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Listen to all episodes of “Pushing Forward with Alycia”

Pushing Forward with Alycia” is podcast that gives disability a voice. Each week, we explore topics like confidence, ambition, resilience and success against all odds. We’re creating a community that believes that all things are possible for all people!

Whether it’s disability, inclusion & healthcare, invisible disability, traveling with a disability, barrier free design…you name it, Alycia Anderson covers it on her podcast.

This is where you can listen to all episodes of the podcast.

Contact Alycia

If you have a topic or show idea for the “Pushing Forward with Alycia” podcast, Alycia would love to hear from you. You can find her on Instagram and LinkedIn.

Kimberly Daya

Episode #52 – June 20, 2024
Lyme Disease Awareness | Kimberly Daya
From Misdiagnosis to Embracing Nuance – An Inspiring Story of Overcoming Invisible Illness
Kimberly Daya profile pictureKimberly Daya, a 45-year-old married mother to a 16 & 21 year old, is the host of the Humanity Unlocked podcast. In 2007 she faced a devastating blow to her health that left her unable to walk, drive, and independently care for her family. After being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2008, it was determined after 5 years that she was actually battling Lyme disease. For over a decade she … open the full bio struggled to come to terms with the discrepancy that existed between the reality of her condition and the lack of understanding she encountered from the public. Kimberly understands that oftentimes the difference between empathy and judgment is knowing each person’s full story. With that in mind, she has taken to her podcast to unlock the humanity behind a wide range of topics that are often pre-judged and stigmatized, with a goal to foster a greater awareness of the diverse experiences that connect us all.

Episode 52 – Lyme Disease Awareness | Kimberly Daya

In this episode of “Pushing Forward with Alycia,” Kimberly Daya shares her journey with Lyme disease, highlighting the challenges of misdiagnosis and the stigma of invisible disabilities. Diagnosed initially with multiple sclerosis, Kimberly endured years of debilitating symptoms before a correct diagnosis of Lyme disease. She emphasizes the importance of empathy and understanding in addressing chronic illnesses. Her experiences led her to create the “Humanity Unlocked” podcast, aiming to foster empathy by sharing diverse human stories and encouraging listeners to see beyond labels.

Alycia & Regina hosted by Corinna

Episode #51 – June 13, 2024
Twinning is Winning! | Celebrating Sisterhood
A Special Sibling Birthday Episode and Interview
Alycia & Regina hosted by Corinna profile pictureGet ready for a heartwarming and joyous reunion as Alycia’s beloved sisters make their grand return for a twin sister birthday celebration! This special episode promises to be a delightful mix of laughter, nostalgia, and sisterly love, as Regina, Alycia’s twin, and Corinna, her younger sister, come together to celebrate Alycia & Regina’s birthday in a way that only they can. Hosted by Corinna, … open the full bio the episode will take viewers on a trip down memory lane, revisiting unforgettable moments from previous appearances while creating new memories that will be cherished for years to come.
Regina, Alycia’s identical twin, first captured our hearts in Episode 12, where the twin sisters’ uncanny resemblance and deep bond shone through their hilarious banter and heartfelt conversations. Regina’s vivacious personality and infectious laughter complemented Alycia’s more reserved demeanor, creating a perfect balance that left fans yearning for more. Their sibling synergy brought a unique dynamic to the show, and this birthday celebration promises to reignite that same magic, with Regina bringing her characteristic warmth and humor to the festivities.
Corinna, the youngest of the Busciglio sisters, made a memorable entrance in Episode 15, where her exuberance and creative flair added a fresh and exciting twist to the show. As the host of this special birthday episode, Corinna’s organizational prowess and attention to detail will be on full display. Her ability to blend sentimental moments with spontaneous fun ensures that this celebration will be both emotionally touching and entertaining. Fans will recall her knack for surprising Alycia with thoughtful gestures, and we can expect nothing less this time around.
In this episode, viewers can look forward to a series of fun-filled segments and heartfelt surprises. The sisters will share cherished memories from their childhood, including hilarious anecdotes and touching moments that have shaped their unbreakable bond. Regina and Corinna have also planned a few surprises for Alycia, guaranteed to bring both tears of joy and peals of laughter. With their distinct personalities shining through, the sisters’ interactions will remind fans why the Busciglio family holds such a special place in their hearts.
As the episode unfolds, the love and camaraderie among the sisters will be palpable, making it a must-watch for longtime fans and new viewers alike. Whether it’s through Regina’s witty remarks, Corinna’s heartfelt hosting, or Alycia’s genuine reactions, this twin sister birthday celebration will be a testament to the enduring bond of sisterhood. So, mark your calendars and join us for an episode filled with laughter, love, and the irreplaceable joy.

Episode 51 – Twinning is Winning! | Celebrating Sisterhood

In this special birthday episode of “Pushing Forward with Alycia,” Alycia Anderson celebrates her twin sister Regina’s birthday, reflecting on their unique bond. Joined by their younger sister Corinna, who hosts the episode, the trio delves into cherished memories, funny anecdotes, and the powerful connection between twins. Highlights include a memorable surprise party and the twins’ humorous attempts at switching places, showcasing their enduring love and support for one another.

Steph Aiello

Episode #50 – June 6, 2024
Inclusivity in Beauty | Steph Aiello’s Impact
A Quadriplegic Makeup Artist’s Influence on Inclusivity
Steph Aiello profile pictureSteph Aiello has “made her hands her brand.” She’s a super quadriplegic with an “I Can Attitude” living in Southern California. Steph is a makeup artist, content creator, and disability advocate. Over the years she’s had the honor of being the first wheelchair model for Ulta Beauty, Maybelline New York Ambassador & Product Testing, and brand partnerships with Revlon, Fenty Beauty, Estée … open the full bio Lauder, Buxom cosmetics, Amazon, Herbal Essences, Braun, Redken, Flip Beauty, and Tarte Cosmetics. She’s been featured in articles; by People Magazine, Bustle, Teen Vogue, Pop Sugar, and Daily Mail. Steph continues to glide through life and the future looks bright for this incredible trailblazer. You can follow Steph’s journey on TikTok & Instagram at @uwalk_iglide

Episode 50 – Inclusivity in Beauty | Steph Aiello’s Impact

In Episode 50 of “Pushing Forward with Alycia,” Alycia Anderson interviews Steph Aiello, a quadriplegic makeup artist and disability advocate. Despite a life-altering car accident, Steph rose to prominence working with brands like Ulta, Maybelline, and Fenty. She discusses how an occupational therapist reignited her passion for makeup and her mission to normalize disability representation in the beauty industry. Steph’s story is a powerful testament to resilience and inclusivity.

Samuel Benifield-Chivore

Episode #49 – May 30, 2024
Building Success | How a Teenager is Turning an AVM Diagnosis into a Successful Lego Business
Turning Challenges into Opportunities: Samuel Benifield-Chivore’s Inspirational Story
Samuel Benifield-Chivore profile pictureHi, my name is Samuel Benifield-Chivore, an almost 16 year old sophomore in high school. I was diagnosed with Arteriovenous Malformation of the brain, AVM at the age of 3. During my childhood and teenage years, I spent a lot of time in hospitals, underwent numerous surgeries, procedures, and Gamma Knife Radiation treatments. As a result of the AVM, I lost the use of my dominant right hand. I had … open the full bio to learn how to use my left hand to write, build strength with my right hand, work on my right side balance, and incorporate this into my day-to-day life. 
As a child it was difficult to be a child and still go to my appointments and hospital visits. Since I couldn’t do any contact sports I wasn’t allowed to participate in the larger gym classes with my friends. I had to find new hobbies that didn’t include physical sports and the freedom to use only one hand. So I tried building lego sets, chess, art, painting, drawing, video games, writing awards, and Lego competitions. As I grew older, people told me I couldn’t do things because I only had the use of one hand but I proved them wrong time after time. I learned to play the trumpet, learned to sew on a sewing machine, ceramics, drums, buddy ball soccer, buddy ball basketball and finally in HS I was able to take adaptive gym. 
One of my greatest accomplishments is that I have been an Honor Roll Student since before the Pandemic. Also, last year, I told my family I wanted a job and they encouraged me to open up an Etsy Store. So I started a store called Samuel’s Bricks which was just a hobby and is now a part time job. I build custom Lego scenes using one hand and people are very amazed when they watch me build. Recently, I tried out for the school play and was cast as the teen angel in Grease.  If someone would have told me 10 years ago that I would be in a play singing and dancing without falling and keeping up with the rest of the kids I would have laughed. Although some might see my disability as a disadvantage (in reality it is not). Now that I am older I never let my AVM limit my dreams.

Episode 49 – Building Success | How a Teenager is Turning an AVM Diagnosis into a Successful Lego Business

In Episode 49 of “Pushing Forward with Alycia,” Alycia Anderson interviews Samuel Benifield-Chivore, a teen entrepreneur with an AVM diagnosis. Samuel discusses his journey, overcoming challenges, family support, and founding Samuel’s Bricks. Alycia emphasizes self-advocacy and turning obstacles into opportunities. Samuel’s resilience and achievements inspire listeners to pursue their goals despite adversity. The conversation highlights the power of community and belief in oneself.

