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Labor Day and Employment for People with Disabilities

About me!

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!

COMING SOON: Disabling Ableism

“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!

AccessibilityPlus Virtual Event!

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!

Speakers include Caroline Caseygavin neateChristopher PatnoeCat NooneJoe DevonMeg O’Connell, PHRCraig Leen and more to be announced soon!

The event will be MC’d by the Inclusion Superwoman herself – Me!

That’s a wrap!

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.”

YES PLEASE!

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!!

Disability Pride Month

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

TEDx South Lake Tahoe!

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!

Proud to be a part of the Baddie B club!

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!

“Just a scrap of a note. A tiny piece of my heart attached.”

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.”

love papa

Mama and Papa I BELIEVE and will conquer this world …for me but also 💯 for you!

L
A

I’m ready for you big red dot.

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 noterietay 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.

“Resilience”

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.”

Powerful.

I’m so freaking excited!

TEDx South Lake Tahoe: Here I Come!

📷 @christinabestphotograph
Alycia Anderson Motivational Speaker TEDx South Lake Tahoe speaker image
📷 @christinabestphotograph

“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. Ablesim 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!

#DONCON

I was invited to speak at #DonCon this weekend on inclusion and accessibility rights. The theory of inclusion of people with disabilities is not possible without access so this is a VERY important conversation . This is an event put on by our youth. High school and college leaders and change-makers!

#DONCON Mission:

“In the age of media and technology, the importance of youth engagement is greater now more than ever if we wish to create long and everlasting change. #DONCON: The Youth Power Conference is centered around providing not only a voice, but also resources, support, and a community to this country’s youth. DON CON aims to facilitate expanded awareness and preparedness for the turbulent climate we are all enduring. The conference will include engaging sessions on intersectionality, LGBTQ+ rights, feminism, accessibility rights, and a holistic analysis of civic responsibility.

Grateful to our youth for including disability in this most important conversation! I’m thrilled to be a part of it! ♥️

Happy 31st BDay ADA!

Today marks the 31st anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act from which I have been granted my wings to fly freely along side 61 million others in United States living with a disability in this life. 26% (1 in 4) adults in the United States have some type of disability.

#ADA one of the most comprehensive pieces of civil rights legislation in our histories past opening pathways for us to live our lives no matter how we change and grow over time!

Today and always I proudly honor, lift up and protect all of the beautiful power and opportunity that this legislation encompasses and offers each of us as Americans!

Happy 31st Birthday ADA! ♥️

If you can imagine it, anything is possible.

“Alycia, you can. Alycia, you should. Alycia, you will in this life. If you can imagine it, anything is possible. Now start believing and conquer the world for yourself and a tiny bit for me.” Love, Papa

This speech is my gift to you Papa. I hope you’re smiling down from heaven with pride, and I’m doing exactly what you always dreamed of for me. I love you.

This is my entry for #SpeakerSlam‘s Inspirational Speaking Competition for the theme of Fathers: The Men Who Shaped Us! The stakes are high and I’d love your support! Please take a second to watch my speech and leave a comment as it will count towards judging.

I will find out Wednesday at the EVENT with everyone else if I moved into the top 10 and placed in the competition.
Only 10 speakers will move forward to be seen in front of the judges for a chance to win a $5,000 prize package and an opportunity to compete at the Grand Slam for the title of Inspirational Speaker of the Year!

Please let me know your thoughts! Comments, likes and shares show helps towards judging to enter the next round on Wednesday!

Thanks so much!