🌟 2023 Reflections and Revelations🌟: Alycia and Marty
Celebrating Milestones and Embracing Challenges
Alycia Anderson: Welcome to Pushing Forward with Alycia, a podcast that gives disability a voice. Each week we will explore topics like confidence, ambition, resilience and finding success against all odds. We are creating a collective community that believes that all things are possible for all people.
Open hearts. Clear paths. Let’s go.
Welcome back to Pushing Forward with Alycia. I’m Alycia Anderson. Welcome to our special year in review episode. It’s the end of 2023, we are just about to enter 2024. And I’ve invited Marty. Back on because we decided that it was a good idea to reflect on our highs, our lows and everything in between. Gosh, we’ve had an amazing year this year. We’re so excited to kind of review it with our community here on Pushing Forward with Alycia.
Welcome back, Marty.
Marsten “Marty” Anderson: Hey everybody, so excited to wrap up the year 2023 has been amazing and I can’t wait to share it with you. All about it.
Alycia Anderson: I’m really excited to review this year because we’ve had a lot of fresh experiences. We’ve learned a lot this year. We’ve had some unforgettable events and adventures, so. I don’t know. We want our audience to sit back, relax as we dive into a year in review of 2023.
So where should we start? Marty, I think we should start. I’m going to suggest and you let me know if you agree. I think we should start with our favorite podcast moments.
We launched this podcast this year. It’s been our labor of love. It’s been a project that we have been devoted to.
Marsten “Marty” Anderson: Yeah, there’s been so many amazing stories that we’ve been able to release in just a short time. I know, wow. We looked back and we started our project gearing up, thinking about doing the podcast way back at the beginning of the year in January and February, and it wasn’t until June end of June, beginning of July, that we actually launched.
And so it took all that time to prepare and we had so many guests lined up.
We learned the interviewing process. We learned to get comfortable with the microphones. We tried to get the right technologies in place and all these things. And yeah, the guests that we’ve had on have been amazing from the nurse and the fitness people and all the different sports and different disabilities and all the things.
But one of the highlights for me was getting to listen to Brad Parks and you talk about the beginnings of wheelchair tennis, as an athlete and a fan those words really hit home to me.
Alycia Anderson: I love it. That was a great moment and I think that kind of ties into my favorite moments of the podcast.
This year was #1, like you said, this was hard. This challenged me. It challenged you. It challenged our relationship at times to try to get this out, get a product out that we were proud of and get used to the process of being podcast hosts and diving into this type of content and getting to a place where… I don’t know. For me, it’s different than speaking so. I was worried sometimes about delivery of message and if I was gonna even be good at this.
So I think overcoming that and transitioning from a speaker into a podcast host has been a really impactful moment for me.
Marsten “Marty” Anderson: Doing this podcast, we wanted to honor the conversation of disability and bring it to a more normal standard, regular conversation and expand on all the things that you’re speaking about in your speeches.
And I think we did a great job, but I’m really interested which were your favorite parts of the year?
Alycia Anderson: Each of them is special in their own way, but I’d say my most favorite episodes are the ones that were really personal to me, my family.
The episodes that you and I did together, sharing the voices of the human beings that have supported me in my journey to getting me to where I am today, I think I’ve really enjoyed.
You know, episodes with my sisters, with you. Those all were really. Special to kind of give them their place on stage.
Marsten “Marty” Anderson: Those were truly amazing and we have such a large family that there’s many, many more of those coming. I agree with you. It was super fun doing some episodes together and I’m so happy that we’re doing our final episode of the year together as well.
Alycia Anderson: Me too. This has been such a joy to watch another project together. And I’m just grateful for your partnership and your creativity, and just your support in this process because it’s been fun, but it’s been hard and I think the future is bright.
Well, where we’re taking this podcast.
Marsten “Marty” Anderson: 100%!
And let’s also talk about your favorite professional experiences during the year with your speaking and your interviews your panels. All the different things that we’ve done.
Alycia Anderson: This year was one of the biggest years that we’ve had yet with our business and have we been in front of amazing brands like dream come true can’t believe that we’re here brands: NBC, Comcast, Blue Shield of California, Etsy, eHarmony!!!
I mean the lists go on and on about the companies and partners that we’ve had this year, but I think my favorite moment on stage, the most exciting one that I had personally as a woman was rolling on to the Victoria’s Secret stage to have the opportunity to have partnered with them all year to have had conversations about their adaptive line and being able to be on their stage during the launch! To have done something like that!
