Less than 30% of working-age blind adults in the United States are employed full-time. Approximately only 16% of them have a Bachelor's degree or higher. Tired of being the only blind person in the room, Kathryn Webster joins Marissa to discuss how her organization Together Achieving Dreams will increase employment opportunities for the low vision community. She specifically focuses on management consulting, big law, finance, and other fields where blind people are especially underrepresented. Tune in for advice on networking, interviewing, and breaking into Corporate America! Kathryn Webster is a 2023 MBA candidate at Harvard Business School. Upon graduation, she will be joining KKR, a global investment firm, in New York. She graduated with high honors from Wake Forest University with a Bachelor of Science in Statistics and Computer Science. Kathryn is a leader in the National Federation for the Blind and previously served as President of the National Association of Blind Students. She currently serves on the board of the Lighthouse of San Francisco, BLIND, Inc., the Jacobus tenBroek Memorial Fund, and Business Opportunities for the Blind. She approaches each day with the motivation to break the stigma and prove that blind people can achieve anything they want in the world. “I want us to break into Corporate America. The 75% unemployment rate statistic hasn't changed for decades.” Connect with Legally Blonde & Blind! Website - https://www.legallyblondeblind.com/ Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/legallybb_/?hl=en Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/legallybb/ LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/company/legally-blonde-blind/ Connect with Kathryn Webster and TAD! Website - https://tadfoundation.org/ Instagram - https://instagram.com/togetherachievingdreams?igshid=Zjc2ZTc4Nzk= Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/people/Together-Achieving-Dreams-Foundation-Inc/100086574137762/ LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/kathryncornellwebster Key Points: 0:00 - Introduction! 2:35 - Could you describe your blindness and what the world looks like to you? 3:51 - What sparked your interest in disability advocacy? 5:54 - What inspired you to create Together Achieving Dreams? 11:02 - What are the unique challenges blind people face in corporate America? 13:10 - What is it like interacting with colleagues who have little to no experience working with blind people? 15:33 - What resources is TAD going to provide for blind students? 18:45 - How can people connect with TAD and learn more? 20:10 - What advice do you have for job hunting, recruiting, and interviewing? 23:30 - Outro 24:20 - Guide Dog blooper :) Resources: “How Kathryn Webster Owns Her Own Story, and Her Advice for Other Blind and Low Vision Employees” - https://aira.io/kathrynwebster/ “Is Consulting the Right Career for You?” - https://hbr.org/2020/07/is-consulting-the-right-career-for-you My Consulting Offer - https://www.myconsultingoffer.org/ Management Consulted - http://managementconsulted.com/case-interview/ Case in Point: Complete Case Interview Preparation - https://www.amazon.com/Case-Point-11-Interview-Preparation/dp/0986370762
The secretary of state for the environment, Therese Coffey, has visited a farm in Berkshire to sell the updated version of the SFI - the Sustainable Farming Incentive which will pay English farmers to do good things for the environment, such as maintaining hedgerows or improving soil. It's the first tier of the Environmental Land Management Schemes - ELMs - which offer farmers payments for public goods, rather than direct subsidy, the BPS payments, as has been the case under the EU's CAP. The scheme's being expanded and that's been broadly welcomed by farmers - who can now get better payments for 280 actions they can take on their land, but conservationists question the level of ambition in the SFI, though welcome news that more projects will be supported under another ELMs scheme, Landscape Recovery. The main industry bodies representing fishermen in the UK say the industry faces a 'frightening' loss of fishing grounds over the coming decades due to the expansion of protected marines areas and offshore wind farms. The National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations and the Scottish Fishermen's Federation says there should be more engagement with the industry to minimise and mitigate the displacement of fishing activity. Presenter: Charlotte Smith Producer: Rebecca Rooney
On this episode of Unstoppable Mindset, we get to speak with Nick Bayard the executive Director of BirdNote. This organization is a nonprofit that provides sound-rich programs on over 200 radio stations that discuss the challenges faced by birds. The program includes the sounds of birds. It can be heard daily. You will get to learn more about BirdNote during our episode. Nick holds a Master's degree in Public Administration and International Development from the Harvard Kennedy School and a bachelor's degree in Environmental Studies from Brown University. He served three years in the Peace Corps Paraguay and has held several social service policy decisions in the Northwest U.S. Nick gives us much to think about, not only about birds and BirdNote, but also he helps us think more deeply about how we live our lives and how we can help make our whole planet a more friendly and good place to live. About the Guest: Nick Bayard is the Executive Director of BirdNote. BirdNote is a public media nonprofit organization that tells vivid, sound-rich stories about birds and the challenges they face in order to inspire listeners to care about the natural world and take steps to protect it. BirdNote Daily is their beloved flagship show that has been in production since 2005. It is a one minute, 45 second daily radio show that broadcasts on over 250 radio stations across the US. You can listen to BirdNote Daily and other longform podcasts produced by BirdNote anytime, wherever you listen to podcasts. You can also learn what BirdNote is doing to contribute to more diverse and inclusive birding and environmental communities at www.birdnote.org. Nick holds a master's degree in Public Administration and International Development from the Harvard Kennedy School and a bachelor's degree in Environmental Studies from Brown University. He served for three years in the environmental sector of Peace Corps Paraguay and has served in leadership roles in social services and racial equity in government policy in the Pacific Northwest. Nick is an Eagle Scout and also a musician, having released an award-winning children's album, Wishing Well, with his oldest son in 2014. Nick and his wife Sedia live in Washington State with their three kids. Ways to connect with Nick: BirdNote website: www.birdnote.org BirdNote daily podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/birdnote-daily/id79155128 BirdNote's Bring Birds Back podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/bring-birds-back/id1566042634 BirdNote's Threatened podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/threatened/id1538065542 BirdNote en Español podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/birdnote-en-espa%C3%B1ol/id1643711928 Nick Bayard's LinkedIn page: www.linkedin.com/in/nickbayard Nick Bayard's Twitter page: https://twitter.com/NickBayard Wishing Well children's album: https://www.amazon.com/Wishing-Well-Nick-Bayard/dp/B00IHIEUYE/ref=tmm_acd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr= 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 once again to unstoppable mindset. Hi, everyone. It's a nice fall day here in Southern California, supposed to get up to 96 degrees today. It is late September. So for those who remember, it is also the time of hurricane Ian in Florida. And our thoughts are with all the people and creatures down there. But today, we get to interview someone and talk about some of those creatures. Nick Bayard is a person who has been involved in dealing with natural resources and so on. He's the Executive Director of bird note. And we're going to get to that. And all things, Nick, as we go along. So Nick, welcome to unstoppable mindset. Nick Bayard 02:05 Thank you so much. It's an honor to be here. Michael Hingson 02:07 Well, it's our pleasure, and we really appreciate you taking the time to be here with us. Let's start just kind of learning a little bit about you, can you kind of tell us where you came from and how you got where you Nick Bayard 02:18 are a little bit? Sure, well, I grew up in Delaware, in kind of a little bubble, to be honest, and, you know, my educational career kind of took a winding path, because I didn't really see a career out there that looks like something I wanted to do forever. I just feel like there's there's too much to try to pack into one life to commit to sort of, you know, doctor, lawyer, you know, etc. And so, I think that was both a blessing and a curse, because it led me to follow a lot of different paths. And it led to a lot of frustration too, because our, I think our society is set up to reward sort of monotony and continue building, you know, of a career over a period of time. But I wouldn't trade it for anything, because it's it's given me a lot of unique experiences, serving in the Peace Corps in South America, getting to do racial equity work and in government. And now being executive director of a wonderful organization that I've loved for a long time, came a bit out of left field, because I had done so many things that kind of added up to what the burden of board members wanted in this role that all of a sudden, things kind of fell into place for something that I never could have predicted. So it's it's been a winding road, but I'm really thrilled to be where I am and happy to get the chance to talk about it with you. Michael Hingson 03:56 Winding roads are always kind of fun, you know, you never know where you're gonna go next. Or maybe you do but at the same time, it's always the adventure of getting there. That's at least half the fun. Nick Bayard 04:07 And you've had that experience too, right? Yes, quite a number of lifetimes packed into one right. Michael Hingson 04:14 It has been a fun adventure. And it continues to be and I can't complain about that a single bit. It's, you know, it's all about choices. And but it is all about embracing the adventure of life to exactly. Nick Bayard 04:28 So what you went to college, I went to Brown University in Rhode Island and studied environmental studies and really had a wonderful experience there. And then Michael Hingson 04:41 what got you from there to the Peace Corps? Nick Bayard 04:43 You know, I thought I was gonna go down the path of biologist scientists, ecologist, spent a year doing a residency in environmental education in the Grand Tetons, and we're realized after that year that actually maybe halfway into that year that I would be, I would feel kind of limited myself, I guess if I were to just sort of pick that path and run with it, although lots of people do that and love it, it just wasn't for me. What I recognized is that I just didn't have enough experience out in the world to be able to even say what I wanted to commit to for, you know, even for at least the next few years, so I thought that the Peace Corps was this opportunity to, to really throw myself into the unknown and experience something completely different. And hopefully learn about people learn more about people learn more about institutions learn more about how different cultures and communities operate. And it was like, throw myself in the deep end, I got even more than I bargained for, I'd say, How so, you know, the Peace Corps was hard in ways that I didn't expect, I, I think I was conditioned to think of it as a just really an opportunity to help make the world a better place. But there's a danger of that Savior mindset. If you go to a place thinking that you have the skills or the resources to be able to help or save in a way that you've maybe seen it on TV, and you realize you're, you're with people, and you're, you know, you're not any better or worse than the folks that you're going to live with. And as a Peace Corps volunteer, you are very much reliant on your community to take care of you and teach you and that was jarring. I think it's jarring for a lot of folks who go abroad for service work. They've, there's this idea that, you know, we go and we save, or we help. But really, going with a mindset of humility, and learning and growth, I think is much more important. And so I had to sort of adjust my worldview in a lot of ways and recognize that, you know, I had never really thought about, oh, gosh, you know, I'm gonna go help a community. In every community, there are people who are unkind, who lie, who, who cheat, who steal, etc. And I don't know why I think part of my my upbringing was thinking, well, if people are underprivileged, they're all nice all the time. And it's just a community like any other. So I thought that was really interesting to go and experience, you know, humanity in a different context. And recognize that a lot of the preconceptions I had about about other parts of the world were completely wrong. And so it was perfect learning and growth. For me, that's exactly what I needed. Michael Hingson 07:52 Interesting kind of way to put it when you talk about underprivileged and so on. Do you think today that there is underprivileged other parts of the world as you thought they were, when you were first starting out in the Peace Corps, Nick Bayard 08:06 I think the biggest blind spot I had was really on, it wasn't even so much about global issues, it was about American history. And as I've, as I've grown, you know, and, and gotten older, the extent of the, the blind spots I had around race and racism in America, have really driven sort of this last 10 years of my my life and my career, really, from a place of just, you know, feeling like I was robbed of an understanding of how formative racism was at the at the heart of how the country was born, and how it's evolved, and how it's progressed, and why certain communities experienced the conditions that they do. And so that's something that I've really worked hard at to understand, because it's not history that I got in school, it's not history that I heard about in my community, you know, as I came to find out, that's very much by design. And so I, I don't blame myself for it. But I recognize the responsibility I have to keep to always keep learning and growing. Yeah. Michael Hingson 09:19 Well, I think that we do oftentimes find that there. Are there any number of people who think well, we're so much better off than than they are. And I think it depends on what you mean, by better off if you think about the world being more technologically advanced, we have access to more technologies and more creature comforts, in some ways. Anyway, there's probably some truth to that. But when you get down into community, you get down into family and you get to dealing with those concepts, and the closeness and the loyalty that that people have. That's a whole different animal and it's not necessarily at all clear that we're really any better off as, as well as some people, at least from what I've heard and learned? Nick Bayard 10:05 Yeah, I think back to, you know, I developed some really important friendships in Paraguay and really got close to folks in a way that can't really compare it to some of the friendships I've had in America even just because the cross cultural cross language divide, bridging, that is a powerful thing. And I've, I think I laughed more in Paraguay than I, I ever have in a similar stretch of time and in America, because there's, there's a sense of humor and a lightness in the Paraguayan culture that I experienced that it's just delightful. And, you know, there's, I hosted a weekly radio show. And every week, folks would, would give me jokes to tell in the, in the native language, Guarani. And it was, you know, on the radio show, we talked about things like, you know, the environment and agriculture and green manures and things like that. But the thing that really stood out to people are the jokes, because they, there were things that people connected with, and sense of humor is just a really important part of the culture. So it was, it was just interesting to to experience that the joy of being there with folks who really, really did not have infrastructure around them. Shiny water, paved roads, things like that. Just just having a great time in life. That that was a good, a good lesson for me. Michael Hingson 11:47 Yeah. And oftentimes, I think, here in this country, we don't slow down and stop and think about life. And that's something that I've been thinking about a lot. And we're actually going to talk about it in the new book that I'm writing, which tentatively is titled The Guide Dogs Guide to Being brave, but it's about taking time each day to stop and really think about what you did that day, what worked, what didn't and just thinking about life, we don't meditate nearly enough, do we? Nick Bayard 12:17 And you can say that, again, I don't know if you have any, go two ways to remind yourself, that's something I struggle with is just actually committing to a pause until I feel like I really need it. I don't know if you if you have any insight, Michael Hingson 12:36 you know, what we're what we're talking about in the book are several different techniques that can help. One thing that I find a lot of people use our vision boards and treasure mapping and visioning, where you put something up on a refrigerator, or somewhere to remind you of something like if you're going to take a vacation. And you want to really keep in the mindset of getting prepared for that you put a picture of like if you're going to go to Hawaii, you put a picture of Hawaii up well, you can do the same thing with with what we're talking about here, you can put up something around the house that says Don't forget to meditate at the end of the day, or when you when you get into bed before you turn off the light. If there's someplace that you normally look, put there a note, don't forget to take five minutes or 10 minutes to meditate. And you can put reminders up to do that. And what eventually happens, if you do it, and are consistent about it, you'll create a mindset that will cause you to automatically do it. And you'll be able to go more into a mode of of meditating. I took a course in transcendental meditation in college. And what they suggested was this make it a habit to get up 20 minutes early and meditate in the morning or and take and set up a time to do it at night. Nowadays, we have other ways to help with visioning. I, for example, put a lot of reminders in my little Amazon Echo device, I got to be careful of what I say or she's going to talk to me, but But I I put reminders in of things that I want to do not just about meetings on the calendar, but other things. And that's another way to vision it doesn't have to be from an eyesight standpoint. So you if you have an echo, you can tell it to remind you at 11 o'clock every night hey, go meditate for 10 minutes. I mean, there are a lot of ways to use technology and techniques to create a visioning environment to get you into the habit of doing something. Nick Bayard 14:46 That's great. Yeah, I My My issue is I think I have to keep coming up with new ways to get my attention but get my own attention. Sort of like exactly how sometimes the sign word Some other times, I feel like I need up a sign that all kind of slapped me in the face. Because I'm not, I'm not willing to listen to what my my past self had reminded me to do. Well, that's Michael Hingson 15:11 why I like the idea of the echo device. And I can tell it to we have several echo devices around the house. So I can have the reminder play on every echo device as well, so that it will remind me wherever I am in the house that you can't escape it. For me, I'm pretty much in the habit of doing it all the time. But still, having the reminder doesn't hurt. Right, right, right. So there are a lot of ways to give yourself a reminder to do something that will force you to at least for the second set, it's on to listen, and hopefully that will help you move forward and doing what it is you want to do. And taking time really to stop and or at least slow down and think a little bit is always an important thing to do. Nick Bayard 16:03 Hmm. Yeah, I think one of the challenges of work from home is there's, there's folks that do that is less, less travel, less transition. And so it's easy for things to kind of pile up and go just back to back to back. And it's like, oh, let me actually go into the other room here and sit down for a minute and or take a walk outside. That's Those are good reminders. Michael Hingson 16:29 Yeah. And those can be verbal with an echo device, you can send yourself a calendar invite that just remind you, every day, it's such and such a time, take the time to go off and do something and you know, you may not be able to do it right at that moment. But the reminder is still there. And by having something that forces you to at least think about it that is reminders in various formats and forms. That helps. All right, right. So we can take the time to do it. The problem that I think we mostly have is, oh, I just don't have time to do that. I've got to get this done or that done. Yeah, we do have time. Mental health is one of the most important thing, if not the most important thing that we can be doing for ourselves that we normally don't pay attention to. But in reality, we can make work for us. Nick Bayard 17:22 For sure, for sure. I think that's that's originally actually what drew me in to burn out which is, which is the organization where I am. And it's a the flagship show that we run on radio stations, and our podcast is it's called burnout daily, that people probably know it as burnout. It's a minute, 45 seconds, and it's got a catchy theme song that invites you in and invites you to pay attention to the lives of burns for just Just a minute, 45 seconds. And that seems to be enough time that you can go deeply into something but not so much time that you you can't justify just sitting there and listening. Which is originally why you know why I came to love the program so much. Well, Michael Hingson 18:15 how long were you in the Peace Corps? Nick Bayard 18:17 I was there for I did a a two year volunteer service term. And then I stayed on for an additional year to be the coordinator of the environment sector. Michael Hingson 18:28 Where the volunteers were was that. I'm sorry, where was that? Where did you do that? Nick Bayard 18:34 In Paraguay? Okay, one of two landlocked countries in South America and the other? Michael Hingson 18:40 Yeah. Right. Yeah, there's a lot of water around South America. Nick Bayard 18:46 Yeah. You know, and, unfortunately, if Paraguay has not been, as that benefited from a lot of the natural resources on the continent, partly due to the, you know, the history of war, there was a major war that Paraguay found itself in against Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay, and it just turned into an actual massacre of genocide. It was, I think it was just after the US Civil War ended, or it was right around that time, and something like 80% of all boys and men are killed. And then the country shrunk. And then it was President Rutherford B. Hayes who brokered an agreement to give Paraguay back some of its land and so there's actually a county in Paraguay called President Hays County or it's been caught, but as they didn't they i Yes. And so I saw more busts and sort of recognitions of President Hayes in Paraguay than I ever expected to see anywhere. It's really interesting. Michael Hingson 19:57 There's a historic fact I didn't know Cool. And that's, that's a good thing. And and we do have a Paraguay today. And so you spent time in the Peace Corps there, which is always a good thing. Nick Bayard 20:10 Yeah. And it was, it was interesting to go and realize that Spanish wouldn't help me very much. I spoke a little bit of Spanish. I got there. But the Peace Corps trainer is quickly put me into a class to learn the language, quad knee, which is the language that most Paraguayan speak most of the time, and the class itself was taught in Spanish. And so I was just really having a hard time with that one, because I sort of it sort of felt like, you know, trying to use tweezers with oven mitts on it's like, I barely know what you're saying, I'm supposed to understand it enough to, to learn a whole new language, it ended up working out really well. But I ended up learning it very well, very, very, very fluently, Michael Hingson 21:02 but but those first few months were pretty rough. Well, there's nothing like immersion to force you to learn something, which is going back to what we talked about, as far as giving yourself reminders to take time to think about life. You know, it's all about immersion. Nick Bayard 21:18 Yeah, that the other really surprising thing that happened when I was first arriving in Paraguay was I was I was just starting to go bald. And I was dealing with all the emotions around that. And having a hard time with that, and, and some of the folks in my community where I was training, would ask me about it, and prod me about it, and even make fun of me about it. And so I, I realized, okay, if I'm gonna be able to have a snappy comeback or something, I've got a, I got to figure this out, because I just, I'm having a hard enough time with this already. And just to have people kind of prodding me in on something that I'm sensitive about, you know, I, I need to learn to communicate here. Michael Hingson 22:03 Also a good way to maybe pick up some more jokes for a future radio program. Nick Bayard 22:09 Yeah, exactly, exactly. Michael Hingson 22:12 So what did you do after the Peace Corps? Nick Bayard 22:15 Well, I came back to the US and wanted to be in DC, because that's where a lot of international development work was, was based, but actually ended up working for a nonprofit that develops high quality preschools in low income neighborhoods, called appletree. Institute, and help help them raise money and develop new schools. In areas where there hadn't traditionally been been very effective schools. And, you know, it was there that I really learned how to how to pitch an organization to funders. It was a, it was a fundraising role. And so that was really valuable for me, because I got to really understand how, you know what, what's compelling to people who might want to give and what is fundraising other than really giving somebody the opportunity to support something maybe they didn't know that they wanted to support. So I came to really enjoy fundraising and realize that if it's for something that I care about, it's it's a great opportunity for me and for the people that I connect with to to make the world a better place. Michael Hingson 23:30 Yeah. How long did you do that? Nick Bayard 23:33 I was there for two years. After about a year and a half, I felt like, Okay, I've kind of plateaued in this role, I'm going to apply to grad school, I got a very good score on my GRE and a friend of mine and her dad told her the score, and she said, you could go to Harvard. And I had not thought of that before she said it. And it sort of got the wheels turning, like maybe see what see what Harvard has gone on. And they had a master's program and Public Administration and International Development, which was really appealing because it was quantitative, heavy. It focused on economics, which everybody in international development just kept saying, you know, you got to have that foundation. And it ended up you know, being a program that the math was so advanced that it was sort of like being hit with a ton of bricks for the first year. You know, and then after the after that first year, I get into take more courses on, you know, things like public speaking and leadership and negotiation and writing, you know, the stuff that now feels a little bit more practical to my day to day, but it was actually that was where I met my wife and so I'm especially glad that that was worked out the way that it did because it completely. It completely, you know, formed every every moment since, you know, since I met Cydia, my wife. So that's probably the most valuable thing I got from Harvard. Michael Hingson 25:18 Well that makes makes a lot of sense. So you got your master's degree was she in the same program, Nick Bayard 25:23 she was in the School of Education getting she was getting her second master's degree. She had gotten a master's degree from the school for international training. And this master's degree was in learning and teaching at Harvard Graduate School of Education. And everybody at Harvard was just kind of blown away by her and what she knew about learning and teaching. Because she'd done it for so long understood it so well. And I think a lot of her classmates more and more from her than they did from some of the professors, to be honest. So she's she, she really understands how people learn better than anyone I've, I've met. And she's she's really helped me whenever I've given a training or had I sort of convey a concept to a group. Well just Michael Hingson 26:16 give her permission to remind you every day to take some time to meditate and think about life. And I bet you'll have the habit in no time. I bet you're right. Wives, wives do that. And that's a blessing. So sure. So they're, and all that math. Well, everything needs math in one way or another. But I can appreciate the fact that once you survive the math, and sometimes I wonder when, when colleges and universities do those things that you don't expect, like in a program, like you're thinking of giving you so much math, or when I was at UC Irvine, the people who went into the bioscience program, before they got to the point of being able to take all of the regular bioscience courses other than introductory courses, they had to take a year of organic chemistry. And a lot of the people in the biocide program, we're gonna go into med so they were kind of pre med and all that. And what what happened is that people who enrolled in the biocide program at UC Irvine, I know the first year I was there, 1600 people enrolled. And there were 200 left by the end of their sophomore year, because organic chemistry and other courses like that weeded them out. And the bioscience department was very deliberate about insisting that you have to do all that before you can go on, even though and the reality is, of course, you would use that organic chemistry. But still, before you can get to the real practical stuff, you've got to be able to deal with the theory. So kind of wonder if they were doing that at Harvard, if that was part of the logic. Nick Bayard 27:54 I wonder, you know, there's, you know, you wonder how sadistic some of these design these programs. One of the things that, you know, I feel like our program at Harvard does, you know, as it is it signals to folks who know about that degree, that you can do something very intense and difficult. Even if you don't end up using a lot of the hard skills, you know, that you you worked on there. So that's, that's been valuable for when folks know about that degree program. Anybody who's been through the Harvard Kennedy School will, I think set up a little straighter when you tell them that you have an NPA ID is that's that's the one that it's really the you know, the gut punch, especially in that first year. Michael Hingson 28:45 Yeah, well, you survived it and you moved on, what did you do after you got that Nick Bayard 28:50 degree? I actually spent a year working on music and recognize that like, there probably wouldn't be a time in a transition period when I'd have the opportunity to, to pursue music was something I've always loved and always done for, for, you know, just a full time thing for a while. And so when I when I met Cydia, she had been with our oldest son at the time, she'd come over as a single mom with her son, Wally, to Harvard, they kind of upgraded everything and came to Cambridge. And when I met Cydia, qualia was 10. And so we kind of became a family unit pretty quickly. And obviously when you know when to do it, and I got married, and so one of the things that came of that time we were living in DC was city I said, Why don't you write a children's album? And all of a sudden, all this music just started coming out of me, inspired by my conversation was with a query. And so it was really quite a fun time to, to be able to talk to him and understand his worldview and then write some music based on what I learned. And we, we ended up recording and producing this album together called wishing well. And it became pretty popular on the children's radio stations. And Wally and I were invited to be showcased performers at the world's only at the time Children's Music Conference. kindy calm, and at the time, we were the only act that had an actual kit, and you know, in the group, so that was quite a special time. And you know, we moved back out to cometa to put a trailer back in his his school he had been in, but we stayed on the East Coast for a year and did music and, you know, made some memories. Michael Hingson 30:54 What good memories Wow, that's pretty amazing. I'm going to have to go look for the album. Nick Bayard 31:00 Yeah, it was it was a surprise. To me, I had never thought of writing or recording children's music till Cydia suggested it. And I've, you know, I loved music as a kid Rafi has always been a hero of mine. And things kind of came full circle when I had a chance to take. Now our two youngest kids, we have four and a six year old to see Rafi alive. Just before the pandemic hit, we had a chance to meet him and give him a hug. And it just the you know, the the waterworks were turned on I it was more emotional than I expected it to be he so what did you do after music. That was we came out to Tacoma. And I was basically, you know, trying to figure out my place in this community and had a lot of meetings with folks and learned about an opening for the director of a social service organization that was working to support youth and young adults who were struggling with education and employment or housing, mental health, substance use disorders. And getting that job and really trying to build this thing into something that was, you know, trusted by young people and offered as many services as we can offer in one place. Because the young folks that have been burned by institutions are a lot less likely to trust institutions. And so we, as an institution could could help start to rebuild that trust a little bit by creating a space where people were, were welcomed and felt accepted, felt represented, and really could could be put on a path towards success, then we can make a big difference. And so it was a it was about as there for about five years, and we were able to increase mental health services on site, we were able to expand the the housing options for young people experiencing homelessness for our county. And we're able to really start the conversation around how institutional racism in the nonprofit sector is, is making our nonprofits not only in some cases, not effective, but in other cases, actually, the perpetuators of harm and so that's, that's something that I'm really pleased came out of that experience was was an opportunity to lead some of those conversations and be part of some of those efforts to to make it tough to make a change in the sector in terms of racial equity. Michael Hingson 33:56 What made you go out to Tacoma in general, Nick Bayard 34:00 well Cydia and equate my my wife and oldest son before I met them, they had been here my wife was born in eastern Washington and grew up in Tacoma. And so they had had they had a wife here before they went east to, to for city to get her second master's. And so we, you know, quaintly had his friends back here and I liked what I knew of Washington and so we decided to come out here and start a life together as a family. Less snow than the East Coast. Yes, sadly for me, but happily for much others in my family, who aren't as as big snow fans as I am, Michael Hingson 34:47 but still get to snow. Nick Bayard 34:49 We can. That's true. That's true. But it's a wonderful place to raise a family just because it's it is like you said you can get to almost anything Whether it's you know, the city, whether it is performing arts, venues, nature hikes, mountains, rivers, lakes, the ocean, you know, it's just, it's just great. And it's sort of like the home that I never knew I wanted. Michael Hingson 35:20 And I'll bet being in Washington, you even know where Gonzaga University is where everyone else only knows once a year during basketball season. Nick Bayard 35:28 That's right, we have some fierce, fiercely loyal folks, you know, in those, you know, in those in those fights, and I try to stay out of it. Yeah, the sports. The sports debates, Michael Hingson 35:45 I had the honor of being invited to speak at Gonzaga several years ago, it was a lot of fun, and very much enjoyed being up there. So that's great. I've spent a lot of time around various places in Washington, which is always a good thing. We love Washington. Although we we love Victorville where we are we love it, especially because our house is very accessible, we built the house so that it's accessible for my wife. And so we can't complain. And then as you said, working at home, you know, you have all the things that you got to do. But we can create schedules and set it up to work, right. So it works out very well for us. So we're, we're pretty, we're pleased. Nick Bayard 36:25 That's great. I'm curious if you, if you have any reflections on, you know, the people in Washington versus the folks where you are, one of the things I learned when I came out was that, that there's just sort of this, this norm of, it's okay to just start talking to somebody without even sort of an intro, sort of like you'd be at the supermarket and you can just, you can enter the middle of a conversation with somebody you've never met. I don't know if that was your experience when he came out here. Michael Hingson 36:55 It was, and there are parts of California where you can do some of that. But I think the whole world is changing, we're getting to be such a polarized world, because of things that are happening in politics, that shouldn't happen, that people aren't talking to each other nearly as much as they used to, I don't know whether you're finding that out there. But we are seeing a lot more of it down here than we used to, Nick Bayard 37:19 I find myself a lot more closed off. For a couple of reasons. One being, I still mask most places I go. And I also wear hearing aids. And so the combination of the mask and hearing loss, and, you know, just the mechanics of that, and then if somebody else is wearing a mask, it makes it really hard for me to, to hear what they're saying. Because I can't read their lips. And at the same time also, like, being a little bit wary of, you know, being around folks for too long and close environments. We've been lucky with COVID we haven't, haven't had it, but just, you know, I'm looking forward to, you know, science, figuring out more about how to how to prevent it, how to treat it, how to deal with long COVID, that kind of stuff. So yes, I've I've not been as gregarious as I think I always used to be. But I hope to get back to that at some point. Michael Hingson 38:21 We have stayed pretty close to home, I've traveled a few times to speak, done a lot of virtual things, but we stay pretty close to home, just because it is safer. And you know, we can cope with that we we are pretty good at being flexible about things changing. And when people talk about getting back to normal. That just is never going to happen. And I first thought about that after September 11. Because people kept saying after September 11 With all the things that were going on and government being closed for a week and airports being closed and all that and just all the discussions and people started saying we got to get back to normal. And it was very frustrating to me. And I finally realized that it was frustrating, because normal will never be the same again. Nick Bayard 39:09 Right. Right. And and what opportunities do we have to identify what what was bad about the old normal that we can we can change. One of the I think real blessings over the last few years has been people have been forced or and invited, I think to to examine how they're spending their time, what they give their time and effort to. And I see people being bolder about pursuing what they love and spending more time with their families. And I think that's a wonderful byproduct of what's been a really difficult couple of years. Michael Hingson 39:53 Yeah. And I hope that that trend will continue in that path. People will recognize that, and that companies and bosses and leaders will recognize that there's value in letting people do that, because it'll be much better for their mental health. Absolutely. Well, you ended up going at least for a while into city government in Tacoma, right? Nick Bayard 40:17 I did, I was the assistant chief equity officer in the Office of Equity and Human Rights, which is charged with supporting equitable representation in the workforce. Making sure that our community outreach is is, is really robust, making sure that policies and procedures are equitable, and, and that they recognize the harm that's been done over over decades, you know, against certain groups, and so it's, it's an office that I have a ton of respect for, and I was really happy to be able to serve for for a couple of years. And it was really, I think, it's really valuable to, to go back and forth between different sectors to, to be able to keep fresh eyes on things, one of the things I really appreciate being able to do was being able to come into the government role with lots of grassroots community development experience, and having relationships with a lot of folks that a lot of the city employees didn't have. And so I was able to kind of be a trusted liaison for a lot of those groups and for city staff, and, you know, everybody's got their own path. But for me, being able to, you know, take that experience, somewhere where it can be of good use is, is important. And that's that's also, you know, translated to coming back to the nonprofit sector and going into public media now, is that I've got, you know, that perspective of what it's like to be in government and, you know, as as an entity that reports to, to voters and to community members in a, you know, in the way that in the way that our elections are set up, and the way that our community engagement set up. So it was, it was a, it was quite a valuable experience, Michael Hingson 42:19 did you in dealing with all of the various issues and aspects around equity? Of course, everybody talks about diversity and so on. But generally, when they do disabilities get left out of that, did you find that you were involved at all or very much in dealing with equity from the standpoint of dealing with persons with disabilities and making sure that they get into the, to the workforce, and that were treated fairly, and so on? Nick Bayard 42:48 Yes, there actually, prior to my arrival, there had been a long standing Tacoma area commission on disabilities. And most of the members of that commission, if not all, experience, pretty significant disabilities, you know, carry those in their lives. And so our office was charged with being the liaison for that commission. And so whenever there was, the commission would bring a concern or a policy proposal to the city come through our office. One of the projects that was underway that we helped move forward while I was there, was around accessible taxis. And it, it's a good, it was a good window into just how complex is policy challenges can be. Because, you know, the the elected officials that would have to get put put this into place, you know, had to figure out, we had to figure out how much it costs, we had to figure out where folks would need to go, we had to figure out what it would mean to retrofit a taxi company's vehicles. And then how Uber and Lyft and others will be involved with that. And it was it's a multi year process that's still underway. But what we did was we commissioned a feasibility study, so that we could get a clearer and clearer sense of what the cost and scope would need to be so that the elected officials could make a good decision based on that. Something else that commission accomplished was I'm really proud of, but I didn't have any personal part of this is that they had the council pass an ordinance to require closed captioning in all places of business, restaurants and so on. So somebody that's hearing impaired or deaf, would be able to watch TV watch a sports game and know what's going on in a way that they hadn't before. So I think the the bigger issues to tackle had to do with accessible housing and accessible streets And, and that kind of thing. And those are those that's ongoing work. Of course, Michael Hingson 45:03 other aspects of all that that still don't get addressed very well are things that deal with with eyesight and things like Braille menus in restaurants. So we're, now you've got many companies that we in one way or another are putting kiosks in their facilities and McDonald's and McDonald's is now starting to make those kiosks talk or even accessible voting machines, so that a person who happens to be blind or low vision can go in and use an accessible machine to be able to vote independently. And there are just a lot of challenges like that, that continue to get left out of a lot of the discussions, which is unfortunate. Nick Bayard 45:47 Very unfortunate. So a question for me is always how do how do we elevate voices like yours and and others? Who? Who oftentimes, I think the, the discussion is it the, the the attention is ends up going on, you know, the, the group or the person that can shout the loudest? Yeah. And so that's not that shouldn't be the case, it should be, you know, we should take a look at intersecting issues of privilege and access and figure out, you know, if, if we can redesign our system so that those of us who you know, have the most barriers, or have have an easy time of it, I think we'll all have an easier time of it, boy struck by the universal design concepts that make things accessible for folks with disabilities, but also make them easier to access for folks without disabilities. It's hard to argue against a lot of investment and that kind of change, I think. Michael Hingson 46:54 And therein lies one of the real keys that is that, in reality, a lot of the things that might make life more inclusive for us really would help other people as well. But so many people emphasize just one thing that it makes it more of a challenge, like eyesight, you know, so even and one of my favorite topics I've discussed a couple of times on this podcast are the Tesla vehicles were everything is really driven by a touchscreen. And to use not only voice input, what voice output is limited or non existent, there is some voice input to be able to do things. But I as a passenger in a Tesla can't even work the radio, because it's all touchscreen driven. That's really lovely. Except that whoever does it, and the case of a driver, a driver has to look at the screen. And yes, you do have some other capabilities of the Tesla helping with driving. But the reality is that with the state of technology today, people should be watching the road. And we've got the technologies to allow us to use other senses. And we don't do it nearly as much as we should. We have not and we have not embraced in inclusive mindset yet. And when we do, then a lot of the questions that people may have and the concerns that people may have will go away, because they'll realize that what affects some will really help everyone, Nick Bayard 48:28 for sure. I think part of the part of the reason we get stuck on some of these things is that we tend to think about things in either or terms like either either you support blind people, or you support immigrants, or you support people of color or you support the LGBTQ community. And there's