Ryan Hudson-Peralta

Episode #48 – May 23, 2024
Ryan Hudson-Peralta | Founder, ‘Look Mom, No Hands’
Ryan Turns Limitations Into Innovations Despite Being Born with Congenital Limb Differences
Ryan Hudson-Peralta profile pictureI’m a father, husband, designer, disability advocate and international speaker who happens to have been born without hands. As an advocate and influencer I have worked with brands such as General Motors, Amazon, Lids, Rocket Mortgage, Zappos and many others.
My son, Noah and I started a consulting company called Equal Accessibility. Equal Accessibility is a consulting company dedicated to helping … open the full bio businesses create equal experiences for ALL. Our mission is to break free from the confines of standard compliance and, instead, collaborate with businesses to create environments that are not only inclusive but genuinely welcoming for disabled guests.

Episode 48 – Ryan Hudson-Peralta | Founder, ‘Look Mom, No Hands’

In Episode 48 of “Pushing Forward with Alycia,” Ryan Hudson-Peralta, founder of “Look Mom, No Hands,” shares his journey overcoming congenital limb deficiency. As a designer, speaker, and advocate, Ryan turns challenges into creative solutions, emphasizing that the only limits in life are self-imposed. He discusses founding Equal Accessibility, enhancing inclusivity in physical and digital spaces, and introduces his new product, “Door Nub,” for improved accessibility.

Alycia & Marty Anderson

Episode #47 – May 16, 2024
Honoring Mothers: Stories of Love & Legacy 🌹🌹
Alycia & Marty Celebrate Their Mothers’ Impact
Alycia & Marty Anderson profile pictureAlycia and I reminisce on our mothers to honor them this Mother’s Day. Marsha and Peggy both fought hard to pave the way for their disabled children in a time when that was not a thing to do. These mothers through their love and care would raise their disabled children to be confident, resourceful and resilient despite the hardships they would face throughout their lifetimes. There strength … open the full bio would be forged by the tragedies of their own lives but would also transcend these struggles to foster feelings of belonging, unity and family that have outlasted them and still provide true cornerstones for our outlooks today. Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out their facing these challenges today. May you find some inspiration from the stories we share, and may our mothers’ to inspire you to blaze the trails for your children.

Episode 47 – Honoring Mothers: Stories of Love & Legacy 🌹🌹

In Episode 47 of “Pushing Forward with Alycia,” Alycia Anderson and Marsten “Marty” Anderson celebrate Mother’s Day by sharing stories about their mothers’ impactful lives. Alycia reflects on her mother Marsha, who passed away when Alycia was seven, highlighting her mother’s resilience and love. Marty honors his mother Peggy’s dedication as a single mother of nine, emphasizing her advocacy and strength. Both stress the importance of family and lasting legacies.

Mason Branstrator

Episode #46 – May 9, 2024
Mason Branstrator | Turning Paralysis into Purpose
How rebuilding life included positivity, family support, and a thriving online presence.
Mason Branstrator profile picture

Hi I’m mason! I am a content creator and T12 paraplegic. I show the world what is possible for wheelchair users as I push the limits and provide resources for my community along the way! Feel free to use my affiliate code “mason” on a firefly at riomobility.com for free shipping! Or “mason” at vapor wheels for 10% off an item!

Episode 46 – Mason Branstrator | Turning Paralysis into Purpose

Mason Branstrator’s journey from paralysis to purpose emphasizes positivity, family support, and a thriving online presence. His podcast appearance with Alycia Anderson showcases his resilience and advocacy for disability rights. Mason’s optimism and determination shine through as he shares his story, emphasizing the importance of acceptance and embracing what cannot be changed. His use of E-assist devices like the Firefly illustrates the possibilities of mobility for wheelchair users.

Peggy Sellery

Episode #45 – May 2, 2024
Mental Health Awareness Month | Breaking the Stigma
Living with Bipolar: Managing Mental Well-being
Peggy Sellery profile picturePeggy Sellery lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband and three amazing kids. She is an MIT and Columbia graduate, an entrepreneur and founder of No Guesswork SAT/ACT Test Prep and Tutoring, and a nonfiction creative writer.
Recent surveys of youth reveal that the risk factors for depression, anxiety, and suicidality include a lack of authentic social connection. Understanding that this lack of … open the full bio authentic connection stems from a profound fear-based inability to feel like we can truly be ourselves and still be embraced in belonging, Peggy has started a mental wellness initiative called Let’s See Love Today. It encourages people to look at each other AND themselves through the lens of love, with the deeper perspective that true beauty comes from being who we really are.

Episode 45 – Mental Health Awareness Month | Breaking the Stigma

In Episode 45 of “Pushing Forward with Alycia,” Marty’s sister, Peggy Sellery shares her bipolar journey during Mental Health Awareness Month. She discusses overcoming societal stigmas, managing the pendulum swings of bipolar disorder, and her initiative, “Let’s See Love Today,” promoting authentic social connection. Alycia emphasizes empowering self-talk and celebrates Peggy’s vulnerability and resilience. This heartfelt conversation aims to foster understanding and support for mental wellness.

Kimberly Elliott

Episode #44 – April 25, 2024
Kimberly Elliott, Be Like Josh Foundation | Advocate for Dogs with Neurological Disabilities
Kimberly Elliot | Rescuing dogs deemed unadoptable
Kimberly Elliott profile pictureThe Be Like Josh foundation is a non profit organization dedicated to the study and advocacy of dogs with neurological disabilities. We are proud to celebrate all abilities on the canine neurological spectrum. It is an honor to rescue, rehabilitate and re-home these exceptional animals, to tell their stories, from rescue to adoption, and every adventure along the way. They serve as ambassadors of … open the full bio our mission, which pushes back against ableism in the veterinary community and promotes true inclusion, for animals and humans alike. Through our work, we share the message that all animals and people, wherever they are on the spectrum of abilities, are worthy of being seen, loved and appreciated.
Our rescue arm operates much like a traditional rescue organization, however we predominantly take in dogs with special needs. Because these types of animals can often require more attention and expense, we generally manage no more than 5 or 6 dogs in our rescue at any given time. Through donations, the Be Like Josh Foundation pays for all intake evaluations, vaccines, spay/neuter and any needed diagnostics, including MRI’s, which can be rather costly. Our rescue also pays for follow up medical exams, proper nutrition, supplements, medications, behavioral training (if needed) and any other remedies or therapies prescribed by attending veterinarians. Our financial support continues until the dog is officially adopted.
As part of our Community Outreach program, we visit schools across the country. We have a Be Like Josh curriculum based upon acceptance and inclusion. We inspire the children to be kind toward, and embrace all people, regardless of their differences. Our Special Abilities Program is focused on connecting with Josh through physical interaction, and asking questions. Your donations help to cover the expense of travel to schools across the country, allowing us to make a broader impact.
We believe that every dog is worthy of a quality life filled with exercise, enrichment, and a forever family to love them regardless of their physical abilities.
Due to the nature of the work we do, the dogs in our care stay with us longer than the typical rescue dog. Our vetting and diagnostic process is extremely thorough and we spend a lot of time with each case to understand the dog in his or her totality, taking into account all aspects of their mental and physical well-being. Dogs that enter the Be Like Josh Foundation serve as ambassadors of our message which is that regardless of where we sit on the spectrum of abilities, all animals (and people) are worthy of love, respect and belonging. Our goal is to challenge the ableist mindset that discriminates against neurological differences to create a more compassionate and deeper understanding for all beings who exist in the world. Learn more at belikejosh.org

Episode 44 – Kimberly Elliott, Be Like Josh Foundation | Advocate for Dogs with Neurological Disabilities

Kimberly Elliott, founder of belikejosh.org, advocates for dogs with neurological disabilities like her own dog, Josh. Through Be Like Josh, she rescues and educates on disabilities, aiming to create an inclusive society. Kimberly’s work challenges stigmas in veterinary medicine and promotes understanding through school visits. She seeks support to expand her impact. Kimberly’s message: ‘March to the beat of your own drum, embracing freedom and grace.’

Yan Vishnepolsky

Episode #43 – April 18, 2024
The AI Revolution Through a Neurodiverse Lens | Yan Vishnepolsky
Yan Vishnepolsky is on a mission to make AI more inclusive
Yan Vishnepolsky profile pictureAs an entrepreneurial leader in User Experience (UX) mixed methods research, I identify problems, pitch solutions and get buy-in to make improvements in products. My passion lies in finding new ways to apply Artificial Intelligence (AI) to user research. My professional journey spans over a decade, during which I’ve led research and design for more than 100 software projects and products across … open the full bio diverse industries. My unique blend of experience, from spearheading a UX agency to contributing to Fortune 100s, has equipped me with a deep understanding of how user needs intersect with business objectives.