Working with a company who is creating products that, you know, they’re putting their money where their mouth is!!!
They’re hiring me to come in and speak about disability inclusion in the workplace, but also implementing products that work for people with disabilities within their organization.
I think that that was really awesome. And as a woman to go onto that stage and be in front of Victoria’s Secret executives and the lights and the sparkle and the wings. And just all of it.
It was a moment that I’ll never forget.
Marsten “Marty” Anderson: As your husband, I’ve always seen you as someone who is just extremely beautiful and to see you showing on Victoria’s Secret stage was definitely exciting for me as well. And knowing the Christmas and the holidays and all the things that they had going on, it’s just our special time of the year as we prepare for our anniversary.
You remember how our love has come to be and all the wonderful things that our life together has brought and then on top of it, I mean, the traveling this year was just… it was all over the place from Wyoming, New York we were in New Orleans back down to Palm Springs up and around the Northwest and all the way up to Mowhonk.
Again, we did travel quite a bit.
That makes me think of our travel episode on the pod actually and all the experiences that we got to share and that also leads to some great things that we did as far as content and beginning to deliver some articles and we reached into the Community and had Lilly Grossman come on and share an article and I’ve written a few and you’ve been posting so much.
You and all the social media and it’s hard to stay on top of all the things that we’ve got going, and we did get published in Risk Management Magazine also, which was amazing and pods that we did on NDEAM and Disability Pride.
It’s bringing so much great content into our community.
Alycia Anderson: And as you look at all that and we kind of talk about our favorite professional moments, what was your favorite professional moment of 2023?
Marsten “Marty” Anderson: Well for me. You know, we do a lot of advocacy and we do a lot of talking on inclusion and all of that, and we’re also members of Adaptive Athletics Association.
And so me, I had a great shining year with reconnecting with my tennis crew community, doing some outreach here in the greater Sacramento Valley area. And starting a new weekly wheelchair tennis clinic that has been supporting the local players and bringing players in from Sacramento State University, all the local players that have been a part of it.
We’re even bringing people just driving off the street by seeing us, playing on the courts and seeing what’s going on there.
So that was really neat and of course the business is just exploding and it’s hard to find time outside of it, but I’m glad that I did a little.
Alycia Anderson: Well, and I love that you mentioned Adaptive Athletics Association because sports and movement have been essential for us in making a huge impact in our ability and confidence and fitness and health and all of that.
And the next thing that we are gonna kind of talk about is the most important moment of impact this year.
And I’m not going to put words in in your mouth, but as a follow up from the launch of you know the Friday Night Lights tennis program that you’ve created in Sacramento for wheelchair tennis, the beautiful moment that I saw impact there was you know we’re inviting elite athletes to come out and play tennis, but we’re also inviting juniors and college kids, college students who have not played the sport yet.
We had a senior program where we had an amazing man come out who had just had a stroke and was a able bodied tennis player before who came out and started hitting tennis balls at gosh 75. I don’t even know how old he was. You could probably share that two people driving by and going Oh my God, I’ve never played tennis before holding their wheelchair out and joining and so I’ll let you kind of speak to that. Right.
Do you think a moment of impact that was really important this year was building our community within tennis, having it be multi layered in diversity senior, junior, elite and ending the year with an Ugly Christmas Sweater Party with everybody, which was absolutely amazing.
Marsten “Marty” Anderson: When you’re talking about impact, I think that one of the the things that I did this year was the volunteer time that I put into the USTA in becoming an adaptive and wheelchair board member and committing to the monthly conversations as to what’s happening in the movement for adaptive and wheelchair tennis across our country, and that is a testament to the experience that we bring to the conversation.
And it made me feel like all the time that I’ve put in… over 3 decades of tennis… to be able to commit that experience to the conversation and help bring a new level of professionalism that maybe hasn’t been seen in a while to the conversation was just amazing.
Alycia Anderson: I agree and another really amazing thing that you did within the United States Tennis Association programs this year was become a referee.
To be able to go and referee professional matches and you being the only wheelchair user referee in our area that would go and referee able bodied professional tennis matches, which is a huge symbol of representation and inclusion that needs to be seen within the United States Tennis Association organization overall.
Marsten “Marty” Anderson: Yeah, I appreciate you bringing that up and always supporting me in all the things that I like to do.
