I’m excited to share that I will be delivering my Disabling Ableism: The Modern Pathway to Inclusion speech to Abercrombie & Fitch at their Inclusive and Diversity Month Event virtually on October 26, 2021 followed by a live Question & Answer session.
My TEDx South Lake Tahoe Talk Is LIVE! This lifelong dream of mine is a reality!
If I may be so bold, I have a couple asks:
2. Please share, like, love, comment and most of all enjoy!
In May 2021, one of my bucket list dreams came true when I was invited to speak at TEDx South Lake Tahoe. My talk, “Disabling Ableism: The Modern Pathway to Inclusion,” is a love letter to myself, others with disabilities, and society at large that brings light to the empowerment of having a disability. It’s also a call to action to examine — and dismantle — the ways that ableist thinking exists in our day-to-day lives.
My hope in sharing my story, is to inspire others to achieve their fullest potential, and further conversations about the real bottom-line benefits inherent in a diverse and inclusive society.
“We can’t hide our differences. We need to embrace them, honor them, experience them, believe in them, discuss them, share them, and include them as life’s beautiful treasures.”
Thank you for all the love and support I have received!
Join us October 12-14 for three days of virtual learning and engagement as industry leaders in accessibility and advocacy like legendary Judith Heumann, Caroline Casey, and more come together to talk about how and why businesses should empower accessibility!
Day 1: Unlock the Potential of Assistive Technology
Day 2: Actionable Solutions for an Inclusive Workforce
Day 3: Effectively Managing Accessibility for Business
From the time I can remember my father always encouraged hard work, disability or not. He would say on repeat “through hard work one finds value and purpose in themselves. This is an especially important thing for anyone facing a lifetime of adversity.” So, I have always worked. This was way before inclusion was ever a thing to aim for in the workplace. And for me to find success in this venture, it always took a forward thinking nimble company to embark on the journey along with my never give up attitude and willingness to try. Inclusion in the workplace is collaborative, collective, ongoing, hard and VERY uncomfortable work.
From the first waitress in a wheelchair to reaching heights as an executive in corporate America to now owning my own business, I have excelled professionally despite the many challenges that come with being disabled in the workforce. Challenges of access or lack thereof. Challenges exclusion or disbelief. Challenges of overcoming the embarrassment of not fitting in as “typical.” Challenges of self-doubt or the doubt that has been placed on me by others. Challenges of blatant discrimination or being looked at as a punitive liability at work rather than an asset. Challenges of ableism. All very uncomfortable challenges to overcome throughout my career but also my motivation to try a little harder, to accomplish a little more and to prove that I can too.
The 1-4 conversation.
The hard truth is that 1-4 of us will experience some type of disability in our lifetime. Disability is the largest marginalized group in our country. Disability crosses all barriers and lines of the inclusion conversation but is oftentimes left out of the conversation due to its complexity. We are taught from a young age to favor the “able” body over all others. This is so ingrained in what we believe about disability that most of the time we don’t even realize its impact but oftentimes limits the professional opportunity, growth and advancement of someone with a disability over another.
Where do we go from here?
As a society we need to shift today’s perceived impossibilities of another into tomorrows absolutely possible for all of us. What we need to realize is our differences are valuable attributes in a work environment and can make us uniquely qualified over another. Mastering how to overcome one thing makes us proficient in something else bringing competitive value into the workplace. Inclusion at work oftentimes only takes minimal adaptations to be successful. But first we have to open our hearts and expand our minds and beliefs in another. Being willing to “see the person first” and being open to having the hard discussions around the topic paves a path forward that works for everyone.
From me to you…
Today is Labor Day as we celebrate ways American workers have contributed to the country’s success over the years. I personally take a lot of pride in the fact that I have found success in the workforce not only as a woman but more importantly a woman with a disability that can get the job done! 70% of people with disabilities are not counted in the workforce. Think of all of that missed talent and room to still grow. I encourage employers to tap into the untapped potential of people with disabilities and hire.
And on the flip side of the coin I encourage anyone with any type of disability (visible or invisible) to go for that one thing you have always dreamt of accomplishing most.