Episode 43 – The AI Revolution Through a Neurodiverse Lens | Yan Vishnepolsky

In this enlightening podcast episode, host Alycia Anderson welcomes Yan Vishnepolsky, an entrepreneur and AI enthusiast diagnosed as neurodiverse. They delve into neurodiversity, its intersection with AI, and Vishnepolsky’s personal journey. Emphasizing the importance of embracing individual strengths, they discuss workplace inclusivity, the benefits of remote work, and the human-centered approach to integrating AI. Vishnepolsky shares insights from his podcast “Human-Centered AI” and advocates for leveraging uniqueness for success.

Joci Scott

Episode #42 – April 11, 2024
Rewriting the Script on Disability | Joci Scott, ‘The Rollettes’ and ‘Disability Film Challenge’ Star
Welcome Joci Scott: Crafting New Roles in Hollywood
Joci Scott profile pictureJoci Scott is an actress, singer, and dancer based in Los Angeles. She became paralyzed at 20 years old by sustaining a T12 spinal cord injury when her family survived a plane crash, and has adjusted to life with a disability. Noticing a lack of disability in entertainment, Joci is a passionate advocate for disability representation and portraying complex disabled stories. Joci has been a … open the full bio Rollettes dance team member since 2021, empowering women through dance and community. Her leading performance in “Smash or Pass” received a “Best Actor” nomination in the 2023 Easterseals Disability Film Challenge and the film went to the 2024 Slamdance Film Festival. Her latest film “Body Swap” made for the 2024 Disability Film Challenge explores what happens when a wheelchair user and a non-disabled person switch bodies for a day. Spoiler alert – hilarity ensues. Her ultimate goal is to be a working actor in the industry and show the world that disabled people have stories to tell too.

Episode 42 – Rewriting the Script on Disability | Joci Scott, ‘The Rollettes’ and ‘Disability Film Challenge’ Star

In Episode 42 of “Pushing Forward with Alycia,” Joci Scott, an actress and disability advocate, shares her journey from a plane crash to pursuing entertainment, including empowering performances with the Rollettes and roles in groundbreaking films. She discusses the impact of the Rollettes, her advocacy for authentic representation, and her experiences with the Disability Film Challenge. Joci emphasizes the importance of resilience and authenticity in facing challenges.

Joanne Lopez

Episode #41 – April 4, 2024
Banking on Change | Joanne Lopez, Financial Literacy Champion
Charting Financial Success with Joanne Lopez
Joanne Lopez profile pictureJoanne Lopez: Banking Leader Extraordinaire
Joanne’s journey to the United States started at the age of 13, when she and her family made the life-changing decision to immigrate to New Jersey. Right from the outset, Joanne showcased an exceptional talent for numbers and an unwavering passion for providing excellent customer service. Upon successfully completing her education, she wasted no time … open the full bio embarking on her professional voyage, taking her inaugural step into the realm of finance as a bank teller at National Westminster Bank.
Her career in banking was off to a promising start, and it was evident that Joanne possessed a unique blend of skills and competencies that would set her apart in the industry. She quickly ascended the ranks, and her journey through the financial industry was marked by a series of noteworthy achievements.
Joanne’s core skills and competencies read like a comprehensive toolkit for a banking professional. She demonstrated strong leadership abilities, a keen sense of financial planning, exceptional quantitative skills, and an ability to perform under pressure. Her knack for problem-solving and risk assessment was complemented by her unwavering commitment to customer service. Joanne’s attention to detail, analytical skills, and proficiency in various software, made her a force to be reckoned with in the banking sector.
Career Highlights
Joanne’s most recent role at Valley Bank in Montclair, NJ, sees her leading the charge in planning and executing strategies to drive the overall operations and profitability of multiple branches. She has demonstrated her ability to manage budgets, improve revenues, and create an environment that exceeds client expectations. Her leadership extends to team development, market intelligence, and ensuring operational functions meet compliance requirements. Joanne excels at building and expanding customer relationships while representing the bank in an excellent manner.
Throughout her distinguished 27-year banking career, Joanne consistently demonstrated her expertise in delivering exceptional results, leading high-performing teams, and nurturing robust customer relationships. Her constant dedication to her profession has garnered her a plethora of accolades, most notably the prestigious distinction of Business of the Year by the Montclair Chamber of Commerce in March 2019. Furthermore, she has taken on the role of a board member for the N.J. Latino Law Enforcement Coalition since June 2023. In addition to these commitments, Joanne currently serves as a board member for Out Montclair and proudly carries the title of Ambassador for NJ Reentry Corporation.
One of the proudest achievements of Joanne’s career materialized through her recent partnership with NJ Reentry, a pivotal turning point. As an Ambassador for NJ Reentry, Joanne had firsthand exposure to the organization’s profound impact on individuals who have previously been incarcerated. NJ Reentry provides critical support in areas such as housing, food, medical care, clothing, substance abuse treatment, mental health care, employment, and education. Yet, one essential element was absent, which was the opportunity for these individuals to establish a bank account.
Recognizing this gap, Joanne initiated a transformative collaboration with Valley Bank. Together, they created a tailored banking solution for NJ Reentry clients, affording them the crucial opportunity for a second chance to build a secure and healthy financial future. This initiative represents a crowning achievement in Joanne’s distinguished career, embodying her commitment to social impact and financial empowerment.
Today, Joanne is a dedicated mother to two lovely teenage daughters and a loving wife to her husband. Her most cherished moments are centered around creating precious family memories and crafting unforgettable experiences during vacations.
Joanne’s life story serves as a testament to the American dream, where the combination of hard work, innate talent, and reliable dedication has led to remarkable success. Her amazing journey from the tiny island of Trinidad and Tobago to the pinnacle of the U.S. banking sector stands as an inspirational example of what can be accomplished with unwavering determination and a firm commitment to excellence. Joanne is undeniably an accomplished and elite banker, leaving an enduring impact on the banking industry that resonates today.

Episode 41 – Banking on Change | Joanne Lopez, Financial Literacy Champion

Joanne Lopez, a financial literacy advocate, shares her journey from Trinidad Tobago to the US, highlighting challenges as a teen immigrant. She found solace in banking, starting as a teller at 19, navigating personal and professional hurdles. Now, as VP of Marketing, she champions financial education, especially for marginalized groups, through partnerships and community initiatives. Her mantra: Live with purpose, impacting lives one kindness at a time. This is Pushing Forward with Alycia.

Catarina Rivera

Episode #40 – March 28, 2024
Embracing Every Aspect of Life with Catarina Rivera
From Silence to Advocacy: A Blindish Latina’s Journey
Catarina Rivera profile picture

Catarina is a dynamic public speaker, DEI consultant, and content creator. She works with companies to improve disability awareness, inclusion, and accessibility. As a disabled Latine woman, she is passionate about sharing her own unique story to help build a more inclusive world.

Episode 40 – Embracing Every Aspect of Life with Catarina Rivera

Catarina Rivera, a disabled Latina advocate, shares her journey from acceptance to advocacy in “Pushing Forward with Alycia.” From her personal evolution to her impactful initiatives like Blindish Latina and accessible tourism advocacy, Rivera emphasizes the importance of disability inclusion. She encourages embracing one’s disability journey and emphasizes the significance of accessibility in all aspects of life and travel.

Lindsay Ulrey

Episode #39 – March 21, 2024
Wheels of Change 🦽 | Welcome Dr. Lindsay Ulrey
Lindsay Ulrey profile pictureLindsay Ulrey, is an active, busy mama of two young boys and enjoys being outside, family bike rides and adventures of all kind! Lindsay is a licensed clinical psychologist and certified perinatal mental health practitioner (PsyD, PMH-C) and runs a private practice in northern CA. She feels passionately about supporting individuals in the perinatal stages of life and creating safe spaces that … open the full bio facilitate growth and healing during a difficult transition. Lindsay is also a total foodie (and appeared on season 13 of Check Please, Bay Area!) and enjoys going out and trying new restaurants as well as getting crazy in the kitchen trying out new recipes.

Episode 39 – Wheels of Change 🦽 | Welcome Dr. Lindsay Ulrey

Dr. Lindsay Ulrey, a licensed psychologist and advocate for motherhood among wheelchair users, shares her journey as a mother of two, and discusses her disability identity after acquiring a spinal cord injury. She emphasizes the importance of community support and her initiative, Wheel Good Motherhood, providing resources and a safe space. This episode highlights empathy and the need for understanding in navigating life’s transitions.

Jillian Curwin

Episode #38 – March 14, 2024
Jillian (Ilana) Curwin: Dwarfism Champion and Advocate
Height is Just a Number: Welcome Jillian (Ilana) Curwin
Jillian Curwin profile picture

Jillian is a writer, content creator, and advocate for dwarfism and disability awareness. She is the host of the podcast Always Looking Up where she speaks to little people, disabled people, those that are disability-adjacent and allies about living in a world that was not necessarily designed for them.

Episode 38 – Jillian (Ilana) Curwin: Dwarfism Champion and Advocate

Jillian Curwin, also known as Jillian Ilana, joins Alycia Anderson on “Pushing Forward with Alycia” to discuss her advocacy work for the dwarfism community. From her podcast “Always Looking Up” to challenging perceptions in fashion, Curwin emphasizes inclusivity and representation. Inspired by Sinead Burke’s British Vogue cover, she highlights the importance of media representation. The episode delves into dwarfism insights, fashion advocacy, respectful engagement, and the impact of her podcast.

