew up in that role. And as I said, the that was the timeframe that I was also commuting to get my degree. So when my you know, I would be working, you know, nine to five at the courthouse and then leaving to drive to university for a lecture two nights a week. So yeah, it certainly kept me busy back then. Michael Hingson 12:30 What made you decide to leave that and start your own business? Linda Hunt 12:34 Well, my so my husband was the production manager for a screen printing company for 12 years. And it was the decision to start our business was more a result of his business expertise. And he was working in a family business, he was fairly young. He wasn't quite 30 yet, but he was working in a family business where at the age of 30, he realized that he was never going to go any higher than he was because it was all family members above. So we talked about it and, and then we had a good friend of ours that worked for a company that was looking for a new screen printer, so it was kind of a it was good timing. It was you know, maybe I can do this. And then almost like a ready made customer base, if you want to call it that. That presented the opportunity. So we did so we decided that he would start that now keeping in mind at the time I worked at Superior Court, so I always had the backup full time job will say so it wasn't it wasn't the total leap of faith. I mean, I had the job with the benefits and but anyway, we did our business has been very, very successful. So other than when I left Superior Court and my daughter, as I said was, well she wasn't quite too. There was a maybe a five year span in there that I worked full time in the business but at that point, we had two locations. 16 employees and things were you know, very, very busy. And then I decided to when when my daughter went to school is when I decided to to go and work elsewhere, which is when I went to as I said I went to work for the federal government as a business consultant. Michael Hingson 15:00 So, now when you talk about the business being a screen printer, what exactly is that? Well, Linda Hunt 15:05 if you can imagine you've probably got a t shirt with a logo on the front of it. Ah, that would have been printed in a screen printing facility. Got it? Michael Hingson 15:14 Okay. Yeah. So then you went to work for the federal government? What did you do for them, Linda Hunt 15:21 I was a business consultant, I ran a program called the self employment benefits program. And I basically took people that wanted to be entrepreneurs, all the way through the business planning, market research, marketing plan, getting their business started, and then mentored them through their first year of business. And I can pleased to say in the, in the, my, probably about the four years that I did that I probably had a hand in launching 200 to 230 small businesses. And I found that I found that very rewarding. So that was really for me, it was, first of all, my experience of starting my own business, or, in my case, my, the business that my husband was, was running full time. But it was also my, my education. So I have a degree in business administration. So but but really, that that lived experience of being that entrepreneur that had to write the business plan, and, you know, go through all of the steps of becoming a business. And I'm pleased to say, I did that in the early 2000. And there I know, because I've used them, I know of quite a few of the businesses that I helped launch during that timeframe that they're still in business today. And we're talking 15 to 20 years later. So I like to think that I had a hand in giving them a great start. Michael Hingson 17:12 So how long did you do that? Linda Hunt 17:15 I did that for four years in the early 2000s. And at the time, I was sitting on the provincial board of directors for, as I said that the national health charity that I that so what ended up happening is that they approached me because they were recruiting for an executive director. So I have a degree in business administration basically was sitting on the provincial board of directors and had the was given the opportunity then at that point to be considered for the executive director position. So I was successful, applied and was the successful candidate and left that left that position with the federal government to go and work as executive director for for that, that organization, which anybody that's worked in the not for profit world knows that that executive director level, it's a lot like running a business. So you've got customers or clients to keep happy and you've got funders to to keep happy and you've got payroll to make and marketing to do and you know, all of that kind of stuff. So it is a lot like running the business. Michael Hingson 18:35 So you did that until when, Linda Hunt 18:39 until 2009 which is as I said when I gave up the commute down the highway to the commute down the hallway. And so in 2009 was when I saw I started accessibility solutions in 2010 2009 was a tough year. Health wise. We had my dad my father died and then my father in law died a month apart. And we had health wise I was I was struggling so 2009 was a tough, tough year. Michael Hingson 19:21 Now were you in a chair by that time. Linda Hunt 19:25 In 2009, I was still shuffling in the house with a walker Okay, or what I call a furniture surfing. So shuffling for one piece of furniture to another but no couldn't couldn't walk independently at that time. At that time I was using a wheelchair outside so I would leave the house get in my wheelchair leave the house go down the ramp and the garage get into my 2009 was when I bought my wheelchair accessible man so I still to this They drive from a wheelchair accessible van that has a side ramp. But yes, so I was still living we were still living in, you know the two story, four bedroom house at that point we installed. So we talked about adapt, adapt, adapt, right. So you adapt to your circumstances can't do that anymore. So what do I need to do so that we can do that so that at some point in 2006, I believe I decided that I could no longer climb this flight of 13 stairs to go from the main level of our house all the way up to the bedrooms. So we installed a stair lift at that point. So when I say I was shuffling with a walker, I was shuffling with a walker on the main level, and then I'd get on the stair lift and go upstairs and shuffle with another Walker. Around the the upstairs the bedroom, my office was upstairs at that time. We Yeah, so in 2010, was when I started accessibility solutions, which at the time was primarily related to compliance with the EO da, which is provincial legislation, somewhat similar to your ADA in the United States. So we were helping businesses comply with new legislation that was that was coming on stream for businesses in Ontario. And while we still do that, we you know, we've we've really grown into quite a few other areas of helping businesses embrace the will say, embrace the culture of, of inclusion and realize that persons with disabilities are is really a market that no business can afford to ignore. And so we have a series of webinars now that we run called Accessibility is good for business. We have some partners with the local Chamber of Commerce and you know, that kind of things. So that's that's really my my passion now is I'm I'm a very strong advocate for accessibility. In no kind of every, every aspect of, of life, I guess is, you know, well, Michael Hingson 22:36 tell me tell me more about your your concepts of accessibility or inclusion really ought to be part of the cost of doing business? Linda Hunt 22:46 Well, it's it well, we actually frame it as that accessibility is good for business. So you can enhance your bottom line by being accessible. Why? Well, 22% of the population has a disability. So and then we talk about the sphere of influence of those people. So I, I'm in a wheelchair, so I'm one of the 22%. But if we're going out for dinner, or we're going shopping, then that sphere of influence might be me and a couple of girlfriends or in the case of my family, my husband's family is fairly large. So I think our Christmas dinner was 34 people. So when we set out to decide where we're going to go for dinner for 34 people, the number one concern is is that business accessible, because if it's not accessible, me and the 33 other people in my husband's family are not going there for dinner. So that's, that's real dollars. Right? That's, that's, you know, that's, like I said, that's real dollars and cents. But the other, the other thing that we that we really talk about is the fact that 22% of the population has a disability, but that percentage over the age of 65 is obviously 40% of the population. So everybody, whether you're in Canada or United States is well aware of what we call the silver tsunami. And and as the population ages there are more and more people that have a disability and if you're not accessible, and then you're then you're you're you know those people are not coming to your business or in the you know, they're not coming to your website if it's not accessible to someone like yourself that is blind or For us, as vision loss, we the other thing that that we do a lot of work around right now is inclusive hiring strategies because the world is short staffed, and the most underutilized labor market out there are people with disabilities who want to work, but need need to work in organizations that have embraced a culture of inclusion. And so out of necessity, believe it or not, a lot of businesses are recognizing the fact that accessibility and inclusion needs to be part of their business strategy. Michael Hingson 25:49 So one of the conundrums I think, that we face, although we don't necessarily talk about it, is that while we have a significant number of people who happen to have a disability, you said, 22%, I've actually heard higher numbers doesn't matter, though. The problem is, we have a lot of different disabilities. And so yes, you have issues where you can't gain access to buildings, and I may have issues where we can't access the menu at a restaurant or read material, but they're different. How do we get people within the minority to work together? Or do they? Linda Hunt 26:36 Well, I think they do. Recognizing, and, you know, when we talk about universal accessibility, we're talking accessible for everyone. So not just a person with the physical disability, or as you said, not someone that's able to, to read, read a menu, or hear the waitress, for example, you know, giving you the specials of the evening at, at a restaurant, it's, it's really all about how, how a business can accommodate different types of disabilities, and how they, how they can do it, but the culture, that culture of inclusion really starts at the top. So that there has to be a will, for them to want to be able to be inclusive to people of all disability, you know, of all types of disabilities. So, you know, I always start with the, you know, how can I help? It's as simple as that, how can I help? What do you need, and, and then we, and then we go from there, but we, you know, I work with a lot of businesses that that are, they're just, they don't know what they don't know, right. And so, a lot of times what we think are, you know, fairly simple fixes, until there, if you, if you don't have a disability, or until somebody points something out to you, then then you're not even aware. So that awareness for one is definitely, you know, just being aware that you need to be accessible, or you want your business to be accessible. But then also being able to recognize that in order to be inclusive for everyone, that there are different ways that you that you need to make your business successful. Michael Hingson 28:59 Well, I, I like what you say about it is good for doing business. But I also do think that we need to have more of a discussion about the reality that accessibility and inclusion issue is and should be part of the cost of doing business as well, because we do so many things in business. We do so many things for one group or another, or for most employees, for example, we have lights so that people can see where they're going, and so on. Although some of us don't need it. We have coffee machines to make employees happy and so on. And we regard that typically in a business environment as part of the cost of doing business. But if and we hit when we provide computer monitors, but if somebody comes along and says I need a screen reader to hear what's on the screen. First of all, they may not even get hired because oh that's we don't have budgets for that rather than in reality. It's no different than needing a computer monitor, or it is an issue of what's your priority. And so we at some point have to decide that