Because, If I can. You can!
“Magic is believing in yourself, if you can do that, you can make anything happen.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Believe in yourself and all possibilities ahead of you …do that!
Have an amazing day ♥️
My disability has elevated my life. It empowers me to look at life in different ways and to be proficient in ways I would not be without it.
What empowers you and elevates you in your life? Please share!
Let’s inspire each other!
Film credit: colorfoolfilms.com
“Everything you’ve ever wanted is sitting on the other side of fear.” George Addair
A very good friend of mine has been reminding me of this all year. POWERFUL. In this I have made very deliberate and intentional choices to push through my many fears to uncover what might be on other side and it’s been MAGICAL.
COMING SOON: “Disabling Ableism. The modern pathway to inclusion.”
Im SO excited!
I will be MC’ing the AccessibilityPlus virtual event showcasing strategies on how to make your business more accessible. I cant think of a better way to take action during Disability Employment Awareness Month in October than attending this conference!
Check out the event details and speaker lineup!
AccessibilityPlus a virtual event showcasing how to make your business more accessible – with actionable items you can take with you to start implementing as soon as you leave the conference) has almost reached the 500 free registrant threshold!
The event will be MC’d by the Inclusion Superwoman herself – Me!
Episode 63 with Alycia Anderson just dropped today! In this episode, Alycia, a motivational speaker and diversity and inclusion advocate, informs on how companies within the multifamily industry can insure they are being inclusive to those who are disabled. She highlights the benefits of it and tells her own personal story as proof! Check it out below and take a listen!
That’s a wrap!
I had an amazing opportunity to partner with the team at Colorfool Films to shoot a short documentary film on my story and mission!
This a group of filmmakers who “believe stories change the world by telling stories in an authentic, cinematic and compassionate way to drive the biggest possible impact.”
This was an amazing experience with absolutely wonderful people. To see their beautiful and award winning films please go to www.Colorfoolfilms.com
Finished product coming soon!!
On the last day of #DisabilityPrideMonth I’m so PROUD to be me. I’m grateful for the journey and extremely hopeful for our future. I’m thankful for literally everything, every moment, every challenge overcome, every hardship, every beautiful opportunity I have been blessed with in this life to share #Possible.
“Together we can. Together we should. Together we will. If we are willing to try… together. This is #Inclusion”
📷 Dan Wallisch
Today was a great day.!
I got to speak LIVE at Colorado Rising: Education Conference & Trade Show. Grateful to how well received I felt!
So happy I get to do this in my lifetime. ♥️
As I rolled onto that stage and onto that red dot it was literally an unbelievable moment in my lifetime. But it was also as of this one moment had been waiting for me my entire life. A moment waiting oh so patiently until I was ready. And now I am just that, ready. Not only ready but completely and totally ready. It is as if the fate of my life path has her arms wide open ready to receive me more than ever before. My destiny ready to embrace me, to support me, to guide me, to encourage me and believe in me. I can see more clearly now than ever how the pathways of my past connect to the destiny of my future and it all makes complete sense propelling me straight into my purpose.
I was completely star struck by that RED DOT. I was completely star struck by that BIG beautiful TEDx sign behind me. I was completely in awe of the awesome opportunity in front of me and that I had accomplished this very here and now! I was a nervous but mostly I was so ready. I was prepared for this quiet intimate moment that was just for me, on that dark stage under those bright lights. Just me and my story. Just me and my message. Just me and my purpose. It was my moment to help others, to share persecutive, to teach something most literally know or see or consider and in-return I was received. Inclusion is collaborative and collective. This was my moment to be “seen for me” and to be heard for me and to be included for ALL of me just the way I am. This was one of the most important moments of my life. I did it. I am so proud!
Thankful for my amazing family, friends and community who showed up for me to support me especially Marty & Regina…this was our moment!
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I had the incredible opportunity to be a guest on the Badass Basic Bitch podcast! This Podcast is EVERYTHING!! It truly is a platform for celebrating women and showcasing life’s possibilities! This podcast highlights “ordinary women doing extraordinary things.” To to be invited was very cool! I got to discuss things I don’t normally speak on like love, relationships, self-image, and resilience. We also chatted about my soon to be released TEDx Talk “Disabling Ableism. The modern pathway to inclusion.” Please take a listen, I promise you will enjoy it! Proud to be a part of the Baddie B club! Tune in, its sooooo good!