Donna Walton

Episode #37 – March 7, 2024
Diva’s Dialogue | Dr. Donna Walton’s Path to “Diva’s with Disabilities”
Dr. Walton’s crusade for inclusive representation
Donna Walton profile pictureWhen she was just 18, Donna Walton’s dreams of being a dancer, a singer, and an actress were shattered when she was diagnosed with life-threatening bone cancer and had to have most of her left leg amputated to save her life.
Over the following decades, as she struggled to simply return to a “normal” life, she learned—despite disasters, setbacks, trials and tribulations—how to survive and even … open the full bio thrive with a disability.
“I know now that broken lives can be renewed, remade, rebuilt, recycled, reinvented and rebranded,” says Walton, who graduated with a doctorate in rehabilitation counseling in 2005 and is trained in cognitive behavioral therapy. “In fact, in many cases, our new lives can be even better than our old ones—if we know how to deal with the trauma.”
After reinventing her own life, Walton’s new dream was to help others. As a result, in 2012, she founded The Divas With Disabilities Project to support other black and brown girls and women with disabilities, and the organization has since grown into an international movement.
In addition to helping ensure that these women and girls don’t fall through the cracks of a world that wasn’t made for them, her earlier dreams of being a performer have also come full circle.
Since founding DWD, she has also modeled, done public speaking, and acted in several films, including the 2020 Black Oak TV series The Retreat and the 2023 Hulu series The Other Black Girl.
In 2024, she shows no signs of slowing down on creative projects, including co-producing a digital docuseries titled Divas in the City.
For more information about Walton and DWD, please visit divaswithdisabilities.org.

Episode 37 – Diva’s Dialogue | Dr. Donna Walton’s Path to “Diva’s with Disabilities”

Dr. Donna Walton, founder of Divas with Disabilities Project, discusses her journey and mission with Alycia Anderson. Walton’s personal struggle with disability led to empowering others through representation and resilience. Divas aims to reshape perceptions of disability, especially for black and brown women, advocating for inclusive spaces and amplifying voices globally. Walton’s story of perseverance, from facing cancer to acting roles, exemplifies the importance of never abandoning dreams.

Jonathan Goodwin

Episode #36 – February 29, 2024
From Stunt Performer to Spinal Injury Ambassador | Jonathan Goodwin
How one stunt on AGT Extreme changed Jonathan Goodwin’s life forever
Jonathan Goodwin profile pictureJonathan Goodwin has been called “the closest thing we can boast to a real life superhero”, and “the worlds greatest theatrical stunt performer”. Jonathan has been hanged, buried alive, locked in a box while covered in 200,000 bees, attacked by sharks, bitten by rattlesnakes and hung from his toes from helicopters. Jonathan has performed on every continent except Antarctica and in every US State … open the full bio except Alaska. Goodwin has played Broadway, London’s West End, Sydney Opera House and Radio City Music Hall.
In 2021 Jonathan was involved in an accident while rehearsing a stunt for American tv. The accident left Jonathan with horrendous injuries and resulted in him being permanently paralyzed from the waist down. Now retired from stunt performing Jonathan has turned his attention to writing, presenting, Hypnotherapy and being a roll model (pun intended) for both disabled and able bodied people alike

Episode 36 – From Stunt Performer to Spinal Injury Ambassador | Jonathan Goodwin

Jonathan Goodwin, once a daredevil stunt performer turned spinal injury ambassador, shares his journey from a life-changing accident on AGT Extreme to his new roles as a hypnotherapist and keynote speaker. He emphasizes embracing challenges and transforming fear into knowledge. Goodwin’s advice to “say yes” before worrying encapsulates his resilient mindset and encourages listeners to push forward despite uncertainty.

Aiesha Robinson

Episode #35 – February 22, 2024
How a Vitiligo Diagnosis Changed Aiesha Robinson’s Life
Finding Strength in Vulnerability with Aiesha
Aiesha Robinson profile pictureAiesha Robinson, a vibrant keynote speaker and self-love advocate, embarked on her empowering journey at 18 when diagnosed with vitiligo. Fueled by personal experiences, she founded Born To Rise, a nonprofit fostering resilience through shared stories. Aiesha’s impactful talks on self-love, resilience, grief, and bullying resonate globally, drawing from her authentic journey. As a speaking and … open the full bio self-coach, she guides others towards empowerment, embodying the strength found in embracing vulnerability. Aiesha Robinson is more than a speaker; she is a beacon of hope, inspiring individuals to rise above challenges and discover their inner resilience.

Episode 35 – How a Vitiligo Diagnosis Changed Aiesha Robinson’s Life

Aiesha Robinson’s life transformed after a vitiligo diagnosis, leading her to advocate self-love and resilience. She founded Born to Rise, empowering others through storytelling. Despite struggles with identity and bullying, she now spreads positivity and educates on self-acceptance. Through her nonprofit, Aiesha provides a platform for diverse voices. Her message: “You were born to rise,” encourages resilience and self-belief, inspiring others to embrace their uniqueness and push forward.

Alycia & Marty Anderson

Episode #34 – February 14, 2024
❤️❤️ Special Valentine’s Episode❤️❤️ | Rolling in Love with Alycia & Marty
Valentine’s Memories: From Camp Crushes to Lifelong Love
Alycia & Marty Anderson profile pictureValentine’s Day, celebrated annually on February 14th, is a day dedicated to love, affection, and romance. Its origins trace back to ancient Roman and Christian traditions, but today it is celebrated worldwide as a day to express love and appreciation for those close to us.
One interpretation of Valentine’s Day dates back to ancient Rome, where mid-February marked the celebration of Lupercalia, a … open the full bio fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture. During this festival, young men would draw names of young women from a jar, forming temporary romantic pairings. This tradition evolved over time to become associated with courtship and love.
The Christian association with Valentine’s Day is believed to stem from the commemoration of Saint Valentine, a third-century Roman priest who defied Emperor Claudius II’s ban on marriage for young men, believing that single men made better soldiers. Saint Valentine continued to perform marriages in secret, for which he was eventually martyred. The legend suggests that before his execution, he sent a letter to the jailer’s daughter signed “from your Valentine,” thus establishing the tradition of sending love letters.
Today, Valentine’s Day is celebrated with various customs and rituals. The exchange of greeting cards, flowers, chocolates, and gifts has become synonymous with the holiday, symbolizing affection and appreciation. Couples often go on romantic dates, share intimate moments, and express their love through gestures of kindness and thoughtfulness.
However, Valentine’s Day is not limited to romantic love. It also celebrates platonic love, friendship, and familial bonds. Many people use the occasion to show appreciation for their friends, family members, and even pets, spreading love and positivity to all those who hold significance in their lives.
Critics of Valentine’s Day argue that it has become overly commercialized, with the focus shifting towards consumerism rather than genuine expressions of love. However, proponents argue that the holiday serves as a reminder to cherish and celebrate the love we share with others, regardless of its commercial aspects.
In recent years, Valentine’s Day has also been reclaimed as a day of self-love and self-care. Individuals practice acts of self-love, such as pampering themselves, engaging in activities they enjoy, or simply taking time to appreciate their own worth and value.
Ultimately, the meaning of Valentine’s Day lies in the expression of love and appreciation for others. Whether it’s through grand gestures or simple acts of kindness, the holiday serves as a reminder to celebrate the bonds of love that connect us all. It is a day to cherish the relationships we hold dear and to spread love, joy, and positivity to those around us.

Episode 34 – ❤️❤️ Special Valentine’s Episode❤️❤️ | Rolling in Love with Alycia & Marty

Episode 34 of ‘Pushing Forward with Alycia’ celebrates Valentine’s Day with Alycia and Marty sharing their unique love journey. From youthful mischief to heartfelt proposals, they recount pivotal moments, reflecting on challenges that strengthened their bond. Candid discussions challenge stereotypes around disability and intimacy. The episode includes a poignant reading of Lily Grossman’s poem, resonating with their shared experiences.

Shane & Regina Weinstein

Episode #33 – February 8, 2024
Sweet Ella | The Child Heart Warrior
American Heart Month: Alycia’s family is embracing life with Congenital Heart Defect
Shane & Regina Weinstein profile pictureRegina and Shane Weinstein’s journey as parents of a congenital heart defect (CHD) warrior is a testament to the power of resilience and love in the face of adversity. Their story serves as an inspiration to many, especially during important awareness weeks dedicated to raising understanding and support for those affected by CHD.
Their unwavering commitment to their child’s well-being and their … open the full bio ability to navigate the challenges associated with CHD showcases the strength of the human spirit. By sharing their experiences, Regina and Shane not only raise awareness about CHD but also offer hope and encouragement to other families who may be going through similar struggles.
Their story reminds us all of the importance of empathy, support, and advocacy for individuals and families impacted by CHD. Through their resilience and love, Regina and Shane Weinstein exemplify the power of unity and compassion in overcoming life’s obstacles.