inclusion really is part of the cost of doing business. And that's a good thing. Linda Hunt 30:19 Yeah, I agree. And that, I mean, a lot of times I feel like I'm preaching to the converted, right? Because once once they've decided to seek out the services of an accessibility consulting firm, and I'm sure you deal with this, as well, that, you know, once they've decided that they're going to make their website accessible, and they've come to, to see or talk to you about, about your services. You know, they've made that conscious decision that they want to build accessibility and inclusion into their business, which is great. There are though, at least in the province of Ontario, Canada, where we are, there are laws that require businesses to be accessible. And unfortunately, that legislation is probably one of the most non compliant pieces of legislation out there. Because it's what I call the carrot and the stick, right, like people, first of all, they don't know, I've had so many businesses say to me, why don't think that legislation applies to me? And I say, well, actually, it applies to every business in the province of Ontario that has at least one employee. Or they'll say, Well, we don't have customers, well, that doesn't really matter. I mean, you're Purolator delivery guy could have a hearing impairment, and that qualifies as, or your website's not accessible, or, you know, whatever, whatever it is. So it's not about the legislation was, was actually passed in 2005, to make the province of Ontario fully accessible by 2025. Well, we've got under two years to go. And we are nowhere near where where we were supposed to be. And a lot of that you're right has to do with businesses who don't realize that building in accessibility and inclusion is is the cost of doing business. Michael Hingson 32:34 How do we get speaking of the whole issue in Canada? How do we get that to be more of a national initiative? Why is it a provincial one? I know that I've had discussions with people in various provinces about guide dog access, and some provinces do better at that than others. But why is it that we are not able to get this to be more of a national movement? Linda Hunt 33:00 Yeah, we, we just in 2019, actually passed the accessible Canada Act. Unfortunately, though, the accessible Canada Act, which was, which was also a very welcomed piece of legislation, but it's only it only regulates federally regulated industries, such as banking for airline trance, transportation, or, you know, those kinds of federally regulated industries. So they're provincially regulated industries. And I'm lucky that we're in Ontario, because we were actually the first that that brought out legislation, and ours is called the Accessibility for Ontarians. With Disabilities Act, which is initially was comprised of five standards. We have two other ones that are working their way through being being adopted now, but the, you know, to answer your question, how do we, you know, I sit on, I sit on the board of citizens with disabilities, Ontario, we do a lot of work around advocating for, first of all, just compliance with the legislation that we do have in the province of Ontario. But then, yeah, you cross the border, and you go into another province, and in some cases, there are some provinces in Canada that don't have accessibility legislation. Yeah. But then there's then there's the whole question is why do we need legislation like for those of us in that who work in the disability space? It should just be you know, Nobody should be allowed to put up barriers. I mean, you know, you've got our on our disability legislation is actually companion legislation with the Ontario Human Rights Code. So the complaint mechanism is is kind of tied with being able to file an Ontario Human Rights Complaint. If someone's not complying with, with the legislation, so you know, which is, which is a long drawn out process for something that should just never happen. And that's where we get into disability rights. And you know, people have a right to, to housing, they have a right to, you know, the same services that are available to, to persons who don't have the same disability as them, you know, that that type of thing. But you know, that, you know, I think you and I are probably going to be long gone for this work from this world before. Everybody gets on the same page and realizes that accessibility and inclusion should just be built into everything from the start. Yeah. Michael Hingson 36:18 It certainly would be less expensive, if it were, which is I know, something that you think about that you talk about building inaccessibility, as opposed to having to deal with a later and certainly Linda Hunt 36:32 why one of my comments, or one of my quotes that I its accessibility is cheaper to build it in than it is to bolt it on. Michael Hingson 36:42 Well, absolutely. And it is an issue where, if you, for example, especially for physical disabilities, where mobility is involved, if you have to modify a building or a structure after the fact, it's extremely expensive, and my wife, what I and I built houses to avoid a lot of those costs. So our most expensive home from a standpoint of adding an accessibility that is to a home we built was when we moved to New Jersey, we had to spend an additional $15,000 to put an elevator in because all the homes in the area where two story homes. But even that became a selling point when we sold the house and moved back to California. But in reality, like the home we're in now that I'm in now, my wife actually passed away in November. So we were going to be married for two years on the 27th of November, we missed it by 15 days. But when we built this, when we built this house up, there were no real extra costs because of the fact that you design it in. And that's in general, true. I work for excessive be a company that makes products that help make websites more accessible. And accessible, I will tell you that if people would design in the inclusion to make websites accessible from the outset, if the basic manufacturers of those tools would design in accessibility and inclusion, it would be less expensive. But that isn't the way we work today. And so we do have to have solutions that work like accessibility to make sure that websites are usable, and include all people. Linda Hunt 38:39 Exactly. And I and you know, I'm totally in agreement with you in terms of housing. I mean, we've I've done some work with the accessible housing network here in Ontario. And there is a there's a there's a true crisis in accessible housing. And then while there's a crisis in affordable housing, yeah, the crisis and accessible affordable housing is just you know, that's, that's a whole other whole other thing. And the thing is that the accessible housing network will tell you the exact same thing that you just referred to as building a single family home is that it doesn't cost any more to build it with 36 inch doors and you know, whatever accessibility features you need at the outset, well, it's the same if you're building an apartment building. It doesn't cost any more when you're building an apartment building to build it with 36 inch doors and you know, those types of accessibility features. But what people always seem to think accessibility is is like a little add on or something we have to do and that's something that needs to change. So I've just been elected to municipal council, but I'm one of the ones that will push that challenge as to We're building a 45 unit, affordable housing complex and four of the units are going to be barrier free. So I will ask the question, why don't we make all 45? You know that that was going to be my question? Yeah. Because it's not going to cost any more when you're building it. And I don't know anybody that doesn't need a 36 inch door that has a problem walking through one. So, you know, accessibility doesn't offend people. And from that perspective, you know, why aren't we building? As I said, all 45 units with that accessibility feature? Michael Hingson 40:42 How do we change the basic conversation? I mean, we hear all about diversity. And diversity is always about sexual orientation, gender, race, and so on. disabilities are not included in that, traditionally, while the minority group of persons with disabilities is much larger than any of those except for gender. When you're dealing with male and female, but like LGBTQ and so on, certainly from a percentage standpoint, that population is incredibly, significantly less than the population of persons with disabilities. But we never get that included into the discussion. Why is that? And what do we do about it? Linda Hunt 41:35 Yeah, it's, it's funny, because he asked you, you'll talk to, well, large businesses that have, you know, the diversity, you know, inclusion and equity. Some of them have entire departments built into their business. But, you know, when you talk about diversity and inclusion, you're right, we we are not just talking about, you know, gender, race, you know, if you're, if you have a inherent bias within your, within your culture against persons with disabilities, then you know, that that's, that's going to get forget any diversity, inclusion or equity department or policies or procedures that you have, there's, there's still the inherent bias. No, I have actually seen the word are the words diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility. Those are those are ones that are more forward thinking, Michael Hingson 42:45 well, a little bit, but I'm not sure it helps a lot. Because what do we mean by accessibility? And we're not still not dealing with the issue? And I think you're absolutely right. If we look at it, at its most basic level, the answer to my question about why we're not included in the conversation is bias and fear. For many years, in this country, the Gallup polling organization, doing surveys of people's fears found that one of the top five fears people said they had in this country was blindness wasn't even disabilities. Now, that's many years ago. But still, the biases are there, and whether it's just blindness or all disabilities. We haven't gotten beyond that fear and that bias, and that's the reason that I think we have this issue of not being included in the conversation. Yeah, and if we are, it's just all for the motivation, the inspiration of one person, one one time, one group one time, but the bias, the basic prejudice hasn't changed. Linda Hunt 43:55 Yeah, and that's, you know, you're right, like the the culture of inclusion. And whether it be any marginalized group needs to needs to be, you know, built, it's like anything else that needs to be built into the, the, the, you know, whether it be the business, their corporate culture, from the leadership level, and then it flows all the way down throughout a business. But if you if you can't get that that bias addressed at the leadership level, then unfortunately, that that kind of toxic type of type of thinking pre mediates the entire business culture. So, I mean, I'll use an example you mentioned that I was that I was a elected to Brantford City Council in in October, but I actually I faced what I'll call, you know, bias at the door with a very nice gentleman he was he was elderly, but he didn't understand how I could possibly be a city councilor because I was in a wheelchair. So the fact that my legs don't work had him somewhat out somehow thinking, the rest of me had deficits that would not allow me to position. Michael Hingson 45:36 And what did you do about that? How did you address that? Linda Hunt 45:40 Yes, I had a very nice discussion with them. And I basically said that my legs don't work. But that I, that I'm in a, that I'm in a, you know, I, my educational background, my, you know, my, you know, the fact that I run to businesses, the fact that even as he was speaking to me, I was in as, as you can well imagine, being in a wheelchair, made door to door canvassing, which is knocking on individual doors challenge challenging, but here I was knocking on his door. And, you know, so we, we, we basically had the discussion. And it it was it was just an inherent, I mean, I don't think he was doing he wasn't, in fact, I know, he wasn't doing it to be rude or disrespectful, even though it came across that way. But it's it, I almost felt like I needed to educate them. Yeah. As as we were having the conversation that, you know, assuming that just because I'm in a wheelchair, I'm not capable of making decision making processes at the municipal council level is wrong. Michael Hingson 46:58 How did the conversation end up? Linda Hunt 47:00 I think I got his vote. Michael Hingson 47:03 Well, there you go. What can you ask for? Linda Hunt 47:05 Because and you know, what I tell people we've