Rehearsals were beyond!
Tomorrow is cameras, lights, action! Can’t believe how lucky I am.
I will never EVER forget this!
This is my Mom and Dad (my Papa). They are both gone. We lost each of them way to young but they are proof that the impact we can offer in life is massive even if our time is short on earth if we are willing to try.
I am who I am because of them and the decision they made for me. I am who I am because of lessons they instilled in me from day one. The belief that anything is absolutely possible. And in two days I honor them as I take TEDx stage.
A nice reminder: A note of love, encouragement and belief from my Papa to Regina and I in college and VERY fitting now:
just a scrap of a note. a tiny piece of my heart attached. age has it’s compensations. and the best is the contemplation of my girls. saw a picture of you as babies. and the cutest little guys you were. my first born. it is a prick of the the rose throne to think of your mother. but at the risk of being modlin, i know with the certainty of the ages that she is smiling on your accomplishments. she would say, “i love you. i’m proud of your accomplishments…now start believing in yourselves.. and conquer the world…for yourselves and a tiny bit for me.”
Mama and Papa I BELIEVE and will conquer this world …for me but also for you!
Twenty years ago, I left my home in Southern California moving far away from everything I knew: my family, my medical team, the comfortable safe environment that I had mastered my independence in, and I even left Marty (which was the hardest part) to find my true self and to forge the roots of my will.
Living in Lake Tahoe, CA is where I mastered the craft of being a waitress in a wheelchair after receiving global notoriety for it in Southern California as a teenager. It is the place I started my educational journey enrolling into Lake Tahoe Community College. When I moved there, I was a young insecure woman full of so many doubts of what was possible for me, but it is also where I grew into a strong powerful woman through my life experiences and navigating the environment of the lake.
I would hike difficult trails sometimes having to jump out of my wheelchair to crawl over tree trunks blocking the path and then pulling my chair over and continuing on. I would ski down snowy mountains and kayak the many lakes.
And, OH that snow! Wow did we have an up-close and personal relationship. The snow forced me, it challenged me, to be stronger than ever. Shoveling snow was not an easy task for me.
I would end late shifts at work, after a snow, making my way to my car, and I would then literally climb on top of the hood of my car to scrape the ice off my windshield. Sometimes I would arrive home and the snow was so deep I could not get to my front door with my wheelchair. So, I would leave my wheelchair in my car and crawl from my car to the front door in the snow. I cannot believe I did some of this looking back!
Lake Tahoe Community College was also the first place I was ever invited to speak. It was during disability awareness week, way before speaking was on my radar, and now, the lake and the college are gifting me another massive opportunity of growth, speaking on the TEDx stage for my first time! One week from today it’s go time!
Sitting this morning in reflection of the many powerful gifts this lake has offered me over my lifetime, I’m grateful. I’ve realized that for me to accomplish all of these things I’ve had to be willing to push my fear aside and boldly venture forward to where I need to be.
I’m ready for you big red dot.
Two weeks to go! “Resilience” the theme of TEDx South Lake Tahoe where I will be delivering my talk “Disabling Ableism: The modern pathway to inclusion.”
Seriously… this could not this be any more perfect! Their goal “ to celebrate the human spirit. Where we gain hope in others and rise above through our resilience.”
I’m so freaking excited!
“Your application caught our attention, for so many different reasons. LOVED it and congratulations, you have been accepted to speak at this year’s TEDx South Lake Tahoe event!”
I did it! I have been invited to roll onto that big, beautiful, magical red dot, on the most prestigious speaking stage there is, the TEDx stage. A stage where “global thinkers gather to share ideas in hopes of changing attitudes, lives, and ultimately the world.”
This opportunity is a testament to setting goals and achieving your wildest dreams. No matter what you or society perceives your abilities to be, the possibilities are endless if you just try.