Episode 33 – Sweet Ella | The Child Heart Warrior

In a poignant episode, she interviews her twin sister Regina and brother-in-law Shane about their daughter Ella’s journey with Congenital Heart Defect. Shane emphasizes embracing challenges, finding strength in adversity, and advocating for heart warriors like Ella. Regina stresses openness, gratitude, and building supportive communities. Together, they inspire resilience and love.

Nick Klingensmith

Episode #32 – February 1, 2024
“Cancer Saved My Life” – Nick Klingensmith’s Remarkable Resurgence
From Cancer Survivor to Obstacle Course Champion
Nick Klingensmith profile pictureAfter being thrown out of a Las Vegas hotel in a drunken haze, jeopardizing his career and relationships, Nick Klingensmith had to make a change. A 4-time cancer survivor, type-1 diabetic, recovering alcoholic with herniated discs, nerve damage and sleep apnea, he defies it all when he finds Obstacle Course Racing. Refusing to accept his limitations, he’s completed over 100 Spartan Races, 6 Major … open the full bio Marathons, several Ultras and scores of other obstacle and endurance events.
As someone who has walked the path of a sales professional, Nick is an expert in propelling other achievement-driven professionals and leaders to overcome fear and rejection and push past self-limiting doubts, by inspiring them to take purposeful action towards their goals. Nick is a raw and passionate storyteller who holds nothing back when revealing who he used to be and the person he is now.

Episode 32 – “Cancer Saved My Life” – Nick Klingensmith’s Remarkable Resurgence

In this episode of “Pushing Forward with Alycia” we feature Nick Klingensmith, a four-time cancer survivor, type one diabetic, obstacle course athlete, and bestselling author. Nick shares his inspiring journey from health battles to conquering obstacle courses, emphasizing resilience and community. The episode explores his early ambitions, overcoming cancer, embracing obstacle course racing for healing, and transitioning into motivational speaking. Nick’s story underscores the transformative power of challenges and the importance of living inspired.

Alycia & Marty Anderson

Episode #31 – January 25, 2024
Alycia and Marty – 2024 Visions and Hopes
A Look Ahead to 2024 with Alycia and Marty
Alycia & Marty Anderson profile pictureHere are some areas to look for significant developments throughout the New Year of 2024 in Accessibility, Diversity Equity & Disability Inclusion:

Policy Changes: Let’s hope for and expect potential updates or changes in disability-related policies and regulations globally that will help national and global disabled populations in all countries all around the globe to live finding richer, … open the full bio fuller, and more inclusive opportunities within our society.
Technology Advancements: Anticipate new technologies and innovations aimed at improving accessibility and inclusion for individuals with disabilities. AI playing a major role in this conversation moving into 2024.
Corporate Inclusion Initiatives: Look for major companies implementing or expanding diversity, equity, and inclusion programs with a focus on disability inclusion. The word is getting out that the disabled community represents one of the world’s largest consumer bases, and leading companies want to know how they buy in.
International Disability Awareness Events: Events like the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (December 3rd) may see increased global awareness initiatives, and major milestone moments throughout the year like National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), Global Accessibility Awareness Day(GAAD), Disability Pride Month and the nearly other 240 special disability related days listed on this calendar.
Advocacy Campaigns: Let’s hope that we will see catchy, mainstream impactful advocacy campaigns addressing disability rights, inclusion, and awareness.
Education Initiatives: Campaigns throughout the upcoming cycle should be focusing even more than ever on the development of inclusive education practices and initiatives supporting accessibility in educational institutions and the learning to move beyond compliance and bridge and connect the human elements of inclusion.
Accessible Infrastructure Projects: From Federal to State and even at County and City levels every step in the chain of command in our government should be seriously considering and be actively in the discovery phase of advancements in creating more accessible public spaces, transportation, and infrastructure as a way to fill the need of their growing numbers in populations.
Media Representation: There should be continued efforts to improve the representation of individuals with disabilities in media and entertainment. Where real people living with disabilities find work in sharing and developing the themes, topics and instances that reflect a life of living with a disability portrayed in these representations.
Inclusive Employment Practices: Lets encourage and find more companies adopting and promoting more inclusive hiring and workplace practices for individuals with disabilities by bringing a real stake in the game to the entrepreneurs, innovators and advocators building the foundations of for the benefits of disability inclusion in the workforce.
Global Conferences: Participation and discussions at major international conferences focusing on disability inclusion and accessibility should include more people with disabilities outlining pathways to pushing forward the disability empowerment movement.
Inclusive Design Trends: Keep an eye on the integration of inclusive design principles in various products, services, and environments, as the full gamut of the world’s industries realize the new frontier of universal barrier free designs and truly all inclusive environments.
Collaborations and Partnerships: Watch for collaborations between organizations, governments, and advocacy groups to enhance disability inclusion on a broader scale. And, for the allyship of even the members within our tight knit community of people with disabilities learn to lift up and work with each other to usher in the new era of opportunities that await.

Episode 31 – Alycia and Marty – 2024 Visions and Hopes

Step into 2024 with Alycia and Marty on a special episode of ‘Pushing Forward with Alycia.’ Reflecting on their journey, the duo shares aspirations for the new year, from advocating for disability rights to embracing challenges. Alycia’s fearless approach, personal stories, and upcoming podcast guests offer a glimpse into their commitment to growth, advocacy, and making a difference. Join them on a journey of hope, courage, and pushing forward in 2024. Connect with Alycia on Instagram and LinkedIn for more inspiring conversations.

Josh Basile

Episode #30 – January 18, 2024
From Quadriplegic to Advocate: Josh Basile’s Powerful Story
A Quadriplegic Father’s Inspiring Pursuit of Justice and Equality
Josh Basile profile pictureMeet Josh Basile a C4-5 quadriplegic, power wheelchair user, disability rights advocate, trial attorney, inventor, and proud father. In 2004 at the age of 18, Josh was paralyzed below the shoulders in a beach accident. Soon after he formed the Determined2Heal Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, to empower newly injured families. Josh created the world’s largest paralysis video mentoring network … open the full bio through SPINALpedia.com with 30,000 videos searchable by physical functionality. As a medical malpractice lawyer and disabilities rights advocate, Josh serves persons with disabilities both in the courtroom and through policy initiatives. As a community leader and changemaker, Josh works tirelessly to improve the quality of life the people with disabilities and to continuously break down existing barriers to access and inclusion, independent living, transportation, employment, and web accessibility.

Episode 30 – From Quadriplegic to Advocate: Josh Basile’s Powerful Story

In this episode, Josh Basile shares his passion for giving back to the world through being a mentor, a disability rights advocate for those living with spinal cord injuries (SCI) and as a trial attorney fighting for legislative advancements. He offers personal enlightening perspectives of his life as a “Quad Father” to his son Calder and “Quad Partner” to his wife Katie, and pays tribute to the village of support he finds in his caregivers, family, and friends, along with the ever evolving multitude of technological advancements that assist him daily in enhancing his life and drive to profess his joy and gratitude for the life he is living.

Meredith Sadoulet

Episode #29 – January 11, 2024
Amplifying Disability Leadership: A Conversation with Meredith Sadoulet
Bridging Disability and Leadership in the Corporate World
Meredith Sadoulet profile pictureMeredith Sadoulet is the Founder and CEO of ProFound, a startup building a powerful professional network among disability-inclusive leaders. She launched ProFound after a 20+ year corporate career as a Finance, Strategy, and HR executive across multiple iconic Fortune 100 companies. With personal connection to disability, Meredith is passionate about amplifying disability leadership in the … open the full bio workforce and positively impacting global employment outcomes.

Episode 29 – Amplifying Disability Leadership: A Conversation with Meredith Sadoulet

In this episode, Alycia invites Meredith Sadoulet, founder of ProFound, to share her journey from corporate strategist to advocating for disability leadership. Through ProFound, she aims to create an inclusive professional environment by shifting perspectives on disability and leveraging it as a competitive advantage. She challenges traditional narratives, emphasizing disability as a profitable business model, and hopes to encourage disabled leaders to invest and find true returns in this work.

Chelsie Hill

Episode #28 – January 4, 2024
Rollettes Founder | Chelsie Hill: Dancing Without Limits
Wheelchair Dance Pioneer and Social Media Sensation
Chelsie Hill profile pictureChelsie Hill is professional dancer, community leader, content creator, and Founder/CEO of Rollettes, a Los Angeles based wheelchair dance team that’s committed to education, disability representation, and female empowerment.
As an entrepreneur, Chelsie created the very first women and kids empowerment event called the Rollettes Experience with seminars to empower, educate and connect the hundreds … open the full bio and hundreds of attendees who have traveled from across the country and 17 countries to attend every year on dance, fitness, yoga, makeup, special guest speakers and panels, pj party, pool party, talent showcase, and the Boundless Babe Awards.
The goal as a company and team is to empower women with disabilities to live boundlessly and shift perspectives through dance. Chelsie and the Rollettes are creating a global movement of Boundless Babes by helping them become community leaders and live independent lives.
The Rollettes dance team were featured on Adam Levine’s series “Sugar” on YouTube Premium, Vanderpump Dogs on Peacock and performed in numerous special events such as Garden of Dreams Talent Show with the Radio City Rockettes, 86th Annual Hollywood Christmas Parade, Redbull’s Wings for Life World Run, Disneyland, Festival Internazionale delle Abilità Differenti in Italy, and Gold meets Golden for the Golden Globes.
As a content creator, community leader, and personal brand, Chelsie and the Rollettes are highly sought out by production companies, producers and brands to create, produce and consult on projects for TV, Film, Commercials, YouTube and Social Media.