got, you know, I do a signature talk on overcoming barriers to leadership, but but sometimes when you're faced with, you know, that kind of thing head on it, it is a lot of times, you know, as you said, like, people don't know what they don't know. And you need to address the, you know, the, whether it be the stigma or the, you know, the incorrect assumption that, you know, that you are somehow inferior, because you have a disability, Michael Hingson 47:45 right. And that's why education is so important. And that's why among other things, we used to hear terms like mobility impaired, and I still hear visually impaired, which is wrong on so many levels. And we have to get beyond that, rather than equating how much of one thing someone has, as opposed to someone else, recognizing that what we have are characteristics. And certainly low vision makes a lot more sense to say than visually impaired, first of all, visually doesn't make sense. And as far as I'm concerned, you're, you're blind, impaired or your light dependent. Yeah, that's just probably a more polite way to put it. But the the reality is, I think, in answering my question, it is about education. And we have to do it, but we also have to get so many others across the board to become more advocates for this as much as they are for other kinds of things. Yes. And that's where the real challenge begins. Linda Hunt 48:55 At I and I and the other thing is, is is educating, educating our younger population, so I absolutely love it. When because I always say all the little boys love me because I'm in a wheelchair and they love wheels. So they'll they'll, you know, they'll tell me, you know, how come you're in a wheelchair? I had a little boy, actually, when I was out a couple of weeks ago that said, Does that have a horn? And it does have a horn does the horn forum and he was just totally enthralled. But I welcome that kind of curious initiative of, of children like that. And I think that you know, that, like so many other thing was in schools, that, that learning that not everyone is the same and people are different. Is you know should apply to persons with disabilities as well. Not just not just whether it be race or, or gender or any of that kind of stuff that yeah, it because that's, that's really the, versus trying to change the way of thinking of older people that, you know, as they become adults, if children grew up thinking that disability was just a normal part of life, there are people that have disabilities in our, in our society. And there's, you know, there's nothing wrong with with them or with with that, and that we need to just be inclusive for everybody. Michael Hingson 50:57 Of course, you probably didn't tell that little boy that the horn wasn't the greatest thing in the world. It's not all that loud. Linda Hunt 51:06 I got a new wheelchair about two years ago, and this one is actually not bad. But the ones that I had before that my, in fact, my husband, one day was like, I don't even know if the person in front of you at the grocery store can even hear that one. Yeah. fireless, you know, trying to get, you know, a group of people in a crowd to move out of your way. But, but anyway, I don't use it all that often. Yeah, I like the Escort in front of me. That's kind of saying, Excuse me, excuse me. She's coming through. Michael Hingson 51:39 My wife's last chair was the pride mobility line of sight share. So it's three years old. And the horns still wasn't all that great, as you said, as far as being able to be heard in a crowded area. On the other hand, you really can't put an air horn on on a chair either. So it's a compromise. Yeah. You know, for for you. You have a very positive attitude, you've undergone a lot of changes over the years. How, how do you? Or how did you end? Do you keep up a positive mental attitude about everything? Well, Linda Hunt 52:16 you know what, Michael, I tell people all the time, if I didn't have a positive attitude, I'd be sitting in the corner crying somewhere. Yeah, I was I was diagnosed on March the ninth and 1999, which was all the internet was fairly new at the time. So I went back to my office after being diagnosed, and at the time I did work. My husband and I was I did have an office in our, in our facility. And my husband came into my office and said, you know, well, what did he say? And I said, Oh, he said, I have that in us. And at the time, my symptoms were tingling in my feet and my fingers. So I was convinced that I had some kind of a tumor pressing on my spine, because he kept talking about peripheral nerve damage, and that there was something causing, you know, this peripheral nerve damage. So honestly, a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis was kind of like, oh, I don't think I can die from that. So I literally drove back to my office and was I was sitting in my office when my husband came in, and I said, Oh, he said, I have MS. But you know what, I really don't know what that means. And I will tell you though, after now 25 years of having Ms. This is a disease that does not have a roadmap. So there's there's no way of knowing from onset to 25 years later. All he did say to me was that 50% of the people need some assistance walking within 10 years. And that could be a cane to a wheelchair. And as I said earlier, in our discussion, I went from one cane to two canes to a walker to a scooter to a wheelchair in the span of about 18 months. But my positive attitude. I think, honestly, it's it's out of necessity. I mean, I you know, I was diagnosed with with children that were like two and seven, like I didn't have time to wallow in any kind of self pity. And the other thing is, is when I was first diagnosed, other than an exacerbation that that would, you know, kind of get me down for maybe about six weeks, which you know, they give me some steroids and I'd be up and going again, but, you know, like I said, I you know, just, you know, I was working full time we had you know, we had a business I had two children you know, so my, you know, I say the the positive attitude really is what has kept me going like to this day, here we are 25 years later, Michael Hingson 55:05 you made the choice. Yeah, you that's the important part that you, you could have gone the other way. Linda Hunt 55:12 Well, there and there, unfortunately, there are a lot of people that do go there. And it doesn't matter what kind of diagnosis or not, I'm sure you're an exactly. I mean, you're a very positive person. You know, with that has dealt with a disability, yourself for you know, so it's, to me, it's, it's a part of life. And as I said, you know, unfortunately, having a very good support system. So my husband knows men, I mean, we were married 10 years when I was diagnosed. So we're coming up on 35 years, but you know, it very much is a, you know, a family disease. My, my daughter, I don't think she remembers much. Before I was actually, you know, using starting to use mobility devices, whether it be, you know, a cane or whatever, my son I think remembers more. But having that positive attitude is what's enabled me to, you know, to continue to do the work that I do. I've just never, I've never let my, my, well, we'll call it disability, but I've never liked flat the fact that I can't walk like everyone else. And that's really what it is. Impact, you know, my decision to do whatever I want. So I still drive I still, I still travel a fair bit. I mean, I do a lot of research before I go places to make sure that they're, you know, I'm going to be able to use my left and my wheelchair is going to get where it needs to go. And that kind of thing. Air travel can always be a little bit of a challenge. But you know, yeah, you just, like I said, you just carry on. And it's I think I've always had that attitude, though. It's like, if something gets you down, you just pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and you carry on. So Michael Hingson 57:30 it's, it's as unstoppable as it gets. Linda Hunt 57:32 Yeah, there you go. Michael Hingson 57:36 I understand you're an author. I am love to hear about that. Linda Hunt 57:40 Yeah, so I have the, it's funny, I never thought of myself as an author. Because the first couple of the first couple of published documents that I had, were more what I would consider to be documents, they were policy pieces or so I developed a developed the leadership code for the organization that I was executive director of, so I, you know, writing that kind of stuff, but I had the opportunity to, to be part of a collaborative book a couple of years ago, which my, my chapter was actually on overcoming barriers to leadership, which is one of my signature talks, and, you know, we've had that which kind of feeds into that poll, positive attitude, and you know, that that type of thing. And so, yeah, you know, and that book is on Amazon, I use it, use it in my business as a, as a, you know, a gift, give it away at networking events, that kind of thing. I'm actually working on another book now, which will be which is around the concepts of accessibility is good for business and why. So we've, you know, we've got a couple of kind of chapters that are that are being flushed out on that. And I had somebody you know, that said to me once when I was starting out my podcast was to think of your podcast episodes as chapters of a book, which was an interesting concept, because, you know, my, my podcast accessibility solutions, making the world accessible is is really aimed at that business, that business target market and understanding that that accessibility is good for business. So, you know, we're, hopefully, by later on this year, then we'll have a, I'll have another published book out specifically about how accessibility is good for business. Michael Hingson 1:00:15 Are you self publishing or going through a publisher? No, Linda Hunt 1:00:19 I'm using the the Kindle Direct Publishing, through Amazon works. Michael Hingson 1:00:24 Yeah. Running with Roselle. My second book is as published through Kindle Direct Publishing, so you understand it? And that's, that's great. Is your husband still doing the screen printing business? Linda Hunt 1:00:37 He is. Although I was after him to retire, but then when I got elected, he's like, oh, yeah, you're after me to retire. And you have four years of city council? Yeah, I would like to Yeah, it is a very much a going concern. He, as I said, he works from the, we have a full production facility, which is off off site about five minutes from our home, which is where him and all of our production staff work. And I'm actually in the process now of bringing on some, I'm trying to replace myself, I'm trying to work myself out of a job, Michael? Michael Hingson 1:01:18 Well, if you can do that successfully Good on you, as they say, down under it, and it's good to be forward thinking enough to know when it's time to do that. Linda Hunt 1:01:30 Yes, yes. And I think that's also a key, the key milestone to achieve in order for us to really be able to successfully sell the business, because anybody buying a business that is then operated, you know, by sole proprietor or in our case, you know, a husband and wife team for as long as we have is likely going to want to keep somebody along for the transition. Whereas I tell I tell everybody, when the when the deals done, I am no longer growing girl. So if I've handed off the majority of the work that I do for the day to day operations of the business and have staff in place, then that's, that's part of succession planning and Michael Hingson 1:02:20 transitions. Well, Linda, this has been absolutely fun. And it's been everything. I hoped that it that it would be and I really appreciate your time, if people want to reach out to you. Talk with you, perhaps or maybe even if you have them available here speeches and so on, how do they do that. And I think you also said that you have a free gift. Linda Hunt 1:02:43 I do have a free gift. So my free gift is and I'm sure you'll put it in the show notes. We shall, yeah, you can book a time to just talk with me. And I invite anyone to talk with me that it whether it's accessibility, you want to talk about accessibility. If I'm I'm very open to being guests on other people's podcasts or other people's stages, I've done a fair bit of that kind of that kind of talking over the years, conferences, that type of thing. Or if a if you just want to reach out and find out more about what it is that we do, then that link to be able to book that free consultation. Can you Michael Hingson 1:03:30 say the link? Linda Hunt 1:03:32 The link is? It's a Calendly link? It's Michael Hingson 1:03:36 where can people get to through your website? Linda Hunt 1:03:39 People can get to it through my website there. And you're going to embed it in