I will be delivering my talk: “Disabling Ableism: The modern pathway to inclusion.”
Differences are okay! The important thing is that we don’t favor one over the other, but celebrate each of us for our uniqueness. Ableism is everywhere you turn. It’s ingrained in society so much so, it’s overlooked or goes unnoticed, but without recognizing ableism and its effects we will never fully understand what inclusion really means. When we disable ableism, we truly begin to see people for people and then we value our differences bringing a broader outlook to our world, expanding possibilities for all!
I am so excited!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Disabling Ableism: The Modern Pathway to Inclusion
TEDx South Lake Tahoe 2021
Sacramento, California – Alycia Anderson is announcing the release of her TEDx South Lake Tahoe 2021 talk, which was delivered at her alma mater Lake Tahoe Community College on May 15, 2021. Her talk, Disabling Ableism: The Modern Pathway to Inclusion, is a powerful and inspiring exploration of the often innocent but ultimately damaging effects of ableism.
With heart and humor, Anderson shows how ableism — the social prejudice or discrimination that favors one with a perceived “ability” over someone with a “disability” — is undermining our efforts to create a more diverse and inclusive society. She has taken the stage in locations across the country to deliver her message and is now dedicating her life path to creating awareness and a more empowering perspective in the overall Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) discussion.
Disabled people make up the nation’s largest minority group. According to the CDC, over 61 million Americans — equating to one in four adults — have some type of disability. Anderson points to this staggering statistic and the sobering reality that any one of us can become disabled at any moment.
Despite the fact that disability is so universal, ableism is everywhere. It exists in a glance at the supermarket, a passing comment during a job interview, in the way that people with a disability are portrayed in TV shows and movies, and in the silent prejudices of our hearts. Any instance where the lives of people with disabilities are seen as inferior or somehow “less than” any other life, is where ableism rears its head. Ableism is so ingrained in our society that it is often overlooked and goes unnoticed, but without recognizing ableism and its effects, we will never fully understand what inclusion, accessibility and equity really mean.
“We have to be willing to push away what we’ve been taught by our past…and start believing in the new possibility of a tomorrow for everyone.”
In her TEDx talk, Alycia Anderson takes the stage in her wheelchair and speaks about the damaging effects of ableism through her powerful story of learning to love and celebrate her own disability. With examples from her childhood and adult life, she explains why seeing the beauty and capability in every human being — in other words, “disabling ableism” — is the only way to move toward a more diverse and inclusive world.
Alycia was born with sacral agenesis in 1975, when the disability rights movement in America was just gaining traction. Two years earlier, Congress had passed the first legislation to address equal access for people with disabilities, laying out the foundation that paved the way for the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act fifteen years later.
But even though the door was opening for millions of people with disabilities, Alycia’s parents understood that their daughter would still face tremendous obstacles and hardships growing up. They made it their mission to fight for a world where she would have the same opportunities as everyone around her, including her able-bodied identical twin sister. From an early age, Anderson’s parents ingrained in her a simple, powerful message: “You can, you should, and you will.”
In May 2021, one of Alycia’s longtime dreams came true when she was invited to speak at TEDx in South Lake Tahoe. Her talk, “Disabling Ableism: The Modern Pathway to Inclusion,” is a love letter to herself, others with disabilities, and society at large, and it brings light to the empowerment of having a disability. Anderson’s TEDx talk is also a call to action to examine — and dismantle — the ways that ableist thinking exists in our day-to-day lives.
“We can’t hide our differences. We need to embrace them, honor them, experience them, believe in them, discuss them, share them, and include them as life’s beautiful treasures.”
Now, after a long corporate career as Vice President of Sales, Alycia is embracing her path and pursuing speaking full-time as both a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Motivational Speaker and a Corporate Inclusion Coach and Mentor. In doing so, she hopes to share her story, inspire others to achieve their fullest potential, and further conversations about the real bottom-line benefits inherent in a diverse and inclusive society.
I will be delivering my Heart of Inclusion speech for the adapted physical education students at my alma mater “Chico State” on November 9, 2021. I cannot wait to share my messages on the inclusion and advancement of people with disabilities with them.