Episode 28 – Rollettes Founder | Chelsie Hill: Dancing Without Limits

Chelsie Hill, the Rollettes founder, shares her journey from aspiring dancer to wheelchair dance pioneer after a life-altering accident. Her determination led to the creation of a Los Angeles-based wheelchair dance team, empowering women and children with disabilities. The Rollettes Experience became the world’s largest women’s empowerment weekend, uniting and inspiring participants from across the globe. Chelsie’s positivity and resilience continue to motivate others to find the positive in every negative, pushing them forward.

Alycia & Marty Anderson

Episode #27 – December 28, 2023
🌟 2023 Reflections and Revelations🌟: Alycia and Marty
Celebrating Milestones and Embracing Challenges
Alycia & Marty Anderson profile picture

In 2023, Alycia and Marty reflected on their pivotal moments. They discussed the launch of their podcast, remarkable interviews, and professional milestones. Besides, they recounted impactful experiences such as advocacy work, historical trips, and personal growth. The couple aims to continue inspiring others and overcoming fear in their journey.

Episode 27 – 🌟 2023 Reflections and Revelations🌟: Alycia and Marty

In this special year-end episode, Alycia and Marty reflect on the remarkable journey of 2023, highlighting moments such as launching the podcast, impactful speaking events, their advocacy work, travels, and favorite personal moments. The episode is an intimate conversation filled with laughter, learning, and love, encapsulating the essence of their year.

Lisa Zibelli Tetzloff

Episode #26 – December 21, 2023
The Heart of a Blended Family❤️: Love Beyond Boundaries
Stepmom Lisa and Sister Corinna Share How Alycia’s Family Is Woven with Love
Lisa Zibelli Tetzloff profile pictureLisa Zibelli Tetzloff, a retired paralegal, boasts an extensive 40-year tenure within the legal field. Her professional journey was marked by aiding numerous individuals in advocating the complexities of securing social security and disability benefits.
Beyond her professional achievements, she revels in a joyous marriage, embracing roles as a devoted wife, nurturing mother, and loving … open the full bio grandmother.

Episode 26 – The Heart of a Blended Family❤️: Love Beyond Boundaries

Alycia Anderson, her stepmom Lisa, and sister Corinna share the heartwarming journey of their blended family on “Pushing Forward with Alycia.” Through personal anecdotes and family celebrations, they illustrate the strength and joy found in their non-traditional but love-filled family. The episode is a tribute to the enduring power of love and shared experiences in forming meaningful bonds beyond blood ties.

William “Bill” Krebs

Episode #25 – December 14, 2023
Bill Krebs: Speaking Up on Intellectual Disability
Advocacy in the Evolving Landscape of Self-Direction
William Bill Krebs grew up in Philadelphia and was labeled with a developmental disability at an early age. In first grade, it was hard for him to keep up with the regular kids, so he was left back the next few years until he was finally tested. It was revealed that Bill had a developmental disability. He was placed in special education classes where he was self-contained, meaning everything took place in … open the full bio the class and you didn’t get to see the other kids. After he graduated, Bill felt fortunate to find a group called “Speaking for Ourselves.” He now utilizes his lived experiences to teach individuals how to speak up for themselves and know their rights.
Bill now works for Liberty Resources supporting others with developmental disabilities and autism. He facilitates a monthly group in which he provides support and resources. Bill is also an advocate coordinator for individuals with developmental disabilities at Keystone Services, an organization that has offices all over the world. Bill Krebs is a leader of a self-advocate movement and sits on several committees throughout the state. He is a proud recipient of the Brighter Futures Award, Justin Dart Award, and the Mental Health Association Award, among others. He brings an IDS perspective to the PCTAB, and we are excited to have him on board.

Episode 25 – Bill Krebs: Speaking Up on Intellectual Disability

In this episode Alycia interviews Bill Krebs, a long-time advocate for the rights of people with intellectual disabilities. Krebs discusses his career at Keystone Human Services, his personal journey into advocacy, and the ongoing challenges and triumphs in employment for people with disabilities. His inspiring story underscores the importance of self-advocacy, empathetic understanding, and fighting for equal rights.

Mindy Scheier

Episode #24 – December 7, 2023
Inclusivity on the Runway: Mindy Scheier’s Fashion Revolution
Mindy Scheier is Leading the Charge in Adaptive Fashion
Mindy Scheier profile pictureBefore starting the Runway of Dreams Foundation in 2014, Mindy Scheier spent 20 years working in fashion on the design team for the INC collection and as a stylist for Saks Fifth Avenue. Mindy was inspired to start Runway of Dreams after her son Oliver, who has Muscular Dystrophy, dreamed of wearing jeans like everyone else. After using her design skills to adapt a pair that met his needs and … open the full bio increased his confidence, she went on to conduct extensive research to develop modifications that would meet the needs of the largest minority in our world- people with disabilities. Following its launch, Runway of Dreams partnered with Tommy Hilfiger on the first mainstream adaptive clothing line for kids and continues to work with many mainstream brands such as Kohl’s, Target, JCPenney and Zappos.com. Founded on the basis that clothing is a basic human need, Runway of Dreams develops, delivers and supports initiatives to broaden the reach of mainstream adaptive clothing and promote people with disabilities in the fashion industry.
Due to the overwhelming amount of requests Mindy received at Runway of Dreams from a multitude of brands and industries for connection to PWDs, in 2019, Mindy created Gamut Talent Management to represent people with disabilities and create a marketplace where businesses and industries can connect to this target audience. Gamut is rebranding the way PWDs are viewed, marketed to and represented in the mainstream world. The continued support of the mission of Runway of Dreams will always be a component of Gamut, as the company’s 501c3 partner.

Mindy has been featured in ​Newsweek’s ​ “The Creative Class of 2019: Innovators,” ​People magazine’s “Heroes Among Us” and Pix 11’s “Changemaker: Making the Fashion Industry More Inclusive.” She has also been featured in USA Today, Parents, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Vogue Business, WWD, NBC’s Today, ABC’s Good Morning America, Access, CNBC, Fox News Channel and more. An inspiring ​TED ​speaker, Mindy has received numerous awards including the Catalyst Award for “Marketing Influencer of the Year,” Citrin Cooperman’s “Women at the Wheel Leadership Excellence Award, the Association of Image Consultants International Bravo Award and Enable Inc.’s Michael Graves Award for Creativity and Persistence.
Mindy studied Fashion Design with a dual program at the University of Vermont and Fashion Institute of Technology.

Episode 24 – Inclusivity on the Runway: Mindy Scheier’s Fashion Revolution

In this podcast episode, Alycia Anderson interviews Mindy Scheier, founder of Runway of Dreams and Gamut Management, organizations dedicated to promoting adaptive fashion and disability representation in media and brands. Scheier shares how her son’s muscular dystrophy led her to create inclusive clothing and open doors for others with disabilities in the fashion industry. She discusses the growth of adaptive fashion, her partnerships with major brands like Tommy Hilfiger and Victoria’s Secret, and the importance of disability representation at every step of the value chain[…]

Mike Box

Episode #23 – November 30, 2023
Mike Box: Founder of Box Wheelchairs
Customizing Mobility with Heart: Mike Box
Mike Box profile pictureMike Box is the mind behind the magic at BOX Wheelchairs. Mike began building wheelchairs after his brother was involved in a tragic motorcycle accident at the age of 17. When his brother couldn’t get cooperation from the manufacturer of his tennis wheelchair regarding adjustments, they decided to do it themselves. In 1992 after being in the aerospace industry, he left his job and they formed … open the full bio their own wheelchair company.
Mike designed and built the chairs for that company until 2010 after the company had been sold. At that point the industry was going in a direction that was not in Mike’s heart. His philosophy is and always has been helping others and for him, there is no better way to make a comfortable, durable wheelchair that fits the individual, than one you build from scratch! At Box Wheelchairs, ALL chairs are custom made to order and fitted with only the best parts and components on the market today.
Mike’s heart and soul goes into each one… Success is defined with team work, love, and LISTENING to a person’s concerns and challenges, before overcoming them. Most of all what makes BOX Wheelchairs different from the rest, is the bespoke feel and custom touches exclusive to each and every chair… You don’t have to just “settle”, as there is no such thing as a standard BOX Wheelchair!