these like saying these soI completely separate projects is a recipe for complete failure to make anything change. And I think what we we need to recognize is that every group contains elements of every other group. Correct. And so helping helping one group fully is going to help other groups in different ways and thinking of ways that we can invest in those, you know, in the middle of those Venn diagrams, so that so that everybody benefits. Right. Michael Hingson 49:30 Well, so you worked in government, and then how did you get to bird note from that? Nick Bayard 49:35 Well, I've always loved birds and been fascinated by their behavior, their anatomy, their resilience, and had had taken some ornithology masters levels classes. I when I was out in Wyoming, and, you know, it hadn't been at the front of my mind. You know, since I started family hadn't been out bird watching too much. But then I saw that, you know, the executive director job at burnout had opened up. And it was interesting to me because I didn't realize that bird note itself was independent of radio stations. As a listener, I always thought the burden out was just part of our either part of our local radio station or part of NPR. But in fact, it's an independent nonprofit. And so it, it took me seeing the job opening to understand how the organization was set up. And all of a sudden, it I was just very excited about that opportunity. Because, you know, I'd had nonprofit leadership experience, I love birds, I love the burnt out daily show, and the long form podcasts that burned out, produces. And it it seemed to me that it was just a great next step, in terms of in terms of getting to know a new field of public media, in terms of being able to take some skills I've learned elsewhere and apply them. And it was, you know, it was it was a job where I didn't know anyone going into it. And so, you know, a lot of people and myself included, you know, get jobs through, you know, a personal connection, introduce you to somebody, and then you go through an application or interview process. With burnout, it was it was first time recently where I just applied and was invited to interview. And so in that way, it was, it was gratifying, just not that I, you know, not that there's anything wrong with, you know, having those connections, but, you know, it's It felt good to just apply and just on the nature of what they saw, have them give me a call and, Michael Hingson 51:58 and asked me to, to interview. And the rest is sort of history. Nick Bayard 52:05 That's right. That's right, as coming up on one year and November. Michael Hingson 52:08 So tell us a little about bird note, I'd appreciate knowing more about what exactly the organization is, what it does, and so on. Nick Bayard 52:17 Sure, we're an independent public media nonprofit organization that's been around since 2005. And it it started really, as a as a radio program under the auspices of Seattle Audubon. And eventually, after a few years it, it became its own nonprofit. And it started really with this vision that the founders vision was to produce a short, sound rich audio experience for radio listeners about birds. And it's just become a really beloved institution in the areas where it's broadcast. And it it's now we've got the flagship show is the minute 45 second show, copper note daily that broadcasts in about 250 public radio stations across the US. We've got long form podcasts, those are called threatened and bring birds back. And we do virtual events and things that most listeners know us for burning out daily. Because that's our biggest audience. We've got, we think around 5 million daily listeners to that show. And so what's really powerful about that, is that we're able to, I believe, create a mindset shift for all of those folks, in terms of inviting them to slow down, pay attention to nature, learn something amazing about birds, and hopefully get inspired to spend more time with nature, with birds, and to the point where we hope we inspire action. For conservation, whether that's something simple, like the way that you live your life, the way that you set up your bird feeders, the way that you turn off your lights during migration season, those kinds of things, all the way up to advocating for more federal legislation for conservation. You know, we hear from listeners that we we have changed their lives, which is really amazing to hear that we've inspired people to to pursue careers in ornithology bird science, that we have helped people with mental health. People say that the show calms them down. It's something that they look forward to every day. And I think the really, really big opportunity we have is to continue showcasing and diversifying people from every background on the show and stories that reflects different kinds of knowledge. folks that aren't, you know, this the the typical profile of somebody who's been centered a conservation over the last 100 years. white male, able bodied person recognize that every group is connected to burns and has a love of, of burning in the outdoors. And we have an opportunity to elevate those stories that haven't been elevated, you know, over over our country's history, which is, I think, very powerful. Michael Hingson 55:20 So what is the typical one minute 45 second show, like what happens? Nick Bayard 55:27 Well, sometimes we we start with our theme song, which I'm not going to attempt to recreate with my voice here on burnout.org. And hear that it's a it's a very short, little, just very catchy, you know, couple of seconds thing and then you'll hear the narrator say, this is bird note. And then you'll hear the sound of birds usually, and the narrator will talk you through what you're hearing. And well explained something about the birds behavior, something that we you know, we're learning about the birds something that scientists have just figured out, that kind of thing, then we'll take you back to the sounds of the birds, and then maybe one or two more pieces of information. And then from time to time, well, well let folks know what they can do to to learn more or to connect or to you know, to to make a difference for birds. This morning show was about the white Bennett storm petrel, which is a seabird lives off the coast of Chile and Peru. And it lives most of its life just over the water. And it took scientists eight years to figure out that this storm petrol actually nests about 50 miles inland and the desert and part of the continent that people describe as looking like the surface of bars. So anytime we can, we can drop in some surprising fun tidbits of information for our listeners, we love to do that too. So is bird node, a standard 501 C three nonprofit it is. And if you've got a burden on.org, you can learn more about how to get our email list, which gives you a sneak preview of all of our daily or weekly shows. You can support bird note, we, we we rely on the generosity of listeners to do what we do. And so, you know, unlike a radio station public radio station, which does a fun to drive every couple of years, or sorry, a couple times a year, we we are asking listeners over social media and have our email list to support us with gifts. And we're fortunate to have a lot of generous listeners who donate monthly and who give annually. And one of the services that we've created is something called Bird note plus, where you can subscribe at a different level of monthly giving to get ad free podcasts and get access to special events and get early access to shows and so if there any podcast fans or bird lovers out there that want to check out bird note plus, I would encourage them to do that. Michael Hingson 58:19 I would as well. It it sounds like a lot of fun. I have not I guess either been up at the right time or whatever have not heard bird no daily here so I'm going to have to go set up a reminder to go listen on the website, I guess every Nick Bayard 58:34 day. Please do. Yes, you can subscribe anywhere you can podcasts, you can subscribe to the sempurna daily, something that's really exciting as we just launched burnout en Espanol. So it's our first dual language production. So there's a new podcast feed for burnout and Espanyol where it's it's the same experience of the English burden on daily but in Spanish and speaking with folks in and in it throughout the Americas that are doing conservation work. In conversation in Spanish, it's, I think a really great opportunity for us to broaden our audience throughout the Americas. And then our our long form podcasts you can also find anywhere you get podcasts or bring birds back is is I think there's just a really special program that's hosted by a woman named Tanisha Hamilton who models her entry into birding and you just feel the enthusiasm and excitement as she gets into this and talks about things like what it's like to be a black woman birder what it's like to find your own community and birding. You know, how do people with disabilities? What are some of the technologies that they can use to get out and look at birds there and then there are different sort of species specific Two episodes, one of the really popular ones is about the purple Martin, which, which has an amazing history of interplay with with Native American communities and, and carried forward today where people will become what they call purple Martin landlords and create houses for them and just it's just a great story. Great, great program. And then our we have a field based long form podcast called threatened, which is hosted by already Daniel who's on NPR science desk now, and that's about going to the place they're doing in depth work to understand the conservation challenges birds are facing. And so that that podcast is coming out with new episodes in January, focused on Puerto Rico and island habitats. We just wrapped up the season on Hawaii, which was, which was really fascinating. Michael Hingson 1:00:57 Well, I, I'm gonna go listen, I It will be fun to go do that. Well, if people want to reach out and learn more about you and burden on I assume they can go to bird node.org. But how can they contact you and learn more? Nick Bayard 1:01:11 Sure they can. They can email me directly at Nick B. At bird note dot org. Always happy to chat. If it's a general bird note inquiry, you can email info at bird note.org We get a lot of people writing in with bird questions. You know, how do we get burned out on our local radio station, that kind of thing. We love to hear those kinds of questions because it helps us connect with new audiences and new radio stations. And, you know, I'm hopeful that we can grow the broadcasts range of Berto because right now we brought about 250 radio stations. But if if we were to, you know, get broadcasts on some of the bigger stations, we could double or triple our audience overnight, which would be, which would be amazing. And it's just a minute 45 seconds. So it's not exactly like a huge investment. I understand that, that time is a finite resource on radio, but I just I don't think there's any good reason why every radio station shouldn't play Burnin Up Michael Hingson 1:02:18 is short Is it is it makes perfect sense to do. Well, I, I find it fascinating and I hope everyone listening to us today will find it fascinating as well. And that they will reach out to you I think it will be beneficial. And as I said, I'm gonna go make it a habit, I think I can easily do that minute and 45 seconds is just not that long. It's not a big ask just and it's such a such a joyful Nick Bayard 1:02:47 show. You know, I came into this job as a huge fan, and just have become an even bigger fan, just, you know, getting under the hood and understanding everything that goes into developing creating and producing these shows. So I just feel really lucky to be doing what I do and lucky to have the chance to try to share it with as many people as I can and lucky to ask people to write us check some of sign up to God because that's that's what, that's what keeps us producing the stories and what what allows us to keep growing? Michael Hingson 1:03:27 Well, I'm gonna go check out bird note.org. And a little bit more detail. Do you know if the website designer paid any attention to or spend any time making sure that it's accessible and put an accessibility kinds of elements to the site? And or do you know if they've done that? Nick Bayard 1:03:42 We've done a, we our web developer ran an accessibility audit. I need to dig into the details around which aspects are good and which are bad. They told us we got a 91% score. Michael Hingson 1:03:58 That's pretty good. Nick Bayard 1:03:59 I think yeah, I think it's pretty good. That's you know, there's always, always room for improvement. One of the things that we were early early adopters of is the the transcripts of every episode on how to be really descriptive in those but I know that we've got got work to do and would welcome any, any feedback you have for sure when you when you go and check it out. Michael Hingson 1:04:26 We'll do it. And I will definitely communicate either way. Well, Nick, thanks again for being with us. This has been fun and fascinating. I hope you've enjoyed it and and we really appreciate you coming on and we hope you'll be back and update us as burnout progresses. Nick Bayard 1:04:44 Well, thanks so much, Michael. And I just want to say I'm really inspired by you and your story and I was just thrilled to hear from you and get the invitation to talk. So it's been just a really wonderful Expo. grandson a great honor to be able to chat with you today. Michael Hingson 1:05:03 Well, my pleasure as well. And for all of you out there listening, please reach out to Nick, please learn more about bird note. And we hope that you'll give us a five star rating wherever you're listening to the podcast. We really appreciate you doing that. I'd love to hear your comments, please feel free to email me at Michaelhi at accessibe.com A C C E S S I B E, or go to our podcast page, Michael hingson.com/podcast. But either way, I would appreciate your five star review would appreciate your comments. And Nick, for you and for everyone listening if you know of anyone else who you think ought to be a guest on unstoppable mindset. We'd love to hear from you about that as well. So thanks for listening. And Nick once more. Thank you very much for being a part of us today and our podcast. Thanks so much. Michael Hingson 1:05:55 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.
We're celebrating Braille Literacy Month and taking a look back at how braille came to be. We will also hear more from Anne Durham and Greg Stilson as they continue their discussion about the Monarch. After that, we will hear from someone who got the chance to try out the Monarch.On this Podcast (In Order of Appearance)Sara Brown, APH Public Relations ManagerMicheal Hudson, APH Museum DirectorAnne Durham, APH Vice President/Chief Officer, Innovation and StrategyGreg Stilson, APH Head of Global Technology InnovationKaren Anderson, National Federation of the Blind Education Programs CoordinatorAdditional LinksThe Dynamic Tactile Device: A New Solution to an Old ProblemFreeList/Dynamic Tactile DisplayFreeList/eBRFThe Next Stop on the Holy Braille Highway: 2022 and BeyondAPH Partners with DAISY Consortium on New Digital Braille Standard2022 Abacus BeeEmail LinksDTD@aph.org Additional Braille Product LinksAPH Light-Touch Perkins Brailler®Classroom Calendar Kit, English EditionClassroom Calendar Kit, Spanish EditionJanus Interline Braille Slate with Saddle-Shaped StylusMiniBook Slate with StylusesPocket Braille Slate (Pins Up), Clear Plastic with Large Handle Stylus BANA Code books, Also Available in Braille Braille Formats: Principles of Print-to-Braille Transcription, 2016 - Print Guidelines and Standards for Tactile Graphics, 2010, Print EditionBraille Code for Chemical Notation, 1997: Print Music Braille Code, 2015, Print
Our guest on this episode of Unstoppable Mindset is Sentari Minor. Mr. Minor, a Phoenix native grew up learning to be a storyteller and writer. As he explains, today he uses his ability to write to communicate and help CEOs to learn more about philanthropy, policy, and driving social impact in their spheres of influence. Two years ago Mr. Minor joined EvolvedMD as its head of strategy. EvolvedMD works at the forefront of the healthcare industry, among other things, combining the work of practicing physicians and therapists to better help patients especially, where both a physical issue and a possible mental or emotional crisis may be contributing to the same illness. He will tell us some stories about his current work. Even in the time of Covid, his company's cadre of workers has grown from 10 to several hundred. Sentari's work recently earned him a place on Phoenix Business Journal's prestigious “40 Under 40” list for 2022. As usual, our guest inspires both through his stories and his work. I trust that you will find Mr. Minor's time with us beneficial and informative. Most of all, I believe you will find his work shows that he legitimately is unstoppable and a good example for all of us. About the Guest: Sentari Minor is most passionate about bringing the best out of individuals and entities. His love languages are strategy, storytelling, and social impact. As Head of Strategy for evolvedMD, Mr. Minor is at the forefront of healthcare innovation with a scope of work that includes strategy, growth, branding, culture, and coaching. His deft touch recently earned him a place on Phoenix Business Journal's prestigious “40 Under 40” list for 2022. Prior to evolvedMD, he advised prominent and curious CEOs and entrepreneurs regarding philanthropy, policy, and driving social impact as the Regional Director of Alder (Phoenix, Dallas, San Francisco), and strengthened social enterprises as a director at venture philanthropy firm, Social Venture Partners. When he's not busy making change, Mr. Minor enjoys health and fitness, engaging issues on social media, exploratory writing, and spending time with the people who make him smile. Ways to connect with Sentari: Website – About Sentari Minor Medium – Sentari Minor on Medium LinkedIn – Sentari Minor on LinkedIn 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 01:20 Well, hi there, wherever you happen to be today. And I am Mike Hingson, host of unstoppable mindset. We're glad you're with us. And we have a guest today Sentari Minor, who will tell you that his passion is trying to be bring the best out of individuals and entities. And I'm gonna be very interested to hear about that and all the other things that that you have to talk about. So welcome to unstoppable mindset. Sentari Minor 01:47 I'm excited to be here. Thanks for having me. Michael Hingson 01:50 Well, what's our pleasure? Tell us a little bit about you kind of go back to the beginning. And you know, what your roots are and how you got a little bit of where you are today in schooling and anything else like that that you want to throw in, Sentari Minor 02:02 man. So just back to the beginning. That takes the first hour, right? I'm trying to that is a that's a lot, but I'll try to I'll try to condense it into something that's five minutes or less. So I guess super excited to be here. So I am a Phoenix native. I grew up in Phoenix, Arizona, which has grown so much essence when I was a little kid out. So I grew up here in Arizona, and was always a very, very interesting kid. I did a I did a a storytelling session. There's this group called the whole story that got together kind of six to eight Black Storytellers and just had them come on stage and like talk about something. And what I talked about was being like the first Black Nerd, as I put it before, it was cool. And so I was always just like a very interesting kid that loves school loved reading was pretty introverted, even though I'm naturally an extroverted person. And so I was kind of like an always an oddball, but in like, in a way that I loved and it was very embraced. So grew up in Phoenix, went to an International Baccalaureate High School, so a very kind of competitive High School. And there, I really got the bug for academics, and was really successful in that in that realm. And for those who are listening, you'll know that Arizona, great state, great state universities, but very, very big universities. And so I knew for me that for me that to thrive, I needed to find a smaller school, so I looked elsewhere. So I went to I went to college in Indiana, so I went to Phoenix, Arizona, one of the largest cities in the country to Greencastle, Indiana, a small rural town of about 10,000, to a university that was smaller than my High School at DePaul University where I studied English with an emphasis in creative writing. So I thought I wanted to be a writer, a journalist. And turns out I do a lot of writing in my current career. So that background served me well. But after college, I've always worked a lot in the social impact nonprofit space is done everything from program management, to program development to a lot of marketing, communications, and fundraising. Actually, I think where I hit my stride was working for a firm called Social Venture Partners, where I worked with nonprofits, social impact organizations, and also donors to really build capacity in organization. So folks that are really passionate about their mission, but just need a little help on how to support that mission from an infrastructure standpoint. So I got to be the director of that firm, and we had a lot of wonderful people and help a lot of really impactful organizations. Following that, I joined a group called Gen X, which has now been rebranded to older and that the mission of that organization was to really take purposeful leaders so owners, entrepreneurs, CEOs, and provide them the education and kind of the space to work really figured out how they wanted to leverage their networks and their kind of expertise and influence to make a better world for the next generation. And so that looked like curating content on education, economic opportunity, national security, facilitating these really, really intense dinners on how Jeffersonian dinners on just topics of the day, doing a lot on policy during London philanthropies. So I had a cohort, a cadre of about 30, CEOs in each of the markets that I ran, which was Phoenix, Dallas and San Francisco and got to just see a lot of really impactful and powerful people that play. And I learned a lot from them on a lot of things. But out of that one of the CEOs that was part of that group is the CEO I work for now. And the company that I'm with as head of strategy at evolved and D, and we integrate behavioral health into primary care. So we put a therapist where you would, where you get your primary care. So where your doctor OBGYN, we embedded therapist right next to them, so they can work on your pair together to some great clinical outcomes. So I've been with this company for two years, and it's been amazing learning a lot about the healthcare world, learning a lot about building a strategy for a company that when I started was about 10 employees will be at 100 by the end of the year. So really privileged and honored to be part of an executive team that's growing very quickly, and part of a solution to a growing problem. And that's me. So that's from when I was a kid out to today. Michael Hingson 06:33 How many years is that? Sentari Minor 06:35 That is 30, I'll be 37 in less than a month, October? Michael Hingson 06:41 Well, you, you summarized a lot in a fairly short amount of time. That's pretty cool. What made you decide to go to a small school as opposed to one of the bigger schools like Arizona, Arizona state and so on, Sentari Minor 06:54 you know, I just liked I just knew that I wanted a little bit more kind of direct education or rather direct instruction. So you're there. You have a there's an estate great again, great schools, but a lecture hall with 400 kids was just never going to be my thing, right? I, I went to a kind of a school within a school. So we had a cohort of same kids from freshman through senior year of high school. And I wanted that kind of that kind of vibe. And I also knew that I wanted to just really have some time to understand what I really wanted to do. I went in to college as like an econ. Econ major, and then quickly pivoted that to English. And I don't know if I would have done that at a larger school, but I love the small. The small school, but my senior year of college, I had a history class with four students, which is great, right? Like you have deep, deep conversations about a lot of things. And so I enjoyed the smaller schools. Yeah. Michael Hingson 07:55 Well, I know that I read a book. Well, you may have read it, you've may have heard about an David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell, you're not. And he talks about fitting into different places. And he talked about the very subject of a lot of people want to go to these big colleges like Harvard and so on, when really their disposition and maybe their talents would be better. By going to a smaller school, he put it in terms of being a fish, big fish in a small pond, rather than being a smaller fish in a huge pond, where you don't get the same level of what you need. And I know for me, personally, I very much enjoyed going to a smaller school, at least at the time, UC Irvine back in late 1960s, early 1970s. We had I think, 2700 students the year that I enrolled, that was the fourth year of the school, and it was so much better having a small amount of people. Sentari Minor 08:52 Right now you see your friends a huge squat. Well, in my mind a huge school. Michael Hingson 08:56 Yeah, well, now, I don't know, I think the population is about 28,000. So it has grown a little bit. Yes, quite a bit. But you, you've you've evolved into this, this person that loves to, as you said, bring the best out of people. What, what drove you to do that, as opposed to sticking with English and just writing or telling stories? Well, yeah, let me let's start with that. Yeah, that's Sentari Minor 09:20 a good question. I think, um, I think for some reason, I think it's probably mostly around like, I the thing that bugs me the most is inequality and injustice. And so I've always been drawn to the social impact sector. So doing good has always been like a through line in my life. And so, for me, doing good looks like helping and I think most of my career, you'll see has been helping leaders. So people of influence, kind of figure out how they can help others and so I've been really good at the coaching the advising that being a thought leader in spaces and rooms where folks are looking to me to kind of guide them on what that looks like. And it's been really I think it's been so rewarding to see you know, a see Have a company or someone that helps a brand learn from me and say like, this is the strategy we're going to use, either in our corporation or in our person in my personal life to, to launch this, this platform of kind of just social good. And I just love, I love that. And I think I had a really good time, I think I've been successful and building a brand around me kind of thinking, I think people come to me to want to figure out how to better themselves from like, a social impact standpoint. And it's been really, it's been really, really wonderful to kind of create, create that ecosystem around me. Michael Hingson 10:36 Well, have you? Have you been able to use your your English in your writing as you go? Because obviously, you're not writing books and writing stories all the time and doing that? Or are you Sentari Minor 10:47 know, so that's really, I think, one? I think it goes back to your question that you just asked, I think a liberal arts education actually helps you become just a much more rounded, well rounded person. So I think for me, I was able to come out of my years at at DePaul just learning how to think and like how to think critically and understand like problems and and synthesize them. So whether it was English or econ, I think I would have had that kind of same mindset or me, I think, also, what is what is becoming? Well, there's a lot of research around it, what is becoming more abundantly clear is that the the ability to write, to communicate, to really have a compelling arguments, which comes from having a background in English, or journalism is so invaluable. So for me, English, has helped me become a phenomenal writer, right. And then in my day job, I oversee a team that does our comms and content, and showing constantly the power of storytelling, and how that can compel someone to do something that is socially good. So I don't write stories or novels. But I do write all the time and then do coaching with my team on how do you take, take some words into a compelling piece of copy that drives someone to do to make a decision that can ultimately do good. So I use English every day. And I'm very thankful for that, that kind of the instruction and background that I have in it, because I think it's served me quite well. Michael Hingson 12:15 And I think that's the real key. My background is in physics. And although I don't do physics, and I haven't really spent time doing physics. At the same time, the skills that I learned and the attitudes and the philosophy, I think make such a huge difference. In the way I approach thing, one of the one of the things I learned in physics is you always pay attention to the details. And it isn't always the way the numbers work out. But if the units don't work out with the numbers, there's something wrong. So if you want to compute acceleration, if you don't get meters per second squared in your units, or, or feet per second squared, then you've got a problem. And it's always a matter of paying attention to the details as much as anything else. Sentari Minor 13:00 Love that sector. I've just wrote that down into the details. I love that. Michael Hingson 13:03 So one of the things that I learned a lot was paying attention to details. And recognizing that there are a lot of ways to expand. I also agree that telling stories is extremely important. I've been in sales most of my life. And one of the things that I learned early on. And I don't remember whether it was just something that I figured out, or someone said to me was that good salespeople can tell stories that relate and I think I didn't hear that from someone. But I am a firm believer in it that the best salespeople are the people who can really advise, can tell stories, and relate. It isn't just pushing your product, especially if your product might not be the best product for an individual. And so that gets to another story. Yep. I agree about that. So it's it's telling stories is a lot of fun. And I always enjoy hearing good well told stories or reading, well written story. So it works out well. So you are obviously trying to bring the best out of in people and all that. And in my experience, usually something happens to people that kind of shaped their their life plans or whatever, did you have an experience? Or Did something happened to you really that led you to just choose the career path that you have? Sentari Minor 14:23 No, I wouldn't say it links you the career path that I have. Because I think my career path has kind of been by happenstance, like I'm just really opportunistic. So what I would I would have set out to be at 22 was not what I am now and I don't think I think it's I think that's how people are most successful and how it works out that way. But I do think I can point to I've been reflecting on this experience where that might have shaped my values. And that would be so I so I came out when I was 13 which is really which is really a you know, beautiful experience. I luckily had a very supportive family. And a great support system. So my coming out story is not like a lot of coming out stories which are unfortunately, riddled with sadness, and just a lot of terrible things that come out of that. But I was always embraced for my sexuality, and that was something that I know a lot of 13 year olds don't get. But it also instilled just a competence in me from a very young age that I think happened, and helped a lot of the way that I've looked at the world, which is like to be unabashedly authentic. And I believe that one of my, I believe, admirable traits is just how authentic I am and how I show up for for people for the brands that I represent for the things that I do. And it was because I was so supported at that young age. And it taught me that like, the world is gonna view you in a certain way, no matter what, but it's how you how you overcome that, and how you manage and shape yourself around that, that is truly important. Because of that, I think I am able to go into spaces, go into companies go into these conversations with folks at a high level and really show up as myself and someone that is obviously very much passionate, very much caring, and just wants to do good. And I have to do the good because I know there are people like me that don't have the same that didn't have the same reaction to something that should be so beautiful, that I did. And I just want to make sure that all those folks as well as folks who have experienced any other kind of hardship are well taken care of too, and, and get to have that platform, because of what I do. Michael Hingson 16:27 That's cool. And being authentic. Being authentic is as important as it gets, no matter what you do. And it's all too often that we see in the world, people who just feel they can't be authentic, or they don't want to be authentic, or they want to hide and it's great when you get to understand that that's an important thing. And bring that forward in your life. Because anyone you deal with is going to certainly recognize that it was when you're authentic, people know it and people know when you're blowing smoke. Sentari Minor 16:59 It was so true. Yeah. And it just being authentic leads so much credibility to things. And also I think being authentic also means not being perfect. And I think people really resonate with folks that say like, this isn't going well, or I failed at this or you know, I don't have the answer. And I think I've always showed up to spaces and say like, I'm the first one to say like, I have no idea. But we can work on it together. And that's a piece of puffins being authentic, that is so, so, so important. Michael Hingson 17:27 Yeah, it's really important to be able to do that I when I was a student teacher, I had a math class that I was teaching. And one of the students asked a question, and I should have known the answer. But for whatever reason I didn't. But what I said to him into the class was, you know, I don't know, I probably shouldn't know it. It's not that magical. This is freshman algebra. And I'm getting a master's degree in physics, but I don't I wouldn't know this. But I'll tell you what I'm going to do. I'm going to have the answer by tomorrow. And after class, my master teacher who was the football coach, so a real tough guy comes up to me. And he said, You don't know how much you scored in the way of points and how much adoration admiration you got from those kids, because you were honest. And you know, that's always been the way I am. By the way, the next day, I did have the answer. But the the young man who asked the question also came in him before I got to say anything, he said, I figured it out. And so I said, Alright, Marty, come up and write your answer on the board. Because being blind, I'm not a great Blackboard writer. And so I always chose a different student every day to write on the board. When we needed to do Blackboard writing. I had him come up and I said write it on the board. And it was great. And I know that I had an impact on him. Because 10 years later, I was at a faire in Orange County, California, the Orange County Fair. And this guy with his very deep voice comes up to me and he says, Hey, Mr. hingson? Do you remember me? And no, who are you? Because as Marty was his very high pitched young voice anyway, he said, I'm Marty, I met you and I was in your class 10 years ago. I remember who he was. That's so cool. Which was really cool. Well, you know, the very fact that you had a good support system and so on, was really cool. And you didn't probably go through a lot of the traumas that, that people did. But, you know, if I were to ask this out of curiosity, what would you like to have known at 10? That you didn't know, at 10 years old? Sentari Minor 19:29 Oh, about that, huh? When I was 10, I think that the God I probably I would say this now, but that there's just so much of the world ahead of you and that like the gravity and weight of the quote unquote problems just aren't there. And people tell you that like your whole world, you have your whole world and so much life ahead of you and your gender, like whatever. But I wish I could go back and like the lessons like you don't have to have it all figured out. Um, all this stuff that in flux is going to change. You know, pain, it's only temporary, like, I think that'd be heavy for a 10 year old to understand. But I think hearing that as a 10 year old, like, if I could see me talking to my 10 year old self, that would be what it is like, there's just so much more that's going to happen than what's happening right now. Michael Hingson 20:19 How about when you're older? When you're 21? What do you wish that you had known that that you didn't learn till later, Sentari Minor 20:25 kind of what we talked about before that, like what you, your journey is going to be very different than what you think it is. So don't be caught up on like, what's your job and be don't be caught up on who you're dating or who your friends are, who your friends are like, Your journey is going to change so much. And you're going to be introduced to so many people that are going to push you and pull you in different directions that there's no possible way that the track you have all mapped out because everyone does it through on the track, you have all map that is ever going to kind of come to fruition and be okay with that. Like, it's actually great that it's not going to I wish I knew that then because I wouldn't have put so much pressure on myself to do quote unquote, the right things, I would have just let it be, which would have been super helpful. Michael Hingson 21:07 The other side of that is that even if your path and your track go exactly as you thought they would, if you're open to to change, and you're open to listening to people, then it's only going to enhance whatever you do anyway, Sentari Minor 21:21 I think that's probably an even better way of putting it like just be open to feedback and be open to really coaching and guidance. And now in my life, I have an executive coach. So therapists like these things would have been much more probably impactful at 21 than now because it's like, I would have I wish I would have had someone to tell me to like listen to other people more. I think that's actually a great point. Just listen to other people more. Michael Hingson 21:45 Of course, the other side of it is of course a 10 You You knew everything there was to know. And then by the time you were 21 or 25, you're surprised at how much your parents learned, right? That's so funny. Oh, yes, it always happens. But it is. Life is such an adventure. And I've always viewed it as an adventure and really love that. It's an adventure. And I think that whatever we do, it's important that we think about it that way. Because having an adventure for life, even if it's what other people would call just sort of humdrum. And it's not very exciting. But if you can see the excitement and bring out the adventure in life, that just makes you a better person, it seems to me Sentari Minor 22:33 Yes, I completely agree. That's Yes, that's a beautiful way of putting it. Michael Hingson 22:37 Well, even with that. So do you have any kinds of things in life that you wish hadn't happened? Maybe that you regret? Does anything impact you with with that sort of thing? Sentari Minor 22:47 Oh, there too. I think the big? Oh, that's a good question. I wish I would have spent more time with my dad, he, he passed when I was a junior junior in college. And we were just kidding, my mom's split when I was younger. And so we just never, like, we just were never very close. And I wish that I would have spent more time getting close because it was also it was kind of a matter of like, not even inconvenience. It was more so apathy. Like he was around, he lived in the same city, but like we never really got together. And I wish that there was more time that I got to spend with him because I think there would be so much more about myself that I learned about me. And so like when you do a lot of therapy you have you talked about your family of origin, right, like your parents and what you why you show up, the way that you do is always because of like how you're raised and your parents, it's up. And I wish I had like that data points from my dad to understand. So I regret not knowing him more. Michael Hingson 23:45 Yeah, my dad and I had a close relationship. But even so, I wish we had more time to spend talking with each other. Sentari Minor 23:55 Yeah. And then going back to, you know, when you're 10 that I think the what I wish I knew there is that also, while there's so much life ahead of you. Life is finite, like there's a will, there will be things that do end, and I wish I because when you're 10 you're like well, I'll get to it later or like I'll spend time later, and it just never came. And so that would also been helpful like that. And I think that as I reflect on that, like that's a regret of mine that obviously I can't really do anything about now, but if I were to go back Michael Hingson 24:26 other than passing that knowledge on some way to others and who are growing up and helping them maybe not make that same mistake. Sentari Minor 24:36 Yeah, I think I think it's good to have that but I feel like so many people have that knowledge already like everyone's like you never know when your parents are gonna pass or like you always you never know what anyone that you love is going to kind of be out of your life and yet still, that doesn't. I don't think that advice like empowers people enough. Yeah, make the phone call and so maybe it's just repetition like keep saying it or like I went through it. You should know this like Go call your parents because you just never know. Michael Hingson 25:01 Or go well, yeah, you, you can approach it from a sense fear like that of you never know when they're gonna pass. Or you can say, you know, they've had a lot more experienced than you and this is your time to take advantage of that. Sentari Minor 25:14 I love the way you put that because it goes to what you just asked about the being 21. It's like you can learn from these people around you that you have great access to so do it. Michael Hingson 25:22 Yeah, we we just don't always take advantage of a lot of things that we can we we all think we know too much. And as a as a person who happens to be blind. Of course, I hear it all the time about what I can't do, because I can't see. And I've learned along the way, that one of the ways to maybe make people think about that is well, how do you know, have we ever tried being blind? You know, the fact is that the concern the concepts and the attitudes and misconceptions that people have are what what drives us and what make us what we are. But by the same token, if we're not open to exploring new things, and recognizing this is the time to learn. Whenever it is, we don't we don't grow. Sentari Minor 26:07 Yeah. And you know, wonder I love your take on it. Like, do you feel like most people have a growth mindset or like a cure? Maybe not even a growth mindset, but like a curious mindset, one of the values that I have, for me and then disappear. I surround myself as being like, intellectually curious, but I don't know if most people are so I don't know, like, if what we were talking about resonates with a lot of people, but I would hope it does. Yeah, I Michael Hingson 26:30 agree with you. And I don't think that people always have as much of a curious mindset as we should. One of my favorite books is a book entitled, surely you're joking, Mr. Mr. Fineman adventures of a curious fellow and it's the autobiography of Richard Fineman, the physicist and he talks even in the first chapter about the fact that his father pushed him to be curious about everything. They were, I think, because I recall, him telling the story in a park one day, and his father said, why is that bird flying? How can that bird fly? You know, and he, he really encouraged Fineman to be a curious individual. And I wish more people would do that. Rather than making assumptions no matter how much they see, no matter how much they have experienced. That goes one way, it doesn't mean that it always will. Yeah. Yeah. And so there's, there's a lot to be said for being curious. And no, I really wish more people were more curious. And we generally tend to be I agree with that, and ask questions, whether it's about disabilities, whether it's about sexuality, or race or anything else. It I think is so important that we learn to be more curious than we are Sentari Minor 27:50 curious. And the nice thing also on the other side of that on the third person that's being questioned, having some mercy and some grace for the for the question. So if someone's being vulnerable, vulnerable enough to be curious, with you and about you, you also have to be vulnerable enough to understand that, like, part of this conversation and curiosity, there might be some missteps, but they're coming from, from a place of genuine curiosity, and in that curiosity, kind of love for lack of a better term of you. And I think that's something that we've been missing a lot as a as a society. But I, this is a this inspired me to kind of say that too. Michael Hingson 28:24 And it goes both ways. If somebody is curious and asking me questions, I feel I should answer, but I also want to understand more, more of why they're asking the Sentari Minor 28:35 question, they're asking the question, yes, for sure. Absolutely. Yes. Michael Hingson 28:38 Because that teaches me something. Right. And I think that that is just as important as being able to teach something to somebody else. I want to learn as well. I've always said on this podcast that if I'm not learning at least as much as everyone else who listens to it, then I'm not doing my job. When I go deliver a speech if I don't get to learn a lot from all the speakers around me or just being around the people who are attending the event, then I'm not doing my job well because I should learn from that as well. Love that. Love that. So it is it is kind of important to be able to do that. So I'm curious Alder, how did that name come about? Sentari Minor 29:22 No, they actually it's interesting. They rebranded after me. So when I left the company, they rebranded to Alder Alder, which I think was like the burgeoning of a seed. So I don't know that the reason behind the the tweet because that happened, right, right after I left the company. Michael Hingson 29:38 Hmm. Has it been successful for them? Do you think or, Sentari Minor 29:42 you know, talking to my colleagues, it seems like it I haven't really done a deep dive into it. But I think from what I can understand from the conversations I've had with both members, staff, you know, my peers there and then just from general viewing on social media, it seems like it's a it's been a great rebrand and we roll out of I'm repositioning of the work. Okay. Michael Hingson 30:04 Well, as long as it as long as it makes sense, and people can relate to it, of course, branding is all about trying to get people to relate to you or doing something that will help people remember you. So, absolutely. So what is the evolved MD? That's an interesting name. Sentari Minor 30:22 Yeah, so it's exactly what it says sounds like, really, our tagline is like, we want to reimagine behavioral health. And so watching medicine evolve. We, again, we're our approach to mental health. It's not, it's not new, but it is novel. So what we do is actually a model called collaborative care that came out of the University of Washington, 18 center, but we was kind of the kind of at the forefront of