your show notes. Michael Hingson 1:03:44 Yeah. What's your website? Linda Hunt 1:03:46 They can see it there it is. Solutions, the number 4 accessibility.com. And they can also always reach me via email, which is Linda at solutions for accessibility.com. Michael Hingson 1:04:01 Well, cool. Well, I again, very much appreciate you being willing to come on and have a good in depth and I think good substantive discussion about all of this. And I hope that we're making a difference. I think we are and the more we talk about the conversation, and the more we converse about the conversation, the more conversation we have, which is what we really need to do. Linda Hunt 1:04:26 I agree and I so very much appreciate you having me on. I'm a big fan of your show. Michael Hingson 1:04:33 Well, thank you. Well, I hope that everyone listening feels the same way and we'd love to hear from you. So if you would, we'd appreciate you letting us know you can reach me at Michaelhi at accessibe A C C E S S I B E.com. Or you can go to my podcast page which is www dot Michael hingson h i n g s o n.com/podcast. And we'd love to hear from You please give us a five star rating. When you're listening to this, we appreciate your ratings and your views very much. And we hope that this has been educational and gives you some things to think about and Linda once more. I want to thank you for being with us today and we'd love to have you come back and visit some more. Thank you. Michael Hingson 1:05:24 You have been listening to the Unstoppable Mindset podcast. Thanks for dropping by. I hope that you'll join us again next week, and in future weeks for upcoming episodes. To subscribe to our podcast and to learn about upcoming episodes, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com slash podcast. Michael Hingson is spelled m i c h a e l h i n g s o n. While you're on the site., please use the form there to recommend people who we ought to interview in upcoming editions of the show. And also, we ask you and urge you to invite your friends to join us in the future. If you know of any one or any organization needing a speaker for an event, please email me at speaker at Michael hingson.com. I appreciate it very much. To learn more about the concept of blinded by fear, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com forward slash blinded by fear and while you're there, feel free to pick up a copy of my free eBook entitled blinded by fear. The unstoppable mindset podcast is provided by access cast an initiative of accessiBe and is sponsored by accessiBe. Please visit www.accessibe.com. accessiBe is spelled a c c e s s i b e. There you can learn all about how you can make your website inclusive for all persons with disabilities and how you can help make the internet fully inclusive by 2025. Thanks again for listening. Please come back and visit us again next week.
You read it right, DEIB, not just DEI. The “B” is for belonging. Rhett will tell us all about that during our time together in this episode. Rhett was born with a condition known as craniosynostosis. This is a condition where the skull is malformed. Without treatment, the malformity can lead to Down's Syndrome. He was one of the first children to benefit from surgery to correct this condition. After a successful time at college obtaining a Bachelor's and Master's degree Rhett went into then years working in College Administration. While working toward his Master's degree at Salisbury University he met his wife which he would tell you was the most important event in his life. Eight years ago he relocated from Maryland, where he grew up, to San Francisco where he is now part of a nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating homelessness in San Francisco. Along the way, he also has authored two self-help books and five children's picture books. Unstoppable by any definition. He will inspire you I am sure and he will give you some life lessons you will find useful. About the Guest: Rhett Burden is a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) practitioner, author, and speaker from San Francisco, California. Rhett partners with high schools, colleges, and universities to develop the personal and professional consciousness of their students, faculty, and staff. After spending nearly a decade working in college administration, and writing books to empower, and uplift students, Rhett has learned what it takes to be successful. It's how well you connect with the people you're trying to help and communicate your understanding back to them. Rhett is a life member of the UMES National Alumni Association and a 2019 inductee into the UMES National Alumni Association Hall of Excellence. Additionally, Rhett is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc and a Prince Hall Mason. Rhett holds a MA in conflict analysis and dispute resolution from Salisbury University (SU), BA in sociology from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES), and AA in real estate from City College San Francisco (CCSF). He has also authored seven (7) books; 2 professional development and 5 children's picture books. Rhett is a proud father, son, and husband who is on a mission to leave a legacy Social Media & Website Link LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rhettburden/ Website: rhettburden.com About the Host: Michael Hingson is a New York Times best-selling author, international lecturer, and Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe. Michael, blind since birth, survived the 9/11 attacks with the help of his guide dog Roselle. This story is the subject of his best-selling book, Thunder Dog. Michael gives over 100 presentations around the world each year speaking to influential groups such as Exxon Mobile, AT&T, Federal Express, Scripps College, Rutgers University, Children's Hospital, and the American Red Cross just to name a few. He is Ambassador for the National Braille Literacy Campaign for the National Federation of the Blind and also serves as Ambassador for the American Humane Association's 2012 Hero Dog Awards. https://michaelhingson.com https://www.facebook.com/michael.hingson.author.speaker/ https://twitter.com/mhingson https://www.youtube.com/user/mhingson https://www.linkedin.com/in/michaelhingson/ accessiBe Links https://accessibe.com/ https://www.youtube.com/c/accessiBe https://www.linkedin.com/company/accessibe/mycompany/ https://www.facebook.com/accessibe/ Thanks for listening! Thanks so much for listening to our podcast! If you enjoyed this episode and think that others could benefit from listening, please share it using the social media buttons on this page. Do you have some feedback or questions about this episode? Leave a comment in the section below! Subscribe to the podcast If you would like to get automatic updates of new podcast episodes, you can subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher. You can also subscribe in your favorite podcast app. Leave us an Apple Podcasts review Ratings and reviews from our listeners are extremely valuable to us and greatly appreciated. They help our podcast rank higher on Apple Podcasts, which exposes our show to more awesome listeners like you. If you have a minute, please leave an honest review on Apple Podcasts. Transcription Notes Michael Hingson 00:00 Access Cast and accessiBe Initiative presents Unstoppable Mindset. The podcast where inclusion, diversity and the unexpected meet. Hi, I'm Michael Hingson, Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe and the author of the number one New York Times bestselling book, Thunder dog, the story of a blind man, his guide dog and the triumph of trust. Thanks for joining me on my podcast as we explore our own blinding fears of inclusion unacceptance and our resistance to change. We will discover the idea that no matter the situation, or the people we encounter, our own fears, and prejudices often are our strongest barriers to moving forward. The unstoppable mindset podcast is sponsored by accessiBe, that's a c c e s s i capital B e. Visit www.accessibe.com to learn how you can make your website accessible for persons with disabilities. And to help make the internet fully inclusive by the year 2025. Glad you dropped by we're happy to meet you and to have you here with us. Michael Hingson 01:16 Welcome once again to unstoppable mindset. Glad you're with us. Hope you can stay around for the whole hour. We have Rhett Burden today, who is our guest and he is an author. He's a diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging person. I'm really excited to hear about that. And I know he has some other stories to tell us so we're gonna get right into it, Rhett Welcome to unstoppable mindset. Rhett Burden 01:50 Michael, good afternoon. Thank you for welcoming me. I'm excited to chat with you about diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging and so much more. Michael Hingson 02:00 Yeah. And we'll have to definitely deal with so much more whatever it turns out to be right. Rhett Burden 02:04 Absolutely. Michael Hingson 02:07 Well, let's start. Like I love to do kind of more at the beginning. And tell us a little bit about you growing up and some of all the things that happened along the way there that probably helped kind of make you what you are today, or maybe not for all I know. Rhett Burden 02:21 Absolutely. Well, to start at the beginning, I don't think I can tell my story without mentioning to you in your audience that I was born with a rare birth defect known as cranial synostosis. craniosynostosis is a birth defect that causes the skull not to fuse properly. And the incision. So I guess if I were to give it its full name is I have sagittal, cranial synostosis, which means that I have an incision and running from the top of my head to about three quarters of the way back. That shaped who I am. Because as I grew older and learn more about craniosynostosis, it impacted the empathy that I had for others. It impacted the way I look and feel about myself. And it made me more interested in perennial synostosis craniosynostosis folks that are inflicted with it, and those that weren't as fortunate as I was to have a successful surgery at GW Hospital in Washington, DC. Michael Hingson 03:30 So you had surgery to deal with that? When did that happen? What year was that? Rhett Burden 03:35 I would have had surgery early on. So this is early, mid 1980s, somewhere between 1987 and 1988. When I was a very, very young child, Michael Hingson 03:47 is there still kind of visible evidence of the surgery and so on for you today? Rhett Burden 03:54 There is I must say I'm a fairly tall guy. So for those that are taller than me, and that could look down and see the top of my head, then yes, you can visibly see it. Michael Hingson 04:06 So did did it kind of affect you with other kids and so on growing up, or were they were they not too abusive and mean to you because you had something that looked a little different than most of them? Rhett Burden 04:19 Well, in fairness, I would say most children are teased or picked on by their peers. I was no different. I was no exception to that rule for me. Growing up I remember folks being really interested in when they heard the story and wanting to touch the incision or touch the scar because I have what appears to be like a lump or a small indent. So once you know the teasing is over and you're just having conversation with folks even from middle school in high school, they were very interested to touch into feel because I've always been very open about it. I had the surgery not been successful, I would have had Down syndrome, my life would have taken an entirely different path. So I've always been open in chatting about it. Michael Hingson 05:13 Well, but you obviously survived growing up and you went to high school into college. Did you do any thing unusual in high school or college or anything like that? Were you in sports or any of those things? Or, or any? Or were you just sort of what most kids were? Rhett Burden 05:31 I would say I had a great high school and college experience. I tried out for sports teams in high school. And fortunately, I didn't make the sports team. But I was friends with the athletes. It was a different time back then. So a lot of time was spent outside building relationships, biking, running, exploring. Video games were popular, but not to the height of their popularity as they are now video games weren't considered a sport. So there were no eSports in my day. And then in college, I had a great collegiate experience also. Michael Hingson 06:07 Yeah, video games have now become quite a big thing. Most of them don't talk. So I don't get to do much in the way of video games, but I can appreciate the art form. Rhett Burden 06:19 Absolutely. Absolutely. Michael Hingson 06:21 So you went to