Episode 23 – Mike Box: Founder of Box Wheelchairs

Welcome Mike Box, the mastermind behind Box Wheelchairs. Mike’s innovative, personalized wheelchair design approach has significantly improved lives. He advocates for personal need solutions over standard custom ones, emphasizing listening to people’s requirements. Mike’s work, particularly with extreme wheelchair athlete Aaron “Wheelz” Fotheringham, indicates his dedication to change lives through design and innovation. Mike’s main goal is to share and live by his mantra of, people helping people.

Dez Del Barba

Episode #22 – November 16, 2023
From Medical Malpractice to Champion Athlete: Dez Del Barba Shares His Incredible Story
All He Needed Was a Penicillin Shot: Welcome Dez Del Barba
Dez Del Barba profile pictureDez Del Barba was a 21-year-old Sonoma State University college student when he took a leave of absence from his last semester of college in order to pursue and complete Basic Training for the U.S. Army at Fort Benning, Georgia. After basic training Dez was going to complete his degree and attend the Officer Candidate School (OCS) for the Army. Unfortunately, while in week 6 of basic training, he … open the full bio developed Streptococcus A was seen by several military medical providers for several days, but was not treated properly. Due to this he contracted a rare flesh-eating disease, known as Necrotizing Fasciitis.
Dez was sent to the ICU at Piedmont Hospital in Columbus, Georgia on February 11th, 2019. The medical team began the first of many surgeries removing infected flesh, skin and muscle from his legs and body. On February 13th, Dez was flown out on an air ambulance to the University of Alabama (UAB) medical burn unit. There, Dez was under the care of surgeons from UAB and surgeons from the United States Military.
On February 14th, his sister’s birthday, a lifesaving surgery was performed and his left leg was amputated. Dez would go through yet another surgery the following day removing even more muscle and flesh. At this point Dez’s right leg was in danger of being amputated. However, the surgeons were confident that they could save his leg if he was moved to a different facility.
On February 16th, Dez was flown on an air ambulance to the Institute of Surgical Research (ISR), a state-of-the-art military Burn Unit at Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) in Ft. Sam Houston, Texas. Here, Dez would spend 100 days in the ISR hospital ward and underwent weekly surgeries, skin grafts, reconstruction surgery, physical therapy, and wound care that was performed daily. A total of 43 surgeries were performed on Dez.
Once Dez recovered enough to be released from the ISR hospital ward, he was transferred to a Wounded Warrior Transition unit at Joint Base San Antonio/Ft. Sam Houston military base. During this time, he began intensive physical therapy, rehabilitation training, and learned to use his prosthetic leg and other devices at the Center for the Intrepid (CFI).
On March 15, 2020, Dez returned home to California where he continued his rehabilitation at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF). Dez remained in the Army and was medically retired on August 17, 2021. Today Dez is becoming stronger physically and emotionally every day. He is very active in weight training and works out every day. He continues to go to physical therapy weekly. Dez and his college sweetheart, Julia, live happily together. On December 15, 2021, Dez completed his Business degree from Sonoma State University and will be starting a new career with a large software company in January 2022.
Dez has endured a physical, emotional and spiritual battle since this tragedy started. However, Dez is a WARRIOR and his faith in God has shown what an amazing and inspirational and strong young man he is. The support of his family, friends and the medical professionals who helped save his life since February 11, 2019, were imperative to his recovery and survival.

Episode 22 – From Medical Malpractice to Champion Athlete: Dez Del Barba Shares His Incredible Story

In this episode, military veteran Dez Del Barba shares his story of surviving medical malpractice during basic training where he contracted streptococcus A that evolved into necrotizing fasciitis, leading to the amputation of his left leg. Despite enduring 43 surgeries and grueling therapy, Dez transformed his ordeal into a mission to advocate change in military healthcare and give back through his non-profit, Operation Dez Strong, aiding children facing amputations[…]

Nikki Walsh

Episode #21 – November 9, 2023
Adaptive Fitness and Nutrition with Nikki Walsh
Empowering Wheelchair Users to Achieve Their Fitness Goals
Nikki Walsh profile pictureNikki Walsh was raised outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She went to Penn State University where she graduated with a bachelors in Kinesiology and exercise science. She is a NASM Personal Trainer and Nutrition coach, content creator, and a mentor for women with disabilities. She has been featured in Women’s Health magazine Online, and Love What Matters. She strives to show all wheelchair … open the full bio users that despite their disabilities, they can do anything they want to in life.

Episode 21 – Adaptive Fitness and Nutrition with Nikki Walsh

Alycia interviews personal trainer Nikki Walsh, a wheelchair user who promotes fitness and nutrition accessibility for everyone. Nikki underscores the importance of strength training for wheelchair users and dispels nutrition myths. Furthermore, she emphasizes the need for gym facilities to be adaptive and create an inclusive environment for the wheelchair community. Lastly, both highlight how a shift in perspective can spark significant change and help individuals achieve their fitness[…]

Brian McComak

Episode #20 – November 2, 2023
A Conversation 💬 on Disabilities, Mental Health and Workplace Well-being
Alycia Anderson and Brian McComak discuss DEI, belonging and human-centered leadership
Brian McComak profile picture

Brian McComak is the CEO & Founder of Hummingbird Humanity. He is a consultant, speaker, author, and facilitator with over 25 years of experience in DEI, HR, culture, change management, internal communications, and employee experience. He is an openly gay man and a person with a disability who shares his lived experiences in service of fostering workplaces where humans thrive.

Episode 20 – A Conversation 💬 on Disabilities, Mental Health and Workplace Well-being

This week Brian McComak joins us to talk about disability in the workplace and finding a place of belonging in DEI. Brian is is an openly gay man with a disability sharing his experiences with mental health, depression, anxiety and the challenges of living with HIV, and how ultimately learning to live with these disabilities has enriched his ability to help corporations create workplace environments where all humans[…]

Alycia Anderson

Episode #19 – October 26, 2023
From Waitress to Workplace Warrior : Alycia’s NDEAM Story
Reflecting on NDEAM: Marty turns the tables and interviews Alycia
Alycia Anderson profile pictureIn honoring the contributions that people with disabilities have made to our workforce and celebrating National Disability Awareness Month (NDEAM), this weeks episode highlights the many layers of Alycia’s climb from waitress in a wheelchair to founder and CEO of her own business and how she went from serving margaritas and fajitas to propelling herself through college. We dive into how Alycia’s … open the full bio early experiences laid the foundation for her unwavering commitment to inclusion in the workforce, and how in spite of the challenges and discrimination she faced, how she found the courage to share her story as a testament to the power of self-advocacy and overcoming insecurities. Her transition from waitress to businesswoman is a small peek into to her adaptability and determination that has propelled her to her life’s dreams.

Episode 19 – From Waitress to Workplace Warrior : Alycia’s NDEAM Story

Alycia and Marty share some astounding numbers that look at the barriers faced by people with disabilities in the workplace, and they emphasize the transformative potential of disability inclusion in diversity and inclusion programs, urging companies to recognize the untapped potential of the 80% of unemployed disabled individuals. Alycia’s stories reveal the transformational power of embracing diversity, advocating for inclusion, and turning disability into corporate assets. In honoring National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) Alycia inspires change and pushes forward towards a more inclusive and accessible future.[…]

Dani Izzie

Episode #18 – October 19, 2023
A mother’s unbreakable bond: The Dani Izzie Story
Discover the strength and love that transcend disabilities
Dani Izzie profile pictureDani Izzie is a digital marketing professional uniquely positioned in the growing disability consumer marketplace. As the founder of Access Social, Dani’s mission is to help companies meet the 3rd largest market segment in the U.S. Living with a disability herself has also immersed her into the world of grassroots advocacy where she has worked with organizations on local and national levels. Most … open the full bio recently, she co-produced and starred in a documentary film and spearheaded an impact campaign amplifying issues faced by disabled parents. She is a multinational wheelchair-using mother to twins and resides outside of DC near Shenandoah National Park.