really figuring out how to commercialize it, and then enhance it in a way that is both better for or better for both patients, the providers and all the other stakeholders. And so I think when I think of evolved, it's like, how do we kind of evolve this model, how we evolve medicine, and especially how we evolve behavior and Michael Hingson 31:06 mental health. Right? So tell me a little more if you could about this whole concept of having a doctor and a therapist together? Sentari Minor 31:14 Yes, won't do. So. collaborative care really is and it makes so much sense. And I was I was actually on a podcast yesterday with a one of the dogs that we work with in Utah, and he came from the military. And he said, he was very good about saying, you know, the military has always done this, the military has been integrated. So your physical and mental health are, are kind of done in this under the same roof. And so it's that model of you, Michael would go into your primary care physician, they would screen you for anxiety, depression, any other negative mental health symptoms and say, Hey, there's seems like there's some things that are a cause for concern, we have a therapist in the next room, I will do the warm handoff, introduce you, and then that therapist would go about your care. And then the cool part of the model is that that therapist then circles back with your doc and say, This is what I've learned from there. And then we're going to collaborate and it's been a collaborative care, we're going to collaborate on your care, and pull it any other resource that we need, so that Michael is healthy physically. So he's healthy mentally. And it comes to great clinical outcomes. And so the cool thing about the model was that we've learned that people really, really trust their primary care physician, so you can trust your doctor a lot. If your doctor says, Hey, I think you should see someone and I trust that person. And by the way, they're just in the office next door, you're definitely going to, you're definitely going to do that. And it's just such a beautiful model to see how it's reduced stigma, because you don't have to go to a special place or special clinic to go see mental health, it's just right where you see your doctor. It normalizes care. And so it's all in that same kind of care continuum that you you're already in by being in your PCP, and just increases access, it's really, it makes it easier for folks. It makes it financially viable. And so we're really excited about the work that we do, I'm really honored and proud of how we've grown the company. And just the two years I've been here, and then now you're seeing a lot of literature around behavioral health integration. In fact, the Biden administration just put out something in the last couple of months that saying like, this is the way of the future, and we're going to put money and incentivize and, and really implore a lot of people to integrate care, and we get to be at the forefront of that. So it's been, it's been a wonderful journey so far. Michael Hingson 33:31 So what exactly does evolved do in the process evolved? Sentari Minor 33:35 So what we do is, we are think of us, if you're a primary care group, we were kind of your, your, your partner, your white label, partner in behavioral health. So we recruit, hire, train, and embed the therapist. So all the therapy parts are our folks. And so they are our employees, they do look and feel like the wherever you see your position, which is really cool. So it's essentially a white level label approach. And we also provide a lot of we do the clinical supervision, the training, and then we get to be the thought partner in mental health. And so when I came on to the your question about English, when I came on, I said, we have to start telling the story not only about integrated health, but how do we normalize care. And that's and reduce stigma. And that's sharing stories, all of the executive team sharing their personal stories with mental health and making that very public conversations like this. And there's really this pushing out the forefront of like, this is this is normal, like these conversations should be normal. And by the way, we have an option where you get to go have this conversation with your doctor, they can also tie it to your physical health. And it's been it's been wonderful. It's been great. Michael Hingson 34:42 Well, since you're a good storyteller, can you actually tell us a story about maybe a success where, and give us an example of how this has all worked and came brought about a successful conclusion. Obviously, not mentioning names or anything but yeah, stories are always great. Sentari Minor 34:59 I think I can give you two and both, unfortunately around suicidal ideation. So our model has seen, I'm trying to kind of make us this as generic as possible. So one of our primary care physicians, when they first started the program, I had a patient artists panel that he's seen for a while. So just a regular gentleman that's been coming to the same doctor for years. Very successful man, very baffling part of town of affluent part of Phoenix. So we started seeing this person and then our, our therapist, started getting embedded in the, in the clinic, and started seeing this person to and came in by the work of having both of those two people, therapists and the physician in the same place, they were able to uncover that this man, this very ostensibly successful man had been sleeping with a gun under his pillow, and had been contemplating suicide for quite some time. The doc had no idea. Obviously, this man presents very well, I he's, he's healthy, presumably happy. But just having the therapist there to ask the right questions. And also, here's the other part, not only ask the right questions, but then be there as a resource complex, save that man's life. And I think the big thing to take away from that is that people who are having suicidal ideation and suicidal thoughts don't appear, how you might think they were, they could be the ones that are smiling, the ones that are happy that whatever super successful, but it takes someone to ask the right questions to make sure that they're okay before something happens. And that's one that I think is really, really, really powerful. And then one that happened. Recently, also around a suicide was having a patient in crisis in clinic. So if you're a physician, unfortunately, right now, if you're a physician, without our services, you're just not equipped to deal with a patient in crisis, someone's going through something in your finger, in your exam room, where you happen to be there on a day where there was a patient in crisis, and it was very clear that this person was going to hurt the heart of themselves. And very soon, so are our therapists. And this is why we love our model so much, our therapist that's on site that was right there was able to deescalate the situation, get them immediately into the care that they needed. And obviously, again, seems like they're so I think those are the stories that are kind of the big stories. But there's also come some small wins, where we've had patients say, like, You've helped me with my anxiety, and now I can actually, like leave my home. Or I realized that these are some things that I've been really scared of, and I haven't been able to articulate it. But just having these sessions with you has really helped me thrive and prosper. It's just like, we have countless mission moments, every week, where we have stories of just successes within the clinics that are super exciting and hearing how are our services are not only like transformational, but sometimes life saving, it's very rewarding to be part of you Michael Hingson 37:58 telling the second story about the patient in crisis just reminds me of something that all of us hear about every day. And that is all the things that go on with police and encountering patients with some sort of mental health crisis. And they don't have the training to deal with that. To a large degree, and that creates problems. And oftentimes, a gun goes off, which isn't going to help. But we we do hear occasionally. And I've seen I think on 60 minutes and a few other places where there have been some police departments that are shifting some of what they do, recognizing what the real issues are over to more mental health professionals who are able to go in and deescalate and bring about a much more positive solution. Sentari Minor 38:42 Yep. You know, I think there's a fine line, I have folks that are in law for law enforcement. And then obviously friends who do this work in social work. So I think there's there has to be the right balance and mix. But I do think there's an appropriate response from an on call response from a social worker, but also realizing that there's a realities of the world where a police officer just has to be there. So hopefully those two working collaboratively, we'll find some better solutions in the coming years around. How do we get ahead of that? Michael Hingson 39:09 Yeah. And it's, and it's important to be able to do it. How about the docks, when you go when you go in and start to work in places? are the primary care physicians generally open? Or do you oftentimes, at least at first see a lot of resistance to changing the way in a sense they operate? Oh, Sentari Minor 39:31 that's a great question. I think it really just depends on kind of the culture of the community and the and the practice already. Right. So there are some folks and some groups that we work with that are just naturally collaborative. So we go in and they're like, Oh, we understand. We understand. We're excited for you to be here. Some take a little bit of finessing and work but I say kudos to our team for on the front end having those conversations before our even before our therapists even start day one of like, these are the expectations this is why we're doing it and getting the buy in from the physicians on the front end, but at the end The day, it just takes a little bit of it just takes what hear one story about like the ones that I just told you. Yeah, all it's seeing it in action. We're like, whoa, and we hear from customers all the time. Like, we have no idea what we did before you were here. And so I think any resistance is assuaged once they actually see the programming, and motion. But I just doing this work for the last few years and hearing more about kind of the instruction curriculum and kind of the programs that MDS or do is go through, there's not a lot around integrated health, and so are integrated care. So sometimes people are just the concept of it doesn't make sense to them. So we get to be on the front end of the education. And then of course, you get the buy in once you have the patient stories and get to see the impact firsthand. Michael Hingson 40:50 Because you've often the just something in Phoenix or is it nationwide? Or how large of an area do you care, we're Sentari Minor 40:55 in Phoenix metro area, and then other parts of Arizona and then a big a big piece in Salt Lake and then our sales team is rapidly trying to figure out where we're going next. So I bet if you if we did this again in a year that that those two cities would be expanded quite a bit, Michael Hingson 41:12 well, then we should plan on doing this in a year or two. Important? Well, so it's exciting that you've gone, as you said, in two years from 10 people to over 100. Early in the time, Sentari Minor 41:27 we'll get 100. But God will be at 100 by the end of the year. Yeah. So we're Michael Hingson 41:30 in a time of COVID, you're expanding? Yes. Sentari Minor 41:34 You know, fortunately, unfortunately, COVID really exacerbated the need for mental health services. And so I think it actually, it actually kind of rocket ship and launched a lot of our sales funnel, because so many primary care groups, and large healthcare systems were like, Oh, my God, we we see in our clinics every day, the need for some behavioral health component. And so we were able to kind of go in and be the savior of the solution for a lot of folks. So we've grown exponentially during that time, because, as I said, at the beginning of this, the problem is just so harrowing. Michael Hingson 42:05 Why do you think that the Biden administration in the government is now taking such an interest in collaborative care? And I guess the other part of that is, if the administration changes, will that go away? Or is it something that will stick? Oh, those are big. I know, I have not given a lot of thought. It's a really scary one to Sentari Minor 42:28 see the first question, I think, integrated and collaborative care. Again, it's been something that's it's not new, but it's been novel. And I think they're now starting to really understand the commercial viability, and then the clinical efficacy, the AMA, American Medical Association, and then a number of other physician based groups came out and said, like, from the physician, the MD, the physical health side, we need this. And this has got to happen. And I think the administration also understands that it's probably the best way when there's this idea of like value based care where we're a essentially, healthcare entities will be paid based on the outcomes of patients. And understanding that integration is actually a cost savings mechanism, if I can work with you and your primary care office to have a conversation around suicidal ideation, or what you might need rather than you showing up in an ER, that saves the country's money. And so they're understanding like, from a holistic point of view, this is probably the best thing that we can do overall, for people's care. I don't know, I think with any piece of legislation or any, not even just legislation, because it hasn't been legislated yet, but any type of like a referendum or initiative that starts in an administration, there's always the, the, there's always the possibility that it could go away. But I think I'm confident that this, people will understand how impactful this is. And it will be kind of an evergreen thing. It's just like, I envision a world where people were like, This is just how care is done. Like this is just the standard in the United States. So regardless, if it's, if it's Biden, whoever, if it's a Republican, Democrat, doesn't matter. This is just how we do care. And I think we can kind of prove out that model, or at least I hope so. Michael Hingson 44:08 Well, they're very fact that the AMA is a part of it, and is endorsing the concept has to help a lot. Sentari Minor 44:14 Yes, yes, yes, yes. Michael Hingson 44:15 I would think that, like with most professions, and so on a lot of doctors or the profession, generally tends to be pretty conservative. Although when you get down to the specifics of Physical Medicine, and so on, they're always looking for the next good thing. But this is a little bit of a departure from that. So if they're taking an interest in, in supporting it, that's got to help Sentari Minor 44:39 you and I think it's mostly because they're seeing patients and they're, they're seeing patients in your clinic that you are not either equipped to handle or that you just don't have time to and I think that's the other big piece is even a physician physician wants to do the right thing and help that patient. They just don't have enough time to do it. Whereas we were there to help and work on I'm alongside them to say, hey, we're gonna take this review. This is stuff that we know how to do, by the way you get to go do the great things that you know how to do with physical care. Michael Hingson 45:07 Yeah. And are able to move forward? Is collaborative care a concept that is being embraced outside the US as well? Sentari Minor 45:19 That I do not know. That's a good question. I, um, we focus mostly around the United States. But I don't know. Be interesting to see, that is a good guy. Michael Hingson 45:29 And again, it does have to start somewhere. And if it starts here, and expands, then so much the better. I love that. Yep. But you, you have a lot of tough challenges to, to deal with and helping to introduce these concepts and moving people forward, which is great. How do you how do you build and keep a sense of resiliency in your life and what you do? Oh, Sentari Minor 45:53 that's a great question. I think building resiliency is, it's like, it's a mindset and framework of how do you position things and that happened to us? So for me, I think of everything. And I was doing my second podcast today, by the way. The first one, I was talking more Michael Hingson 46:08 about resilience. Sentari Minor 46:12 How do I approach failure, which is something that you learn from and so every time that there's a challenge or setback, I think about it from a gift of it occurs, but it's a gift of I get to learn from this. And so I think that builds resiliency, I think having a great community around me, I have a great group of friends, coworkers, loved ones, a great partner, a great therapist, a great coach. And so all of those things together helped me everyday build up a little something. And then also, just honestly, not taking life too seriously. I think. Yeah, it's, you know, at the end of the day, like, I lose my job, I get all these things can happen. But I know that like, I'll figure it out. And I think that's actually been one of the things that really saved me and my mental health, like, and anything I approach or anything I do, it's like, I'll figure it out. I will be okay. Like it, it may suck, it may be hard, but I'll get through it. And that's, that's, I approach everything like that. And each each day of my life that way. And so once you have that mindset, you're like, Yeah, I'll get through it. If not, I'll make it work. And so that's been a that's been very, very helpful in doing this work. Michael Hingson 47:20 Cool. Well, at the same time, have you had major times where you've had adversity that really made life tough for you that helped them as a result, build resiliency Do you think Sentari Minor 47:35 I wouldn't say like a specific example. But I do think that I've been reflecting on this a lot more, there was something that someone who's read Instagram, which I thought was like, so spot on, which was a black man talking about, you know, you can be very successful in corporate America and I have been, but unless you're a person of color, or someone from minoritized community, you don't understand the extra kind of work and baggage that goes into, I'm typically the only in every room, right, so there's just an extra piece of man, I walk into this room with an automatic like Target on my hand, not because of anyone's like not because anyone's doing anything pernicious or adversarial. It's more for that, like, I just physically show up different than everyone else, which means that I now have to make sure that I am doing all the right things. Keeping there's just like an extra piece of an extra piece of like, mental bandwidth that has to happen for me, that doesn't have to happen for my white male candidate counterparts. Right. And so I don't think it's really an adversity, it's more so like, it's just a little harder. And I think for me, that's also shaped and how I approach things, because I think of even think of like, how we do things in the company where, you know, a white CEO, how they approach problems, like, oh, that seems like a, like, that's an interesting mindset. I don't have that luxury, right? Like, I could never walk into a room and say that or think that because I am a black man, it just never happened for me. And so like, we just I just have a different mindset, not good or bad, right? It's just different. And I think the adversity is just, there's an extra step and an extra layer constantly. And I that's what that's probably what I would name there. Michael Hingson 49:20 But you can embrace that and endorse it, recognize it and use it as an advantage. Or you can consider that a drawback. And those are two very different views. And clearly you take the former not the latter. Sentari Minor 49:37 Yep, yep. Yeah. I think it's, it also is like it is what it is like, I can't I can't change my race. And so I kind of how do you build strategies and resilience, ease around it and also leverages as a good talking point, I think it's one of the things that I loved about the work that we do it evolved in D and kind of building our executive team because I was the first I was the first non clinical employee. It's like the conversations we have about like, race and how we show up. And it's like, Hey, I can't just, you know, I could never do that, or show up to something that way we say that to a person without me being like, oh, shoot, and you can have those conversations. And I think that's, that's the beautiful thing about something like that, that can be seen as adversity. But really, it can be leveraged as a great and beautiful like talking point and discussion that can that can help everyone. Michael Hingson 50:23 Yeah. And it's all in the mindset, isn't it? All in the mindset, it's really important to, to, again, look at it from a positive, adventurous standpoint, I face the same thing. Of course, every single day, I look at least as different as you look different. And more important, have to physically do things in a much significantly more different way, then oftentimes you do, right. And you either can accept that. Think that's a very positive thing or not. Sentari Minor 50:58 Right? Yeah. Yeah. Again, mindset goes back to mindset. Michael Hingson 51:02 It all goes back to mindset. And the reality is that for me as a person who happens to be blind, and I will, and I like phrasing it that way, as as many others are learning to do, because blindness is a characteristic, it's not what really defines me. And your race. And or sexual orientation shouldn't be what defines you. It's what you do with it. Absolutely. Absolutely. And that makes for a more exciting life anyway. Sentari Minor 51:30 Yeah, I agree. I agree. Michael Hingson 51:32 So what do you so what do you do when you're not working? Sentari Minor 51:36 What do I do when I'm not working? i Michael Hingson 51:37 There must be some time when you're not working. Okay, that is working. Working at your day job. Sentari Minor 51:42 I, let's see, I like to I like to fitness is a big part of my life. So I like to be at the gym, I like to read I go to I try to be in a movie theater at least once a week. Like just spending time with, like, friends, family, loved ones just like to hang out. Yeah, I do like to take long drives. But yeah, there's like a, I'd say if you're catching me on any given weekend, and I am probably reading a book or by the pool, or I am watching the movie. Good for Michael Hingson 52:17 you. My wife and I have both embraced reading audiobooks. I've taught her how to listen to books, as opposed to just reading them. So we do a whole lot more sharing, because we now read books together. And it's a lot more fun than what's mostly on TV. So we we do that, and spend a lot of time doing it. And oftentimes, when she's doing what she does, she's a quilter. And so she's doing a lot of quilt projects, and so on and I'm doing the things I am will just pipe a book through the house. So we both have it to listen to and we keep up with it. And then we talk about it when we get back together for dinner or whenever we're done doing what we're doing. I like that idea. I like them a lot. Yeah, so we just have it all over the house, as opposed to carrying something and works out pretty well. That's great. And watching movies are always fun. We we do some of it. But we've been so much involved in reading lately that we just enjoy it a great deal. Sentari Minor 53:20 I like that idea of like using reading as something that you can do together. That's that's, that's great. Michael Hingson 53:24 Yeah, it's pretty cool. And, and have a lot of fun doing it. And as, as you said, and being fit. I don't go to the gym, and I don't walk around and get as much exercise as I should. But I have a guide dog and he keeps me pretty honest. And we we work together and wrestle and play. So that works out. Great. Yeah. So so he helps the process a lot too, which is which is pretty good. That's good. But you know, it's, it's all part of life and even working with a dog. I love telling people that I have learned more about trust and teamwork from working with now eight guide dogs over my life than I've ever learned from all the experts, the managers, the ken Blanchard's and so on of the world because it's fascinating learning how to interact with someone who doesn't think at all like you do. Who doesn't speak the same language, and whose overall behavior and loan and life experiences are totally different than what humans experience. Sentari Minor 54:30 Yes. Wow. Yeah. I never thought about that. Yeah. I bet you'd have Michael Hingson 54:36 well, and and, you know, we we have a lot of a lot of fun and I've I've enjoyed working with a number of Guide Dogs. I don't know how much you've investigated me, but you may know that we were in the World Trade Center on September 11 With my fifth guide, dog Roselle. And that really validated all of the whole concept of how we can communicate and work together no matter who we are. It's all about building trust, and establishing a relationship. And that's why I really enjoy hearing about the things that you do, especially when you're talking about the docks, and the therapists and so on all learning to work together, because they develop this trust. And this understanding that you just can't be Sentari Minor 55:21 good. Thanks for those were actually some great questions about the model and how it works. So I appreciate those those questions. Michael Hingson 55:28 Yeah, and thank you and I, I enjoy learning about it. It's fascinating. I, my wife, and I go to Kaiser. And we so we use a lot of services at Kaiser and I haven't seen the collaborative care model there. I don't know whether it's there or not. Or maybe we just haven't needed to use it. Sentari Minor 55:47 Yeah, checking to see if they are doing anything integrated. But yeah, that would be like a perfect system. For us. Michael Hingson 55:56 It would be a really a perfect system. There. There are challenges in Kaiser's communications in terms of dealing with one area from another like my my wife's physical medicine doctor, she's been in a chair her whole life wheelchair. He is in Corona, which is part of the Riverside district of Kaiser. But our primary care physician is up here in Victorville where we live, and as part of the Fontana area. And there just seems to be this incredible barrier that the two districts don't communicate at all, which is crazy for a large organization. Hard. That's fair. Yeah. And they've converted everything to being electronic. But when we moved, for example, from Northern to Southern California, the Southern California people couldn't see our Northern California records for years. That's crazy. Today, so I don't know what the logic and the thought processes of that but you know, over time, hopefully things will will communicate more, or for people? Well, you know, in talking about all this, what what are some other things that you'd like people to know about you or, or the model or the kinds of things that you're doing that they can look out for that might help them? Sentari Minor 57:09 You know, um, nothing at the top of them? I think we've covered a lot of ground. And I again, thank you for the very thoughtful, very thoughtful questions, I think, for any of the listeners. And we'll probably put this in the show notes. But, you know, follow us on LinkedIn, I've often do on LinkedIn, because we put out a lot of really good content around mental health and normalizing and then, if you ever want to learn more about the work that we do about the.com, or the work that I'm doing just Suntory minor.com. But I think we talk a lot about I love the conversation around adversity and having a different mindset and then the intellectual curiosity piece. So I'm just excited to share this podcast with the world and I'm excited that you that you brought me on. Michael Hingson 57:49 Well, we will do it spell Sentari Minor for me and everyone. Okay, so Sentari Minor 57:53 it's S as in Sam, E N T A R I Minor M I N O R. So Sentari Minor.com, check out my website. We're actually in the process of updating it right now. But yeah, I'm just excited to hear from folks. And if you have any questions, I'm always open for a conversation. Michael Hingson 58:12 Well, of course, I can't resist asking what you're doing to make sure that it's inclusive and accessible for blind people and other persons with disabilities. Sentari Minor 58:19 I will I'm working with our website developer, right. Like, he was really texting me before this. So that would be something I texted him back and say, make sure that this happens. So thank you, thank you, good on you for that. Michael Hingson 58:29 And we can help with that. AccessiBe is a company that makes products that help make
As you soon will discover when you listen to this week's episode, this episode with Lorna was recorded in September of 2022. As usual, we get to have a fun and inspiring conversation. Lorna Schultz Nicholson to date has published 49 books with more on the way. As you will hear, she believes that everyone has stories to tell. She has published books on various subjects including disabilities. A good portion of our episode discusses blindness, eyesight, and how the world views and/or should view people's whose eyesight is less than most persons. Lorna provides some fascinating and valuable observations about this. Regular listeners to Unstoppable Mindset will hear some discussions touch on in previous episodes. However, Lorna's ways of discussing issues and her personal insights are relevant and come strictly from her own observations. You can't but be inspired and enthralled by all she has to say about writing and her life. About the Guest: Lorna Schultz Nicholson has published over 46 books with three more coming out in September 2022. Her books include children's picture books, middle-grade fiction, YA fiction, and non-fiction. Although many of her books are about sports (not all mind you) they are also about family and friendships and include diverse casts of characters. Her books have been nominated for many different awards. Lorna loves traveling and presents about writing at libraries, schools, and conferences to inspire people to love reading and writing as much as she does. Lorna lives in Edmonton, Alberta with her husband (Go Oilers Go) and a dog that she rescued from Mexico. Ways to connect with Lorna: Website: www.lornaschultznicholson.com Facebook: Lorna Schultz Nicholson Instagram: Lornasn Twitter: Lornasn 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 an 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 01:20 Well, hi there, wherever you happen to be today. This is Mike Hingson and you are listening to unstoppable mindset. Really glad you're here. We are going to have fun again today as usual, and get inspired and do all those things that we do on unstoppable mindset. And again, I really appreciate you being here and hope you enjoy what we have to talk about today. We have Lorna on with us. And I'm going to let her introduce herself pretty much except to tell you that she is an author who has written a whole bunch of books when I met her she had written 46 books. And since we last talked she said she was going to be publishing three more by September so one of course the big questions of the day is did you get to do that but first, learn a welcome to unstoppable mindset. Thanks for being here. Lorna Schultz Nicholson 02:09 Thank you, Michael. Yes, it's Lorna Schultz Nicholson, and that is a long name three names and nobody ever spell Schultz. Right. That's okay. Michael Hingson 02:18 Well, how do you spell it? Lorna Schultz Nicholson 02:20 S C H U L T Z, Michael Hingson 02:23 that's, that's the way I've always spelled it. Lorna Schultz Nicholson 02:26 Good for you. Because you have no idea how many people either forget to see or they forget the the yell or the T at the end screen or? Michael Hingson 02:35 Or they make it or they make it an S instead of a Z? Lorna Schultz Nicholson 02:38 Well, I think they get the Z right. Because of Charles Schultz. Right. They get that right. Because of the Michael Hingson 02:44 parents. Schultz from Hogan's Heroes. Yes, but Lorna Schultz Nicholson 02:48 that's spelled the same way as mine. Michael Hingson 02:51 S C H U L T Z. Yeah, Lorna Schultz Nicholson 02:53 exactly. Oh, yes. Zee, sir. In Canada, we say Zed Michael Hingson 02:58 was said Yeah, yeah, S C H U L T Zed. Well, it is a it is a British oriented or whatever thing or, or some sort of an empire thing. Yeah. That's it. Lorna Schultz Nicholson 03:13 Coming to you from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. That's the that's the other thing. I guess I'll say when I introduce myself, Michael Hingson 03:18 and of course, go Oilers. I know I saw that in your bio. Yes. And how and how did we do? Lorna Schultz Nicholson 03:27 Well, the season I did fine. I've got those three books coming out. So I'm now on my 49 published book. And I do have a spring book in the docket. So it says it's a picture book. So that will be my 50th book in the spring. But right now I'm sitting at 49. Wow. 49th. One was just released today. Michael Hingson 03:49 And our hockey and how did our hockey season go? Lorna Schultz Nicholson 03:55 Season was great. Last year. It hasn't started this year, they'll be starting their training camp right now. Players and training camp they will be starting up mid October sort of beginning of October, mid October, the first games will happen. They'll go into some preseason games here. You know, we all have to watch baseball for a little while. Because, of course they're wrapping up the end of their season. So we all get excited about that too to watch the World Series. Michael Hingson 04:24 And in addition to hockey and baseball, do you ever watch basketball? Lorna Schultz Nicholson 04:28 I do actually because I'm a Toronto Raptors fans. So there you go. Okay. Yep, Yep, absolutely. I like watching basketball to Michael Hingson 04:37 football, and football. We love college football. And right now we're very happy because my wife Karen is a graduate of USC. Okay. And well, she did her graduate studies there and the team is doing really well this year. We have no major complaints. First time in a long time. So we're very pleased about that. Lorna Schultz Nicholson 04:58 That's exciting. That's it. I think very exciting. There Michael Hingson 05:01 are three and oh, and all three games, they scored more than 40 points per game. Oh, Lorna Schultz Nicholson 05:07 I have a brother in law who always fights with this USC and UCLA. There's always a big rivalry between those two, right? Oh, there is? Oh, yeah. Yeah, that happens in my family because they live down in California. So there's always this rivalry that goes on in the family between the two. And which one does he like? You know, that you knew you're gonna ask me that. And I think he's the UCLA. Michael Hingson 05:32 Well, you know, we we understand that there are those people in the world who who are less fortunate than we, and that's okay. Well, let's see. See, my story is that on the day, we got married, our wedding was supposed to start at four o'clock. And it didn't start until a quarter after four because at four, the church was less than half full. And at 12, after four, suddenly the doors opened, and this whole throng of people came in. And so we finally were able to start when we asked somebody later, what the heck was the deal? Why was everybody late getting there? And they said, No, nobody was late. They were sitting out in their cars waiting for the end of the USC Notre Dame game. So one that tells you where we were in the priority of things, but but SC want Notre Dame, so we knew the marriage was gonna last? Lorna Schultz Nicholson 06:29 Oh, I love to hear that. That's a lovely story. That's a good story. Michael Hingson 06:33 Well, tell us a little bit about you kind of where you came from your life, your life a little bit, and we'll go from there. Lorna Schultz Nicholson 06:40 Well, um, I actually grew up in Ontario, St. Catharines, Ontario, which is really, really close to Niagara Falls, and Niagara Falls, New York, Niagara Falls, Canada. And then I did a lot of moving around and all that, you know, that we all do, and going to university and that kind of thing. And I wasn't always a writer. I mean, you know, I should go back and say that that's not exactly true. But I didn't always think that I was going to be a writer, like, I never grew up thinking that I was going to be an author, like I have some friends off their friends who grew up saying, I knew I was going to be an author, I wanted to be a writer, I wanted to do that when I was little. And I didn't have that. I wanted to be an athlete. Like, if you had asked me when I was a child, they'd say what you want to be when you grew up, I'd say an athlete, my mom and dad would say, because in my era, of course, my parents said, that's not really a profession, you can relate to that. So you know, I went into other things that had to do with sports, like I got a science degree in kinesiology and, you know, worked in the fitness industry. And then when my children were little I came, I decided to take a writing course. And I, I discovered how much I loved writing. And then it brought me back to my childhood, of how much I love to read, and how I love to write stories when I was a kid, that I just never pursued the writing Avenue, but I did actually love writing stories. So it was a bit of a full circle for me, and it didn't happen. You know, in my 20s, I didn't get my first book published until I was in my 40s. And I worked really hard in those late 30s. After that course, I sort of got like, jazzed up. And I, I wanted to write and I wanted to be a writer, and I wanted to be published. And of course, that takes years to happen, you know, you have to keep trying and trying and trying, and keep submitting and keep writing another story. And then finally, I got a book published in 2004. So I mean, I was in my early 40s, when that actually happened. And so for anybody who's listening out there, who wants to write and you think, Well, I didn't do this in my 20s, and I didn't go to university for it, and I didn't get an English degree. You know, you can keep trying, just keep trying. Michael Hingson 09:02 Well, it's always about trying and I and I take the tact also that if you don't happen to want to write a book or whatever, you do, at least have stories to tell. Lorna Schultz Nicholson 09:13 Everybody has a story to tell everybody who and I and I do a lot of writing classes as well. I teach a lot of writing classes I teach a lot to kids, like because I I write mostly children's I do write some adult but I write a lot of children's literature. And so I'm often in schools, you know, or workshops, writing workshops for children and, and you know, they're keen keen writers or they're not But and if they're not, I like to tell everybody you have a story to tell everybody has a story to tell. And out in the world. There are lots of stories. So I think that that's the most important part about writing is the story part of it. Michael Hingson 09:53 One of the things that I find and I love to tell people is if you Don't think that you would be a good guest on the podcast because you don't necessarily talk about whatever our mission is. What I tell people as well, our mission is to inspire people more than anything else. We do talk about disabilities, we do talk about inclusion, and of course, being blind and wanting to get people to have a little bit different view of what blindness and disabilities are all about. I'm always glad to do that. But at the same time, the general purpose of this podcast is really to show people that can be more unstoppable than they think. And so as I go out, and I look for guests, and we searched in a number of different ways, but people often say, Well, I don't know that I would really be good for your mission. And then I say, well, but our mission is to inspire. But I don't really know what to talk about. And I say the same thing that you just said, everyone has a story to tell. And so my job is to help people really find or remember what their story is, and talk about it. And there's no formal way or anything else to do that. It's more an issue of you have a story and we want to hear it. Yeah, I Lorna Schultz Nicholson 11:09 agree with you. I do think that people, everybody has a story. And I mean, Michael, you have a story, because were you blind at birth? Yes. Yes. Okay, so you have a story. And, and you're doing a great job with this podcast by getting people you know, to tell their unstoppable story, but also to inspire people to do other things. And, and I do write a lot about different disabilities I, I am I have a series that I've written that's called the One to One series, a book has just been published in the series, it's called behind the label. And in that series, I've looked at first book had a character with autism, high functioning autism, the second book was a character that was born with Down syndrome, I have featured fetal alcohol spectrum disorder in it. And I think it's really important that, you know, I'm going to say, behind the label is the latest book that came out, but that we do look behind that label too. So we look behind your label of your disability of being blind. And then we find your your true story and, and how you can help others as well. You know, maybe maybe go through what they're going through. Michael Hingson 12:28 Of course, one of the things that I have pointed out a number of times on this podcast, and I love to tell people is if we're going to really talk about people with disabilities, then we really have to recognize that everyone has a disability specifically for most of you, your disability is that you are light dependent, you don't do well if the lights aren't on. And electric lighting is a relatively new invention, it came around in the mid 1800s. But the reality is, you guys don't do well, without lights. And in the workplace. Companies and builders provide lights and the ceilings and all sorts of lights so people can see to get around and so on. But that's your problem. And not mine. I don't happen to have that disability. And we need to recognize that everyone does have a challenge people take it for granted. Well, I'm not really disabled, because I can get around. Yeah, let's see how you do in a dark room. And let's see how well you read in a dark room. Or let's see how well you function in other ways when lighting conditions aren't great, because we're always looking for the best lighting conditions. So the reality is we all have disabilities. And we should recognize that. So we don't try to say that we're better because we're not of the of the scope where our disability if you want to call it that is really less than yours, because it's not there. We all have them. And it's an equalizing thing, I think among all of us in society in general. Lorna Schultz Nicholson 13:59 I totally agree with that. And that's a very, very interesting concept. I never, you know, thank you for saying that, because I never really thought of it that way. Like, I'm thinking now of course, when I turned my computer on the first thing I thought of was, oh, no, I forgot my, my ring light in. in Penticton. I have I have a summer place that I go to by the lake. And so I was coming back yesterday, I drove back yesterday and I forgot my ring light. My ring light is there. I'm thinking I don't have my ring light. Oh my goodness. So that's not something that you even thought of before this podcast, you didn't think to yourself, oh, gosh, I don't have my ring light. You didn't think of that. And that's that's very, very interesting for you to say that. And I thank you for that. Because I think that that's that's something that you know, we people who have our vision, we don't even think about and it's true. We don't know how to walk in the dark. We don't know how to turn off our Lights and feel around and try to find our way to our bed. Like, you know, we keep our little nightlight on so that we can get there. So that's a really interesting, a really interesting comment. And I do agree with that, that I think that the more that we we look at the world as a whole, and look at all the individuals who are in our world, and look at the fact that we are each and every one of us different. And I'm not sure why, why we have to put everybody into into sort of so many boxes, like why can't we all just live together and sort of understand that we're all different. And we all have a different makeup, like even identical twins are different. Sure, they have small differences. And they, you know, they're not, they're not exactly the same in their personalities. Michael Hingson 15:57 So maybe we should work together and write a book, or you write a book, and I'm glad to help on blindness. And we bring out some of these concepts that might be kind of fun to explore. Lorna Schultz Nicholson 16:09 Very fun to explore. I mean, a friend of mine actually did write one where she had a visually impaired runner, and you know how they're then they tether them together. And I was just watching that running race the other day with this gal who was just running like the wind. And she was she had a runner beside her. And she was visually impaired. And it was really incredible. I was just like, wow, that's that's impressive. That's good, really good. Michael Hingson 16:37 But of course, the question is, why should it be viewed as being so incredible? And the answer is, of course, most people can't imagine doing it without eyesight. And the reality is eyesight has not a lot to do with it. If you look at it a different way. It's all about information gathering and having the information that you need. And certainly eyesight is one way to get information. But it's by no means the only way that we get data. And nor should it be the only way we get data. And the difficulty is that so often, people who can see really think is the only real game in town. And oh, for a number of years, the Gallup polling organization, classified blindness specifically, is one of the top five fears that people felt they faced. And it shouldn't be that way. But we really don't look at the reality that blindness isn't the problem. It's our perceptions. And there are a lot of ways to get information, far and away, even in some sense of superior to eyesight, but we just don't look at it that way. Because we're used to seeing and we think that's the only way to do it. Lorna Schultz Nicholson 17:55 Do you think that your other senses have been heightened? That perhaps I mean, we are very people that have eyesight are very visual, like visual, the won't be the word for it. That's probably their top choice. Michael Hingson 18:14 Because that's what they're used to. I do not think that senses are heightened simply because we don't see, I think they're heightened if we use them. That's why some of the examples that I use are military teams like SEAL Team Six, or any of the high functioning very specialized military teams that have learned to use their eyesight they see better than anyone else, because they've learned to use that sight. They've learned to process the information more effectively, because of what they see. But they've also learned to use their other senses. And so those senses are also heightened because they've learned to use them. And so the result is that they're not heightened simply because you lose one or not. They're heightened because you make use of them. And you recognize that they are as valuable, as eyesight, for getting as much information about your environment or whatever it is that you need to deal with. Lorna Schultz Nicholson 19:22 So it's kind of like, in a way, people that have vision are a bit lazy with their other senses. We could You could say that we allow our vision to be our strong strong sense. It's like you know, in your body like if you work out your you know, your your hamstrings and your glutes, you always use your quads you don't necessarily