college? What'd you major in? Rhett Burden 06:25 Yeah, so went to the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore, historically black college and university on the eastern shore of Maryland. So near Ocean City, not too far from Delaware. And I studied sociology got a minor in public policy. And you and me yes. Is, has been will always be one of the best decisions I've ever made. The friendships that I've made the relationships that were built the social experience that I had, at historically black colleges and universities, less like most schools, they are things like student government association. So I got my first job working as an RA a Resident Assistant. In the residential communities. I was fortunate enough to be voted as the face of the sophomore class, the junior class and even the face of the university. So it's called Mr. Sophomore, and Mr. Jr. and Mr. University of Maryland, Eastern Shore, I went on to compete in the National Black College Hall of Fame contest, where I came in third. And oddly enough, my roommate at the time at that experience that happened, and in Missouri, he won, and he was from Tennessee State. So if you'll meet us has given me so much. And I will forever be indebted to that institution and the experience that he gave me. Michael Hingson 08:00 So tell me about the competition. What did you have to do? How did you all compete? Rhett Burden 08:05 Yeah, so it's an annual competition that takes place and particular HBCU around the country, and all of the faces of the HBCU. So all of the misters, whatever the name of the university is, they go and compete. And it's something similar to a pageant where you have to showcase a talent, you do a monologue, there's a opening number, you are voted on by a panel of judges. And it is all to see who will be crowned Mr. Historically Black College and University for that year. So I was very fortunate I competed in 2009. It again, didn't win, but did come in third place and will again forever be grateful for that opportunity. I have made some lifelong friends from being a part of it, that contest. Michael Hingson 08:56 That is really pretty cool. And obviously you did learn some speaking up speaking things along the way. You certainly seem to be pretty articulate in that regard as well. And you are a public speaker, aren't you? Rhett Burden 09:08 I am very, oddly enough, going back to my time a Umes. That's when I really got interested in training and facilitation started off being a resident assistant. Oddly, I was the university's first freshman alrea. When I started in 2005, I was there for a semester, and just networked and worked my way into getting the position which had not been done before you had to normally be a sophomore or a junior, so you could have some more collegiate experience so you could give back to the freshman class. And I just became enamored with personal and professional development, designing training, presentations, facilitating public speaking. And then because I was fortunate enough to be the face of these classes, sophomore junior class and then the face of the university. I was an ambassador for the university. Oh, always speaking on behalf whether it dealt with recruitment retention, the social experience and it was really a part of my journey that has shaped me to the man I am today. Michael Hingson 10:11 When you speak or when you were doing speeches and are doing speeches, do you like to write everything out and read or do you tend to be more extemporaneous and, and modify according to the situation or whatever is happening, Rhett Burden 10:29 I would say a little bit of both contingent upon the audience. If I am giving a keynote, that I like to have my thoughts flushed out, especially if the audience's a C suite or group of professionals, when I'm working with colleges and universities, you can be a bit more free, a bit more fun, you can work in some audience engagement in a way that you just can't do when you're working with a group of professionals. So I would say a little bit of both based on the audience. Michael Hingson 10:58 Well, how did you get into speaking, I would imagine and partly came from the Umes and the other experiences that you've talked about, but how did you get into doing that kind of as part of what you do? Rhett Burden 11:12 Absolutely. Well, I was a member of the Student Government Association, my was a residential assistant. And there would often be opportunities to knowledge share, whether it was working with first year communities, or, you know, helping new staff learn processes and procedures. And I would always volunteer, I really felt comfortable being on stage, I've always felt comfortable being in front of people, I've never mind minded making a fool of myself if that's what was required, but also standing firm and speaking boldly about issues that are important to me, and trying to bring people along. So that's really where it started. Michael Hingson 11:58 I find it interesting that so many people fear public speaking or fear being up on a stage, I guess they don't want to think that they might look dumb, or it's all about appearances, and so on. But being up on stage has never, for example, bothered me. I've just never been bothered by doing that. I'm used to it. And I guess it's been that way my whole life. Rhett Burden 12:25 That's awesome. And I know that you do it. Well, considering your history. So yeah, I've always enjoyed it. It is a lot of fun, especially when you really connect with an audience. How do you know when you've really connected with an audience? You know, I'm really big on energy. And you can probably appreciate this as a speaker, you can feel when the energy shifts when you first get on stage. And again, contingent upon the audience, people are feeling you out. They want to know, Are you a subject matter expert? Are you excited to be there? What's your level of enthusiasm to present to the audience. And for me, a lot of it was being able to open myself up to be vulnerable to share messages. And you can sense when the energy swings in your favor. And it's like nothing I've ever experienced before. Michael Hingson 13:20 Yeah, when you really establish that connection, you know it, the trick is you learn what the audience reacts to or doesn't react to. And when you get those reactions, and you get what you expect to happen based on what you're saying. And know you're connected. It just enhances what you do. And it makes it all the better. And it grows on both Rhett Burden 13:42 sides. Absolutely. Absolutely. Michael Hingson 13:45 It is so much fun to have that kind of really good connection with an audience. Well, so when you got out of well, let me ask you this first craniosynostosis Yeah, is something that you had? Is it something that affects you yet today? Or is there any kind of issue with it? Or is it just kind of you have it, it's in your past, but it isn't something that you need to deal with on on a daily basis or any kind of basis today? Rhett Burden 14:12 You know, that's a great question. I would say that it is forever a part of me. I am not in any physical pain because of the procedure because of the the incision or the scar that's been left. But it is interesting when I touch my head when I get like a hair cut, and you have to be very mindful. For me, if I'm telling a barber that you'll notice that my head is not necessarily round or flat and, you know, just please be mindful of my incision. This is maybe a little odd, but sometimes I find myself knocking on the lump or bump that's on my head where the incision starts, just because it makes a hollow sound. So But I'm very fortunate that I am not in any physical pain. But it's definitely there. I notice it. But I'm also very proud of it. Because if the doctors were not successful again, I don't know how my life would have turned out. Michael Hingson 15:15 Well, have you ever said whenever the discussion has come up? Yeah, but you should see the other guy. Rhett Burden 15:22 You know what I'll have to incorporate that I have not thought to do that. I'll have to incorporate that in there. Michael Hingson 15:29 Yeah, you see the other guy. But oh, you know, it is so easy to get so frustrated just because in one way or another, some of us look different. But it is so important to have a sense of humor and not let it get in the way. So I'm really excited that you're you're dealing with something that clearly is a little bit of a difference for you. Absolutely. But you deal with it, and it is just part of your life, and you move forward. Rhett Burden 15:59 Absolutely. Now, when I was younger, in school, I was othered a bit because of it. But I must say growing up during that timeframe in the 80s. In just knowing that even though things may have been a little hurtful, I don't think the teasing was meant to be mean spirited. It was just the nature of the beast when you were in middle school or in high school. But you could always laugh about it afterwards. And if you were playing the dozens with someone, if you were laughing and joking, it didn't escalate. Sometimes someone had a funnier joke than you. And then it sort of died down from there. So I'm very, very fortunate because it helps you develop thick skin. And to let you know that things really aren't that serious. Most things in life. You are in control of how you respond, not necessarily what happened to you. And the way in which you respond dictates how people will treat you and interact with you afterwards. So I've been very, very fortunate to have enough self confidence and enough self love to know that sometimes jokes are funny. I don't mind being the butt of say a joke, because I've never felt it was mean spirited with the intent to do real harm. It was just a part of the culture at that time. Michael Hingson 17:22 You bring up a really good point, there are things that we don't have control over. And I talk a lot about, of course, the World Trade Center. And I've learned along the way that we didn't, of course have control over the World Trade Center. No matter what happens you we didn't have control over that. And we don't have control over how other people deal with what happened on September 11. And we don't have control necessarily over what happened to us that day. But we have absolute control over how we choose to deal with it. It's all a matter of choice. Rhett Burden 17:58 You're absolutely, absolutely I mean, you have such an incredible story. And knowing that you were part of something that involves a national tragedy, and that you have sort of flipped the script, or the story on its head, I think is a beautiful thing. And I'm sure it has served you extremely well as you've shared your story, and even coached others that may not feel the same way you do. Michael Hingson 18:22 Well, and in so many ways things come up being blind having happening to be blind my entire life. I didn't have control over that happening. But again, I have control over how I deal with it. I have control over how I choose to learn or not. And I hope that I do choose to learn and to progress and move forward and not let that be a negative factor in my life just as as you're talking about. Rhett Burden 18:52 Absolutely. Absolutely. Michael Hingson 18:56 So what did you do after college? Rhett Burden 19:00 So after college, after graduating from University of Maryland, Eastern Shore, I was very fortunate that the university offered me my first professional role. I had been in pair of professional roles or, you know, odd jobs here and there through high school. It was a different time when you needed a workers permit and you can only work a certain amount of hours. I started off working in for the university and the Division of Student Affairs and I was working in residential communities. I was wanting a dorm. It was a great experience. And then I immediately started grad school in conflict analysis and dispute resolution at a neighboring institution, Saulsbury University. Michael Hingson 19:47 And so what else did you do there? Rhett Burden 19:50 So I one of the interesting things is we were a part of I believe the beta cohort. The institution had just got its accreditation to have the program the conflict analysis and dispute resolution program known as cater. And we were part of that second cohort. And it was, it was an amazing experience to be a part of that cohort model, where there were about 30 of us that started and I think 28 or 29 of us finished, to build community with folks to share in an experience where we were so new, and to be a part of a program that was new to the university that has since made amazing strides. And at one point, I thought that before I became a dei practitioner, I really had ambitions to be a sex and marriage therapist. That was odd. My sort of the genesis