And yeah, as I was getting ready to begin the clinics and we were evaluating what our efforts are with Adaptive Athletics and everything else. Yeah, rolling in and becoming an official for roving umpire was exciting and it led to another impactful moment where I helped… and you came and witnessed my work with the Special Olympics at the Summer Games this year in Folsom, watching the players there and it’s just a testament to our desire to see all the different disabilities that we can and try to bring some level of conversation to everyone in our community and not just focus on our small niche of it.
And that makes me think of another moment this year in Wyoming, when we went to the Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities and how we had such a moment with our peers in the intellectual disability community!
Why don’t you tell us about that?
Alycia Anderson: Yeah, I mean, we’ve talked about that one time before on this podcast, but I would say for me, that was one of the most impactful moments in the work that we’re doing.
And that, you know, we were at a big conference in Wyoming. I had an opportunity to speak to not only the facilitators of programming for individuals with developmental disabilities speaking directly to them.
There was also a large portion of the audience who were actually our peers and had some type of a disability, and it was a community that spoke up during my speech that was cheering and yelling and advocating for themselves about what they want society to hear and know and learn about them, which is: they can, listen to them, hire them, love them, befriend them, include them and the audience erupted with these sentiments, while I was speaking and it was a…, it was a magical moment, not only for them, but for us.
And it proves the point that when we band together as a disabled community, whether we are…, we have a physical disability, a non-apparent disability, an intellectual disability, any type of disability.
When we band together as a community we have so much power in our place in society. Which is some of the things that we’ve seen all year long.
Marsten “Marty” Anderson: Definitely strength in numbers, and I think that’s a great thing for us to try to keep pushing forward into the new year.
Alycia Anderson: I love that and this is a perfect time to take a quick break. You are listening to Pushing Forward with Alycia and we will be right back.
Alycia Anderson: Welcome to our special year in review episode. It’s the end of 2023 and I’ve invited Marty back on because we decided. That it was a good idea to reflect on our highs, our lows and everything in between.
If I could share one more moment of impact because it was just really special to me and it was one that I’ll never forget.
It was the moment when I was speaking at the Rollettes Experience, which was a women empowerment weekend for women who are wheelchair users and disabled, and I have the opportunity to speak as a keynote and then on a panel and then also speak to the teens and share my perspective with them about growing up with a disability.
And in that whole session I had a young girl who approached me. Who was in high school and she was so excited to meet me. Like I could just see it in her eyes… how excited she was to meet me.
That alone made me feel really good.
But she came up and said to me in a sort of shy way that she had not only watched my TEDx talk, but she did a report on it. Presented on it in school!!!
To have that type of impact on a young girl… I believe she had aspirations to be a speaker herself one day as well, and for her to take that content and go present on it in school and share the message to her peers.
I mean, that is why we’re doing this work to try to create a better future for the ones that are going to follow us.
That was just… It was a really beautiful moment for me that I will never forget it.
It validated the work that we’re doing, that we’re going in the right direction.
Marsten “Marty” Anderson: Yeah, I wish I could have been there to witness that. I’m so jealous of Kerri for tagging along with you on that trip, you know, as you’re speaking, the opportunities for impact all year long, you just kept popping into my mind.
There was the Society for the Travel Managers and sharing how it is to travel to all the collegiate boards and then just on and on.
Really we’ve… you spoke for the Riverside County Office of Education that impacts 400,000 students all throughout the Riverside County area and sharing and doing the training with the MicroLearning on top of the keynote, another great impactful moment.
Alycia Anderson: What was so cool about the Riverside County of Education Conference…
It was again validating the industry that needs to hear this message and do better for our youth.
The kids with disabilities to be including in them… in mainstream classrooms… to be including them in programming.
Like, one of the things that we learned there… as kids with disabilities, depending on the school, they don’t even have an opportunity to even get Letterman jackets, and there’s this whole advocacy program going on right now to try to allow children with disabilities to qualify for Letterman jackets.
If they’re playing wheelchair tennis, if they’re in, you know, some type of organized sports for programs that are for people with disabilities. Special Olympics, Paralympics and such, so we’ve just learned so much about how much opportunity there is to continue to educate and try to do better in our society.
Marsten “Marty” Anderson: And even for the opportunities for those sports to be integrated into the high schools, middle schools, junior schools, elementary schools and provide those opportunities for those students to shine right alongside their able-bodied counterparts.