you know, there's certain muscle groups that take over so maybe we just let our vision take over and we become a bit lazy and we don't use all our senses and you know, getting Back To Me teaching classes. This is one of the things that I try to teach students is that use all your senses when you're writing, because it's very, very easy as a writer to just write with the visual. And so you write what somebody looks like you write that they were this, they were that they did this, they, you know, it's all visual. And I try to tell students and I try to do it with my own writing, sometimes I'll write something and then I'll take a look at it. And I'll say, well, Lorna, you didn't use your senses in this. Now, how can you add this in? What did the person smell when they walked in? Did a feather you know, did they walk into a barn and a feather hit their nose, and then they sneezed. So what was the sense of touch? So, and hearing, I mean, it's all really important to put those senses in, in writing, it's super important. And it is very, very easy just to write with the visual, and a lot of kids will do that. So then it's up to me to say, You know what, let's look at everything else here. Let's look at all your other senses when you're writing this. So that's something that's interesting, too, is that I think that it's even more important. Now that I've chatted with you. I'm thinking wow, like, this is really interesting. I mean, this is, this is something that, you know, I, you know, I can talk to kids about that we need to do this more. Michael Hingson 21:28 Well, the issue is that, of course, your expertise is in eyesight. And that's why I suggested we ought to explore doing a book. And that's something that we can talk about, but but the reality is your expertise is in eyesight, you can gain more expertise in other senses. But the odds are because the world has been shaped around eyesight, that's what you're going to use. And I appreciate that, and understand that. And we love you anyway. But thank you, but but the bottom line is, it is the way the world is shaped. And and so as a result, we don't really look at our other senses in the way that we can. Which isn't to say that if you're writing a book about a blind person that you so emphasize the other senses that you don't talk in the vernacular that people are used to. So for example, I watch TV, I go to watch and see movies. And the reason that I say that is not because of an eyesight issue, but rather, the Webster's Dictionary defined, see in one of his definitions as to perceive. So why shouldn't I use See, as well as anyone else does, we've got to get away from the concept that that's the only game in town that is eyesight, which and I don't know whether you've read my book, Thunder dog, which is a book that we wrote about not only me growing up as a blind person, but my story of being involved in the World Trade Center on September 11 2001. But in center dog, one of the things that I say is don't let your sight get in the way of your vision. And it's absolutely important that people start to realize that because we talk about vision, I think I've got tons of vision, I just don't see so good as I love to say to people, but vision is there. And I don't object to people using the word vision relating to eyesight, but it is not the only way and not the only definition of the word. Lorna Schultz Nicholson 23:32 I really liked that comment. Don't let it don't let your sight get in the way of your vision. Michael Hingson 23:38 Don't let your sight get in the way of your vision. Lorna Schultz Nicholson 23:42 That's it. That's a very, very good comment. That's, that's a good line. That's a very good one. Um, no, I haven't read your book. But now I'm going to I hope you will. Yeah, for sure. Like Michael Hingson 23:51 it sounds really interesting. And it was a it was a number one New York Times bestseller. He brags and, you know, but it it is intended to teach people more about blindness of blind people, and I hope you and others who haven't read it will read it. Also being a poor, starving author, you know, we need people to buy books anyway. So it's important, but But here's another one. And then we I've got lots of questions for you. But here's another one. People say that I and other people who happen to be blind or visually impaired, look at the wording visually impaired. Now the last time I checked when you talk about something visual, and you talk about something that's visually oriented, it's about how it looks. And I don't think that I'm impaired simply because I'm blind from a visual standpoint. I don't even like low vision, because then you're still making it all about degrees of eyesight. I think that the fact is that low vision is probably better than certainly a lot better than visually impaired or Vision Impaired because again, I think I've got lots of vision and to say that we're impaired with our vision or our eyesight is really a serious problem because you're still then promulgating the class difference between people who happen to be blind or who don't see, as well as most people, and people who have better eyesight. So blind and low vision is probably at this point, the best that we can do. It's sort of like deaf and hard of hearing. If you say to most Deaf people, you are hearing impaired, you're apt to be executed on the spot because they recognize the value of words. Lorna Schultz Nicholson 25:38 Right. So what what are the words that we should use? Michael Hingson 25:42 I would say right now the best words that I can give you are blind and visit low, low vision. Lorna Schultz Nicholson 25:48 Okay. Okay. I mean, because you know, what, sometimes we don't know sometimes. I don't know what I'm supposed to say. And, and the last thing that I want to do is say the wrong thing. But but you know, I mean, things go out there. And, and we're told, you know, you can't say that. So it is nice to hear it from you, that this is what, you know, what we what we should say, and well, vision. And Michael Hingson 26:19 the other part about it is, of course, what you're welcome. But the other part about it is you can't say that, you know, that concept and that comment is a problem. The fact that we worry so much about political correctness is is a problem. I think that, that if somebody says that I'm visually impaired, I'm not going to get too offended by that. But I am going to try to correct the concepts that No, I don't think I'm visually impaired, don't I look the same as most anyone else. You go back and look at what visually means. And I don't think that I'm more any more visually impaired than you are. But I happen to be blind or I can be considered low vision. But even most low vision, people really ought to look at themselves as blind. And what do I mean by that? I subscribe to a different definition of blindness that Kenneth's Jernigan, a past president of the National Federation of the Blind created. And his definition was you are blind if your eyesight has decreased to the point where you have to use alternatives to full eyesight in order to accomplish tasks. So if you've got to use large print, or a closed circuit television or a magnifier, the odds are you will probably lose more, if not all of your eyesight at some point in your life. So now is the time to start to learn blindness techniques and to accept the fact that blindness isn't the problem. And that you can function as a blind person, in a world where most people don't happen to be blind. And if we would start to do that, we would learn that blindness, again, isn't really the issue that we face. It's more of the misconceptions that people have Lorna Schultz Nicholson 28:04 very interesting. And I mean, I think there are a lot of misconceptions with everything. I mean, you know, every single difference in somebody, often there are misconceptions about it. And and I think that, you know, sometimes when I was writing, I remember writing the book about autism, that I had a character that had autism and high functioning autism, and I, I remember being in a lineup in the grocery store, and all of a sudden, I thought somebody was in front of me. And then I thought, you know, what, maybe, you know, I don't want to be impatient here. Because it's that person may be, you know, their name may have maybe they do have autism, or maybe they do have something that is just creating them to be a little slower is that my, that's not my deal. That's who they are. And I should respect who they are. And I think that that's really important in our world is that we just respect who everybody is, and what everybody is all about. And look for the insight of the person instead of that sort of outside that we're always looking at which I use the word looking, Michael Hingson 29:13 which is fine. That's the word right? Sure. And it's fine to use that word. Lorna Schultz Nicholson 29:19 We're looking like because we, we do look like you know, we do look and but you look in a different way. Michael Hingson 29:26 But look doesn't necessarily need to be defined as with your eyes. And that's the real issue, right? We're so oriented in our mindset, overall, are thinking about looking, you have to do it with your eyes. And that's where the breakdown comes, rather than recognizing that look, means really to examine or explore in a number of different ways and it doesn't necessarily need to be with eyesight. Lorna Schultz Nicholson 29:56 And that's an that's a very interesting concept, right? We can look I guess we can look with our ears or we can look with our senses, other senses, correct? Michael Hingson 30:06 Well look as a general sort of a thing. You know, we listen with our ears, but it's part of looking around. Lorna Schultz Nicholson 30:14 Right? Yeah. Interesting. Very, very interesting. I like to use of your words, I like the use of how you're taking certain words that I may think are only visually, I'm 50. Courts. I love words, right? I'm a writer. I love words. So you're taking words, and you're you're spinning them a little bit for me? Michael Hingson 30:36 I'm taking. I'm taking site orientation out of it. Right. Yeah. Which, which is important. And so you see why our podcast unstoppable mindset can go off in all sorts of different directions that we never thought about when we started this. Lorna Schultz Nicholson 30:54 Yeah, we're going off in a totally different direction. But, you know, it's fun, really enlightening. It's really enlightening to me, I'm really actually learning a lot today. So this is really Michael Hingson 31:04 good. Well, you know, it's, it's part of what makes life fun going off and having adventures and adventures and words are always important to have and learning new concepts. And and every time I have these conversations, I get to learn things and sort of even more effectively, and hopefully, efficiently define what I do and say, and so, yeah, I love it. It's it's enjoyable to do this, but I do have a question for you. You have written a lot of books now, relating to sports and how come? Lorna Schultz Nicholson 31:38 Because I love sports. And I love sports as a child, as I said, when my parents would ask me what I wanted to be when I, you know, people would ask what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always said, I want to be an athlete. Everybody looked at me like, Okay, well, that's not really a profession. What are you talking about? I love sports. As a child, I played everything you can possibly imagine everything I possibly, you know, was was there for me. And it was something that was really big in my life. So sometimes there's that old saying that write what you know, and especially when you're starting off writing it makes makes it a little bit easier. I mean, you know, blindness, you could write about blindness. So it's like, write what you know, and I and I knew about sports. So I wrote a tremendous amount about sports. And really interesting. Just a little side note here. I wrote a book called when you least expect it, and it's about a rower. And I was a rower in high school, I grew up in St. Catharines, Ontario, which is, as I said, close to negra falls, was a really big growing community. And I got into a boat and I rode and I, you know, went on and was on the national team and you know, won the Canadian championship and I was down, we went down to Philadelphia, we went down to Princeton, we went down to all kinds of places to row. And I really, really loved it. And the book ended up winning an award this year, it won the R rasa network for the Writers Guild of Alberta. And so I want some money for that. And I decided that I would give back and I would give a little scholarship, you know, give half of the money away to somebody who was finishing rowing at the St. Catharines rowing club where I grew up, and they were going to go into university. I ended up giving it to an I don't want to say visually impaired Michael Hingson 33:26 A Low vision person. Lorna Schultz Nicholson 33:30 Yeah, because she sent me this letter. So I asked the, for the criteria, they had to send me their admission letter and tell me that they were going to continue on with the sport. And then they had to write a letter to me about, you know, something to do with my main protagonist and how, you know, they related and she just, she sent me this lovely letter about how, you know, she really wanted to be in sports, but she found it hard, difficult for some of the sports but then she found rowing. And as somebody with low vision, this was something that she could be very successful at. And she actually went in a single and in the Paralympic race at the Henley and she won the gold medal. So very interesting. And she wrote it a four but I think to get her bearings, she was able to sit on the floor, and then you know, a Coxy would, you know, steer the boat down and all she just had to hear for the sounds of the water to put the to put the orange in the water. So I just I just thought I'd share that thing as I'm talking to you today. So that was the letter that inspired me. I was like, this is this is this is good. This is inspirational and that's what this show is about. Because she was unstoppable she she wasn't going to say no like no I can't do this. She just went out and found some somewhere where she could be an athlete and, and be successful and go on to university and follow her dream and follow her passion. Michael Hingson 34:59 A friend of mine, Ariel Gilbert, who I've known for a long time I met her when I was working at Guide Dogs for the Blind. And she was working there as well is an inner is an international rower, and also was involved in the Paralympics. And actually when the Olympics were held. Last, I think in California, she was one of the people who carried the torch for a mile. And so has been very involved in the Olympics and very, very heavily involved in rowing and has done it for a number of years. She had to stop for a while because of some kidney issues. But that all got straightened out. And she's started again. Oh, so she's been rowing for for quite a while. And the reality is, it's a very doable sport. And she tells the story about how people didn't think that she could do it. And she said, Of course I can. Let me at least have a shot at it. And it didn't take very long during the shot at it for people to recognize that she was going to be as good as anyone else. Which makes perfect sense. Lorna Schultz Nicholson 36:05 Yeah, I was so impressed with the letter to be really, and she was the one who got the scholarship or the bursary. She got the bursary. I emailed her and I said, you know your letter, I loved your letter, I thought that, you know, you explained everything to me quite well. And, you know, here's your money and go forth, and go to university and, and join your crew and keep going at it. And, you know, she just said it was a place where she felt that she could make some friends. And, you know, she just found success, and it is doable. It's a very, very doable sport for that. So, I mean, when I wrote the book, when do we expect it, it's not what I expected. So I mean, you know, it was when he least expected that I would, you know, donate the money back, and then get these letters in, and then all of a sudden end up on your show, to tie all of this together. And I kind of liked when things like that do happen, because as I said, everybody has a story to tell. And it was a really, really interesting story. So thank you for sharing with me about that other woman who? What was her name again? Michael Hingson 37:13 Ariel Gilbert, she lives up in the Bay Area in California. Lorna Schultz Nicholson 37:17 I'll look that up. Because very interesting. I mean, she this other gal said, yeah, it was a very doable, doable sport for her. Michael Hingson 37:24 As with, as with a lot of things, the biggest problem is again, people's perceptions. Well, the belief is you've got to see to do it. And the question is why? Even even driving a car today technologically can be done. Although the technology isn't in wide use and isn't really in ready for primetime use. But and I'm not talking about an autonomous vehicle, but rather, a person truly being able to drive. Why should we view that is only something that a person with full eyesight can do with the amount of information that is truly available to us with technology today. And there has been demonstrations of a blind person truly driving a car, getting information from the vehicle that allows them to be on the road, or the one thing I'm thinking of, and I've talked about it here before, is the now president of the National Federation of the Blind Mark Riccobono drove a Ford Escape around the Daytona Speedway right before the 2011 Rolex 24 race, driving through an obstacle course passing a vehicle, and a number of other things because the car was transmitting through some additional instrumentation on the car information to mark that allowed him to safely be on that course, and drive around the course successfully. Again, eyesight is not the only game in town. And yeah, will that technology be something that gets built into cars, so more blind people can use it, hopefully in some way, at least, if nothing else, when we start to deal more with autonomous vehicles. And until we get to the point where there are 100% foolproof, which is going to be a ways away. It's going to be probably mandated that someone needs to be behind the steering wheel and be able to take control of the vehicle if something breaks down or drops out during the autonomous vehicles driving of technology driving the vehicle. I want to have the same opportunity to do that. Does anyone else at least to be able to safely pull the car to the side of the road? And the fact is the technology exists to do that? Lorna Schultz Nicholson 39:42 Mm hmm. You know, it's typical sports to a friend of mine wrote a book with a it was a children's book, but it was a hockey book. Right? A lot of hockey books because I live in Canada. But they had a puck that had a puck that has like, like a rock or something in it. And the puck, you know, so when they stick handle down the ice, they could hear the puck. Yeah, yeah, it's it's, it's something that's used with people that are blind can play hockey, because they can actually hear the puck. And so then they can pass it over and they can hear it. Michael Hingson 40:22 And then they, there are some interesting and extremely active sports that blind people are are involved with. And of course, the whole concept of physical fitness is becoming more of an issue that a lot of us are paying attention to. And again, even exercise programs can be very accessible, if we verbalize rather than just showing things on a screen or through a camera lens, or whatever. And the fact is that there are a lot of ways to make it possible for more people to be included in what people think are otherwise not accessible or not any kind of activities that people without eyesight can do. Because eyesight is not the only game in town. There are many blind scientists and blind people who have participated in other things. For many years, it was assumed that no blind person could teach. And that eventually was addressed. And now it's fairly commonplace, although there are many school districts that still won't hire a person. Because the belief is that you have to see to be able to do it. And you don't. And so it's it is a it is a constant thing to explore and to hopefully do more to educate people about which is really what it is. It's an educational process. Lorna Schultz Nicholson 41:44 Oh, 100% it 100% I think that it's all the more that someone like you, you know, with your podcast, you're today you're educating people, you've educated me even a little bit like hear like a lot, actually. And, you know, I think that that's that's important as well. And I think that technology has probably, perhaps helped the blind out tremendously. Michael Hingson 42:11 Well, it's helped all of us I mean, I we talked about the electric light bulb, right? That made it possible for us to do so many things after dark. Because before the light bulb, we had to go have used candles are light torches, technology is is helping all of us. And it has only in a relatively shorter time been recognized that we can use technology to further advance the inclusion that we all want. But you know, things like insulin pumps for people who have diabetes who happen to be blind, those insulin pumps use touchscreens and other things. And only recently, I believe in the US, at least as the FDA finally approved one that uses an app on a phone that is accessible so that a blind person can actually as a diabetic use an insulin pump. And the fact is that we've so got ourselves locked into touchscreens now that we find that more and more things are becoming inaccessible to us who happen to be blind or low vision, especially blind because we can't see the icons on the screen. And it's ironic that there's no need for that. Because today, we know that there are ways to make touchscreens accessible. Apple was very clever about doing that when they finally made the iPhone accessible. They had to do that because they would have been sued if they hadn't. But they got creative and they did it. So now every iPhone and Android phones, although that's still not quite progressed to the same level, but every iPhone and Android phones have built in to the software, the things to make them more usable for people who don't happen to see or see well. Right. Lorna Schultz Nicholson 44:01 What about books in braille? Do you find that there's still not enough books in braille? Michael Hingson 44:07 Oh, I think there's still not enough books in braille. But ironically, again, the issue is that many books are being published electronically, but what they are, are photos saved in some sort of format of printed pages of books. And so those are not accessible. And so when books are made electronically, it's important that there be some sort of text version of the book so that they can be made available for people who happen to be blind again, or who could listen to them. Braille. Braille is still the means of reading and writing that I have available to me and a lot of teachers talk about Braille as being something that we we really don't need anymore because blind people can listen to books and so on. Well, if that's the case of why to be allow, why don't we allow sighted kids to just watch cartoons when Why do we want to teach them print? You know, the concept is still the same. We haven't progressed to really understand that there are true alternatives to eyesight. So a lot of people think a blind person can't right. Now I happen to collaborate with people when I write my find that helpful for me. But by the same token, the the issue is that the technology exists for me to be able to write I use a standard keyboard, you have a process that you use to write, you use a computer and a keyboard, but what's your what's your whole writing process? You written a lot of books, you have to have a process for that. Lorna Schultz Nicholson 45:41 Yeah, I have a process. I generally start with an outline like I mean, there's a lot of thinking that goes on before a book gets published, right, or before you even start a book, start writing a book, not even before it gets published, you think a lot about what you're going to write, you think about how the story should start where the story should end. I mean, there's a lot of that that goes on, before you even start. Sometimes you can think about a book for a year. And then, and then you finally start it. And I often do an outline before I start, not everybody does, I'm not somebody who says Oh, you have to do this, you have to do that everybody has to follow their own process. And my process, it tends to be a bit of an outline, because I'd like to know the ending before we start, just because it saves me time, once I do begin. And then once I begin, I just I go at it, I go at it until I finish the first draft. And then once I finished the first draft, then I can sit back because the first draft is the bones, it's never very good. It's always not very good. And I have to edit it. And I have to revise it and work on it and mold it and make it make it what it's going to be even before I send it to like my agent, even before it gets out. I mean, and she'll give me notes, or I'll give it to friends even to take a look at to give me notes to tell me stuff that's not right with it. And then of course, when it goes to an editor, so yeah, I'm a sort of beginning to end finish. And then, you know, then I go back, and I revise. And I revise. And I revise. That's sort of my process. I have a novel that I have to work on here soon. And I've got the outline done. And I need to I thought a lot about it. And I did write the first chapter. And now I need to just dive back in and, and get the book, you know, get the book finished. But I do have an ending insight and an outline for it. So that's generally my process. Have you have you ever Michael Hingson 47:39 had a book that has really taken on a life of its own? And maybe even though you wrote an ending, that by the time it was done the whole ending? And everything changed about the book? Lorna Schultz Nicholson 47:50 Oh, yeah, I mean, that does happen. And sometimes, you know, for instance, with this series that I was telling you about, one to one, yeah, the one to one series. I was in I think the third book, and Harrison was my autistic character in the first book, and I'm in the third book, and I'm riding away and I've got Madeline, and she has this brain injury. And I have a really good girlfriend who has a brain injury. So I kind of took a lot of and I spent a lot of time with her over the years and and so I'm riding away and all of a sudden, Harrison sort of comes back into the story because the kids sort of the teens sort of come in and out of the stories. And they all go the same high school together. And this character came back in and I was like really excited to see him. I was like, Oh, he's back I spoke. So like, and I had not planned that at all that that was simply came out of the blue. And his voice just came right back to me. And I was right back into writing about him. And, you know, he wanted to ask Madeline to dance was really fun. I was like, This is so fun. So yes, it does happen that sometimes it just goes off on a tangent and something appears and then you just think you just go with it. I just went with it. And I was you know, thrilled to have him back in my story. So it was really, really fun. And I you know, that was one of those days where I pushed my chair back at the end of my writing session and went oh, gosh, that was so incredibly fun to do so. Yeah. I mean, that does happen for sure. Yeah. So Michael Hingson 49:24 did Harrison and Madeline hit it off? Lorna Schultz Nicholson 49:26 Well, they did. Thank you for asking. I love their interaction. I was like, This is so good. Michael Hingson 49:35 Well, maybe they will become a thing, or did they become a thing? Lorna Schultz Nicholson 49:39 Maybe they'll become a high school thing. Who knows? Yeah, it's not up to them. Michael Hingson 49:44 There's nothing wrong with that. Lorna Schultz Nicholson 49:46 Oh, gosh, no, that's okay. That's good. Anyway, yeah. So that does happen for sure. And that makes it really fun. When it does. That's cool. I allow that to happen. I do allow the book to go off Want to attention to and maybe finish somewhere else that it's never finished before? So Michael Hingson 50:04 well your characters are part of you, and then in a lot of different ways, and so it's interesting that they can come back and say, No, we think we should go this way. Lorna Schultz Nicholson 50:13 Exactly, exactly. And that's okay. And that's cool, because that's who they are. And they're just telling me something. So, and I enjoy that process. And I enjoy that part of it, for sure. Michael Hingson 50:25 Do you have yet a favorite book from all the ones that you've written? That that you would identify as kind of your favorite so far? Lorna Schultz Nicholson 50:33 Oh, no, I gotta say no to that. I think every book is a different process. It's a different book. Some books write themselves, some books, you know, are harder. Sometimes it's harder to, you know, I have to figure out the character. I mean, of course, the rolling book was, you know, based a little bit on me as a teenager. So that has a really special place in my heart, but it doesn't mean it's my favorites. I mean, I know I'm going to say no. Well, that's, Michael Hingson 51:09 um, that's, that's fine. You just have a lot of fun with all of them, which is, which is great. So what does your husband Lorna Schultz Nicholson 51:16 do? Oh, my husband works for the Edmonton Oilers. Michael Hingson 51:20 He works for the Oilers. That's why you said go wireless. I got it. What does he do? Lorna Schultz Nicholson 51:27 I gotta wear the jersey. I gotta wear the gear. No, Michael Hingson 51:30 you're not gonna go off and root for the flames and then embarrass him. Lorna Schultz Nicholson 51:36 Never happened? No, no, no, no, no, no. No, he works with me to do either so yeah, I'm an oiler span through what does he do? Pretty good job with them. He's like their vice president. I think they Michael Hingson 51:49 are cool. I, I tried ice skating once. And it was a challenge for me. And I eventually, as we were actually going off the ice, I finally fell and sprained my ankle. But so I've not ice skated since. But it's one of those those kinds of things that I never really caught on to. And I admire so much people who are able to do it much less the figure skaters and so on, and all the things that they can do. Lorna Schultz Nicholson 52:17 Well, it's amazing. It's, you know, sometimes I look at photos of like, a figure skater or hockey player. And you can see them over on their edge on that one like line. It's a really, really fine line. And it's pretty incredible that they can actually balance on that. Michael Hingson 52:36 Yeah. And, and the hockey players who can just do that for so long, so fast, and so well. And Lorna Schultz Nicholson 52:44 so Well, absolutely, yeah, it's, it's actually, you know, it's a really fun sport to write. And I've got I've written a lot of hockey novels because of the speed that I can I and you know, the speed the sounds the throwing off the board's the scraping of the ice. So there's a lot there that I'm allowed to use my words. And so it's fun because it's fast. So I get I can get going into like a scene where it's fast and furious. And they're, they're moving and scraping and doing all kinds of fun things. So yeah, it's it's like, Michael Hingson 53:22 I think for my part, I could probably learn to drive a Zamboni. Lorna Schultz Nicholson 53:25 Oh everybody, that's it. Michael Hingson 53:34 But that's a that's a lot of fun to, to be able to do the things that they do. And I admire not only hockey, but all all sports people because they hone some skills so well and so much that it makes it a lot of fun. And the reason we really love college football is although is still becoming more of a money thing. Still, college sports tend to be a lot more fun and still somewhat less commercial than professional sports, which makes them a lot more enjoyable. Oh, for Lorna Schultz Nicholson 54:07 sure. Yeah, for sure. I think it's very fun, especially down in the states to be my son went to the University of Arizona and that was one of the biggest things that he really wanted to participate in was going to the football games. I mean, for him. That was just such an experience to participate in, in college football and be like a fan. He really enjoyed that. That was kind of a i something he'll never forget. Michael Hingson 54:35 It's a whole different culture being I think a college sports fan than a professional sports fan. Just it's a it's a whole different environment. Lorna Schultz Nicholson 54:44 He really enjoyed it. And he did mentor the basketball games. He really really enjoyed that part of his college experience. So Michael Hingson 54:50 yeah, even though as I said, we love USC and we enjoy that, you know, just watching the games are a lot more fun. So of course this Here we'll get to see our two major rivalries, it'll be SC against UCLA. And then we'll also be SC against Notre Dame. And, and those are the two big ones that we tend to, to watch. But we're really enjoying college football. And one of the things that we've really seen an eye I've become much more convinced of over time is how much the coach really does impact the team. I mean, look at what's happening at SC this year, they're three in Oh, and they've been playing so poorly in previous years. And I think their coach in the past, just wasn't really ready to be in the same kind of environment that a USC team is, because he's a winning coach. He's gone off elsewhere now, and he's winning. So I think he's found a better niche. And the person who came in to coach, the USC team is doing really well. Lorna Schultz Nicholson 55:57 Well, the gel to the gel of the people with the coach and all that sort of stuff. I mean, there's so much that goes into a team that actually ends up winning and so much, so much of it is more than just the skill. It's the psychological and the mental game that the team has. Yeah, it's huge. Michael Hingson 56:20 And it's interesting listening to the announcers, talk about what's happening again, at SC this year, how Lincoln Riley the coach is getting all the people on the team to really interact outside the games and, and feel like more of a team. And that's pretty impressive. And in there's a lot to be learned there about teamwork, and the value of what, in a sense, the coach does, and people talk about the quarterback and football being the leader. But in some ways, the coach brings a different dimension to it. And if the coach is doing a good job, then that's going to help the rest of the team, by any definition. For sure, do you get a lot of coaching from people when you write? Lorna Schultz Nicholson 57:03 Oh 100% I always I always attribute because I was an athlete, I always attribute my editors as my coaches, editors are so valuable, like in a good editor is huge. And and I look forward to their comments. And they're, you know, this didn't work for this character isn't quite resonating with me, I think you need to go a little deeper into this or you need to, you need to look at the depth of the emotions with this. I didn't quite get it. And I think oh, okay, I thought that I'd done it. But maybe I haven't, when the reader actually takes the book over when the editor takes the book over. So a good editor is worth an author is so worth it to an author. And it's because, oh, it's huge, huge. Michael Hingson 57:48 A good editor isn't going to change the book unless it just is horrible. What's the purpose of a good editor is is to help you flesh out the book. Lorna Schultz Nicholson 57:56 Yes. And a good editor. I mean, by the time you get the publication, though, I mean, it's been accepted because it is a book that's got something right or else rejected. So you finally get there. And then you know, but then you still have to work with that editor. And that editor will have some thoughts, but you're 100% correct in saying that a good editor doesn't want to change the book. They just want to make it better. Michael Hingson 58:24 Yeah. And they've learned how to do that. 100 Yeah, yes. So what kind of tips I love to ask this question, what kind of tips do you have for people who want to write or for other writers? Lorna Schultz Nicholson 58:36 A couple of tips. I would say number one be reader. I think that it's huge. If you know, I've taught lots of courses, and if I get somebody who says oh, I don't like to read, I think how are you going to be a writer like reading is super important. I also think, just write, don't, don't try to edit yourself as you begin to write like, think of your story. You remember what the very, very beginning we talked about story and story is hugely important. So just think about what your story is what it is you want to tell, and how you want to tell it, and who do you want to tell it. And that's that's important too, because the voice of the story is really important. So if you look at it that way, and then you think of story first, and then think of the writing you know, as your as you get the story down, then you can write and then don't be afraid to edit. Don't be afraid to go back over and over and over it and just make it better. Don't think it's done after the first draft. And persistence and perseverance is really important. Michael Hingson 59:42 Do you when you're writing or once you've written a draft? Do you share it with a cadre of people to get their thoughts and reviews? Lorna Schultz Nicholson 59:52 Yeah, I have depending on what I'm doing, like, if it's a book that I have signed a contract before I've written the book which I I do have some publishers that I work that way with. But recently, I just wrote a thriller novel, which is an adult novel, which hasn't been published yet, was just a COVID experience because I was bored. You know, I was tired of watching Tiger King. All those shows. So I wrote this book, and I needed some guidance with it. So I asked some friends to read it like, you know, and then we would have a zoom call, and I would get their their take on it. You know, did you get this? Did you get that? Did you understand this? Maybe it needed more. So yeah, I will. I will, it depends on the book. Yeah. And what I'm doing? Yeah. So for sure. I think it's a good, I think it's really good advice for new authors is to is to help flush the story 100%. But make sure you're going with people that you trust. Because you don't want to get it. Like if you get bombarded with feedback. And it's conflicting feedback, then that can be really difficult to so you want to get the feed, but you want to go to people you trust. So maybe people that are in a writers group, if they're in like three or four or five people that can work really well. Michael Hingson 1:01:14 For sure. Yeah, it's important to be able to get input, but be able to sift through it. Because you're right, it can be very overwhelming. And you have to develop a little bit of a thick skin, not because you shouldn't be afraid of criticism, if you will, although people get worried about that. But rather, it's a thicker skin that helps you be able to sift through it and look for the nuggets that each person brings to suggestions that may be valuable for you. Lorna Schultz Nicholson 1:01:47 Yeah, thick skin is super important in this business. Michael Hingson 1:01:50 Yeah. Always. Always is. Lorna Schultz Nicholson 1:01:53 Yeah. It's a very important part of the business. Michael Hingson 1:01:56 Well, this has been really fun. We've been doing this now for a little over an hour, and I really appreciate Lorna Schultz Nicholson 1:02:02 it take my dog to the vet. Michael Hingson 1:02:03 Oh my gosh. Or is the horse the dog taking you? Lorna Schultz Nicholson 1:02:08 Well, probably the dog take you home. There Michael Hingson 1:02:10 you go. What kind of dog? Oh, Lorna Schultz Nicholson 1:02:12 I brought him home from Mexico. He's a rescue dog. I picked him up as a little puppy off the street. And I brought him home. Oh, nine and a half now though. He's older now. So I've had him for a lot of years. See doing okay. Oh, he's great. He just has to go for his checkup and get his shots and whatever. You know, Michael Hingson 1:02:27 Alamo my guide dog goes tomorrow we're taking dog and cat to the vet. Alaba is just going to get his shots and a physical and stitch the cat goes in for a pedicure to trim toenails, and so on because they're getting way too long. And it hurts when she grabs a hold of you now, so we're gonna do that. I'm gonna go Lorna Schultz Nicholson 1:02:47 get their shots, too. So. So anyway, it's been great. This, Michael Hingson 1:02:51 this has been fun. Lorna Schultz Nicholson 1:02:53 Yeah, really fun. Michael Hingson 1:02:54 Well, we should do it some more. And definitely, we could talk about that book if you'd like. But I want to think I want to thank you again for being here. We'll connect by email. Well, we have to do that. And I want to thank everyone. I want to thank you all for listening. We really appreciate you being here. We'd love to hear your comments. Send an email to me. I would love to hear from you, Michaelhi at accessibe A C C E S S I B E.com. Or go to Michael hingson.com/podcast. And you can find contact information there. But also learn a how can people reach out to you they'd like to talk with you or learn more about you. Oh, my Lorna Schultz Nicholson 1:03:33 email is Lornasn L O R N A S N at TELUS te l u s.net. That one's pretty easy. Yeah, Michael Hingson 1:03:44 that one is Lorenasn@telus.net.net. Yeah, that's so there you go. If you want to talk to learn a please hit if you don't want to talk to Lorna, email her and tell her you love the podcast anyway. And of course. And of course, we would appreciate you giving us a five star review whoever you are, wherev