of that story is I used to watch the show Masters of Sex. I think it came on Showtime. And I was always intrigued with the history with a science behind it. And I've always been fascinated by relationship and relationship dynamics. My life obviously took a different turn. But Salisbury University was was a great academic experience. And it was one of the most important experiences of my life because I met my partner, my wife of umpteenth years, we met being a part of the same cohort at Salisbury University. So that place will always hold a special place in my heart for who would allow me to meet. Michael Hingson 21:32 So how long have y'all been married? Now? Rhett Burden 21:34 You know, what if my mental math serves me correctly, about eight years, we have been together for over a decade, but married for eight. So I would not have found my wife had I not been at Saulsbury. And had I not been part of that cater program. Any children? We do we have one beautiful, amazing, talented, special little girl, she will be to later this year. And having the privilege to be a father. To be a girl dad, and to share that responsibility with my best friend is is truly special, and something that I don't take for granted. Michael Hingson 22:27 Well, sounds like you'll bring bring her up well, and of course, there'll be all sorts of challenges along the way. Rhett Burden 22:35 I'm sure. Michael Hingson 22:39 But again, those are those are things that one has to deal with, and you can but again, it's interesting what came to mind when you said that you met your wife? And at the at the job? Again, it's all about choices, isn't it? Rhett Burden 22:56 Absolutely best choice I ever made going to Solsbury who would have thought that not only would I leave with a degree, but I would leave with my life partner. Amazing, amazing decision. Michael Hingson 23:09 I love to think from time to time about what I've done in my life, what's happened in my life and can trace everything back to choices. Absolutely. And it could have gone so many different ways at so many different times. Even after September 11. The next day, my wife said, you want to contact Guide Dogs for the Blind where you've gotten your dogs, and let them know that you were in the World Trade Center made it up because some people have visited you from there. And I never would have thought of that. But the result of that was that that's just me. And I wouldn't have necessarily thought of it. But she did. And the result was that they said gee, can we put a little article out about you? And that just broke the whole dam of getting all sorts of visibility in the media and all sorts of other things happened. But all the way in, in what we do, and in my life, all the choices that I made, I can trace what I've done back, are there things I could have done differently? Sure. That maybe I should have done differently, probably. But you know, you can't go back after the fact and just beat yourself up over things. I love to say I used to say I'm my worst my I'm my worst critic, and I realized that's the wrong thing to say. I'm my best teacher, because because I'm the one that has to teach me. And when I look at choices and evaluate and make a choice. Hopefully it's the right one. But either way, I made the choice and I can't be ashamed of that. Rhett Burden 24:44 Absolutely. It's amazing to hear you tell that story, not just for the revelation that you had but to think the catalyst for you and the success that you had started off with a conversation from your wife and this suggestion He absolutely beautiful. And I'm sure you are very grateful for that conversation with that suggestion. Michael Hingson 25:08 Sure. Well, of course, it goes back further because we decided to move from California to New Jersey in the first place in 1996, and so many other choices along the way. And I think it's great to be able to think back of all the things that I've done, and the choices that I made, because I then eventually get to the point of saying, Now, what do I do and what can I learn? And what have I learned that I can use going forward? And I think that all too often, we never take the time to be that introspective and something that we all should do, because it will help us and guide us to with what we should do next. Rhett Burden 25:50 Absolutely. I'm in full agreement. Michael Hingson 25:54 So here's something that we really need to do more of. So anyway, from Solsbury, what did you do? So from Saulsbury, Rhett Burden 26:01 I got to the master's degree, met my partner. And we decided that we were both working for separate universities. And my wife got bit by the textbook very early on, and had an opportunity to work at Facebook. And it would cause it required us to leave Maryland and to come out to California. This happened shortly after we got married and came back from our honeymoon. And we've been in California for the past seven years, all because my wife decided to take a chance on herself. She believed in herself. And she invested in herself, which is why she got the role at Facebook. And for me wanting to follow her lead to support her to champion the things that she was doing and to say, You know what, it's time for a different experience. We are taking on a new level in life. And I'd love for us to do that in California. Michael Hingson 27:06 So how's that going? Rhett Burden 27:08 It's going extremely well, you know, the initial sticker shock of San Francisco was a lot coming from Maryland to the bay. You know, everything from the cost of milk to gas was exponentially higher. And that was a little shocking at first when, you know, I had lived in the Maryland, DC Virginia area my whole life and things were expensive, but not that expensive. And having worked at a couple of universities while I've been in California to where I am now. It has it's been such an amazing journey. And I'm so glad that we took that leap of faith to come this way to come westward. Michael Hingson 27:52 So what universities in California, yeah, Rhett Burden 27:55 I spent some time at Menlo College and Palo Alto. also spend time at Academy of Art University. I've done a lot of dei work with several different associations, sort of under the umbrella of this college of the university system. And now I work in a nonprofit. So you know, I'm forever grateful I was a higher ed practitioner, for almost 15 years loved my time there. There's something energizing about being around college students about being in that environment. And now I work for a nonprofit, and I'm excited. I'm just so thrilled and excited with the opportunity I have for you to lead our dei be initiatives and to work collaboratively with our board and our CEO, to ensure that we have an equitable workplace, where we are diverse, we leverage our diversity so that we are inclusive, and that we create an environment where everyone belongs. So big job, but I'm definitely up for the challenge. Michael Hingson 29:00 And what is your wife doing these days? Rhett Burden 29:03 Well, my wife has one of the most important jobs and that is caretaker, Matt Yeah, my my wife helps to take care of our daughter. She also has a podcast. And she is an entrepreneur. So in supporting her entrepreneurial efforts, seeing her podcast thrive and of course, the most important job of mothering and being of our child and being the best partner that Michael Hingson 29:30 she can be. So she has left Facebook. She has Rhett Burden 29:34 she is no longer at Facebook or meta by that journey has ended. Yeah, but it's it was a great opportunity and experience. Michael Hingson 29:45 So what is her podcast about? Rhett Burden 29:47 Yeah, so my wife's podcast is entitled cultivating her space. She is the co host and co founder of the podcast with a clinician Her name is Dr. Donna And the podcast is all about uplifting women of color, to share experiences, to, to lift up voices and to tell stories that are not widely known or needs, or have never been told, and to provide community for women of color. So very proud of her and those efforts. Michael Hingson 30:23 That's pretty exciting. So I probably wouldn't be a good volunteer to be on it. But I'm very excited about it. It's, it's great that she's doing that and that she and the doctor are making a very successful podcast. That's cool. Rhett Burden 30:37 Absolutely. Thank you so much. Michael Hingson 30:41 And we can hardly wait to hear about your daughter going on the podcast, you know, that should happen soon. Rhett Burden 30:47 Yeah, you know, very early on. She was a guest that, you know, she was a she wasn't internal guests. But my wife was recording during the pregnancy. And then there were a few episodes where she had to record and you can hear my daughter in the background, making sure that she got her five minutes of fame and stardom. So yeah, I can't wait for her to be her own independent guests Michael Hingson 31:13 have to have opinions. You know, Rhett Burden 31:14 that's true. Very, very true. Michael Hingson 31:17 So what's the nonprofit that you're working at? Tell me about that, if you would, Rhett Burden 31:21 yeah. So the name of the nonprofit is compass Family Services. It's been in existence over 100 years in San Francisco. And the goal of the nonprofit is to end family homelessness and to help families achieve self sufficiency. I've been there for about seven months, it's been a really great experience. I've really enjoyed having the opportunity to work at the nonprofit, there are amazing people there doing trauma informed work every day, and giving back to the community trying to help the unhoused population in San Francisco, which is all in the 1000s about 8000 folks and doing what we can along with another without, along with so many other amazing organizations trying to help in the homelessness crisis in our city. Michael Hingson 32:11 So what do you do? How does all that work? Rhett Burden 32:15 Yeah, well, you know, I, as the director of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging at the job, I always like to center the folks that I work with, I may have a fancy title, I may be considered a senior leader, but the organization is nothing and I am nothing without the people that are on the ground doing the hard work. We have case, workers, we have case managers, therapists, childcare professionals, they are truly the heroes at Compass. Working with folks that have experienced trauma that are experiencing homelessness, that have mental health challenges that have substance abuse challenges, and the work they do every single day to help find housing, to help get folks set up with jobs, to take care of children is is truly remarkable. And again, though I lead our D E IB efforts, for me, I am nothing without them. Because they are the heart of the organization. Michael Hingson 33:19 So in the the things that you do, I kind of imagined the answer to this. But is there a faith component? Well, Rhett Burden 33:30 I would say faith is sure, yes, I mean, there is the faith that the organization has put in me to lead our efforts to be the tip of the spear or they handed the ship. But everything needs to be collaborative. I'd like to bring ideas to the table and to co design them with the folks that I work with whether they're in the C suite or their frontline personnel. Because I see myself as one cog in the wheel of compass that makes the organization go. Michael Hingson 34:02 Well, and it should be a team effort by any definition. The fact is that anytime someone thinks they're it, it's so unfortunate that yeah, you you know what I'm saying? Absolutely not the way to do it. And so it should be collaborative. And it's great to really discover the whole concept of teamwork, isn't it? Rhett Burden 34:26 Absolutely. Absolutely. I'd like to consider myself a culture add. Folks have been very kind again, I'm in my organizational infancy. But I'd like to think that we are having an impact. And again, I never want to miss an opportunity to uplift of the folks that have preceded me. The folks that have had a longer Jeopardy than I have and that are doing the work of serving our clients every day. Michael Hingson 34:54 So dealing with dei B, especially the whole idea of diversity inclusion and so on, I would probably be a little remiss not to at least ask the concept of conceptual question about a lot of us who happen to have a disability, whether it be physical or not, tend to tend to feel that diversity has left disabilities completely out of the scheme of things. If you ask the average person, what does diversity mean? Or what's a diverse environment, they'll talk about race, they'll talk about gender or sexual orientation, so on. And even the experts don't tend to talk about disabilities as part of that. How do you deal with that? Or how do we