Alycia Anderson: I just gotta say, Marty, this has been a year to remember and just going down memory lane and thinking about the events that we’ve done, we’ve been in such a state of grace. We’ve been in like our, the path has opened up for us to really help other people.
And when we look back in the rearview mirror. I’m so proud of the work that we’ve done and how well we’ve partnered on it together.
Marsten “Marty” Anderson: Yeah. And hopefully it’s just the beginning.
But your message of disabling ableism has been received in so many corners all over the globe.
It’s a message that just doesn’t get old with so many people still needing to learn and hear about disability inclusion and the advantages of accessibility.
Alycia Anderson: Should we shift to another favorite.
Marsten “Marty” Anderson: Sure.
Alycia Anderson: What was your favorite personal moment? This year in all of it?
Marsten “Marty” Anderson: As we travel and we go to all these events, we try to sew in a little bit of time for ourselves to rekindle our passion and give our hearts a lift and just find the spirit to continue on and we’ve had so many great moments as a result.
This year we’ve gone to Casper, WY and learned about the great migration of all the people moving West for the Oregon Trail for the Gold Rush to Salt Lake and the impact upon the Native Americans, and even going to Plymouth Rock and seeing where the Pilgrims landed and started this country and in Philadelphia going to the Liberty Bell… Constitution Hall and…
Alycia Anderson: Before we get to mine, I was just hearing a theme and your favorite personal moments and all of our travel, which was a lot of the historical things we learned a lot about our history.
And I think that that’s an important kind of note to translate into the work as well.
Is what’s the history of the disability rights movement and the people that have come before us, and where do we need to go from that foundational work?
So I love it that you were really focused on historical progression. Do you want to know my favorite personal moment?
Marsten “Marty” Anderson: I’d love to know your favorite.
Alycia Anderson: I’m going to kind of go with the same theme that you did, but my… I remember when we started dating. I mean, OK, so we just had our 12th year wedding anniversary, we’ve been together for… we met each other at 12. We’ve known each other for 30 plus years. We’ve dated for 25 plus years on and off, married for 12, and as long as I can remember, all you’ve ever told me is all I want to do is jump in the car and drive across the country. Over and over, just us and experience new places together.
We have flown all over this country, back and forth, up and down every corner.
So many. It’s in every event that we book you and I always stay an extra day or two and we go experience a new city or something that we haven’t experienced, so we can have new adventures together.
And my absolute favorite moment of this year is that day on every trip where we go do something that we haven’t done. We see something new. We experience new foods. We see new places and we are doing that together and to look back at that and understand we are!!!
So it’s such a privilege. I’m so grateful for the adventure that we are on in our marriage and in our advocacy.
And I love you so much and I’m so grateful for this year of absolute adventure.
Marsten “Marty” Anderson: And I love you so much too.
It’s beautiful. What you just said, and I really hope that those listening are inspired to get out there and try something and go for their dreams and discover these types of opportunities for yourselves and continue to use them as a learning and sharing tools to make our world a better place.
And literally it’s everywhere we go, we are facing the challenges of navigating this world and wheelchairs and sharing and experiencing with all the people that are in our paths, how to do it better?
Alycia Anderson: I think we should wrap up with our pushing forward moment to wrap up the year to push forward. Into 2024, what is that for you?
Marsten “Marty” Anderson: To embrace the action of doing something to help other people every single day. Whether it’s just smiling at somebody, whether it’s holding the door or helping them with something that they’re struggling with.
But just that, active action of helping I think is so important in pushing forward as a whole because every single little action. When you look back at the end of the day turns into a. Big, big pile of love.
Do you have anything in mind? That you’d like to share?
Alycia Anderson: I know for me next year a goal for myself is to push fear aside, so I’m gonna really try to be motivated, be focused, be confident in that. Because I think it’s going to help me level up. Next year, again in the business.
Marsten “Marty” Anderson: That’s amazing.
Alycia Anderson: Thank you for being a guest and the co-host on this final episode of Pushing Forward with Alycia of 2023. Please continue to tune in and stay on this ride with us. We see you every single day, every single week. Our pushing forward community has made this year what it has been with your engagement and your dedication to being part of this with us.
So we are so grateful for each and every single one of you who have joined in on this ride.
Marsten “Marty” Anderson: And community, please take advantage of the tools that we’ve set up on our website for you to suggest speakers or people to interview or topics to discuss.
Alycia Anderson: Right. Until we meet again in 2024, this has been Pushing Forward with Alycia and that is how we roll on this podcast.
Happy New Year.