On this special episode today, I am being interviewed by Braden Ricketts to discuss the unexpected loss of my wife Karen. After a long battle with a sore on her back, Karen passed away on November 12, 2022. I wanted to put out an episode dedicated to her memory and all the adventures we had in life together. As I navigate life without Karen by my side, I am grateful to get to look back on all the lessons we learned from each other and all the amazing accomplishments she had in her life. Karen truly embodied the Unstoppable Mindset, and I am going to continue moving forward with her in my thoughts. Many of you came to know Karen through our book “Thunder Dog” and saw just how important she was to me. Karen wanted a small celebration of life, but for those of you who would like to pay your respects, I will be holding a zoom call on January 28th, 2023 at 11 am (PST). I share with Braden how Karen and I first met and fell in love, how I am processing the grief of her loss and the fear that comes along with it, and my final words to Karen. I appreciate Braden being there to support me through this conversation. Zoom link for Karen's service: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/4158274084?pwd=SHFuSDFaamZtdjZVbEZBNEtjWUk3QT09 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 01:20 Well, hi there welcome once again to unstoppable mindset where inclusion, diversity and the unexpected meet and today we are absolutely dealing with unexpected. I'm your host, Mike Hingson. But I'm not doing the interview today. I get to be interviewed, and you'll find out why all that is in just a moment. Our guest interviewer is Braden Ricketts, who is part of the team that helps me in the back deal with podcast editing, and so on. He doesn't mostly do ours, but he's involved with what we do. And I even got him to commit once. And he still hasn't done it yet. But I got him to commit to letting me do a podcast interview with him. So we'll get to that. But today we have something special and a little bit more unexpected and unusual to talk about. So Braden, I'm going to turn this over to you. And thank you for being here. And welcome to unstoppable mindset. Braden Ricketts 02:11 Michael, it's an absolute honor for me to be here for very many reasons today, especially your legend on the back end at amplify you. We talked about you all the time, you're such a force to be reckoned with. And I'm honored to be on your show with you today. Michael Hingson 02:27 Well, it's an honor to have you here being a part of this too. Braden Ricketts 02:31 Thank you. And speaking of honor, today, we're going to talk about a very special person whose life has come to an abrupt end. And we want to spend some time today to revisit your wife, Karen, and what she meant to you and your world and how you were processing her loss. Michael Hingson 02:50 Well, thank you. Yeah, we lost her on November 12 of 2022. And in a way it was expected to some degree and wasn't really totally expected. She contracted a wound on her backside in July of 2022 that went all the way to the bone and she ended up being in the hospital for a month and came back very much weaker. She also had rheumatoid arthritis, which she's had for several years and she took medications for it. They were infused every month and the doctors, the physicians felt that she could not take the infusions while she had this wound, as I said that went to the bone because the infusions would further lower her immune system's ability to fight infection. And the wound that she had got infected to the bone. So they didn't want her to have any of the infusions, which caused her a lot of pain. And I think other things were going on with her in general. And so from the time she got home in late August until November, she just kept getting weaker, and she wasn't eating much. And we were all concerned and we were afraid of what was going on. And she was too. She wasn't a lot of pain, but then on November 12, that finally kind of all caught up to her and came to a head and at 1125 I remember the time well, in the morning. She she passed so it is what we have to deal with. And unfortunately, I was there with her her sister was there, our niece was there. And three other people were there. Her two caregivers Josie and Dolores were there in Jeanette, who is our housekeeper who comes in once a week. Karen and I between us don't vacuum as well as one would like. So we cheat we get somebody else to do it and Jeanette wanted to be there as well. So we all were there when we got to say goodbye to Karen which we're very grateful about and you know as I can only say the Spirit just moves faster than the body and that's what happened. Braden Ricketts 04:58 Yeah, and not often do people have the opportunity to really say those goodbyes. So what a benefit to at least know and have the opportunity to bring people together around the unfortunate events? Well, Michael Hingson 05:10 it was very fortunate to be able to do that. And I'm glad they were all there, they wanted to be there. And we, we had the opportunity. And for me, Karen still here. A lot of people say that about loved ones, and so on. But it's different, we would have been married 40 years on November 27. So we missed 40 years by 15 days. So as far as I'm concerned, Karen will always be here in one way or another. And I started a few times after she passed by ape saying, you know, well, we have to move on. And I realized wrong thing to say we don't move on, we move forward. But I don't want to move on, which I think almost implies, eventually just leaving her behind. And we're not going to do that we'll move forward. And she is where she is. But she will always be with me and will always be part of my memory and the memory of all of the people in our families. And you know, the other thing that that happened for me, the day after she passed, I put a note up on Facebook, just telling people about it, because I knew a lot of people who had known Karen or knew about her. And a number of people who read the Facebook post, had never met Karen, but they read our book, Thunder dog, the story of a blind man and his guide dog and the triumph of trust, which was our New York Times bestseller book. And they wrote to me on Facebook, and they said, we never met Karen, but we've really got to know her in Thunder dog. And so one of the things that we're going to do is hold a zoom session on the 28th of January at 11am. Pacific time for anyone who wants to come and listen or participate. Our pastor from our church in San Marcos, California, where we lived in the early 90s is going to be there and David McKinney, my web guy who's also a pastor in San Francisco is going to be there. And anyone who wants to come is welcome to come and participate however they'd like. And the reason we're doing that, in part is that Karen did not want a large service. Her mother died in 2021, we had a good service of the large service, but it was just too sad for Karen. And so she said If anytime she passed, she didn't want a large surplus. So this past Saturday, we held a small family service for her just close members of the family and so on. And we did it at the church where her mom is buried. And we actually put Karen's ashes in with her mom. So the two of them are together because they were extremely close. And we would want to honor that. And so we did. Braden Ricketts 07:45 I love that. I love the sentiment of moving forward not moving on. It's about developing a new relationship with that individual in a different form. Michael Hingson 07:54 That's a good point. And you're absolutely right. That's exactly what it is. Braden Ricketts 07:57 Yeah. Michael, I also didn't get to know Karen very well, would you like sharing a little bit about who she was in your words. Michael Hingson 08:04 So Karen was born in 1949, and was a paraplegic from birth. So she always used a wheelchair. I think she actually got her first chair at the age of five that that she started to grow up in, but she was always in a chair. And her parents were very much the same as mine, in that they took the position that it didn't matter, that we were different. What mattered was what we learned to do, and what we decided to do with our own lives. And they gave her the opportunity and challenged her to take the opportunity to do whatever she wanted to do. So she went to regular school, there were physical challenges, because a lot of times there were steps and other things. And so she had helped with that. She took like I did, although I only had it for one year, but she was in a special PE class. And they didn't do anything in the special PE class. She played cards with another person who she developed a very close friendship with in high school. And Maria and Karen were friends for their well, for Marie's entire life she passed in I think it was early 2021 I think that Yeah, cuz COVID was was with us. So. And then, of course, Karen passed at the end of 2022. So they're probably up there laughing at us anyway, but playing cards, you got playing playing cards. Yeah, absolutely. But Karen went college at University of California, Riverside, and, again, found physical barriers to getting around and so she started to work, to get Riverside to deal with it and actually became part of the committee dealing with the International Year of the disabled that the United Nations in part sponsored but at Riverside and so on, she became very involved in that and brought about us significant amount of change. She was also very active in Campus Crusade for Christ and then the United Methodist Church. And we got married at the United Methodist Church, Irvine University Methodist Church in 1972. But she was very active in church. And when I met her in 1982, she had been a teacher for 10 years, and decided to move on to doing something else. She did have her master's degree in sociology and taught from that, and, again, helped to break down barriers, but she decided to do something else. And so along the way, she decided to do the work of being a travel agent, which was a part time thing and then became a full time thing for her. And so when I met her, she worked at a travel agency in San Juan Capistrano, California. And within that agency, she started her own small agency dealing with travel for persons with disabilities, the name of the agency was anyone can travel. And I met her through someone who knew her who was out surveying some possible places for a convention for the Society for the advancement travel of the handicapped sath. And so they introduced me to Karen and we kind of hit it off in January, although we didn't really have a whole lot to do with each other for a few months, because I was dating someone and she was dating someone, and neither of those relationships lasted overly long. And then in May of 1982, Karen, I knew was was agenting. And I was working for first well Computer Products, which was the company that Ray Kurzweil began to develop the reading machine for the blind. It was being purchased by Xerox. So I was based out here in California and needed to go see some customers in Hawaii, what a tough job to do. And I decided I take my parents because they had never been, and I called Karen to do the ticket booking. And she did. Then she brought the tickets down. And we chatted for a while. What I didn't know at the time was she was hoping that I'd asked her to go to lunch and being shy, I didn't. But we I walked her out to her car and helped her get in and and put the chair in. I just leaned over and give her a big kiss before she left. And then the neck was that Wednesday, I was going up to the airport to meet my parents. We were staying at a hotel overnight, leaving early the next day. She said I'm gonna come and get you what she did. And she came down got me, we went up and she met my parents. And the next day we went to Hawaii. And I started calling her twice a day from Hawaii, which is kind of where everything really clicked. And then I came back. And the day I came back from Hawaii, she was leaving for some training on some computer systems for TWA, which was around at that time in Kansas City. So we didn't get to see each other from the time I left for Hawaii until four days after she got back or rather until four days after I got back. And then she finally returned. And we just clicked. And so in mid July of 1982, I asked her to marry me. And we we chose a ring. And one of the neat stories I could tell about the ring is that when the jeweler called and said it was ready as we had it made, of course, I went up and got it and brought it down not without telling her. But I had called her boss lady named Joe. And I told Joe I was going to come and give Karen her ring. Joe will do anything for a party. So she immediately got champagne in the office didn't tell Karen but other people found out what was going on, which was great. So I show up around three in the afternoon. And it was a Friday, I think. And Karen was on the phone and I was sitting in front of her desk and just waiting. And finally she kept talking to this client. And I just finally said hey, give me your left hand a second I got up on a hold your hand and so she stuck her left hand out and I put a ring on it. I put a ring on her finger and immediately said, I have to hang up. My fiance just put my engagement ring on my finger. He proposed Oh, I have to go. And she did. And then the next few months went by and we got married. As I said on November 27 1982. She was a an always has been a fun person. And I think in a lot of ways very seriously. She was smarter than I was she she didn't know we show it but she had a great sense of humor and when something popped out That was funny. It really popped out. And she also was very perceptive. And so the two of us, I think really worked well together for 40 years. Braden Ricketts 14:58 40 years. My goodness What were some of the lessons you learned from 40 years of marriage McCarran Michael Hingson 15:04 that people can get along, we can fight we did have some sometimes they were pretty serious fights. I remember when I'm working for one company in the early 90s. In 1996, early in 1996, we had talked about relocating to Washington, DC area, the company wanted to open an office there. And so the President said, We want you to move there. And then one day, and we were both excited about that. And one day, he comes into the office, I changed my mind, I want you to open an office in New York, Karen absolutely didn't want to go to New York, she didn't want to do anything there, DC was a lot more fun, I think, and a lot more interesting to her. But it was either take that job or a sales territory in a place like New Mexico, because he said, I already have somebody who will take your place out here working at the company, we will need you back there. So we had to do it. Karen didn't want to do it. But I went back, we rented an apartment. And we had some pretty heavy conversations on the phone. But we worked through it. Because there wasn't another viable job. And one of the things that I and anyone who happens to be fortunate enough to have a job, who happens to also have be a person with a disability knows, the unemployment rate is really high. For us. It's between 60 and 70%, of all employable. My case, blind people are unemployed, because people think we can't work not that we really can't work. And so the result of that was that I didn't want to go into a job search. So we worked through it. And if you communicate, if you keep talking, if you work together and are willing to work together, you can get through stuff. And we did move to New Jersey, we both agreed we didn't want to stay there forever. We didn't know when we would move back to California. But Karen was a native, she would let me call myself a native because I was born in Chicago and moved to California when I was five. So I could never be a native. But she but she always wanted to get back to California. And she said I'll do it if we're going to come back someday. And I said, Hey, I am absolutely in, in sync with that. Then these two teams of terrorists, hijacked a couple of airplanes and flew them into the towers of the World Trade Center. And that led to all the circumstances that did get us the opportunity to move back to California, which we did. And when we moved to New Jersey, we built a home because we wanted it to be wheelchair accessible. And the other issue there was it had to be a two story home because the development where we found property to build I had only two story homes. So we put an elevator in that was a fun thing. This there were some challenges with the engineers in Westfield, New Jersey, where we lived that they tried to make it difficult for us to do it. But we got the elevator ran and we got them to sign off on it. When we move back to California, we found a place to live up near Guide Dogs for the Blind in guide dogs and center fell. We bought a home in Novato. There's no property to build a home, so we had to buy one and modify it. And we always said that if we could build a home, we wanted to do it. Because if you build a home from scratch, it's cheaper than if you buy a home and modify it because if you buy a home, you're gonna tear things out, put things in big changes and cost over $100,000 to do. But we did and loved the area up there. And then for a variety of things, we moved down here to Southern California in 2014, where again, we build a home. And we made it a home. The home was built in 2016. And we moved in on December 17th 2016. And we love it because first of all, it's a brand new home with all the latest codes, the heating and air conditioning bills are a lot less than they might otherwise be. We do have solar. And it was comfortable for Karen. And it was comfortable for me. So one of the things I plan on doing is staying right here. Why would I want to move it's too stressful to move and we've got a good interest rate. And I'm hoping people will continue to hire to hire me to speak. I also work for accessibe, which is a company that makes products that help make internet websites more accessible and inclusive for persons with disabilities. So that is actually how this podcast unstoppable mindset began because they wanted us to do a podcast podcast that would tell the world that we're we're all capable, we're all unstoppable. And so we inspire people. Sometimes we talk about accessibe and the products and the company and we just talked about disabilities, but mostly it's all about inspiration. So between accessibe and continuing to speak, I intend to keep busy and keep moving forward. Braden Ricketts 19:58 Absolutely. And You should. But it sounds like you and Karen had a life full of adventure together and a wonderful time. Michael Hingson 20:09 Well, I think so I've always regarded life as an adventure, I think probably as have been a little bit more of a risk taker than she wanted to be at times. But we we did travel to various places, we were on a number of cruises, which was fun. We went with Karen's parents to a couple of timeshares in Spain during the World Expo back in 1992. And had a wonderful time for a couple of weeks over there. And mostly, I think the the important thing, and it goes back to the question you asked before is, we made sure we always enjoyed each other's company. And I wouldn't change the last 40 years for anything. I hope along the way I learned stuff, and then that she learned things as well. And we continue to be very close, we communicated. And over the past few months of her life, I know there were times that she said she was scared about what was happening. And I and her caregivers, Josie and Dolores worked with her and Courtney before them worked with her. And we just tried to keep things as pleasant as we could and as peaceful as we could. So I think eventually, Karen knew that this was what she needed to do was to move on and she did well on to, to go do something else, then whatever it is she's doing, I'm hoping that she's enjoying it. And I get to join her sometime in the future or or see the results of what she does somehow. Braden Ricketts 21:36 Yeah. Now, Michael, you've been processing this loss for, you know, in anticipation leading up to to the day, but also a few months since then. How have you been addressing the fear and loss? And what are your plans for moving forward? Michael Hingson 21:55 Thanks for asking that, for a lot of reasons. Because one of the things that I realized, as the pandemic began is that I had talked a lot in the speeches that I've given about my experiences in the World Trade Center, and why wasn't afraid. But I've never taught people how to deal with that. I've never taught people how they can learn to control their own fears and use fear as a positive force to move forward. And so now I have to practice what I preach, right. And I've had to do that before. But now I have to do it again. And you're right, there is fear, there is the fact that I've had a little bit of time to adjust, or I had time before she passed. And I was doing a lot of the cooking and a lot of the other things around the house that she wasn't able to do, although I kept hoping she would get better and be able to take over those things. But I also realized that if the worst or what we didn't want to happen, actually did happen, I would have to continue to function and move forward. As a blind person who has been blind his entire life. I've learned that there are lots of ways of getting jobs accomplished, and I need to keep my wits about me. Even though I'm going to have some fear and some frustrations along the way, I need to keep thinking about how to deal with different tasks. Unfortunately, now we do have a lot more technology than we used to that helps. The process, for example, is a company that I helped bring the products to market from called IRA, a IRA, an IRA is a company that makes what's called a visual interpreter. What it essentially translates to is a product that includes an app that will go on a smartphone. And you can activate the app that calls an IRA agent. Now the agents are not just people who say I want a job and pay me for it, but they are people who have demonstrated the ability to describe to be accurate in their descriptions and to to understand what any of us who happen to be blind need when we ask a question like if I want a label read, I can tell them what I want. Or if I do it enough times, they people take notes in my profile so they know what to read and what I'm not interested in. Or if I'm traveling somewhere and need to get directions how to get from Virgil's barbecue, for example, in New York City, to the United Nations, what the easiest ways to do it are and literally what they do is they use the camera on the on the smartphone. Or they can even use GPS information that's transmitted by the phone through the app. And they can give me whatever information I need to have. They describe they don't editorialize, they don't tell me how to do things. They describe or give me the information I asked for. So when I was assembling something a few years ago, they read the instructions, they don't try to tell me things that you wouldn't want somebody to tell you. Now you got a blade screwdriver and a Phillips screwdriver, do you know the difference, and that's not the thing you want to tell me, if you want to describe it, you want to tell me the instructions say that you need to use the blade screwdriver to tighten the screws or you need to use this particular pipe, we're building a laundry cart and everything was color coded. So they tell me the specific information that I visually would not have access to? Well, as I said, we brought that to market. And I use Ira all the time now, whether it is to read labels, whether it's to get other information, sometimes off of a TV screen, whether it's to read material that my the computer won't scan, or read very well, or whatever it happens to be. They, they literally can provide any visual information I need that didn't exist seven years ago. But it exists today. And so that's something that certainly helps. And there are other kinds of technologies, there's much better optical character recognition than with the original Kurzweil Reading Machine. And so I given you a long explanation. But it's, it's to say, knowing all of that, and knowing how to use the tools that I have, and knowing that I can be creative when I need to and maybe use tools in a different way, then people are possibly not used to ultimately I can continue to move forward and do whatever it is that I want to do. Does that mean I Miss Karen less? No, it doesn't. But it does mean that I can continue to live, which she would want me to do. I can continue to go to the airport, get on airplanes, and go do speeches, which I do. And continue to talk about the lessons we should learn from September 11. And now start to talk about how you could learn to control your fear. And I can speak to that more poignantly now than ever, because it's something that I have to do every day, it was weird. Going to sleep the first night of the Karen wasn't here. Even when she went into the hospital, although I knew she would probably be coming back. And she did. But it was weird going to sleep and there was only me in the house. And then when she did pass, again, it was a strange feeling. And I'm not sure that I'm still used to it. But I'm comfortable enough to recognize that, again, what I need to do is to move forward and not be afraid, or use the fear that I do have to help me be motivated to move on and do whatever I need to do, including doing this interview. Braden Ricketts 27:56 You know, you are absolutely embodying the unstoppable mindset that you have brought to the world through your podcast and your stories. Because this is something that happens to a lot of people. But it's also seen as you know, the reason people give up or the reason that people struggle with a loss. And what I'm hearing from you, Michael, is that you're taking this opportunity as a new adventure, you're going to try to do things in different ways or learn how to do things more on your own that you may not have done before. Right. And that can be scary for a lot of people. But in your explanation, I hear that there's a little bit of, you know, excitement for what you're going to learn and what you're going to develop what you're going to try and what's going to be new in your experiences going forward. Michael Hingson 28:42 And it is scary. There's no doubt about it. And it's scary for me. But I'm not going to let the scariness blind me or paralyze me to being able to do whatever needs to be done. My job is to continue to do the things that I've chosen to do. And I think life is all about choices. And choosing not to let fear stop me is part of that process. So it is important to be able to, to work through whatever comes along. I expect even if I live another 100 years, it will be scary doing stuff that I used to do with Karen. And I'm perfectly okay with that. Since I also know I'll be able to do it and work through it. And your life is an adventure and I really look forward to seeing what we're going to see over the next 10 and 20 and 30 years, I think that a lot of things are going to happen. If we would allow ourselves to work together work as a community and stop just deciding that it's just us for ourselves and no one else and if we would just choose to work together and find ways to interact and help each other, that I think we're going to have a much more powerful world. But it's all about an adventure life has been an adventure, from the first time anybody had any conscious thought. And I think that is going to continue. And that's what makes life so much fun. No matter what happens and what gets thrown at us, God, I really do believe doesn't give us anything that we can handle. But having lost Karen, I can see where people can give up. And I can see where that's probably really easy to do. Fortunately, I've made the choice that I won't let that be the way I live my life. And I think that as emotional as it is to have lost Karen after 40 years together. Now, I know that she would want me to continue to treat everything we do as an adventurer, and find ways to do things. I want to take another cruise sometime. I'm not sure how that's going to work because it won't be with her. Physically speaking. I'm not sure that I'm one of those people that would just go on a cruise by myself. I know people who've done it. I don't know, I might, time will tell. That's a question yet to answer. But I'd like to take another cruise or two and do some other traveling outside of business. Excessive B is in Israel, I haven't been there yet. I'm looking forward to doing that and hope that we get to do that soon. And again, that will be an adventure in so many different ways. So it is all about adventure. It is all about working through things as we go. And it's also about recognizing that we're only stoppable if we allow ourselves to be or we are as unstoppable as we want to be. Braden Ricketts 31:44 Absolutely. Did Karen have some inspiration in your unstoppable mindset? Is there a phrase that she like to use that you're hearing in the back of your mind as you continue on? Michael Hingson 31:58 I think is absolutely that she and I worked out unstoppable mindset as a title together. And I wanted to try to come up with something a little bit different. And she may have actually been the first one to say why don't you use unstoppable it's I think it's starting to be overused. But it wasn't when we started this whole concept. Excessive he had done a commercial an advertisement last year about the product. And they had people in that a number of people who had happened to have disabilities. And they use the term. But I, I thought about unstoppable and I went to myself and Karen also said, It's really what this is all about. And so you should use it. So it is one of the things that I remember that we talked about one of my favorite times with Karen, in terms of something where she taught me something or else I said I think sometimes she's smarter than I, I was looking for a job in 1989. And I mentioned that I went to work for a company. That's the company that sent me eventually to New York, when I was applying for jobs. And we found this one in the newspaper. I said to Karen, do I say in my cover letter, I'm blind or not? And she said You're a dummy. Only wives can do that. And I said, Well, why do you say that? And she said, You've been a sales manager. Now for a long time, you've hired people and worked with a number of people. You took a Dale Carnegie sales course when you first started in sales, what's the most important thing that you tell every salesperson that you hire? And I wasn't really quite whether I was thinking of a number of things. And I finally said I'd skip up which one and she said, you've always told me that the most important thing you've ever told your people is turn perceived liabilities into assets. And that's absolutely true. What's blindness if not a perceived liability? It's not a liability. People think it is. But you know, something is too expensive. That's a perceived liability if you can make the case for why it is what it is. Well, she said that and I went off and I wrote a cover letter about my desire to work for this company. And the last two paragraphs of the cover letter kind of went something like this. The most important thing that you need to know about me when you're considering me for this job is that I happen to be blind. And I choose by the way, the words happened to be blind because it's just a characteristic like being left handed or male or female or anything else. I want to include politicians in that in that whole characteristic thing because they made that choice which lowers their level, but we won't go there. It's fun to pick on politicians. Anyway, the most important thing that you need to know is that I happen to be blind as a blind person. I've had to sell all of my life just to be able to survive and function. I've had to sell to convince somebody to let Have you buy a house, I've had to sell to convince somebody to let me rent an apartment or take my guide dog into stores. Because this was before the Americans with Disabilities Act, and there was real legislation about all that. I've had to sell to do most anything that I wanted to accomplish. So when you're considering me for this job, and you're looking at other people, think about do you want to hire somebody who just comes in to the office and works for eight or 10 hours a day and then goes home? Because the job is over? Or do you want to hire somebody who truly understands sales for the science and art that it is and sells 24 hours a day as a way of life? Earn, perceive liabilities into assets. And the result of that was? Yeah, and the result was it two weeks later, I got a call from the company and they said, We're having you come in simply because of that letter, and we want to meet you. And we want to talk to you about working for us while I went down and the rest kind of his history. But she was absolutely right. And I didn't catch it. I was too much in the habit of always worrying about do I say I'm blind or I'm not. And she, she was smart enough to recognize what really needed to be done, which is something that she did so often. And I will miss that. But I will also remember all the things that she did do. So hopefully I will work at being better. Braden Ricketts 36:22 Yeah, that love and support, it just points out some of those pieces that we overlook. Can you tell me a little bit more about what her love and support meant for you? Michael Hingson 36:32 Really, I can only say I meant everything. We really did not only depend on each other physically, because she could do things I couldn't like she could read and I did think she couldn't like push the wheelchair. So she reads I push. But just we learned each other totally. And we learned what we needed to do at any given time to support each other. There were very, very few times where both of us were down or very unhappy at the same time. I remember once when I got the job working for the company I just talked about. We were moving from Mission Viejo, California to current well to the area of Carlsbad, California, Vista, California, which is down near San Diego about 4550 miles south of where we lived in Mission Viejo. And we decided to find property and build a house. But we didn't want to continue to drive all the way down every morning for me to go to work and then Karen to come back up and go to work. So we decided that we would rent an apartment. And we found an apartment to rent it was actually in a new facility that was going up. And we put our home in Mission Viejo on the market. And the realtor that we first use was doing some pretty shifty sorts of things. And he was letting people come in on their own without being present in looking at the house and giving them keys and other things that we didn't like we caught them out at one day when we were about to move. And we went down to move into the apartment only to find out that they didn't have the certificate of occupancy yet. So we couldn't move in. That was probably one of our saddest days together. Because we were looking forward to being able to move down. And I don't I think we went I don't remember whether we went back home, or what we did, because we had packed most everything up. And physically, we couldn't just go sleep on the floor. But we worked through it. But it was a very sad time. And we've had a couple of those sad times. And of course, I mentioned earlier about me making the decision that we needed to move to New York and then having to work to bring Karen along. And that was was pretty sad. But again, she recognize the value of it. And when she made some decisions at times I recognize the value of it. A her love meant everything to me and I would do anything that she needed me to do. She has been a quilter since 1994. And over the last few years, she needed to replace some sewing machines and some new ones came on the market. And I said you need it. Go get it. She said well, we don't necessarily have a lot of money. I said, but do you need it? Is it going to make your job and your life easier? And she said, yeah, it will I thought about that a lot. They said there's no question, go do it. I wouldn't do anything like that for her. And I wouldn't hesitate at all because I would do whatever she needed. And I knew that she would do the same sort of thing for me. We knew each other that well that we had that deep level of trust that we needed to have. And we never were suspicious of each other. We didn't mislead each other. We didn't lie to each other, which was important. Braden Ricketts 39:54 You know, I feel called to ask you to use those same words. is on yourself as you go forward. And remember that, you know, she would do anything for you and you should do everything for yourself that she would. Michael Hingson 40:09 I agree. And I'm doing that at the same time well, so I, for several years went since we moved in, we we have a TV in our living room and we have a Sonos soundbar. And I've always wanted to get a subwoofer because I like bass, not loud, but I still like bass helping to fill the room. And I never wanted to spend the money to get it. And it was only after she passed that I had a bright idea. The credit card I use for business accumulates rewards. And so I called the company that deals with all that, and it turns out, they sold the Sonos subwoofer that I wanted to buy. So I got it for free. Now I have the subwoofer unfortunately carries out here to hear it. And, you know, she said, Do you really need it? And I said, Well, it would be nice. Do I need it? No. Now, my only justification is it didn't cost anything. So I did it. And she would have approved with that. But you're right, I need to do what I need to do to move forward as well. And I will always think, Karen, is this the right decision to make? And I think that's important to do. To really think about any decision that we make, especially major life decision, several people have asked me already Well, are you going to move? Are you going to stay where you are? And one person is even advised that we should sell the wheelchair accessible van that Karen drove? And the answer to moving is absolutely not. Why would I want to the house is probably bigger than I need? Well, it is bigger than I need because two of us lived in it. But at the same time, it's a very comfortable house, the interest rate is great. And I would never find another place that will be as comfortable as this. More important, I'll never find a place that I can move into that would be as comfortable and as inexpensive as this. And even as far as selling the van will explore it. But I'm not deeply in a hurry to sell it. Because if I do, I still want to have access to a vehicle I'll need to own something because as I need to move around, whether it's the people who worked for Karen, as they're her caregivers who now work for me in the business, or other people, I don't want them to have to use their car and they're more reluctant to use their car, if I have a vehicle available. And I learned that in college. So whether it's the van or something else, I want to have a vehicle around. But I don't need to make any urgent decisions. And I am a firm believer that things will happen as they should I believe that God has given us the ability to make choices. And it's given us the ability to hear what the right decision is we just need to learn to listen to that voice and make the right decisions. And then when we do that, things will work out fine. Braden Ricketts 43:04 Those are beautiful words, they certainly seem to be having a role and an impact in the way you're handling the loss. It's It is remarkable. I know you've been processing for a while but you you seem to be really at ease. With with where things are at. Do you have advice that you would like to share with others on that, in that regard? Michael Hingson 43:26 I think it's important that people really do think about how to prepare for unexpected life changes. And that's what we'll be talking about an A guy dice Guide to Being brave. One of the things that I learned in college was to step back and think about each day. At the end of the day, how did it go? What went well, what didn't go well? And even with what went well? Could it have gone better? Or the things that didn't go? Well? What do we do so that that won't happen? Again, it took me a long time to get out of the habit of saying I made a mistake, I screwed up and that's all there is to it to saying okay, that didn't work like it should I could even call it a mistake. But the ultimate question is, what do I learn to move on? And not do that same thing again? Or to move forward and not do that same thing again? Or how would I handle the situation the next time it comes up? And a lot of times that happens? Something will happen again, and the question is have I learned to the point where when it does, I went oh, I would go oh, wait a minute. I know what I did wrong on that or I know what I should have done better. And I can make that become part of my life which helps a lot to alleviate the fear. So that's one thing is to be introspective at the end of the day and then be mindful and allow yourself to recognize that there are things that maybe you didn't do as well as you should. I like the concept that failure isn't really failure, it's just a lesson that'll move you to more success and move you to do something better the next time, a mistake is only something that didn't work out quite as well as you want, and you can move forward from it. It's not a mistake, if you did what you felt was the right thing. And it turned out not to be the right thing. If you learn from it. It's absolutely a mistake if you just continue to do the same thing. And you don't learn from the things that that happen in your life. I love Einstein's definition of insanity, which is always do the same thing and expect something different to happen, that doesn't work that way. So we can learn how to change. For me, the first time I think I really use that well was I was the Program Director of our radio station, and K UCI in Irvine. And I heard a lot of DJs on the air. And a lot of them didn't sound as well as they could have I didn't think. And so I came up with this bright idea. I want you all to listen to yourselves, we're going to I want you to make a recording of the times that you talk on the air, and then take it listen to it. And then you can imagine that people just rebelled it that people say we're our own worst critics. And that's really the wrong thing to say we're not our own worst critics, we are our own best evaluators. Because we know all the things that go into a decision that we make. So for me, when I made that suggestion to people, and they resisted, we fixed it. I got our station engineer to put a recorder in a locked cabinet, which we haven't had in all the studios. And whenever the microphone was clicked to on, so they were going to people were going to talk, the recorder would start. And at the end of the week, because we did it once a week, we gave each person here's a term you haven't heard in a while a cassette, with their program on it. We said listen to it. You know what, the people who did it, and we kind of really made everyone do it. I didn't go so far as to embarrass someone in front of other people. But I pushed really hard and got people to listen to it. It was amazing how much better everyone was, by the end of the year, some of the people went on to professional radio. And everyone benefited a lot from it. And I learned that it's all about evaluating yourself. So even today, when I give a speech, I listen to it. When I do a podcast, I go back and listen to the podcast, every time I do an interview one because I want to refresh my mind before making the notes. But two, I want to hear how I sound. And I hope that every time I do that, I improve a little bit so that I sound a little bit better than I did the previous time. I think it's important that we allow ourselves to evaluate ourselves and to grow from that. So it's a lot of fun to do it. I've made some some serious mistakes. Over the years, I did a couple of flubs in radio, that I wouldn't say they were embarrassing, but I've listened to them actually a couple times since and I laugh at them. But I'll never make the same kind of error in judgment. Again, I was gonna say make the same mistake, I suppose you can say it was. But it's all about? Do we learn from life. And my belief is that we have to learn from life. And life may be a great adventure. But it's also a wonderful teacher, if we allow it to be. So for me, I think it's important that we all be very introspective at the end of every day, we need to think about what we did, how did that go? Especially when something happens that makes us afraid. We need to then go back and study. Why are we afraid? What is it that's really fearful? And how do we deal with that? Those are the kinds of things that along the way I learned that helped me not be afraid on September 11. And it really got to the point where I finally said to myself as we were going down the stairs because I was listening for every creaking grown in case the building decided to just suddenly fall. If it's going to fall, it's going to fall. There's nothing I can do about it. I can only do what I can do, and literally went down the stairs with that attitude. So again, I chose not to be afraid I chose to use my concerns to be more observant and to work to help other people and to be positive and upbeat all the way down the stairs. And I think we all can do that. We don't need to let fear blind us as I describe it. We can use it as a very powerful mode. Vader to help guide us and direct us into whatever it is that we need to do. I think that's kind of probably the most important lesson I can give to people. Braden Ricketts 50:08 Yes, wow. And quite literally in your story, you took control of the one thing you could control, which was one step in front of the other, and got you all the way to safety. Michael Hingson 50:18 Right. You know, the, the other part about that is you don't worry about the things that you can't control. That happens so much. I mean, we see so much on TV and so much other things in our lives that go on. There's so many things that people want us to worry about. But we have any control over all have it. No, we don't. And so the bottom line is, if we focus on all that stuff, we're going to be scattered. If we worry about what we can control and let the rest of it alone, then we'll be able to move forward in a much more positive way. And we'll be better for it. And so will everyone else. And if the time comes, you know, one of the my favorite examples is the whole political arena right now. Everyone's worried about what's going to happen in our US Congress, and what's going to happen with the country? And what's going to happen with one thing or another? And do we have any control over it? Well, we do when we have elections. And if we really look at all of our politicians, all of our leaders, those who truly are and those who think they are, we can analyze them and see what they're really doing. And not be afraid to make a decision that says I've always been of a particular party, but this guy who's running from my party, isn't going to really benefit us. And so I need to make a different choice and really take the position that our elections are the times that we really do have control. Once they occur, then we are well, we are we are bound by the decisions that are made until the next election. And so we can learn to just control the things that we have control over and then move forward. And anyone who says we don't have any control is just as misguided as the people who think they have to control everything and can't. Braden Ricketts 52:13 Yeah, we certainly can't control when and how people come in and out of our lives. And I've really heard from you today about honoring and valuing the time you have with people and carrying that value, even in their loss. Michael Hingson 52:28 I think it's important. And, you know, like I said, Karen will always be in my life. And I hope to get lots of opportunities to talk about her and, and I talked to her. And I will continue to do that. Because it's kind of also my way of thinking about it and figuring out how to solve problems. And I don't have any problem with doing that. As long as I recognize what it really is. I'm thinking and she may be talking back. And I will probably hear some of that as we go forward and probably have already. But it's all about thinking. And it's all about recognizing that we are capable of living meaningful, productive lives. And whether some of us have some sort of disability, whether there were things that go on that we don't have control over. If we don't, then no sense worrying about it, deal with the things that you can influence, and you'll be much stronger and much better for it. And love that you Braden Ricketts 53:27 still talk to her. Michael, I would like to ask him intimate question. If you don't mind. You said you had the opportunity to say goodbye. I was surrounded by friends and family. If you're willing, did you have words you would share with us that you shared with her in your goodbye? Michael Hingson 53:45 You know, I was with her for about an hour. And about an hour before she left. She was on life support. She was on medications and actually 1125. They well, before that happened. The doctor came in and was talking with us. And he said she's on full life support. She's not sustaining herself. And so I said if we discontinue the meds, what will happen? And he said she'll probably pass within an hour or two. And I said if we keep the meds going, what will happen? And he said probably a few days, but certainly no more than that. Well, Karen sister also was an intensive care unit nurse and had other positions at the Kaiser hospital system. She worked there basically almost 40 years. And as I said earlier, she was in the room. And so I said, What do you think Vicki? And she says, yeah, absolutely. And so I told the doctor, okay, let's go ahead and discontinue the meds because this isn't helping her or any of us. And before that, I had said, Karen, we're here. We're going to, we're going to support you and whatever you do. It sounds like it's time for you to go well The meds were still being administered, actually her brother called, because I had reached out to try to get him to let him know what was going on. And I think he put it very well. He said, I think she's probably already made the transition. And I said, I agree. But I still said, you know, we're here, you go ahead and go. And we, we bless you, we love you. And I am going to do everything I can to continue to honor you and love you in any way that I can. And I hope that you will always know that. And I think that when 1125 came, and they did discontinue the meds was probably about another 45 or 50 minutes before her last heartbeat took place. But she had left. So it was just the medications kind of going away over time. And then when she left, we all just said goodbye one last time, and there was nothing else that we could do. So we went out and we just talked in the hall a little bit. And then we all went our our separate ways. Braden Ricketts 56:01 does sound like a beautiful end to a beautiful story together. And one that, as you said will continue. Michael Hingson 56:08 It will, I believe it was was beautiful. I believe that we're still exploring very beautiful, experiencing very beautiful times with it. I just spent New Years the last three days because, well, not the last few days, but the beginning of the year. Friday the 30th Josie, who now works for me who worked with Karen, her caregiver was there for part of the day. But then Saturday, Sunday and Monday, it was just me my guide, dog Alamo and our cat stitch. And we just all work together in the house. And that that will continue to happen. So at least I have company and they have company and I think that everyone misses Karen. But we all have have recognized that it's now the three of us as a close knit family. And so stitch the cat walks on me at night when I'm in bed. Alamo thinks he's a lap dog and wants to sit in my lap all the time. But he's a great guide dog. And, you know, we are all together and do the things that we need to do as a as a family. And it doesn't matter whether it's a dog of a cat and a person. Or it's more than one person. We're still the family. And that's okay, Braden Ricketts 57:23 Michael, I am I'm in awe of your big heart and your unstoppable mindset. I am very honored to have been here with you today to hear your stories and learn more about your journey with Karen. Thank you so much for having me and for sharing all of this with us. It's an honor. Thank Michael Hingson 57:41 you i and thank you. And I really appreciate you being here and being able to talk with us about this. And if people are listening to this, we will put the Zoom link in the podcast notes so that if they want to come and if they knew Karen or just want to come and listen, they're welcome to do that as well. And so we'll we'll have that in there. And I hope that people will go by center dog because they'll learn a lot about Karen from from Thunder dog, it's available wherever books can be found. And that'll be another way that they can also help honor Karen. But I think that they'll they'll learn about a wonderful person, person who's contributed a lot, not necessarily in always the most visible ways on this earth but who in fact, contributed a lot and will continue to do that just by all the things she did in the memory she left us. So I really appreciate you being here, Braden to help with it. And I hope that people will listen to this. And of course, we always ask for a five star rating. And I hope that that will happen. And that the people will recognize that they can be unstoppable too, which is what we really need. Braden Ricketts 58:57 Beautifully said. Well, Michael Hingson 58:58 thank you again. And I really appreciate you asking some wonderful questions. And they helped me think and they helped me process which is also important. But most of all, they they give me the opportunity to talk about this. And that's the most important thing that I can do because that will help me live a better life. So thank you Michael Hingson 59:25 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.