learn? And as a more general question, how do we change that conversation? So that the 25% of all people who are left out because they have a disability get included in the conversation and truly have seats at the table? Rhett Burden 35:57 Well, I think you're absolutely right. So let me uplift what you said. And as a practitioner and speaking on behalf of the community of practitioners, you're right, we all have to do a better job and centering, disability accessibility and ensuring that we are inclusive in all of our efforts. I think that far too often. When you are dealing with folks that have physical, visible disabilities, it is a little easier to ensure that they're included. And it is drawn to your attention more. But a lot of that deals with the fact that we are not centering our practice around ensuring that all communities that have been marginalized, all communities that have no voice or a small voice at the table are centered. So I think it begins with educating ourselves a bit more on the disability community, the disabled community, making sure we understand the compliance component of accessibility, working with our HR teams or people in culture teams, and ensuring that we are hearing from those with lived experiences and that are the subject matter experts in this area, centering their voices asking what their needs are, and how we can acquiesce to build an inclusive environment where they are centering, they are helping us center and focus on policies and practices and procedures that make them feel included or make them feel like they belong. So I am with you 100%. As someone that it's interesting when we think about disability, because this is something that even if you are an able bodied person now, you never know what could lead or what could happen that may lead you to having a disability. And as someone that was on the precipice of having Down syndrome, that at any point in time, they're still being researched on all cranial synostosis. I'd like to be mindful of that in not just the way I interact in my practice at the nonprofit, but also in the concerted effort I do or have in my learning. For those listeners of yours that are familiar with San Francisco or I know you're familiar. I am taking classes at City College of San Francisco and I recently completed a disability course that was taught by two amazing women, one of which that had a physical disability. That would, she was just so cute mane and her teaching and helping us understand to become not just better practitioners, but better humans. So I think it begins with education, that's the educator in me, and ensuring that we are centering voices of said community. Michael Hingson 38:44 He said something that's really interesting, unfortunately, all too often goes the other way, when you said that it's a lot easier when it's a physical disability. And usually that's true because you you can see it too slow to include. The problem is that's not usually what happens because the fear immediately comes out. Oh my gosh, as you pointed out, that could happen to me. And so we ignore it. And we tend to leave out disabilities because we don't recognize that disability doesn't mean a lack of ability. Absolutely. I don't know that there. I don't have a better term than disability. But if we can change the definition of diversity like we have, then we also want to be able to change the definition of disability. It's a characteristic and as I love to point out to people in that I've said it many times on this podcast The reality is we all have disabilities, your disability leaving cranio synostosis or the the the things that other people with eyesight have your biggest disability is that you can see and the reason that's a disability is because as soon as there's a power failure if you don't have your phone or a flashlight or a candle around, you don't know what to do in the dark. Light dependency is not a problem for me. Yeah, we all have disabilities except that technology is covered it up. Yeah, we haven't grown to recognize that in reality, it shouldn't matter. Because disability is not a lack of ability, disability is a characteristic. And we all ought to figure out ways to start to deal with that. And recognize that there's nothing wrong with doing something, using alternatives to what other people use. Rhett Burden 40:34 Absolutely. And you hit the nail on the head, we all have varying levels of ability. And I think that's where you get this big movement now with folks being more cognizant of neuro divergence, and making sure that they are delineating folks that may be neurotypical or neurodivergent. And again, just centering on the fact that just because we do things differently, just because our abilities vary, does that mean that there is not value that can be added does not mean that folks should be treated differently, but that each of us are capable of making meaningful contributions to any workforce, to any relationship and to society at large. So I am an entrepreneur in agreement with you, Michael Hingson 41:15 we really need to learn to understand what equality means. And that's part of the issue that equality doesn't mean that just because you provide everybody the exact same thing that it's equal, because providing me with a computer monitor, or a pen and paper, or a calculator that doesn't talk isn't equal. And at the same time, it should be appropriate to say, if you don't know, what do we need to do to give you access to the computer system? Or what do we need to do to give you a calculator, or a lot of companies have coffee machines, they have these fancy machines where you go up and you touch the screen, and you can get anything from espresso to hot tea, or hot chocolate, but they're totally inaccessible to some of us. And the problem in part is that not enough technology is being made that makes sure that there are buttons to do those things as well. So it gets to be a real challenge. But we tend to not be inclusive, in ways that we should. And I recognize that it's not about people hating, in this case, at least hating people. But there is a lot of fear. And it's a lack of education, as you said, but we do need to change that conversation. Rhett Burden 42:37 I agree. We need both equity and equality, you need both to make sure that everyone has equal opportunities and the chance that they deserve to succeed. So I am in 100% agree with you. And I think it's important that we just like we demystify other terms that disability is not a dirty word, it is not a bad thing is something that we have to unlearn some of the harmful stances and practices that we have been taught whether it's been to our family or the media, and be more accepting, more tolerant, more loving, but most importantly, more informed about what we can do to make the world a better place where all of us have access and opportunities to make the kind of difference that I know that we can make Michael Hingson 43:25 sure it's a characteristic. Absolutely, and totally and only it's a characteristic. Absolutely. And the reality is, although it's hard to get people to accept it, it's a characteristic that we all have in one way or another. Oh, great. So you know, it is one of those things that one has to deal with, but, but we'll get there. And I expect your daughter to lead the way. Rhett Burden 43:50 I appreciate that. I will do my best. Michael Hingson 43:53 Yeah. Tell her it's her job. Yes. So you are also an author? Yeah, yeah. To learn more about that. Rhett Burden 44:04 Absolutely. So early, early on. In my career, I had an opportunity to go to latonia, Georgia, to the Allen entrepreneurial Institute, which is owned by Lester, Bill Allen, an extremely wealthy and successful black man in Georgia. And being at that entrepreneurial Institute was really insightful and life changing for me. Because far too often what we are taught about money or wealth, is that you need to accumulate it and it's you know, things are better when you have more money, but not just but not as much about the impact you can have not just on your life or that or your family but of your community and the the entrepreneurial Institute into it was his way of giving back to the community to show folks What you can do, and how you can weaponize money and wealth for good. And being at that institute having had the opportunity to sit through several different leadership seminars and meeting community leaders in that area. It got me inspired because one gentleman spoke about telling your story and the power of storytelling in using books to do that. And talking through whether you are self published or you are published through one of the major publishing distribution systems like Penguin or scholastic or Simon and Schuster, that you have a story to tell, and you should do so. So early on, I believe I was 22 or 23, I wrote my first book entitled Brother please, a life book to life and relationships. And that was my introduction into finding my voice and telling my story that led to me co authoring a book with the co author that I've paid for the other five books, entitled mistakes, my life. My pencils don't come with erasers just life lessons. Um, so I was in the professional development world, the self help space. Then when my co author had his son or my nephew, we got into writing children's picture books. So written five children's picture books. One is a trilogy series called when I grow up, so it's called the Super Series when I grow up, I want to be super healthy, super smart, super rich. I that led to the last two children's books, I've written one called My melanated munchkin. And lastly, Dentist Debbie. So I've been very fortunate to tell some stories in the self help sphere, and to do some children's picture books. Michael Hingson 46:49 So what is Dennis Debbie all about? So dentist, to say, Rhett Burden 46:54 is about a little black girl named Debbie who is infatuated with dentistry. I think it's amazing that we have so many creative stories, there are witches and dragons and princesses and monsters in so many amazing, different works. But I wanted to send her something that dealt with occupations, things that you can be proud of things that our society and people need. And hence was the birth of dentist Debbie. Michael Hingson 47:25 Yeah, that's cool. Rhett Burden 47:27 Yeah, thank you. Michael Hingson 47:28 And so when she grows up, she'll probably want to be a dentist. Rhett Burden 47:32 You have it right. Michael Hingson 47:36 So, will there be sequels? Rhett Burden 47:39 Well, you know what I am thinking about writing another one. I must say, I have a few ideas. swirling through my brain. I want to write something I want to tell a specific story about my daughter, my wife and I. And I'm still flushing that out. But yes, there is some more coming. I just haven't got that far yet still flushing the story out. Michael Hingson 48:03 Well, you got to continue Debbie. Rhett Burden 48:05 Yeah. Well, if not, Debbie, I'm not sure if I'm gonna do a sequel to dentists Debbie or my melanated munchkin. But I am definitely not done writing children's picture books. Michael Hingson 48:17 Tell me about the melanated munchkin. Rhett Burden 48:20 So oddly enough, I was on the BART headed to Oakland. And I don't really remember what for. And this was a late night. And the BART wasn't packed with people which is a rarity. And I saw a mother and daughter sitting on the train in the same car as me. We were spread apart but I just saw the mother pouring in to her daughter. They were reading they were laughing they were having a good time. And this was before I had children. And my melanated Munchkin just popped in my head. So I literally wrote 80 to 90% of the book in my phone on the train ride because I was inspired by what I saw. So what's the book about? So my melanated Munchkin is all about a little girl named Kira. And it is telling the history of why she should be proud of her diverse skin of her complexion of who she sees in the mirror. And it relates back to leaders and and women that have had great success and a great impact in history. And it is told from the viewpoint of me being a parent because this is my melanated Munchkin and I am telling her a story that is articulated through her eyes but is in my voice. Michael Hingson 49:56 Sounds really a lot of fun. Rhett Burden 50:00 Thank you, I really appreciate that. Michael Hingson 50:02 Well, I think we're going to have to hunt them down. I'll have to get somebody to read them out loud and describe the pictures, but we'll get there. Absolutely. Well, like other authors, of course, I have to ask this kind of a question. Do you have any kind of a favorite character or story or anything that helps shape you in the author world and just your life in general? Rhett Burden 50:25 Wow. Well, I