Today we are talking about Damar Hamlin, commotio cordis and cardiac arrest, how it is relevant to baseball, and what if anything can be done to help prevent it.We recently witnessed the clip of Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsing after a collision with Bengals wide receiver in a NFL football game. People have speculated that Hamlin went into cardiac arrest from commotio cordis. Our understanding is that for commotio cordis to occur, the impact has to occur in the right place (right over the heart), at the right time in the heart's rhythm, by an object of a specific size. In this case, an opponent's shoulder. The treatment is immediately administering CPR, and using an AED (automated external defibrillator) until medical professionals arrive.The National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE)is an independent, non-profit organization that funded research to develop the world's first performance standard to protect against commotio cordis in 2018. The performance standard applies to the protectors worn in the sports of baseball and lacrosse. Today, the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and NCAA require all catchers to wear protectors that meet the standard. Some of these products can include a traditional style chest protector but may also include compression shirts and coverings that are more suited for positional players or pitchers. For a complete list of current products that meet the standard, visit Safety Equipment Institute, which is the only entity that certifies equipment to NOCSAE standards.Disclaimer: we are not medical professionals so please consider that anything shared in this episode is NOT medical advice. We are just moms wanting to keep our kids as safe as possible while playing the sport they love, and doing some google research for you.Follow Moms and Baseball:Keep up with Moms and Baseball on our website: https://momsandbaseball.comFollow us on Facebook, Instagram, and TwitterJoin our Facebook group, Parents and BaseballYou can also listen to episodes on Moms and Baseball Facebook pageArticles used for this episode:https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2023/01/05/commotio-cordis-mitigating-risks/https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3445066/https://www.sportsmedtoday.com/commotio-cordis-va-88.htmhttps://www.chicagotribune.com/investigations/ct-chest-protectors-commotio-cordis-standard-met-20160408-story.htmlhttps://nocsae.orghttps://www.seinet.org/search.htmsection=SportsAthleticsandRecreation#sections=NOCSAE_collapse3,NOCSAE_Baseball_collapse31
On this episode, we get to meet Lindsey T. H. Jackson who grew up in Pittsburg Pennsylvania, as she describes, a little black girl who thought she was different. Later she realized she was by no means alone as she discovered that there were many black women who grew up like her. She talks about how she went so far as to decide to compete with boys and play baseball, not the traditional softball that girls were encouraged to play. Needless, she succeeded as she will tell us. As Lindsey tells us, later in life she realized that she did not have to live her life by proving something to others on the job or in anything she had to do. Instead, she realized all she needed to do was to be herself. Lindsey and I discuss prejudices and perceptions whether they be about race issues or even issues surrounding blindness and how people view someone who happens not to be able to see. Our discussions are fascinating and, I think, what we discuss will be helpful and informative to you. About the Guest: Lindsey T. H. Jackson is a creative force in motion. Each year, organizations call on her to welcome tens of thousands of leaders into the shared journey of Unlearning our cultural biases. Lindsey's natural storytelling and her cheeky humor invite people into their authentic selves, allowing people to enter those charged conversations with genuine curiosity. Lindsey brings more than 20 years of experience clearing the path to wellness & liberation alongside leaders, teams, and organizations with her ongoing research on the root causes of our current culture of pressure and burnout. Now, she serves in the role of Founder & CEO creating the future of work with the team at LTHJ Global — expanding access to leading-edge Diversity, Equity & Inclusion methods for healing and innovation at work and beyond. Lindsey's audiences have been known to follow her wherever she's speaking, magnetized by her down-to-earth approach to helping leaders reach their highest human potential across their various life roles. Her natural storytelling, artistry and research-backed practices have allowed for some of the most cutting-edge methodologies to liberate ourselves, our workplaces, and our world from structures of oppression — and lead future-ready teams along the way. That's why she's regularly sought after by platforms like King5 News, The Superwoman Summit and Washington's LGBTQIA+ Chamber of Commerce (the GSBA) as well as hundreds of other businesses, nonprofits, podcasts and outlets each year. These days she's hard (but not _too _hard!) at work with the LTHJ Global team, pioneering the brand new tech-enabled platform, Sojourn. Sojourn brings small to midsize organization leaders a DEI Journey with the plans, tools and guidance to sustainably grow a more Diverse, Equitable and Inclusive culture. They're building the platform as an anti-racist, anti-oppression organization, which impacts every choice they make as they build the future of work they wish to live in. Ways to connect with Lindsey: Main website - www.lthjglobal.com New platform, Sojourn website - www.sojourndei.com LinkedIn - LTHJ Global page: https://www.linkedin.com/company/lthj-global/ LinkedIn - Lindsey's profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lindsey-t-h-jackson/ Instagram - LTHJ Global: https://www.instagram.com/lthj_global/ Instagram - Lindsey: https://www.instagram.com/lindseythjackson/ 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 Hi, and yes, once again, you are listening to unstoppable mindset where inclusion, diversity and the unexpected meet, this is what we say. I am glad that you're here with us. Once again, thanks for being with us. And we have Lindsey T. H. Jackson as our guest today. She is a creative force according to her biography, which is cool. I would say she's unstoppable. And we'll talk about that, of course, Lindsey has been very involved in diversity, equity inclusion, she works with leaders and speaks all over creation as it were bringing more people into the whole discussion of dei as well as bringing leaders into the discussion of how we unlearn a lot of our biases. And I'm really interested in and excited to learn something about that. So we'll get to it. But Lindsey, welcome to unstoppable mindset and glad you're here with us. Lindsey T. H. Jackson 02:17 Thank you, Michael. It is my pleasure. What a wonderful way to begin easing into the weekend spending some time with you. So Michael Hingson 02:26 Oh, listen to her. Well, let's start. Like I usually like to do tell me a little bit about kind of your early life kind of where, where you came from, and all that and a little bit about how you got where you are. Lindsey T. H. Jackson 02:41 Wow. Well, I am from the hidden gem of the United States, which is, of course, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. And I think it's funny when I meet people who have never been to Pittsburgh, and they hear Pittsburgh, they kind of scoff at it. Like, oh, you know, that kind of steel, new town will the Steelers and the pirates and blah, blah, blah. But it was actually a really wonderful place to Michael Hingson 03:10 Yes, yes. I remember the first time I went to through Pittsburgh airport, which was pretty new at the time, it was a pretty big place and an interesting and a lot bigger of an airport. And I didn't think it would be a little airport, but it was a lot bigger and more bustling than I thought. And I think over time, it's kind of quieted down. But I've enjoyed time in Pittsburgh. Lindsey T. H. Jackson 03:33 Absolutely. And it's so interesting. You say that about the airport, because they're about to build a brand new one tear down. What was that new one and build a brand new one. And I'm like, why are you why are you really changing these things? They're renaming the stadium again. She's, yeah, I don't know. I loved growing up in Pittsburgh, and I just find myself not wanting anything to change about it. Michael Hingson 03:58 What do you do so, so you're from Pittsburgh will tell us more about all that. And early life and such? Lindsey T. H. Jackson 04:04 Yeah. Early life, I was an only child. So that meant naturally that every holiday season I asked for a brother and sister and a puppy on my Santa's list and never got either of them. So it wasn't a miserable childhood, but I certainly never got what I wanted at Christmas time. Michael Hingson 04:24 Not a puppy either. Lindsey T. H. Jackson 04:26 Not a puppy, not a brother, not a sister, not a Plano. I was like, why can't we adopt? Come on, people helped me out but as an only child, I was just always out. I was out and about I was down the street. I was creating clubs. I was joining everything that I could join and really living. You know what, at that time, I know we can't say this now but at that time, it was kind of Bill Cosby upbringing, but you know Like Bill Cosby, we grow up and we learn new things that we didn't know. And our kind of youthful naivety. But Michael Hingson 05:08 well, we can't change our history, Bill Cosby, back in those days was what he was and television show and his comedy routines and so on. And yeah, we have what he became, but we can't deny what was and he did bring a lot of entertainment and humor to people. Lindsey T. H. Jackson 05:25 Yes. And that image, Michael Wright of that black family that was together, that was upper middle class that was figuring life out. That was very much my childhood experience with my parents, Deborah and Jeff had been married something like 44 years now. We were figuring it out together. Michael Hingson 05:49 Wow. So, so you, you went to school in Pittsburgh, Lindsey T. H. Jackson 05:55 I started, you know, I was very much a little private school kid. And often the one of very few little black people in predominantly white bodied spaces, which I think colored a lot of my experience as a child. Now, when I read things, I am finally hearing from other little black girls who grew up to be strong black women about that common experience of nobody had hair like us. Nobody had that experience of k this person. That's my cousin. Oh, is it your real cousin? What is that question? Of course, it's my cousin, even though I'm not actually sure how we're related, you know, these very common black experiences, I thought I was different. But now, I'm realizing that that was actually a very common experience for a lot of black girls in predominantly white spaces, that feeling of being outside somehow looking in. Michael Hingson 07:00 Do you think I think it was true for boys as well? Lindsey T. H. Jackson 07:04 I think it was, but in my experience, something about masculinity allowed them to fit in a little bit more. I think we still, at that time, and even now, we still struggle with outspoken, Intel intelligent little black girls, you know, a trope or a paradigm, at least when I was growing up to fit that. And so I spent a lot of time in detention being told, you know, stop asking questions, stop questioning what the teacher was saying, even though, you know, at that time, I was already a bit of a scientist. I was like, I don't believe what you're telling me show me some research to backup that opinion. And they would go go to detention. I was like, wow, that's not a good argument. Yes. Michael Hingson 08:01 I think it's, it's somewhat true for white girls, too. But I understand not the same. And it's not it's not as much and it's, it's an evolutionary process. But I think for any of us who were different, I never got sent to detention for asking questions. I think I was tolerated. But as a blind child, it was still very much, in some ways, a challenge. I grew up in a pretty rural area in Palmdale, California. So didn't face a lot of I think some of the things that other people did. But I was always still a curiosity. Nevertheless. Lindsey T. H. Jackson 08:39 Yeah. How did that shape who you've become now, as an adult, Michael Hingson 08:45 I think for me, because mostly, people didn't know what to do with me, because I was the only blanket for quite a while in the Antelope Valley. We moved from Chicago when I was five. So we were mostly out in California, and I was the only blind kid. And the only blind kid going to school later, while other other kids the only one really interested in science and those kinds of things, and very academically oriented. So again, teachers didn't know a lot of what to do with me. So somehow, I sort of fit it in, like teachers to give me tests, we would stay an extra period after class and they would come in and read me tests or asked me questions, and I would answer them and so I got to know some of the teachers pretty well. And I think that the result of that was that I was accepted because they discovered that I wasn't really, maybe what their original misconceptions were about a blanket and high school students didn't do a lot of bullying but again, I think I was was tolerated. Of course, I had an extra asset in that when I went into high school I got my first guide dog so the only kid in School who got to bring his dog to school. But even that caused a problem when the superintendent decided that since the school district had a rule that said, no live animals a lot on the school bus that I wouldn't be allowed to take my dog on the school bus and go to school with the dog. So they had to hire somebody to take me to school because I was using a guide dog. And that didn't last very long, because we took it to the school board. The board sided with the superintendent, even though the high school rule violated state law. So we actually had to get the governor involved. And I think that also taught me that you could fight city hall and win. And it sent a message to people that I was going to be a part of the system. And that should be allowed. So I again, I think it was a little bit unusual compared to other people's stories who I've heard. Lindsey T. H. Jackson 10:48 Yeah, yeah. I mean, Michael, as you're sharing that reminds me, I think, one of the formative experiences, it's not the same, but that similarly shaped me was that I grew up wanting to play baseball. And at that time, it was very clear that girls are meant to play softball. And boys are meant to play baseball. But I have seen a little movie called A League of Their Own league of their own. Yes. Which, you know, just last week at the Emmys, they were honoring Gina Davis for the work that she's done in film, around. Representation around measuring the relationship between what little girls see on the film and how it impacts their relationship to self. But that movie, I was determined, I am going to play baseball, good for you, this character. But you know, here came this little black girl down, you know the street in Edgewood and shows up to an all boys League and says, I will be playing best baseball. And they had no idea what to do. And they armed an odd and you know, unbeknownst to me in the background, my mother, you know, who is a force to be reckoned with was also having conversations with the city to make sure that, you know, nobody was going to say no to me. But for my little eight, nine year old self, I really thought that I was leading this conversation in this charge. And I eventually got assigned to a team, the enjoyed pirates, they were called. And I was just thinking about my coach, Coach, Tony DeFranco, who, all those years that I played for him never once did he, you know, he just kind of accepted, she's here. And now that she's here, we're going to be the best team possible. And, and we were I have a trophy or two actually above my desk right here, commemorating those years. But that those early moments really shaped who I am now in the trajectory to becoming the CEO of this company, I think Michael Hingson 13:09 and what a great story and and an absolutely relevant story. And yeah, your parents were your mother was especially involved in the background and so on. But still, that support system always helps. Absolutely, Lindsey T. H. Jackson 13:23 absolutely. And that's in our work. One of the things that we're always for lack of a better word fighting for it's to make sure that everybody has some sort of Angry Black mom in their corner, who's saying, you know, we're here to advocate in the workplace to make sure that employees feel supported based on all of their intersectional identities, blind, black, queer, you know, living with dyslexia and feeling like they cannot share that within the workplace. All of those things. I think that's often what draws you and I together, right? Our own experiences have shaped the work that we now do. Michael Hingson 14:12 What position did you play in on the team? Lindsey T. H. Jackson 14:16 Well, I mostly played shortstop, for anybody who's a baseball fan out, I'm just gonna say it is the hardest position to get so just whatever. And then pitcher Oh, well, there you go. Yeah, Michael Hingson 14:30 yeah. How'd you how'd you do as a pitcher? Lindsey T. H. Jackson 14:33 Well, I was cracking up I was telling my kids this just the other day, I remember this one day. And it was it was a good movie moment. It was bottom of the night. And they had kind of one player in on third base scoring position. We were up and I was, you know, just kind of losing Steam losing gas. And here comes Tony DeFranco. Coach moseying out to the pitcher's mound. And, you know, we all took our hats off and tucked our gloves under our armpits. Mason was the catcher. And he goes, Lindsay, every once in a while in our lives, we have a choice. We either have to choose that we don't have it. And we need to sit down and come back another day. Or we choose that we have it, and then we have to back it up. And he said, Well, what is that moment right now for you? And I said, Well, Coach, I think I have it. And I'm going to back it up. You said fine, any mosey it on back off the field. And I threw a strike and the game was over. So you know, those, those sorts of things? You know, I think the there was a little bit of every time I was out on the field, I will say there was a an underlying core idea that I had to prove something. And I think I played like I had to prove something. And now as an adult, I'm trying to unlearn that habit, that I don't have to go into every space trying to prove something, I can just be myself. Michael Hingson 16:15 But probably when you were growing up, it was good to have that to keep your edge nice and sharp. Lindsey T. H. Jackson 16:23 Yeah, yeah, it has been I you know that when I left Pittsburgh, it was still with that edge. I started college when I was 15 years old. By the time I was 21, I had three degrees under my belt. I moved overseas. Actually, the year I was turning 21, I had already graduated with my graduate degree in another degree under my belt, and I felt like I just had to keep being on the move, always be on that cutting edge. And that has led me to do some amazing things. And it's also landed me in the hospital rooms needing to rest in, you know, be pumped with fluids, it's, I can see sometimes how it impacts my children. So I'm trying to trying to not feel as though my otherness needs to be the defining factor in my life anymore. Michael Hingson 17:26 Well, and hopefully what you will discover is that your otherness is as much there but you can bring it out in different ways. You don't have to constantly be running. And I think we, we all tend to do that a lot. We tend to run we got to do things all the time. Even when we take vacations, we got to get extremely active and do this and that and the other stuff. And then we got to come back and we have to have a vacation from our vacation. And we don't we don't stop and recognize that. In reality, we don't need to do that all the time. Lindsey T. H. Jackson 18:03 Yes. How have you in your life? Do you still think? How do you define yourself now? I mean, you're maybe one or two years older than I am Michael. So I get to learn from you. How do you Michael Hingson 18:20 Oh, could be could be maybe one or two years or so hard to say? Well, you know, I, I like to do stuff. And I like to be active. But I don't need to be active and be the absolute number one person all the time, because I think opportunities will will come. So I love to speak, I love to travel and speak and continue to do that when the opportunities arise. And I've been doing it especially ever since September 11. But I, I don't need to be the president of one thing or another, although I own my own company. And it's just my wife and I so I get to be the president. And we we did it that way because it's called the Michael hingson group. So it kind of makes sense that I get to be the president. But if she wants to run it, she can run it, but she doesn't. So I'm stuck with it. But we I believe that, for me and my place in life, I'm going to do whatever seems right to do on any given day. But I like to take time at the end of the day to stop and go, What did I do today? How'd that go? Could I learn from that? And I will always ask those questions and I will always take that introspective role and start each day with what's coming up. What have I learned that I could bring an add value and in a sense that started significantly before September 11. But especially it started when And I opened an office for a company in the world trade center, and decided that, as the leader of that office, I needed to do whatever was necessary to function as a leader. And defining that meant to meant that I needed to do things like if we were gonna go to lunch, know how to go wherever we're gonna go to lunch, because I can't let someone just leave me around, well, how's that going to look, if we're going to negotiate contracts, or know how to travel from place to place, know what to do in case of an emergency, be on top of whatever was going on with the company, understand the products, and take the initiatives to make sure that I could do whatever, any good leader based on all the things that I've seen people do and what any good leader would do. And I will still continue to do that. That doesn't mean that I'm going to work 24 hours a day. But over time, I've learned what the process needs to be to make that happen. And so the result is that I've developed a mindset that says this is what you need to do. Or in the case of the World Trade Center, I developed eventually a mindset mindset that said, You know what to do, if there's an emergency, you know what to do in order to be involved in a situation, which doesn't mean I have to be in charge of doing everything to take responsibility for whatever happens. But I need to know enough to know when I can use my gifts and other people should use their gifts. And I should encourage that. Lindsey T. H. Jackson 21:45 Yeah. Can I ask a question about something you said? Out of my own curiosity, you named that you had a thought that there would be difficulty in negotiating contracts, if somebody were to support you on the walk to lunch? Or to say, you know, coffee shop, etc? Do? How do you think that that should be that within that relationship, that that creates a difference of power within the relationship? If we need to honor the other person's humanity in any given moment? Michael Hingson 22:36 It depends on whether you're honoring the person's humanity, or whether you're making an assumption that isn't true. So, for example, there are certainly places that I don't know how to get to around New York City. But or even here in Victorville where I live today, but do I need someone? Do I need to hold someone's arm or Be Led there? Or can we walk side by side and carry on a conversation? Do Do I need to be the one to absolutely know where to go or not? The answer is, in my basic home environment that is in the case of what we're talking about the World Trade Center. Yes, I should know how to go to Finance Shapiro's down in the lobby of the shopping mall between the towers back in 2002 1001. Because that's where I resided. And if I allowed, if I chose not to know any of that, and needed to be led, that's the issue. Not that I didn't know or wouldn't deal with someone's humanity, but rather, if I didn't know, and didn't take the time and the responsibility to know and so needed to be led. I'm reinforcing a stereotype about blindness and blind people. And so part of it is also getting people to the point in their own mindsets where they recognize that in reality, I'm as competent and as capable as they are. So it's not denying someone's humanity to say, I know how to get there, I can do it. But rather to say, what would you expect anyone else to be able to do and why should it be different for me? If the opportunity and the ability and what I need to make it happen are available to me? Yes. And so that's, that's really the difference. I could just as easily be going out to lunch or dinner with people and did oftentimes in other places where I didn't necessarily know exact actually where to go. But even there, the issue is, how do you do it? Do you assume the blind guy can't walk next to you without holding on to you or not? It's all about stereotypes and the problem that we face, when we talk about diversity, equity and inclusion, is disabilities are left out of that discussion most of the time, and they're left out, because no matter what group you are from, most people have the same perception about disabilities that other people do. And so we tend to not be included in the discussions. We don't, we don't deal with recognizing the disability doesn't mean the lack of ability, that that word needs to change, just like we've changed the meaning of diversity, because diversity doesn't include disabilities today. By and large, it's it's not inclusion should. But even then people try to say, Well, I'm inclusive, because we deal with racial issues and racial bias, and we deal with gender, but then you don't deal with disability. So you're not inclusive, but just diversity is has has gone a different way, which is extremely unfortunate. So it's not about appreciating someone's humanity. It's about do we continue to promote and enforce the stereotypes? Or do we really try to change people's perceptions? And part of my job, as the leader of an office happening to be blind? Was it, it was important to be able to change people's perceptions? Because if I weren't viewed as a competent, capable individual, how could I expect to be involved in and or negotiate sales contracts and other things like any other manager would do? Lindsey T. H. Jackson 26:58 Yeah, this is so interesting. You're naming something that I've been really personally vacillating back and forth on in terms of, as I started to name earlier, realizing in a lot of spaces that I felt the need to represent all black women, wherever I was, in school, in other parts of the world that I traveled extensively, and to always kind of be a monolith, representing the majority. And I think a lot of people who come from historically excluded cultures or communities can relate with that. But now is a near my 40th birthday, which I'm super excited. Because I hear more and more people say, once you get closer to 40, you start to care less when people think, and I'm so excited for that. But as I get closer, I find myself really trying to separate what parts of me, am I still living my life trying to prove that black women should be could be are on par with their contemporaries? And what parts of that are a burden that I don't have to bear anymore? And in the reality is, I don't have an answer. So I'm listening to you. Also trying to mind through my own thoughts. And an example is, for example. You know, I have had a partner relationship come into my life over the past couple of years. And, you know, their love for me, has been teaching me that I also deserve nurture and care. I don't always have to be strong. I don't always have to, you know, I don't always have to have my emotions down. And I think for so many years in professional spaces, as a black woman, I just didn't give myself that grace, that that part of myself. And now, you know, we've met some of my team members, the great Laura Kay or the great J. Alba and the rest of our team. You know, they've been trying to coach me like, it's okay, if you cry, too. Yeah. It's okay. If you're having a bad day, you know, like, you don't always have to have it together. Michael Hingson 29:34 Well, and, unfortunately, and this gets back to something that we talked to just a second about at the very beginning about unlearning attitudes, because I think anyone who works toward being successful, ends up believing that they have to be strong all the time, and they have to be on top Have everything rather than finding that there is so much value in creating a team. And everyone on the team has to rely on each other. And that the strength is in the team, not any particular individual. And yeah, the leader of a team has to and should have certain gifts, and maybe they're the the outfront strong or viewed as being strong person. But that still shouldn't work without the rest of the team being part of the process. Yes, yes. And so, you know, in talking about what what you're talking about, and and what we're discussing here. So what do you think about the issue of with whatever you're doing? Are you representing all black women or women in general, I wouldn't even extend it beyond black women. But I realized why you're, you're talking about it in terms of black women. But either way, what do you think about the fact that in reality, what you do is, or you don't represent black women? Lindsey T. H. Jackson 31:09 Yeah, I think it's an ongoing, unfair unfurling, for lack of a better word, I was really relating in my own way to what you said in terms of wanting to make sure that the stereotypes about black women that I was never feeding that, that I similarly, going to dinner, an example might be the expectation that black people or black women don't have money couldn't, you know, cover the cost of the bill, or we're not as smart. And so therefore, always feeling as though I had to give an opinion, but not only give an opinion, or to be the best opinion or that they're lazy, whatever. And so, I think, on some hands, that's still very much true that we know that if you are a representative, I was still historically excluded, group or community that you are still expected as a duo Lu talks about in her book mediocre, you are still expected to give 115 120% to other people, 75% just to be considered on par. But I don't think that that has to always be our responsibility anymore. Michael Hingson 32:33 Right? And so I'm going in a slightly different direction. I agree with you. Do you have to be 115%? All the time? No. But does that mean that you're still not necessarily by virtue of being visible? And by virtue of what you do? Does that mean you're not representing in some way or another all black women? Lindsey T. H. Jackson 32:56 I think that's a great question, I think, and my personal why if I use Simon cynics language around finding our why, and other business leaders who have used similar language, I do, as part of my why want to be an inspiration, first and foremost, to my children, I have a 10 year old and eight year old. And I want them to see in me, hopefully something that they can see in themselves. And I know that for a lot of young people who I speak with that they go, Oh, you're a black woman, CEO. I could be that too. And, and I definitely know that creating that representation is a part of what gets me out of bed on some of the tough days. And I think in our culture, we sometimes struggle to allow the full, vast experience of being a human, for anybody that we give the mantle of leadership to, I hope that I have given as much permission to succeed as I am to fail. I hope I'm given as much permission to have angry off days as I am expected to always put on a smile and show up looking good. Michael Hingson 34:27 And sometimes you need to say and transmit the message. It's okay. And it's fine for me to have days where I'm not absolutely the only 180% person in charge. And that doesn't make me less of a human being any more than it does you and how dare you judge me? Because in reality, we're all from the same mold. We are We're all made in the same image. And we all have good days, bad days, successful days, days where maybe it's not viewed as being as successful as it could be. But when you have the off days, the real question, and so it's always fun to turn it around. The real question is, what did I learn? That will help me not do that again. And that's where it comes really back full circle, which is why I always talk about introspection, because it's important to discuss this idea of what did I learn from this? I subscribe to the the whole discussion that failure, although I don't say I will, failure is what it is. But that failure is only a learning point on the way to success. Yes. And there's nothing wrong with having learning moments we all learn. And we always all better be learning, or we really aren't doing ourselves or other people's good services. Lindsey T. H. Jackson 36:09 Absolutely. I love that you. You know, I think in both of our work, we do so much training and teaching around the world. And I think one of the things I'm always surprised, most by is some people's lack of curiosity, the assumption that are the take of there's nothing more for me to learn about diversity, or equity, or inclusion, or these these topics. I just it you know, this is my work. I'm a nerd. So I could, you know, there's no end to the things I want to learn. But I love meeting people. And I love hearing what is it like moving through the world, in your body, in your mind and your heart space? And so that, that, that take of I don't have anything else to learn here about diversity? I never understand that. Because it just seems like an opportunity to live books and movies out loud. Michael Hingson 37:19 Yeah. Well, and the other thing about diversity, and this whole area of discussion is how can we feel that we've learned all there is when society is constantly evolving, anyway? Lindsey T. H. Jackson 37:34 Yes, yes. Yes. Michael Hingson 37:38 And so we, we may, on any given day, at any given second? No, mostly everything that we need to know. But in two seconds, something is going to change that's going to change that whole dynamic. So there's no way we're going to learn all there is to know, the question is, are we learning it? And are we putting it into practice? Lindsey T. H. Jackson 37:57 Absolutely. I read an article, I think it was in the New York Times a couple of weeks ago, and it was saying that old, quote, unquote, can now be defined as the scale of curiosity that one has. And so those who had a fixed mindset, I know everything there is to know there's nothing more I could learn. Scientists were able to see how that fixed mindset was actually impacting their body, their brain, and how it was aging. And those who remained curious. Woke up each day with like you said, Michael, I have the intention to learn something new each day, that their bodies and their brains stayed Young. As a result, as well, Isn't that so cool? That we can now put some science around that? Michael Hingson 38:50 It is I didn't see that article, I'm gonna have to go back and find it. But it's it's absolutely true. And we should constantly be curious. Because if we if we aren't, then we're not living. And I think that's one of the reasons we're all here is to be curious and discover. Life is an adventure and we should treat it like an adventure. I get yelled at lots when I reach out and touch something and people say, Oh, you're not supposed to touch that. Well, that's the way I get to explore things a lot. And the reality is even in museums where people say, too much oil on something may may help to damage it. But the reality is that it's the way I N other people who don't look at things, discover a lot. And there shouldn't be anything wrong with allowing us to explore and I can appreciate. It may very well be where you got to have a wipe and get the oil off your hands first. No problem with that, but don't deny me the opportunity to learn and discuss in fact, it's one of the clues that led me to understanding the mindset that I developed on September 11, one of the things that that I constantly did after I learned most of what I thought I could learn about emergencies and everything else was I would as I went into the World Trade Center, most every day, I would ask myself, anything else to learn today? I go off and look, and sometimes I found stuff, and sometimes I didn't. But asking the question is really the important part? Lindsey T. H. Jackson 40:28 Absolutely. I even do that in my own way, which is, I will intentionally some days just take another driving route, just so I can see something new the tree I haven't noticed before, restaurant I haven't seen before, just to break out of the monotony and feel as though I've entered into another vortex for a minute. Michael Hingson 40:52 Well, I always well, walking around the world trade center wanted to make sure my guide dog didn't get into the habit of going one way because the dog's job isn't to know where to go and how to get there. That's my job, the dog's job is to make sure we walk safely. So I had to, as much as I could figure out new ways to get to the same place inside of a complex of buildings, which got to be a real challenge after a while. And sometimes I just took convoluted routes just to end up going the same route. But by going to different floors and doing other things, but, but traveling around to keep the dog from getting into the habit of memorizing something. And of course, all of that was extremely important on September 11, because I didn't want the dog to decide where she thought I should go, especially if that way might happen to be blocked, which is another way of also saying I needed to know that information, so I could deal with it. And that also helped other people because going down the stairs. And, and being in the complex that day, giving the DoD directions I had lots of people following us because they said, Well, you're confident you know what you're doing. And I heard about it later. But they they said, if this guy can go, we're gonna follow him, you know, and that was important to do. But what I eventually decided was to talk about all of that, because if it would help people learn how to move on from September 11. And if it would help people learn how to deal with developing better relationships, and trust and teamwork, and if it would teach people about blindness and guide dogs, then I was going to talk about it and continue to do that. And that was in part why ask the question before because I do think, whether we choose to or not any of us who get visible, even if we're only visible to a few people we are representing whatever it is that people view about us. And so I want people to get the best possible view of what blindness is like, because they're going to hopefully remember me and think about the next blind person they meet, at least in part in the same way. And it's all too unfortunate that all too many blind people, for example, are not taught a lot of the skills and the way that they should be taught to develop a level of independence and self confidence. And that's unfortunate, but it is still something we deal with. And it is still something that we all try to work to overcome. But I know that whenever I'm viewed up, I'm going to be compared to other people who happen to be blind. And I'm also hopefully going to be able to teach people maybe a little bit of a different view, which is okay, if I can do that and be successful. That's great. I'm not trying to prove anything to anyone, but rather I'm just gonna live my life. But if I can accomplish something like that along the way, then so much the better. Lindsey T. H. Jackson 44:00 Yeah. It's so interesting. As you're sharing, I'm thinking back and I don't think I've thought about this for years. So thank you, Michael. I was in my I was 19. Or maybe I hadn't turned 19 Yet in my senior year of college, and I was a orientation leader. So you know that first week of college? Yep. Everybody's coming. I'm in senior year we're welcoming all the freshmen there was lots of screaming and shaking of pom poms, I remember. And this was in Boston. And when 911 That year, those events occurred, you know, very quickly, Boston started to be shut down as well. And I remember I was in dance class at the time and one of our other instructors came in and, you know, kind of told us what was happening and For all of the leaders of orientation, we're quickly kind of cold to be present for these freshmen who were away from home for the very first time, most of them coming from other parts of the US and kind of just be there for them. And they were from all over the world all over the country. And everybody was having so many feelings. And we obviously had no idea what was going on any of us. And that experience was one of many experiences that led to the forming of LT HJ global and what is soon to be our dei tech platform sojourn it was that, that desire to create safe spaces for people across all of their difference to come together, to feel seen, to feel heard, to feel held and supported. And, you know, I haven't thought about how that then shaped my graduate degree in, gosh, almost 20 plus years now. What, Michael Hingson 46:12 Where were you going to school? Lindsey T. H. Jackson 46:13 Then? My undergraduate was at Emerson, which is right, in, you know, along the perimeter of the Boston Commons. And then I started my graduate work. While simultaneously I was doing a muscular therapy degree at another school, I started my graduate work at Lesley University. Cambridge, Massachusetts, Michael Hingson 46:38 right. So, you mentioned dance. Were you studying that in college? Lindsey T. H. Jackson 46:44 Yeah. In my undergrad, I was still very determined to be a dance and theater start. You know, I had seen Janet Jackson. And that was clearly what I wanted to be in my life. A backup singer and dancer to Janet Jackson. Michael Hingson 47:02 Don't have any wardrobe malfunctions, Lindsey T. H. Jackson 47:04 no word of mouth. If I had been there, Janet, I would have had, I would have been like, and it's sorted. Just like move. Lindsay right there. Yeah. Some of the listeners or people tuning in today are not old enough to know. So we just made Michael. Go look it up. Michael Hingson 47:28 That time? The Super Bowl, Lindsey T. H. Jackson 47:31 though? The Super Bowl? Yeah. We've come many years from there. But yeah. Go ahead. Sorry. Go ahead. No, I still think, you know, a lot of times people will ask me, How does a dance and theater major become a CEO of a company? And I go, Well, I know how to pivot very well. And you need to pivot. When you are a founder and CEO. I know, you know that Michael, you can bob and weave? Exactly. As Michael Hingson 48:01 well, how did being in dance and so on, move you toward the kind of things that you do today? Lindsey T. H. Jackson 48:10 No, I think. I think and you know, I'm very happy to have some of your listeners or, you know, viewers, however you are tuning in today, push back on this, but I still think that the arts is a space for little kids that are considered other to come together and feel that they have a sense of community. There's, you know, maybe still 2030 years ago, you know, we didn't have the language that we have around it now. But it was a space where little LGBTQIA plus bus kids felt safe. It was a space where black and brown kids from across many different cultural identities felt safe. It was a space to be creative with kids who were moving through the world, in wheelchairs, and other you know, just ways to experience difference as being something to be normal and celebrated, as opposed to something that everybody was trying to overcome, or trying to assimilate and fit in. And I think there was something about dance and theater where it was like, we don't fit in. And that's why we fit into this group or space. Michael Hingson 49:42 Well, and the reality is there were other kids who had none of the characteristics that you're describing who were from what people view as normal, who are also part of that society and the reality is everyone learned to I get along, and a lot of ways, a lot more than in other kinds of environments because everyone shared the arts. Lindsey T. H. Jackson 50:08 Yeah, yeah. It's interesting. When we're teaching, sometimes I think people think it's so different. But I often sometimes I'm listening to people who grew up in military households or grew up, you know, in the military, and there's a lot of similarities there to have, there's a very strong culture, you have to learn the rules, and one of the rules is, get over it, we're all different. And that difference is something that's going to make us better. And, you know, in every culture, there's still opportunities to continue looking at how we continue to grow and embrace different types of diversity. But there's something about a group that is coming together, saying that diversity is what makes them better, as opposed to diversity being some type of problem that we need to get rid of. Michael Hingson 51:11 Yeah, it really is important to appreciate other people. And there's no better way to do it than when you're all working towards some common goal or are working in some sort of environment that that brings you all together. Like in the arts, whether it's dance, whether it's painting, singing, or music, and in any form, those are commonalities that we can all appreciate. And there, we do see all too often different people from different kinds of environments, who are successful, and maybe that helps us tolerate a much more diverse population within the arts. I don't know. But it's a thought. Lindsey T. H. Jackson 52:00 Yeah, yeah. And I think, to your point, there's still, you know, we still look at conductors, for example. And we're, I know that there's still a lot of work to try to diversify conductors at the symphony, there's still, in my lifetime been a lot of work to diversify the body styles. Within dance. It was very common when I was coming up as a dancer to kind of expect a ballerina to be almost 12% under the body fat ratio, which is very unhealthy. And to see normal bodies, which bodies comes in all shapes and sizes on the stage has really been something that's developed over the past 20 years. There's still a lot of work to do. But I think the mission statement at least is is is still an unspoken. All are welcome here. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Michael Hingson 53:09 And that's, I think, part of what's really important, and if we could only move that out of certain areas, like the arts into the rest of society, the whole idea that all are welcome or should be welcomed is so important. But we have so many places in our society where people say, Well, you're great where you are, but you can't really be where I am. And that kind of judgment never helps. Yes, yes. Lindsey T. H. Jackson 53:41 I mean, we recently had a teacher coming to our monthly unlearning series, Joy Braungart, who was talking about the relationship between capitalism and disability justice. And I think, you know, the same way that we do not prioritize arts in schools because they within a capitalistic model, we're like, I can't make money in the arts. So we're just going to focus on math, science, reading, writing. And well, that's it. Right. And so we're still fighting for Steam as a huge thing within schools. But also, I think, in terms of disability justice, this idea that the stereotype that different bodies are still within American culture viewed through the lens of can you produce within a capitalistic system or can you not produce and that that has led to legislation that has undervalued our disabled community that has, as you said, created, you know, stigmas that are just so normal and normalized for people that they don't even question the way that they A my infantilized, somebody who is in a wheelchair infantilized, somebody who is on the ASD spectrum, all of these things that tie up to? does it relate to productivity? Or not? And that is a flawed system and itself. Michael Hingson 55:20 Yeah, we, we still have to compare and we shouldn't have to compare. We should accept and encourage, and get people to be all they truly can be. But we, we just seem to talk about that a lot not do anything about it most of the time. Lindsey T. H. Jackson 55:41 Yeah. Well, that's fine. You know, thank you for saying that. I know, it's just a drop in the bucket. But just like your company, what ltj global and our new tech platform for small and midsize businesses soldier is designed to do is to try to bridge that gap to bring the value around humaneness back into workplaces, and to give leaders and dei champions and everybody in between the tools and resources that they need and ready made work paths, ready made resources and toolkits, educational videos so that we can no longer say like, Oh, our company can afford it. We've we're leveraging technology to try to take that, that that kind of normal kind of objection out of the picture and saying, now it's not that you can't afford it. It's just whether or not you want to do it. Do you care about your people? Do you care about inclusivity? Or don't you? Michael Hingson 56:50 So tell me what LTS j is all about. Lindsey T. H. Jackson 56:55 So l th j is our consultancy. And that, you know, was a bunch of nerds from social science and the DEI field, the mental health field, organizational change, management, psychology, etc. all came together and said, hey, you know, I think this next wave of Dei, all of our research is going to be really useful as organizations try to move forward and build strong dei functions within their organization. And it's really designed to support companies that are done with just one off trainings. Or, you know, let's talk about racism potlucks, or let's talk about accessibility potlucks, and really want to do deep, meaningful transformation work. And then more recently, from really listening to our clients, we've started developing and incubating in house a new startup, which is sojourn Dei, which is to meet the needs of small nonprofits, small businesses, between you know, the size of two to about 150 employees, and make sure that they also have accesses access to revolutionary support and change tools. How does that work? Well, we're so excited. There's so many things, I think the easiest thing to say is that, once you log in at sojourn Dei, and the platform becomes available, you know, anybody can get on there and start going through guided step by step plans, surveys that you can use within your organization, training that you can provide throughout your organization, and really start learning how to build out dei and policies, procedures, frameworks, and et cetera, within your organization, all in a budget that is affordable for small businesses. Michael Hingson 59:00 So again, what how to how does all that work? Do they is it all online? Is it meeting with people? Is it providing classes or what is it about? Lindsey T. H. Jackson 59:09 Great idea? A great question is, first and foremost, it is a software platform. So similar to MailChimp, or a HubSpot, where we have taken all of the tools that sit inside consultants heads and downloaded them into a software platform. And so you would log in and you would have a world for your company. And it's going to allow you to have your own company dashboard where you are running initiatives where we've given you step by step work paths with templates and tools that you just apply at the right time. It'll keep you on track with compliance and with rollout. But then to your point, Michael, when you do need that some weren't the only person talking you through it on the other end of a phone or email could provide, you can actually reach out right through the platform and talk to a dei transformation manager. Michael Hingson 1:00:13 How do you or what would you advise people who are more interested in making their their companies more inclusive? What kind of advice would you give them? What are the pitfalls that you typically see, Lindsey T. H. Jackson 1:00:30 I think the main pitfall that we see, is trying to do one off, you know, one off trainings or one off dei statements, something like this, but not really understanding that you're implementing one of the most strategic aspects in a successful company. And so that requires attention. It requires budget, it requires time, both people time, as well as longitudinal time as you operationalize things. And so, for those leaders who are still stuck in the, oh, I'll just pull off my dei initiative, you know, work plan once a month at Disability Awareness Month, or Women's History Month or Black History Month, but then they're not doing anything the rest of the year. Those are the companies that tend to fail. And they're still confused why they're not attracting the best talent, why their company is not having some of the best outcomes with their competitors. It's because they haven't yet learned that dei is no longer a nice to have, it's a must have in this growing economic climate. Michael Hingson 1:01:54 One of the things that I talk about, and some others talk about when we talk about inclusivity. And we talk specifically about, say blindness and hiring blind people is that, in reality, you are doing a disservice to your company, and you are missing out when you don't make inclusion. A recognized part of the cost of doing business pure and simple if you don't allow the company to recognize that everyone has expenses that the company incurs for and we we make accommodations, we make accommodations for sighted people, we have lights for you guys, we have a coffee machine for you guys. Yes, yes, we have windows so that you can look out and, and so on, we provide computer monitors and so on, but we don't necessarily provide the equivalents. The alternatives for those for a person who happens to be blind, or although it's a little bit more common, we don't necessarily tend to be as willing as we ought to be about making wheelchair ramps and other things like that. But the reality is, it's all part of the cost of doing business. And when you hire someone, and you make it a point to recognize that difference isn't going to matter here, and we're going to provide you with what you need, then that person is more apt to stay with you, statistically speaking, and there's a lot of absolute evidence to show that people will be more loyal, because we know how hard it is to get a job. When you're dealing with persons with disabilities, for example, where the unemployment rate is among unplayable people is in the 65% range. That's huge. And so, the fact is that we do appreciate jobs, and even more important, we are the ones who really ought to know what we need. And I applaud the interviewer or the employer, who will say to someone who is coming in applying for for a job, tell me what you need, and how we get it. Because a lot of times it doesn't need to be a cost to the company anyway. But bring that person in as part of the team to get themselves hired. Lindsey T. H. Jackson 1:04:28 Yes, yes. I couldn't have said it better. Absolutely. Inclusion is just a normal cost of business. Michael Hingson 1:04:38 Yeah, it should be. And it is something that we we really need to work on all the more to make it happen. Yes. Well, we've been doing this a while, which is fun. But I'd like to ask you to tell me how can people reach out to you learn more about you learn more about LTE HJ and so During and so on. Lindsey T. H. Jackson 1:05:02 Thank you. And great now, either you can find us through LTHJ global.com. Or through sojourndei.com. And the difference there is really one solution is for larger companies 155 Plus ad LTHJ. And for companies between one and 150 people add sojourn Dei. And we're excited to, as Michael said, helped make inclusion just a normal part of making your business great. Michael Hingson 1:05:40 So they can reach out and . Can they contact you through those? If they want to talk with you? Can they contact you through those sites? Or how does that work? Lindsey T. H. Jackson 1:05:49 Absolutely. Either. myself or one of my amazing teammates will respond immediately, you might end up talking to any number of wonderful people, the great Laura Kay Chamberlain, who's one of our co founders, or Jay Alba, is one of our co founders. But I'm also at most things at Lindsey, th, Jackson, LinkedIn, or Instagram are a really great way to connect with me personally and track as we continue to grow and scale. And I'd love to welcome you on our journey. Michael Hingson 1:06:28 And we met through LinkedIn. So I will tell you, it's a great way to connect. Lindsey T. H. Jackson 1:06:32 Absolutely. Hey, we should make sure you get like some royalty fees for that plug. Michael Hingson 1:06:37 Yeah, let's let's, let's go into LinkedIn and say, you know, we're doing all this for you. Lindsey T. H. Jackson 1:06:45 Absolutely. Oh, what a wonderful time. Michael Hingson 1:06:49 This was fun. And I really appreciate you, you coming on and being a part of this. And I said I was going to do it, Laura, you don't get to hide. Laura has been monitoring this. And I'm sure it's going to have fun talking with Lindsay afterward. But Laura, do you want to say hello, you can't? Laura Kay Chamberlain 1:07:06 How much I love this episode, and I feel a little a little bad that I get to be the very first one to witness it. And I just took that opportunity from everybody else feel like, I feel like, yeah, they're gonna be they're gonna be excited to hear this one come out. And just such a such a natural conversation between you two, this is great. Michael Hingson 1:07:31 No, this, this really was a lot of fun. And I appreciate both of you being here. And and I learned a lot, I always love to come on these episodes and have a chance to speak with people because I feel that I get to learn. And if, if I can learn then that's important to me. I hope I learned at least as much as anybody else. And I will, I will be going back and listening to this episode more than once to get it all. And to get the episode prepared for going up. But I really appreciate all the wisdom. And I hope we can do this some more, and would love to work with you. Lindsey T. H. Jackson 1:08:11 Thank you so much, Michael, this was really lovely. Thank you for holding the space and creating it. Michael Hingson 1:08:16 Well, I'm thank you for being here and helping to fill it in for all of you. Listening, I really appreciate you being here. So I hope that you will reach out to Lindsey and to Laura and I would love to hear your thoughts. So please reach out to me, you can email me through Michaelhi at accessibe A C C E S S I B E.com. Or go to Michael hingson.com/podcast. But I hope that you will definitely connect, love to hear your thoughts and please when you are done with this, which we're about to be, I hope that you'll give us a five star rating because your ratings and your comments are what really inspire and guide what we do from week to week. If anyone listening would like to be a guest please let me know. Please reach out. I would very much like to speak with you and we will talk about you being a guest as well. So Lindsay, one more time. Thank you very much for being here and let's do this again. Lindsey T. H. Jackson 1:09:19 Thank you. That will be our pleasure. Michael Hingson 1:09:27 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 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.
On this episode of Change Makers, we're celebrating Braille Literacy Month by examining its importance and its future. The future of braille is high-tech and because of that tech, it's creating partnerships, new braille formats, new outlines, and plans for APH's Holy Braille Highway. We'll also talk about which APH products help facilitate the learning of braille. After that, we're going to talk about the first ever APH Abacus Bee.On this Podcast (In Order of Appearance)Mark Riccobono, President, National Federation of the BlindAnne Durham, Vice President/Chief Officer, Innovation and StrategyGreg Stilson, Head of Global Technology InnovationPaul Ferrara, Communications Accessibility EditorSarah Bradley, Product Manager, Braille LiteracyLeanne Grillot, Senior Director Outreach ServicesEmir, Abacus Bee participantLouis, Abacus Bee ParticipantLuke, Abacus Bee participantAdditional LinksNational Federation of the Blind HomepageCelebrate World Braille DayBraille is Beautiful - YouTubeThe Dynamic Tactile Device: A New Solution to an Old ProblemFreeList/Dynamic Tactile DisplayFreeList/eBRFThe Next Stop on the Holy Braille Highway: 2022 and BeyondAPH Partners with DAISY Consortium on New Digital Braille Standard2022 Abacus BeeEmail LinksDTD@aph.org Additional Braille Product LinksAPH Light-Touch Perkins Brailler®Classroom Calendar Kit, English EditionClassroom Calendar Kit, Spanish EditionJanus Interline Braille Slate with Saddle-Shaped StylusMiniBook Slate with StylusesPocket Braille Slate (Pins Up), Clear Plastic with Large Handle Stylus BANA Code books, Also Available in Braille Braille Formats: Principles of Print-to-Braille Transcription, 2016 - Print Guidelines and Standards for Tactile Graphics, 2010, Print EditionBraille Code for Chemical Notation, 1997: Print Music Braille Code, 2015, Print
Our guest this time is Sylvia Bartley. She grew up in England and, after college, entered a career in clinical research. Along the way she joined Medtronic where she held positions in sales and marketing. Later she became interested in deep brain stimulation which lead her to combine past clinical experiences with her sales and marketing knowledge. You will get to hear Sylvia tell her story including how she moved through several jobs to a place where, as she will tell us, she transitioned more to a social orientation working to help different minority groups and, in fact, all of us to benefit from the medical advances she helped to bring about and introduce socially to the world. Sylvia left Medtronic earlier this year. She will tell us of her plans and desires. I promise that Sylvia's time with us is inspiring and well worth your hearing. You can even visit her website where you can hear her own podcast. Enjoy Silvia and be inspired. About the Guest: Sylvia Bartley is a health equity thought leader and influencer widely recognized as a neuroscientist, an advocate, and champion of social change, dedicated to advancing health equity through addressing barriers to care for minoritized communities and by addressing the social determinants of health. Sylvia's work is guided by a greater spiritual purpose rooted in mindfulness and intentionality. She has dedicated most of her professional career to creating opportunities for individuals living with chronic diseases to receive access to medical technologies. For the last 20 years, Sylvia has worked for Medtronic, the world's leading healthcare technology company, where she has held roles in sales, marketing, physician education, and philanthropy. During this time, Sylvia has led global teams to disseminate best surgical practices, advanced techniques, and products to treat Parkinson's Disease and other movement disorders. Most recently, Sylvia helped Medtronic develop an enterprise-wide health equity strategy aligned with customer interests, challenging disease states, and patient needs. As part of this work, Sylvia engages healthcare leaders, patients, and other stakeholders to uncover and address barriers patients face in receiving high-quality treatment for chronic illnesses. Her commitment to this effort promises to help transform how minoritized communities work with their healthcare providers to manage their chronic conditions. Her dedication to reducing healthcare disparities extends to her civic engagement. She provides minoritized communities with information and resources to help them make informed choices about critical conditions linked with social determinants of health (SDOH), including education, housing, economic stability, and environmental factors. She employs multiple platforms to reach and support communities, including board memberships with the African American Leadership Forum, the Association of Black Foundation Executives, and The Johnson Stem Activity Centre. She is also an advisory member for the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering for Georgia Tech and Emory University and a Regent for Augsburg University in MN. Sylvia took her work to a new platform when she published her first book, “Turning the Tide: Neuroscience, Spirituality, and My Path Toward Emotional Health,” which outlines the links between our brains and our souls while inspiring readers to change the world with that knowledge. During her spare time, Sylvia hosts a long-standing weekly community public affairs radio show and podcast, The More We Know Community Show. She interviews change-makers who level the playing field for all minorities by breaking barriers in their careers, lives, and communities. Sylvia has been recognized with numerous awards, including the Top 100 Most Influential and Powerful Black Briton awards, in 2022, 2021, 2020, and 2019. In 2021, she was awarded the Medtronic HR Stewardship Award and earned recognition for her service and commitment to the Twin Cities in 2020 with the African American Leadership Forum Community Award. Women in Business Award in 2017, and Diversity in Business Awards in 2013 from Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. Sylvia is also a 2014 Bush Fellow and AARP/Pollen's 50 over 50 award recipient. Sylvia earned a Ph.D. in Neurophysiology from St. Barts and The Royal London School of Medicine and Dentistry and holds a bachelor's degree in Pharmacology from the University of London. 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 Hi, everyone, welcome to unstoppable mindset. Glad to see you wherever you happen to be. I am your host, Mike Hingson. And our guest today is Sylvia Bartley, who is a thought leader or neuroscientist. And I'm not going to tell you any more than that, because we're going to make her tell you her whole story. Sylvia, welcome to unstoppable mindset. Sylvia Bartley 01:41 Thank you, Michael, it's a pleasure to be here with you today. Michael Hingson 01:45 Well, I was reading your bio. And there is there is a lot there. I know you've done a lot in dealing with diversity and equity and so on. And we'll talk about inclusion and you are a neuroscientist, which is fascinating in of itself. But why don't we start Tell me a little bit about you maybe growing up just how you started and how you got kind of where you are? Sylvia Bartley 02:06 Yeah, happy to. So where do I start? I think I grew up in the UK, born and bred. And born to two Caribbean parents, my parents are from St. Lucia and Jamaica. And they came to England in the 50s because of the promise of jobs and great access and opportunities. And so they came across they met and they had four children. And growing up in the UK, it was it was a fairly good experience. I won't say the experience racism, or any such thing directly. I was in a predominantly white neighborhood, I went to a very good Catholic school, where I received an excellent education. And I went on to work in the Royal London School of Medicine and Dentistry, where I became a research technician. And I worked there for 13 years. And during my tenure there, I did lots of research on the somatosensory cortex, looking at brain plasticity, and long term potentiation and memory and learning. And so this was a very new field. For me, this was not something I aspire to do. When I was growing up in school, I was very intrigued and very engaged in that particular area in neurophysiology, and I was surrounded by these phenomenal academics and teachers, that really taught me a lot. And during that time, that's when I got my first degree in applied biology specializing in psychopharmacology and my second degree, my PhD in neurophysiology. And again, my work was on the somatosensory cortex, looking at brain plasticity, in response to our experience, our innocuous experience. And I was very intrigued by that work. I'm very intrigued by the the kind of deep, intrinsic pneus of the brain and the function of the brain and obviously, how it really controls everything that we do. But I knew after I did my PhD that I wanted to do some more work that was more clinical facing. And so I left the academic environment and I entered into the medical device field, where I started off in cells, selling wires and stents, interventional cardiology, in the heart of London to the big cardiac centers. And then I quickly transitioned into Medtronic, the large the largest standalone medical device company in the world, and a solid themselves of intrathecal baclofen for B, and then quickly moved to a Furby called Deep Brain Stimulation. And there I was in heaven because that really married the work I did in kind of basic clinical science and, and medicine to the clinical application. And with this therapy And it was approved to be used for patients with Parkinson's disease dystonia, a central tremor. Now, it's for epilepsy OCD. And there's lots of research not approved yet in clinical depression, and other areas. So very taken up. And my work was literally to go to different hospitals that did deep brain stimulation, and train the neurosurgeons and the neurosurgical teams, how to do the DBS procedure, in particular, how to use the advanced technologies that Medtronic brought to this particular Furby. So it was a really fantastic job, it took me too many hours on it, you know, the fabulous surgeons are great minds out there, doing the work. And in addition to that, I met loads of patients and their families, particularly patients living with Parkinson's disease, and when he got to understand their pathway and their experience, and how this therapy really helped to alleviate their symptoms, so it could improve their quality of lives. And that role took me across the United Kingdom. And then, you know, it expanded to Western Europe. So every day, I'll get up and I'll get on a plane to a different country, a different hospital, a different neurosurgical team and spend the best part of my days in a while during a DBS procedure, working with the neurosurgeon and their teams to make sure we disseminate those best procedural practices using the technology. And one of the things I loved about that particular role is I could use the electrophysiological experience that I had in a medical school, doing the single cell recordings in vitro, and do that literally on patients with Parkinson's disease, to identify the brain structures in order for for the physician to locate the lead in an accurate location. Michael Hingson 06:54 Well, tell me, tell me a little bit more, if you would about deep brain stimulation, what is it? What what do you do? And just kind of help us understand a little bit more about that, if you would? Sylvia Bartley 07:05 Yeah, sure. So deep brain stimulation is actually a therapy where you apply an a very fine electrode into deep structures of the brain, and the structures that you implant the electrode, they have to be approved structures. So things under the FDA or the to have approval, and you apply chronic stimulation by a an implantable pulse generator that's implanted under the skin, in in the clavicle area. And it's connected by these electrodes and extension cord into that deep structure of the brain. So it's an internal system, it's a medical device that is in is implanted into the patient, and it stays in there. And basically, you control the device and the amount of current that you apply through the electrodes, through the battery through telemetry. And it's been around now for over 35 years. It's proven, particularly in the area of parkinson disease, as I mentioned earlier, it's using other therapy areas, but it really does alleviate the symptoms of these movement disorders. And these movement disorders, they're kind of de neurodegenerative, ie they get worse over time, primarily, not everybody, but most people. So you have the ability to adjust the settings remotely via to military to make sure you're applying the right stimulation. And it's really important that the lead is placed accurately. And that the stimulation is only stimulating that area, because it's surrounded by these other complicated structures. And if you stimulate those areas, you can get side effects that are not, you know, that makes it very uncomfortable and, you know, almost sometimes unbearable. So you've got to be precise in your location, and in your stimulation of parameters, and it's tailored to the patient. Now, this isn't suitable for every patient, there is a selection criteria, the neurologist, the movement disorder, numerologist plays the role in selecting the patients making sure they meet the selection criteria. And they also play the important role of managing the parameters and the stimulation parameters after the lead is implanted. So you're really kind of connected to this device for the rest of your life. It does improve the quality of your life, it's in the right area of the brain and the stimulation parameters are accurate, and you're a right fit for this particular therapy. And it's done all over the world in in many different countries literally, it's probably got approvals in in most countries. Now what I will say is the regulatory approvals are different in every country. So not every condition is approved. But typically, Parkinson disease dystonia is approved throughout the world. Michael Hingson 09:59 You If so, when the electrodes and the devices is implanted, and you begin to use it, and I appreciate that, you need to clearly know what you're doing. And you need to be very careful. Other than let's take Parkinson's as an example where you are, the visible signs are that you're, you're changing the amount of improper movements or unwanted movements and so on. What is the patient feel? Sylvia Bartley 10:31 Well, that's a great question. So clearly, before they come to us, they've reached a certain point in their pathway, where the medication is not working well for them, they probably get an imbalance of complications or side effects as opposed to clinical benefits. So it comes to a point in their journey, depending on how far the condition advances, that there is a surgical intervention. And there's many other surgical intervention like vagal nerve stimulation, but deep brain stimulation is one of them. And at the early stages, it was almost like the the very end like you have to be very advanced. But with all the technology, now it can be done kind of earlier in the pathway, but the patients are kind of in a in a bad way, when they get to the point of having deep brain stimulation. And so during the surgery, typically, not always, typically, because the procedure is done in so many different ways. But typically, the patient is awake, there are local anesthesia, Ebenezer daily, they're awake, and they're awake, because when you put the lead in the brain, during the procedure, then you ologists comes in and does what they call physiological testing. So they can apply stimulation during the surgery to make sure that it's really doing what it's supposed to do alleviate the symptoms, and not without any side effects. So they do a battery or test and application of different stimulation parameters. And the patient can respond directly to say, Well, yeah, you know, you can see if the tremors stop in or if the dystonia is, is been averted, but also the patient can tell you how they're feeling. Michael Hingson 12:14 So they can say things like, and I don't know that you're anywhere near the part of the brain that does that. But you can say things like, I'm hearing a high pitched tone, or I'm hearing a noise or I'm hearing music, which, as I said, may not be anywhere near where you're talking about. But the point is, and I've heard about that before and read about it before, where many times during operations involving the brain, the neurologists would be asking a patient exactly what they sense because, in part, they're mapping different parts of the brain, but they want to make sure that, that they're either getting the results that they want, or they discover something new, which is always helpful. Sylvia Bartley 12:52 Yeah, exactly. And they do map the brain. And that's why electrophysiological recordings is a good way of doing it. And now we have advanced technologies, there's multiple electrodes that can apply stimulation in different ways. So it really does advance the way in which we do the procedure. But you're absolutely right, we do them up and they make sure they don't get any side effects. For example, your vision, you're near the areas in the brain that is related to your optic nerve, and you want to make sure that they're not getting any double vision or their eyes are not moving towards their nose and sweating is another one. And you know, dystonia putting up the side of the mouth, it is another one as well. So these are very serious side effects that can impact their quality of life. So the goal is to improve it. So making sure that we get the best optimal outcomes. And that's why it's typically done away. But there's now lots of advancements in medical technology and there's lots of research and people looking into doing the procedure asleep. Because it is uncomfortable for the patient. They've got a stereotactic frame on their head, it looks like age, they've got four pins in their head, you know, someone's drilling a 14 millimeter burr hole in their scar while they're awake. So you know, I go to the dentist and having my teeth drilled under local anesthesia is very uncomfortable. So I can't imagine what it feels like when you're in your worst state because the patient is not on medication, because we want them to have the symptoms of Parkinson's. So when we apply this stimulation, and look at me saying we I am so used to saying I want to say they apply this stimulation, you want to see that it's been alleviated. So the patient is not very, not feeling very well anyway, and then they have to go through this procedure, which can last anything from two hours if it's done asleep and experience hand to seven, eight hours. And so it's a long time for the patient. So you know the but the patient is so relieved, grateful and just kind of elated. When the symptoms are alleviated, and their quality of life has been improved, so if I was to like dystonic patients as well, where they have very severe distortion as muscle contractions, and they're, they're in the most kind of painful positions. And it's almost like a miracle, I used to call it the miracle cure, even though it doesn't cure the illness, but it really does alleviate those horrific symptoms that really does impair their quality of life. Michael Hingson 15:32 Does it have does it have an effect on longevity? If you're using deep brain stimulation? And if it's working, does it? I know, it's not a cure? But does it have any effect on the person's longevity? Sylvia Bartley 15:46 To be honest, I'm not sure about the return, if there's any recent findings about this, but to my knowledge, no, it doesn't stop or slow down the progression of the condition, alleviates the symptoms. And I haven't looked recently into any research to see if that is different. But you know, for a very long time, there was no evidence to support that it slows it down just improves the quality of life by alleviating the symptoms. Michael Hingson 16:13 Yeah, so it's dealing with the symptoms, and certainly not the cause. When the surgery is is occurring, or afterward, I'm assuming may be incorrectly but having gone through one just as part of a test many years ago, I assume that there are differences that show up when the brain is stimulated, that show up on an EEG. What do you mean? Well, so if I'm watching, if I'm watching on an electroencephalograph and watching a person's brain patterns, and so on, are there changes when the brain is being stimulated? Can you tell anything from that or is it strictly by watching the patient and their symptoms disappearing or or going away to a great degree? Sylvia Bartley 16:58 Yeah, so primarily, it's watching the symptoms disappear by but then secondarily, there are new technologies, where we look at local field potentials. And the electrode is connected to an implantable pulse generator that has the ability to sense and monitor brainwaves during the chronic stimulation. And again, this is called local field potentials and sensing. And the idea there is, hopefully to identify when you can stimulate as opposed to applying chronic stimulation to do many things, one, if you can anticipate or identify a marker in the brain. And if you stimulate to reduce that marker, you can reduce the symptoms. And so it's almost like a closed loop, closed loop system. And that will also have an impact on the battery life. Because one of the challenges with deep brain stimulation is you've got to, obviously, it's driven by battery is an implantable pulse generator, we want to make it as small and as powerful as possible to to have clinical effect. And so battery life and longevity is something that's constantly being looked at. And this is a way of reducing the battery, we have rechargeables now, but still, after a period of time, like nine or 10 years, you still have to replace implantable pulse generator, because the battery, you know, life needs to be replenished or changed in one of the not not replenished. But you need to change the battery, because there's no guarantee that it can recharge at the rate that it could before. Michael Hingson 18:40 So I asked, I asked a question only basically because being a physics guy, I love quantitative things as opposed to qualitative things. And that's why I was asking if there are ways to see differences in in brain patterns and so on. That may be a totally irrelevant question. But that's why I asked the question. Sylvia Bartley 18:57 Yeah, no, no, not at all. Like I said, sensing is a thing now that they are monitoring and looking for biomarkers and looking at brain activities. While it's in the patient, and that's very advanced, because that hasn't been done before. So yeah, Michael Hingson 19:13 yeah, it's definitely cutting edge. I'd use that term. It's bleeding edge technology. Yeah, absolutely. In a lot of ways. Sylvia Bartley 19:21 Absolutely. But you know, I've been out of DBS now for, let's say, six years. So I may not be as common as I used to be. But that's that's the basis and the premise of it. Michael Hingson 19:32 Well, people have called you a unicorn. What do you think about that and why? I had to ask. Sylvia Bartley 19:39 And I love that question. And I think they call Well, what they tell me I'm a unicorn is that I have this very diverse background. There's not many people like me, that can talk about Deep Brain Stimulation at the level that I do and have that technical experience and reputation that I did globally to be there. DBS expert. And then secondly, you know, I am this corporate person that worked a lot in marketing and lived in three different countries, very culturally fluid and diverse, and known as a good leader of people, and definitely, with some strong business acumen, but then I think they call me a unicorn, because I'm very much engaged in community, particularly the black community. And as you know, there are many disparities in the black communities or communities of color. And I'm kind of driven, it's just within me to really work and use the skills and connections that I have to help create conditions that everybody thrives in communities, no matter who they are, the conditions they were born into, and their circumstances. And I really live that out, I really work hard in communities voluntarily, to really advance equity, whether it's education, health, or economic, economic wealth. And I do that very seriously. And I think that's really given me a reputation of being a community leader, particularly in Minnesota in the Twin Cities where I live for nine years. I love Minnesota, I love the community. And I really love working in the Twin Cities community to advance equity, because the Twin Cities has one of the largest disparities when it comes to all of those social determinants of health. And for many years, it was ranked the second worst state in the country, for African Americans to live based on the disparities in those social determinants of health. So there is a knowledge and an awareness and a propensity and willingness of many people from diverse backgrounds, to come together to try and solve that, to make Minnesota a great place for everybody to live, work and play. And so really got engaged in that in that arena. And I think that's what really got me my reputation of being not just a corporate leader, but community lead and very passionate about doing that work. And I've also heard that people find it difficult to do both my job was very demanding, it was a global job. I literally traveled globally, even when I was doing philanthropy, but, but when I came back home, just getting seriously engaged in a community and doing it at a serious level, and being very impactful on it. And that's why I think people call me a unicorn, because I have this passion for community, particularly advancing the minoritized communities together with, you know, being a corporate leader and doing that well. And that's my understanding why people call me a unicorn. But also I think, I don't fit into a box, I, when you look at my resume, you say, well, there's a lot on there, I've done a lot, but they're all very different. You know, I've got this passion for emotional Alpha got this passion for neuroscience, I got a passion for community, I've got a passion for philanthropy. I've done marketing and, and strategy and operations. And so you know, I like to blend all of those together, and do the work to advance equity, particularly, in particular health equity. But that is no cookie cutter cookie cutter role, you know, and so that's why I think I'm very kind of unique and different in that way. Well, it's Michael Hingson 23:19 interesting, you clearly started out with a very technical background. And you have evolved in a sense, if you will, from that, or you have allowed yourself to diversify and to go into other areas, as you said, into marketing and such as that, how did that come about? And you because you, you clearly had carved out a great niche in a lot of specific technical ways. And you clearly have a great technical knowledge. And I'm a great fan of people who can take knowledge from one arena, and and use the skills that you learn from that elsewhere. Like, from being very technical. My master's degree is in physics. And I started out doing scientific things and then, through circumstances went into sales. So I appreciate where you're coming from. But how did you make that transition? Or how did you add that to what you do maybe is a better way to put it? Sylvia Bartley 24:19 Yeah, I think I just want to go to path and purpose. I think it was just my path. And I was open unconsciously in following my path because I really did not have like a five or 10 year career goal, to say this is my trajectory. But what I did have was passion and love for certain things. And I love neurophysiology. I love working with physicians. I love being in a clinical setting. And I love working in a business environment as well. And I love teaching. When I was on the in the academic institution. I did a lot of teaching. The roles I did initially in a medical device industry was teaching as they call it a sales rep role, but when you're working with therapies, in medical device, you're teaching people a lot about the firm a lot about your devices, the science behind your devices, and you're bringing people together, you're, you're holding meetings. And in order to be an expert, you're constantly learning. And then you're also teaching. And so what I was doing the kind of technical role, I was also very strategic in that, you know, just imagine I was traveling around, let's just say, Western Europe at this point, different countries, and coming across different challenges in a procedure, and noticing, you know, talking to my colleagues that they had the same challenge, and we will problem solve together. And then every day, there's a new challenge, right? So every day, we went to a different procedure, every day, we learned something new because there was a new challenge or something appeared that didn't happen before. And so, in my mind, I wanted to go from a one on one teaching and improvement to how can I do this more strategically? So really thinking across Western Europe to say, how can we teach all these other folks that are also a specialist in these areas, about what we're learning and how to mitigate those challenges that we're having. So that transition for me having to been very technical, with great experience to being a leader of other technical people, where I put together trainings and programs for both staff that were experts, and also physicians, who were doing deep brain stimulation. So we developed a program in Western Europe that's still alive and well today and scaled significantly with young neurosurgeons on how to do the DBS procedure. And so working with physicians from across Western Europe to develop this curriculum, and execute it really well, that it's, again, serving and and really helping to train hundreds of neurosurgeons. You know, it just went from the doing the technical to the teaching, externally and internally, and then also being very strategic, to say, how can we work to improve all of these challenges that we're seeing, and it came, you know, with me moving to Switzerland, to be the procedure solutions, Senior Product Manager for Western Europe, where I really took on this role, and it was very much more strategic. And that's how I got into marketing. I never did an MBA, you know, I did some really great trainings with the Wharton School marketing fundamentals, etc. But I never did a dedicated like two year MBA, but I just learned through experience in and I and re exposure, great leaders to learn from, and it just evolved from there Michael Hingson 27:45 in sales. What what specifically were you selling? What product Sylvia Bartley 27:51 sells, so variety of product wise instance? So interventional interventional cardiology, stent, some wires, and that was that was probably the hardest sell, because it's a stent and a wire and there was many companies out there, are you very competitive? So you know, what differentiates yours from another? So I really cut my teeth on sales, selling that product in the Highlander that was highly competitive. Michael Hingson 28:18 Did you did you? Did you ever have a situation where you were selling and working with a customer? And and I don't know whether this applies to you and what you sold? But did you ever have a situation where you discovered that your product might not be the best product for them? Or would that come up with what you were selling? Sylvia Bartley 28:40 Um, I gotta say no, because what we what we were selling? No. So if I think about the whys instead, no, because it's a oneness den and anybody that needed to have that procedure, they needed one guy. Now, clearly, there were differences in sizes, and the type of stent, but our stents were very applicable to most situations as as long as we had the appropriate sizes. This would work in terms of intrathecal, baclofen and kind of capital equipment for deep brain stimulation that was very specific to the customer and their needs. And I will, I will say this on a podcast, I work for the best medical device company in the world, of course. And I still stand by that I believe our products are the best in the business, particularly when it comes to deep brain stimulation. We founded this Virpi alongside Professor Bennett bead in Grenoble, in France. In the 1980s. We were kind of the founders of this Philippian and a product we had a monopoly, but over 25 years, I'm not saying that makes us the best but we got the great experience the know how new technology, and I want to correct myself I keep saying we I no longer work for this company, but I've been there for 20 years. So get out of that same so I just want to be very clear to the audience. This is my past role, and I'm not longer work with with them. But again, it was a long time. And I did DBS for about 15 years. So it's very near and dear to my heart. But I do believe they have the best product still today, and are doing exceptionally well, alleviating those symptoms for those particular therapy. Michael Hingson 30:15 You raise a good point, though, but habits are sometimes not easy to break. It's been 21 years since I worked well, 20 years since I worked for Quantum. And I still say we so it's okay. Thank you, we understand. And I asked the question, because we had products that I sold, that were similar to products from other companies. But there were differences. And sometimes our products might not meet a customer's need. Whereas other products had differences that made them a better fit. And I was just curious to see if you really found that and it sounds like you didn't really have that kind of an issue. And so you had to sell in part based on other things like the reputation of the company, the quality of the company, and other things like that, which, which is perfectly reasonable and makes perfect sense. Sylvia Bartley 31:09 Yeah, I mean, there's also the kind of referral side of this. And that's where that's where the work is. And the decisions almost have been done, where you have to identify the right patient for the therapy. And then once that is done, and the patient is selected, then it's which device, you know. And at that point, our devices is suitable for all patients that knee deep brain stimulation. Michael Hingson 31:31 Yeah. So you're, you're going at it in a different way, you need to find the people who had fits in that makes perfect sense. Well, what really caused you to have that? Well, let me ask you something else. First, I, well, I'll ask this, I started and I'll finish it, what would cause you to have the drive and the passion that you have now for more of a social kind of connection and moving into more dealing with social issues, as it were? Sylvia Bartley 32:00 Well, you know, as a well, let me put it this way. When I was working, doing all of this therapy, traveling the world Sylvia Bartley 32:12 1000s of DBS procedures, and working with lots of people, I didn't come across many people of color that were receiving these therapies, for whatever reason, and it kind of strikes me as odd. Because it, it shouldn't be a phobia for the privilege, it should be a phobia for everybody. And, you know, United States insurance, and access has a lot to do with that, and outside the United States. You know, I still didn't see it. So anybody, actually, I think I probably saw two black people receiving this burpee. So I've always been mindful of things like that. And obviously, as a black person, I'm very mindful and aware of disparities and discrimination. And I've always had a heart to address discrimination, or not discrimination, equity, as I mentioned earlier on in a discussion. So I've always looked at the world through that lens, in everything that I do. And I always try and do whatever I can, to to help or advance equity. It's just something that will never leave me. And so you know, even at the tender age of 27, when I was a single parent of two children, I got engaged in community, I became the Chair of a large nonprofit that provided subsidized childcare for lone parents. And I did that because there was discrimination in their practices against people of color. And I really wanted to help advance that work by helping to develop policies and programs and a culture, you know, was for everybody. And I worked with the NHS, the non executive team voluntarily, I was a lay chair for the independent review panel, looking at cases where people complained against the NHS for lots of things, including discrimination. But that wasn't the only kind of topic. And it's just work that I continue to do. And when I moved to United States, I just got deeply involved in that as well. So it came to the point after 15 years in in one kind of area of expertise, where I had my foot in both camps of foot in the community, working lots of nonprofits voluntarily to doing the work in a corporation. And really, you know, always wondering how I can marry the two or should I cross over and go deeply into community work. And five years later, here I am, I've left the corporation and I'm taking a little bit of a break, but I really want to get back into working for a nonprofit, close to community Either he's advancing equity, hopefully in health, or around those social determinants of health. So it's just something that's been a red thread throughout my career in life. And I really want to double down on it now, at this point in my career, this point in the world where everything is super crazy, and polarize, and really do whatever I can, and leverage my experience, in healthcare, in community in philanthropy, to advance equity for everybody. Michael Hingson 35:29 So you mentioned NHS and NHS is what Sylvia Bartley 35:32 I'm sorry, NHS is a national health service in the UK, it's valuable for data that provides a health service where you pay a nominal amount if you're working. I forget what the percentage is, but you pay a very tiny amount that comes out of your salary, you don't even notice it. And everyone has access to health care. Michael Hingson 35:51 Got it? So when did you leave med tech? Sylvia Bartley 35:54 I left my tech at the end of June this year to only recent, this recent Yeah. Hi, gosh. Michael Hingson 36:03 So what are you doing now? Or are you are working for anyone or you just took a break for a little while to recoup and reassess? Sylvia Bartley 36:11 Yeah, I've taken a little bit of a break. It's amazing how tired I've been I you know, I've been working really hard globally for the last God knows how many years 3030 plus years. So just welcomed a little bit of a break. Yes, I am looking for other opportunities again, in primarily in a nonprofit space to do the community poster community where wherever I apologize with advancing equity minoritized communities that hopefully, health equity. So I'm looking at doing that. And yeah, we'll just see what happens. But at the moment, I am volunteering at a fabulous nonprofit organization here in Atlanta, called the Johnson stem activity center. It's an organization that was founded by Dr. Lonnie Johnson. He's an inventor of the Super Soaker. And they run some phenomenal programs, robotic programs, computing, computer programs, egaming, coding, virtual reality for students, but particularly for minoritized communities. In this particular center, they give them access to equipment and resources and teams to really get engaged in STEM through these programs. And I just love working. Now unfortunately, I don't live too far away. I go there during the week, and I work with Dr. Johnson and Linda Moore, who oversee this organization together with other entities, and is really taken aback because it's a heart of Atlanta, it's very community driven. And they're doing some excellent work. And to see the young students, particularly those from minoritized communities, build robots and their eyes light up when they're talking about STEM, and what they want to be like an astronaut or cybersecurity, you know, it's just, it's just amazing. So that takes up a lot of my time together with networking, and, you know, socializing. So, and that's what I'm doing right now. Michael Hingson 38:08 So are you in Atlanta or Minneapolis? Now, Minneapolis? Sylvia Bartley 38:12 I've been here two years. Yes. Okay. Michael Hingson 38:15 So you don't get to have as many snowball fights in Atlanta, as you did in Minneapolis. St. Paul? Sylvia Bartley 38:20 Yeah. No. And it was too cold to have snowball fights. Yeah. Michael Hingson 38:29 Well, you know, it's, it's one of those subjects worth exploring? Well, I have to ask this just because I'm, I'm curious and as you know, from looking at me a little bit, dealing a lot with with disabilities, and so on. So with the with the organization that you're you're volunteering with, and as they're creating games and so on, do they do anything to make the things that they do inclusive, accessible, safe for people who happen to be blind or low vision or have other disabilities? Has that been something that they've thought about or might be interested in thinking about? Because clearly, if we're really going to talk about inclusion, that's an area where we tend to generally as a society missed the mark. Sylvia Bartley 39:14 Yeah, absolutely. Inclusion, you know, includes people with disabilities. It sure. Yeah, absolutely. So I think we are set up for that. I don't know we have any students that fall into that category, to be honest, because there's anything from 5000 to 10,000 students that pass through that center per year, but it's definitely something I will go back and ask them about, but I know the facilities itself is is accessible for everybody. So Michael Hingson 39:48 well. Accessibility from a physical standpoint is part of it. Yeah, but but then you've got the other issues like documentation and other things for a blind person for example to read but the the reason And I'm bringing up the question is, a lot of times, and I'm not saying in any way that that's what you're experiencing, but a lot of times I hear when I talk to people about whether what they do is inclusive. Well, we've never had blind students, or we've never had a person with this disability or that disability. And the problem is, that's true. But you know, which comes first the chicken or the egg? Do you need to have the students before you make the inclusion happen? Or do you make the inclusion happen, and then tell people so that they will come because so often, most of us just don't pay attention to or even think about trying to pay attention to things where there isn't access, because we're just working hard to deal with what we can get some inclusion and accessibility out. Oh, so the other things never really get our focus. And it has to start somewhere. And typically, from my experience, it really happens best when somebody starts the process of making sure that there is inclusion, accessiBe that I worked for, that makes products that helped make websites more inclusive and available to persons with disabilities started, because it's an Israeli company where the law said you got to make websites accessible. And the guys who started it, actually, first work for a company well started a company that made websites. And then two years after they formed the company, Israel came along and said, You got to make our websites accessible. So then they started doing it. And the the population of customers for accessiBe has grown tremendously, because people recognize the value of doing it. And it's not mostly overly expensive to do. But it really starts better there than waiting for the demand. Because it should be part of the cost of doing business. Sylvia Bartley 42:03 Yeah, absolutely. I agree with you. And JSOC, it's a it's a special place. Typically, people contact JSOC. And they say we want to bring our students here or run the programs in the facility. And so that's typically how kind of that kind of their programming works. You know, the programs are developed based on the partnerships. It is a smaller nonprofit. And we're trying to, you know, we're currently going to go into a capital campaign, so we can raise money to have staff, there's no staff there right now, it is all done by volunteers. And so you know, we really want to build the organization to have staff, so we can do better programming, we can scale and we can do more things that makes us more inclusive. Yeah. So yes, that's a really good point. Michael Hingson 42:52 And volunteers are the heart and souls of nonprofits, and often really do shape the mission. And then it's, some of them become staff, of course, but it's up to the volunteers and the people to really shape the mission going forward. And then that's an important thing to do. So I'm with you. Sylvia Bartley 43:13 Absolutely. Michael Hingson 43:15 So where where is next for you? Do you have any notion yet? Or are you just enjoying what you're doing, and you're not yet overly concerned about some sort of way to get paid for what you do? Sylvia Bartley 43:29 Right now, you know, there's a couple of irons in the fire was leave it at that, we'll see what pans out. I'm all about path and purpose and the universe, doing its thing. So we will see what happened there. But in the meantime, I'm continuing to do what I love, which is really getting involved volunteer, and, you know, network and do my podcast to go out to have a podcast. And that gives me more time to focus on that, because I'm purely doing that by myself. And making sure I get good guests and good topics and, you know, really providing information that can help our listeners make good decisions about their lifestyle. will tell us Michael Hingson 44:08 more about the podcast about podcasts, because obviously we're on one now. So I'd love to love to learn more. Sylvia Bartley 44:17 You know, podcasts is a way of getting information out there to to our listeners in a different way. Right? I think people are getting very tired or the traditional media outlets and podcasts is taken off. And my podcast is called the more we know, community show. Conversations cultivating change. And really again, it's focusing on addressing the social determinants of health by primarily for the black community. And I do that through storytelling, really having great guests that are changemakers leaders, really driving change either through their story of what they do, or you know, working with a nonprofit and also talking about equity and providing infant ation around health equity and what people need to know, in order to make good decisions about their health and their lifestyle. And it's all about information. And it's data driven information as well. And my guest often nominal third is, again, changemakers in their own right, and just very inspiring. And so I use this platform to tell them stories to tell their truths, to provide information. It's also a radio show in Minnesota on camo J, a 9.9 FM every Sunday at 12, noon, central time. So I got to produce this thing on a weekly basis. So that takes a lot as well. So now that I am not working full time, I've got time to focus on that and to develop it as well. So yeah, that's what I'm doing my podcast. Michael Hingson 45:48 Well, that's pretty cool. And you're having fun producing it and learning to be an audio editor and all those things. Sylvia Bartley 45:54 Well, I have something for me, I'm not going to attempt to do that. But I have to find my guest. And obviously, the content, and I review the edit in and I do the little marketing for it. So it's quite a lot, as you know, and I do it on a weekly basis. After the knock it out. Sometimes I do replays, but I gotta knock it out. And so I'm looking here to get some sponsorship, hopefully, so I can hire folks to do it, to do it for me, and, you know, do a better job on my social media. I'm not very good at that. It takes a lot of time. And I don't have the time to do all of that. So Michael Hingson 46:31 it doesn't I used to put out a newsletter on a regular basis. And, and don't anymore just because the time gets away. Time flies, and social media is a great time sponge. So it's, it's easy to spend a lot of time doing social media, and there are only so many hours in the day. Sylvia Bartley 46:49 Exactly, exactly. And there's so many talented people out there doing social media. I can't even even if I tried, you know? Michael Hingson 46:56 Yeah. Yeah, some of us just have different gifts. Who are some of your favorite guests for your podcast? Sylvia Bartley 47:05 You know, I've had so many gays I started doing this in 2015 under a different brand called the black leadership redefined. And primarily based in Minnesota. And so my guess had been anybody from Senator Tina Smith to Chief of Police, Rondo, Redondo to the Attorney General Keith Ellison, to nickimja levy Armstrong, who's a civil rights activist in the Twin Cities, to all of these phenomenal African American female coaches and leaders and ministers. I've had some deep, meaningful, moving conversations with people. But I think the ones that moved me the most are those that are telling their stories that kind of break your heart. And it doesn't move, make it it breaks your heart, but it moves me because they took their pain. And they transform that to something impactful, that really impacts and change the lives of many. And typically there are people whose spouses or, or siblings or loved ones has been murdered through to sex trafficking or at the hands of the police or at the hands of, obviously criminals. And what they did with that to really start nonprofits and provide refuge and help and support for other people. Those stories really touched me the most, you know, Michael Hingson 48:33 yeah. You have written a book, or how many books have you written? I've just written one, just one so far. So far. That's enough. Sylvia Bartley 48:42 That one's brewing at some point. Michael Hingson 48:45 Well, Tom, tell me about your book, if you would. Sylvia Bartley 48:47 Yeah, my book is called turn aside. Using spirituality and my path to emotional health. And the book I wrote, really, because on my interest in science, the brain neurophysiology and spirituality, and emotional health, and recognizing that the areas in the brain that are associated with all fear, those are areas that intersect at some point, or are the same areas. So that got me and then with my experience, working in the field of Parkinson's and movement disorders, we have all these wonderful experts from around the world and what I learned in their presence and by taking seminars, I recognized that there was a intersectionality between these three, and then I took my own experience, and wondered how I can use this information for the better right to help heal myself, someone living with depression, as well as helping giving back to community. And so I, you know, start the book off by doing a part by biography so the audience could connect with me and understand where I'm coming from, but then going deep into not really deep but going into the side Science, and making that connection, and how we can use that to really help improve our lives or the lives of others. And there's a lot in there about volunteering and giving back to my community. Because when I think about my living with my depression, at the time, it was pretty bad when I wrote the book. And, you know, I even wrote in a book that I saw it as a gift, because it really does help me to go deep internally, to connect to, you know, my spiritual path to really understand why I'm suffering like this emotionally. What am I supposed to do with it? And, you know, how do I help other people, and it kept me, I was like, getting me grounded. But it really did really get me to ask those deep spiritual questions, which has really helped me to evolve as a person, spiritually, emotionally and physically. And so, you know, the book really centered around that, and how we can use that knowledge, about intersectionality will free to really help other people's lives as well. And then not to mention talking, talking about depression is something that many people do, particularly those who are very visible and in senior leadership positions. But it was important for me to do so because I want to help normalize it. I want to get to a point where we can talk about depression, and people stop saying that you're brave, and you're being vulnerable. And you're being very courageous, because it, there's a high percentage of people that have depression, and not many people want to talk about it, because of the stigma, and the shame that unfortunately, is still associated with emotional health and mental wellness. So you know, I'm doing my liberal part to help break that stigma, and to get people to talk about it. Because once you talk about it, and you acknowledge it in my situation, it was a first step towards healing. And I lived with depression, undiagnosed for most of my life, being diagnosed in 2017, when I published my book, was just very cathartic. And it was a big weight off my shoulder because I didn't have to hide it. I didn't have to battle it behind closed doors, and for the first time, I got help, and then I could address it in a very mindful, holistic way that really has helped me. And I can proudly say, today, I feel the best I've ever felt in my whole entire life, emotionally, physically, and spiritually, Michael Hingson 52:25 is depression, more of a physical or mental and emotional thing? Sylvia Bartley 52:31 Well, it is a physiological it can be I mean, depression comes in many forms, and it's different for everybody. But there's absolutely a physiological component to some kind of depression with as a chemical imbalance, due to some over activity under activity, or certain areas in our brain, particularly the basal ganglia, which is your kind of seed of emotion. And so, you know, that's, that's definitely one of the causes, but not many people know, what are the like real cause of people's depression, because it's different for everybody. And sometimes it could be experiential, it could be any reaction to something very traumatic. And then hopefully, those situations it doesn't kind of last long. But if it is, neurochemical, then definitely people you know, need to get professional help for that outside of talk therapy. Michael Hingson 53:26 Right. Well, in terms in terms of spirituality, how does that enter into and when you talk about spirituality? What do you mean by that? Sylvia Bartley 53:38 So what I mean about that is I mean, looking inwards and looking like at the wider plan, knowing that I call it the universe, right? People will say, call it God, or, and I do believe in God, and I pray to God, right talk about universal timing and the power of the universal. And knowing that there is a bigger plan, greater than us, there was a life here before us, I believe, we chose up I believe we choose our parents, I believe, we come here with an assignment, everybody comes with an assignment. And I believe that by saying that, I believe we will have our path and our purpose. And my goal is to align with my path and my purpose so I can really live to my full potential in this lifetime. And that's what I mean about spirituality. So it's less about the external factors, less about striving to externally achieved but more to internally achieved, and that achievement is alignment with my spiritual path and purpose. And I believe once I do that, and when I achieve that, everything will fall into place, and I'll be at peace, and I will kind of live my full life and I'm and again, I don't know if I'll ever be fully on my path and purpose. I'm always seeking. I call myself a seeker. I'm always seeking I'm asking a question, but I feel I'm pretty much on the on track and it feels Good. And I know when I'm off track because it doesn't feel good when I'm doing things that doesn't sit right with me. And, you know, it's not it's very difficult for me to do and it's not what I'm supposed to be doing. And so I'm aware enough now to say, well, I'm going to submit that to the universe. And I'm just going to, you know, reset and redirect myself to make sure that I am on path so I can do it on put on this earth to do and as well. Yeah. Michael Hingson 55:27 Whether you call it the universe, or God, do you believe that God talks to us, Sylvia Bartley 55:33 I believe God talks us in many ways. Now, you know, you're not going to hear a voice or you're not going to see a burning bush either. But you're going to have signs some people do. That's not me. But you'll have signs you will have feelings. And you will hear stuff, it's not going to be a voice again, but you will hear messages. And and that will come maybe in your dreams, maybe through another person that you're talking to. But the important thing is, one has got to be in a place to be able to hear and receive, I believe this is of Michael Hingson 56:04 everybody. And there's the reality of Sylvia Bartley 56:07 it still. And this is where the mindfulness and the spirituality comes into it. Being sterile. Whether you're meditating or just being still and tapping into silence, this is when you're in a best place to receive and understand what it is that your assignment and your purposes, this is, when you're in your best place to receive those messages that you're so desperately seeking that you know, and to receive that guidance. And that's a big part of spirituality, together with doing things that prepares your vessel because we are physical matter, right. And our spirits live within us, we house our spirit, and we house our soul. And, you know, I focus on trying to keep my vessel as healthy as possible. So it's in a good strong place to house my spirit, and my soul is all intertwined. You know, it's very complicated, very deep. But that is a big part of it. So we are, you know, it, we're in a flamed body, we have inflammation due to the fact that we're eating foods that are inflammatory, and we have inflamed guts, and we're having, you know, inflamed neurons in our brain, because we're in flames that got inflamed the brain to I believe, and we're having a chronic illness, it's very difficult for us to do what we're supposed to do on this earth. And so, you know, our physical being, and health is obviously very important. And it ties closely with our emotional health, as well, Michael Hingson 57:36 I think it is possible to hear a voice. But again, I think it all comes down to exactly what you said, we get messages in many ways, because God or the universe is is always trying to talk to people. And I think we have, oftentimes, selectively and collectively chosen to ignore it, because we think we know all the answers. And if there's one thing I've learned in 72 years, we don't necessarily know the answers, but the answers are available if we look for them. And I think that's really what you're saying, which goes back to being calm, being quiet, taking time to, to analyze, we're in the process of writing a book. Finally, for the moment, called a guide dogs Guide to Being brave, which is all about learning to control fear and learning that fear does not need to be blinding as I describe it, or paralyzing or whatever you want to call it. But that it can be an absolutely helpful thing in teaching you to make decisions, but you need to learn to control it. And you need to learn to recognize its value, just like we need to learn to recognize the value of pain or anything else in our lives. And, in fact, if we do that, and we we recognize what fear can really do for us by slowing down by analyzing by internalizing, we will be much stronger for it. And we're more apt to hear that voice that oftentimes people just call that quiet voice that we may not hear. Sylvia Bartley 59:14 Mm hmm. Absolutely agree. Michael Hingson 59:18 So it's, it's, it is a challenge because we're not used to doing that. We don't like giving up control, if you will. Yep, Sylvia Bartley 59:26 yep. But once you know, and everyone will get there once we, for me, once I got there is a journey doesn't happen overnight. It can take years to get to that place. But you know, once you get there, it's so enlightening. And you just feel like it's funny, there's not there's not often a feel like I might directly on path and purpose. And I get a glimpse of it once in a while. And it feels so different. It feels so light, it feels so right. And that's where I want to be for, you know, a majority of my time that I have left in his lifetime, I want to feel that by the time so that is my, that is my goal. Michael Hingson 1:00:05 And the more you seek it, the more of it you'll find. Yeah, hopefully, you will. It's it's all a matter of realizing it's there if we look for it, and it may not show up exactly the way we expected. But so the issue is really that it shows up, right? Sylvia Bartley 1:00:24 It is. And yeah, I read somewhere that says, you know, just be open, just really try your best show up. Because people say, How do you know your own path and purpose? How do you know this is right for me, you know, you got to show up, you got to do your best. And you got to give it all you've got, and you got to let it go. Let it go to the universe and have no expectation for the outcome. But just be open to all kinds of possibilities and where that will lead you. Very hard to do. Yeah. And it's Michael Hingson 1:00:53 always appropriate to ask the question, Did I do my best? Did I did I get the message? Am I missing something? And look for the answer? Yes, Sylvia, this has been a lot of fun. We have spent an hour and we didn't even have a snowball fight Darn. too hot for that. It's it's gonna be over 90. We're cooling down out here right now. We were over 100 for the last 10 days. So it's hot here in California. But I really enjoyed having you. How can people reach out to you or learn more about you? Sylvia Bartley 1:01:30 Excellent. Thank you for asking that question. I think if you go to my website, I have a little website here. And it's sylvia-bartley.com. That is S Y L V I A hyphen, B A R T L E Y.com. And you can you know, just tell you a bit more about me. You can see my podcasts, my books, and there's a method of getting in touch with me if you want to. Michael Hingson 1:01:57 Is the podcast available in a variety of different places? Or is the best website? Sylvia Bartley 1:02:04 It's available on multiple platforms? Apple, Google, Spotify. And what's the community show with Dr. Sylvia? Conversations cultivating change? Do the Michael Hingson 1:02:17 first part again. The more we know Community, the more we know. Okay. Sylvia Bartley 1:02:22 Community show with Dr. Sylvia. Conversations cultivating change. Michael Hingson 1:02:28 And I hope that people will seek you out. This has been for me very fascinating. I love learning new things and getting a chance to meet fascinating people. And I'll buy into the fact that you're a unicorn, it works for me. Sylvia Bartley 1:02:46 Well, I'm just me, you know, but I appreciate the invite to be on your podcast, Michael. And thank you very much for providing this platform to share stories and information with your listeners too. Michael Hingson 1:02:59 Thank you and we love stories and if people would love to comment, I really appreciate it if you would. I'd love to hear from you about this. You can reach out to me at Mic