would say yes, I would say early on before I had a child, my inspiration was my nephew. This was the first little person that I had a chance to interact with on a regular basis, because he was my co author, son. And now because I have my daughter, she is my source of inspiration. She is my why. And I can't wait to tell more stories that involve her. Michael Hingson 50:52 You have a favorite author? Rhett Burden 50:55 Wow, you know, that's a great question. Do I have a favorite author? You know, what if I had to pick an author? That was my favorite, I would probably say it's Dale Carnegie. Because prior to getting into the children, pictures, book space, I was doing personal professional development books, How to Win Friends and Influence People really did change my life. It changed my outlook. And I am a student of Dale Carnegie. So I would say it has to be Dale Carnegie. Michael Hingson 51:26 I am also a student No, Dale Carnegie. And I think that, although a lot of people say all but it's old, the language is all stilted, and so on. The concepts aren't folks. Yeah, the concepts are absolutely as relevant today as they ever were. And I don't care that the language is a little bit different than what we're used to. That's not the part to pay attention to. Rhett Burden 51:48 Agreed. I agree with you. If for your listeners, if you've never read How to Win Friends and Influence People pick it up. It's an amazing read. And it is truly transformational. If you take heed to the lessons that he imparts, Michael Hingson 52:08 the very fact that a guy can advertise to the world come to a meeting and we will show you how to, as you put it win friends and influence people and he fills up a major New York hotel ballroom, just on the basis of that a 1937. And of course it went from there. Yeah. And his his lessons are absolutely as relevant today as they ever were. And I wish more people would recognize the value of reaching out and being open to friendship. I've had a lot of conversations with people about dogs, for example, and people talk about how dogs love unconditionally. And I absolutely think that's true. But dogs don't trust unconditionally. Dogs, however, unlike humans are more open to trust. And unless there is something that comes along that absolutely causes a dog not to have a trusting environment, like they're extremely abused or whatever, they will be open to developing a trusting relationship because it's what they want. And even the most distressful dogs can learn to trust again, we're not as open to trust and we could take lessons from dogs to do that. And certainly, it's the same concepts as to what Dale Carnegie talks about. Rhett Burden 53:29 Absolutely, I am. Even though I have puppies. For your listeners, my Zoom background is full of puppies because I like puppies. I like dogs who kind of hard not to like them. I haven't necessarily had a lot of dogs in my life. So you know, Michael, I have to ask, Do you have a favorite breed of dog? Is there an adult that you just you feel connected with? Michael Hingson 53:50 Well, I have had a guide dogs. The first three were golden retrievers. The next four were yellow labs. And now the guide dog I have today Alamo is a black lab. It's the first black lab. Nice I like large, larger dogs. But I really think that all dogs are open develop to develop relationships. So fun. I'm not to prejudice. I like a lot of different breeds of dogs. I appreciate that. But I love labs and I love Golden's especially of course, Rhett Burden 54:25 absolutely. I have a colleague or a former colleague that has a golden retriever and they just love Golden Retrievers that is the bee's knees to them. Golden Retrievers, Michael Hingson 54:37 and we have a Kimble well I have a cat it's only I know my wife passed away in November so I keep saying we so she's still here somewhere. But we have a cat and I'm not sure that well maybe stitches is trusting as a dog. It's a different kind of a personality though. Rhett Burden 54:54 Well, I again I want to share my condolences and we talked about this off camera about to your wife passing, and you don't want to leave your cat out, you don't want to the field, Michael Hingson 55:06 she loves to be carried around. So whenever I carry her I say, Alright, it's time to activate toda Tabby service. And we, we have a lot of fun with it. She really loves to get carried around and and doesn't seem to complain about that very much. Thank you very much. Oh. So do you have a favorite quote or mantra that you live by? Or think about? Rhett Burden 55:30 Well, you know, I would say a favorite is is tough. But I do have I am a New Year's resolution asked type of person not sure if you are. And for the listening audience, even if you're not, I know some people think they may be a bit cliche. I'd like to create a yearly mission statements or yearly mantras. And I am guided by this mantra and one question. So I'd love to share that with you in the audience, the question that tends to guide my 2023 is, as of 1220, as of 1231 2023, I want to have accomplished what, and the mantra that goes along with that is, I am going to be focused on solutions, not problems. So that's what it is, for me, especially for 2023, I am going to be singularly focused on solutions and not problems. And I want to hold myself to the standard when I am manifesting what I want for my life, what I want for my family, and in all areas of wellness, as of December 31 2023, what do I want to have accomplished? Michael Hingson 56:44 What was your 2022 New Year's resolution? Rhett Burden 56:47 What my 2022 New Year's resolution was pretty simple. It was to sit back, relax, and enjoy. 2021 was a little tumultuous for my family, dealing with some personal issues and some family issues. And I felt that I was always on edge. And that I was not taking time to sit back. Because I felt I had to be in constant motion to relax because I found it very difficult to relax almost as if it pained me to do so. Because maybe my energy should be put somewhere else. And to enjoy and enjoy the smaller things in life and to practice self care and to bring to invest in things that brought me joy. Michael Hingson 57:37 And that's, that's cool. You've obviously each year, given a lot of thought to what you want for your mission statement and your goal for the next year. Apps in the difference between what you're saying and what a lot of new year's resolutions tend to be all about is that you are providing yourself a general goal, you're not providing you something that you can't keep, and that you can't make happen. Absolutely, absolutely. And the other part about that is you also understand about making choices. So when you adopt that it's great, because then you can look every day even and say, well, am I working toward my goal or my mission this year? Rhett Burden 58:22 You're ever 100%? Correct? i That's the way I feel. And that's sort of why it's structured in that way. Michael Hingson 58:28 Yeah. If you wouldn't be able to go back and talk to your 18 year old self or somewhere around that age, what what would you teach them that maybe you didn't know, then that you have learned? That's a lot of answers? Rhett Burden 58:44 I know that's a that's a great question. I would say if I could impart any wisdom to my 18 year old self, I would say take chances take risk. That high risk, high reward. And that ultimately, I want to make sure that as you are going through these formative years that you are not just experiencing what life has to offer, but you're living it. You are living and breathing, the kind of lifestyle that you want to manifest. So take risks. Go places that you wouldn't normally go experience things that you're not sure if you're interested in, read books that you wouldn't normally pick up, develop friendships and relationships with folks that are not necessarily in your friend group to take chances to be bold to take risk. Michael Hingson 59:41 You think you weren't as much of a risk taker when you were 18 because you certainly over the years have stepped out a lot of times, Rhett Burden 59:48 definitely was not this way at 18 a bit more conservative and growing up in a single parent household wanting to do everything I could to be the best Son, to my mom, and to make her proud. So in doing that, you find yourself being a bit more conservative and walking the straight and narrow more than you would if you're in a two parent household if the financial circumstance of your home is set, and wonderful, if you're not dealing with, you know, food insecurity or being on house. So yeah, I was very fortunate to have an amazing upbringing with a truly Godsend of a mother. But I would tell myself to go back and take more risks. And these risks don't have to be, you know, as lavish as, hey, you should jump out of an airplane. But it could be, hey, you should expand your friends circle read different books. So things like that. Michael Hingson 1:00:52 Do you think your mom would approve? Very much? So? Yeah. It's, it's not a bad thing, to be willing to be adventurous and to step out. And you're right, it isn't all about jumping out of an airplane. That's not the risk taking thing. But it is important to not limit yourself just because you're afraid of doing something even though you know, it's something that you're capable of doing. But I don't want to do that. Rhett Burden 1:01:21 Yeah, absolutely. Michael Hingson 1:01:24 So what do you think is the most important lesson you've learned in life? Because you, you, you wax philosophical. So I figured that something worth asking Rhett Burden 1:01:34 what the most important lesson that I think I've learned, is, probably to love myself and to love myself completely. To understand that I am an ever evolving being, that what is important to me, who is important to me, is going to change. And that I need to trust my instincts and trust myself. So to love myself in a way that makes me lovable from others. But to provide myself everything that I want to give to someone else. So I would say to love myself, and to love myself radically and boldly would be that would be there would be that, that that very thing. Michael Hingson 1:02:28 And that's not being a conceited kind of thing. We should learn to love who we are and what we are and, and if we don't like what we do, then we choose to make a difference and fix that. But if we like and believe that we're making good choices, then we should love Rhett Burden 1:02:46 that too. Yeah, absolutely. Michael Hingson 1:02:48 I agree. We really need to have better respect for ourselves, and kind of go on from there. Well, right. This has been really wonderful. And I'm glad that we got to spend all this time. But I would like to end by asking you if people want to reach out and maybe contact you learn more about you learn about compass and so on. How do they do that? Rhett Burden 1:03:14 Yeah, well, for your listeners, if you want to stay connected to me, you can go to LinkedIn if you have a LinkedIn profile and just type in my name Rhett Burden, please. Absolutely. That's R H E T T. And then my last name is Burden, B U R D as in David E N. please connect with me on LinkedIn. I would love to learn more about you. I'd love to learn more about your story and find ways for us to collaborate. You can also visit Rhett Burden. That's my first and last name, R H E T T B U R D E N. Rhettburden.com. If you're interested in purchasing your copy of my children's book, Michael Hingson 1:04:00 that was gonna be my next question. Because I think that people will want to learn more about that. And I'm going to start a campaign to advocate for finding out what happens to Debbie but that's another story. Well, Rhett, we really appreciate you being here and I appreciate you listening to us today. I hope you enjoyed it. And that you will give us a five star review especially if you go to iTunes or whatever, but we'd love a five star rating so please do that. If you'd like to suggest podcast guests and rent you as well. Please feel free. You can reach me at Michaelhi M I C H A E L H I at accessibe A C C E S S I B E.com. You can also find the podcasts at Michael hingson.com/podcasts and hingson is h i n g s o n so Michael hinkson.com/podcast. And as we've talked about it I talked a lot about on podcast. I I am a keynote speaker and do a lot of traveling to speak. So if anybody knows of any speaking opportunities, reach out, I'd love to hear from you for Rhett one more time. Thank you very much for being here. And we'd love to have you come back on again in the future. Rhett Burden 1:05:14 Absolutely. It'd be my honor. Thank you, Michael. Michael Hingson 1:05:21 You have been listening to the Unstoppable Mindset podcast. Thanks for dropping by. 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