Episode 18 – A mother’s unbreakable bond: The Dani Izzie Story

Dani Izzie, a powerhouse woman who is also a quadriplegic, shares how she navigated the complexities of motherhood with unwavering determination, inspiring us all. Her remarkable journey, has been turned into a poignant documentary, Dani’s Twins, and it defies the misconceptions surrounding disability and parenthood. Dani champions inclusivity in the disability consumer marketplace through her pioneering venture, Access Social, a company that she has created to provide her digital marketing expertise to the world.[…]

Alycia & Marty Anderson

Episode #17 – October 12, 2023
Flight for Equality: Disabled Travelers Unite
Overcoming challenges in the skies together
Alycia & Marty Anderson profile picture“Airline passengers with disabilities deserve to travel safely and with dignity,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “DOT is proud to partner with the aviation industry and members of the disability community to ensure that all travelers with disabilities know their rights.” The Airline Passengers with Disabilities Bill of Rights, describes the fundamental rights of air travelers … open the full bio with disabilities under the Air Carrier Access Act and its implementing regulation, 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 382.
The Bill of Rights consists of:
1. The Right to Be Treated with Dignity and Respect.
2. The Right to Receive Information About Services and Aircraft Capabilities and Limitations.
3. The Right to Receive Information in an Accessible Format.
4. The Right to Accessible Airport Facilities.
5. The Right to Assistance at Airports.
6. The Right to Assistance on the Aircraft.
7. The Right to Travel with an Assistive Device or Service Animal.
8. The Right to Receive Seating Accommodations.
9. The Right to Accessible Aircraft Features.
10. The Right to Resolution of a Disability-Related Issue.
In preparation for the busy holiday travel season, and in celebration of the 37th anniversary of the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA), the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced that it has launched a campaign, #AccessibleAirTravel, to raise awareness about the right of air travelers with disabilities to safe, dignified, and accessible air travel. An estimated 5.5 million Americans use a wheelchair, and many encounter barriers when it comes to air travel.
The #AccessibleAirTravel campaign will promote DOT’s Airline Passengers with Disabilities Bill of Rights through a quick and informative video that empowers individuals with disabilities to understand and assert their right to safe, dignified, and accessible air travel. DOT is partnering with airlines, airports, ticket agents, and disability organizations in this campaign and these partners are sharing the video on their respective websites and social media channels in October.
Last month, DOT announced that United Airlines will implement industry-leading actions that go above and beyond Federal requirements to improve the air travel experience for passengers who use wheelchairs. This action is part of an agreement with DOT that follows a lengthy investigation by the Department into a disability complaint filed against United by the late Engracia Figueroa.
DOT is committed to ensuring that air travel is safe and accessible and to improving the travel experience for individuals with disabilities. Air travelers who experience disability-related problems may file a complaint with the Department. The Department’s Office of Aviation Consumer Protection investigates every disability complaint that it receives.

Episode 17 – Flight for Equality: Disabled Travelers Unite

Our community believes in the boundless potential within every individual. Today, Marty, Alycia’s also disabled husband and road warrior, joins the podcast to share what it means to travel the country as a disabled couple. Travel, for them, often requires sacrificing a piece of their independence. Specifically, airline travel means Alycia surrendering her wheelchair, placing trust in strangers, and enduring flights without[…]

Dustin Giannelli

Episode #16 – October 5, 2023
The Power of Communication: Celebrating NDEAM with Dustin Giannelli
Dustin Giannelli: Championing DEI and Turning Disabilities into Superpowers
Dustin Giannelli profile pictureDustin Giannelli is the CEO & Founder of HearsDustin LLC based in Boston, MA. As a DEIA public speaker who happens to be profoundly deaf, Dustin shares his lived experiences to help bring more awareness to the importance of DEI best practices, accessibility and communication.
Dustin was diagnosed with a profound bilateral hearing loss at the age of five. However, to this day, being deaf has … open the full bio never defined him. Instead, it has allowed him to consistently overcome life’s challenges and spread positivity in a powerful way.
HearsDustin was born to share stories, motivate others and collaborate with brands and organizations that are focused on providing accessible and inclusive experiences for all.
As one of 48 million Deaf and hard of hearing Americans and over 430 million Deaf and hard of hearing people globally, Dustin’s mission is to bring awareness to the solutions that give those with (and without) hearing loss the equitable access they need to succeed.

Episode 16 – The Power of Communication: Celebrating NDEAM with Dustin Giannelli

We kick off celebrating National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) by digging into the remarkable life of Dustin Giannelli. His story embodies the strength of the human spirit and illustrates how resilience, innovation, and an unwavering spirit can overcome any obstacle. At the age of five, Dustin received a profound hearing loss diagnosis. Without his hearing aids, the world became a silent place, devoid of the beeping alarms, chirping birds, and the[…]

Corinna Busciglio Kamilli

Episode #15 – September 28, 2023
The Strength of Sisterhood 💪 | Meet Corinna, the Younger Sister ❤️
Alycia and Corinna’s Story of Sisterhood
Corinna Busciglio Kamilli profile pictureCorinna Busciglio Kamilli is a seasoned strategic communication leader and entrepreneur, boasting almost a decade of experience in the dynamic realm of technology.
A proud alumna of the University of Arizona, Corinna completed her undergraduate studies in 2009, graduating with a degree in Communication and Business. This formative period laid the foundation for her deep-rooted passion for … open the full bio effective communication and the limitless possibilities it holds within the business world.
In her pursuit of continuous self-improvement and professional advancement, Corinna is currently pursuing her Master of Arts degree in Communication at Arizona State University, further refining her skills and expanding her knowledge.
In her personal life, Corinna relishes her most important roles as wife, mother, daughter, and sister. These roles highlight her warm, vibrant, and nurturing personality, which complements her dynamic and strategic leadership in the professional sphere.

Episode 15 – The Strength of Sisterhood 💪 | Meet Corinna, the Younger Sister ❤️

Don’t miss the chance to dive into the unique world of sisterhood and the powerful impact of unconditional family support, and listen to how Alycia and her younger sister, Corinna’s upbringings fostered acceptance, understanding, and a shared passion for spreading a message of empowerment. Discover how these siblings bonds, support, and unique perspectives have shaped their lives, as they journey down memory lane. Listen and enjoy the younger sister’s memories of growing up with a disabled sister[…]

Amy Wang-Hiller

Episode #14 – September 21, 2023
A Symphony of Resilience | Amy Wang-Hiller
Amy Wang-Hiller’s Inspirational Journey through Music and Disability
Amy Wang-Hiller profile pictureAmy Wang-Hiller, a Shanghai-born virtuoso violinist, a violin educator, and a doctoral student at the University of North Texas in violin performance. She is the creator of the Thrive x Strive Musician Podcast which discusses mental health and inclusivity in the music industry. Despite her ongoing medical journey and progressive quadriparesis from the genetic disorder Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, she … open the full bio keeps performing and teaching actively in the Dallas area and building her online presence by talking about her medical journey.
Starting violin at three, Amy’s talent grew through local competition and orchestras. She debuted at the Shanghai Oriental Art Center with Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with orchestra at the age of 18. Coming to the U.S., she won the third prize in the ENKOR International Violin Competition and was a finalist in the Lewisville Concerto competition among other competitions. Amy’s musical range spans Baroque to contemporary, collaborating with esteemed musicians and ensembles. She also currently maintains a private studio and offers virtual lessons.
Over the past two years, spine complications stemming from cervical instability to tethered cord syndrome challenged her motor functions and flared up many other comorbidities. Amy adapts her performances with her unique understanding of the body’s anatomy and function.
Beyond music, she advocates for her own illness and encourages others with disabilities to empower and raise awareness for rare diseases and spinal cord injuries.

Episode 14 – A Symphony of Resilience | Amy Wang-Hiller

Get ready for an uplifting episode with the extraordinary Amy Wang-Hiller, a violin virtuoso who has transcended the boundaries of music and disability. Amy’s resilience shines through as she shares how she is navigating the challenges of spinal cord complications, maintaining her musical prowess and inspiring others along the way. Discover how she empowers and inspires individuals to[…]

Kerri Vanderbom

Episode #13 – September 14, 2023
The Beauty of Friendship | Alycia and Kerri
United by Disabilities, Strengthened by Friendship
Kerri Vanderbom profile pictureKerri A. Vanderbom, Ph.D., was born with Spina Bifida. For over 15 years, Kerri competed in water skiing at a regional, national, international, and collegiate level. She was on the 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005, and 2017 US Disabled Water Ski Teams. She has held the overall national champion title in the sit-ski category many times and in 2001 won the Overall World Champion title. She was on her … open the full bio collegiate team, the Chico State Wildcats, competing in the tricks event against her peers without disabilities at tournaments, including at All-Stars and Nationals.
Kerri graduated from Oregon State University with a Ph.D. in Exercise Sport Science and conducted research to improve inclusion and access to recreation and health promotion programs in schools and communities for youth and adults with disabilities. She was an NIH research scholar for the Programs to Increase Diversity among Individuals Engaged in Health-Related Research, Research in Implementation Science for Equity at UCSF. Kerri completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in the School of Health Professions. She was the project coordinator of the Obesity Prevalence, Adaptations, and Knowledge Translation in Youth and Young Adults with Disabilities study. In 2015 she became faculty and continued her research trajectory, developed and adapted inclusive health promotion strategies and recommendations, and put them into practice in communities across the U.S. through a CDC-funded grant. The most life-changing accomplishment was getting to study at the University of Queensland in Australia as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar.
Currently, Kerri is a Program Manager of an Injury Prevention Program for Butte County Public Health. She and her team work hard to conduct truly inclusive education, events, and activities for communities.
Kerri’s favorite things in life are being with family, friends, and dog, spending time outdoors with her husband, traveling, kayaking, and eating good food.

Episode 13 – The Beauty of Friendship | Alycia and Kerri

In this heartfelt episode Alycia is joined by special guest, Kerri A. Vanderbom, Ph.D., for a touching exploration of the profound impact of friendship, advocacy, and inclusivity. Alycia and Kerri’s friendship has stood the test of time, beginning in their college days at California State University of Chico and continuing to thrive as they navigate life’s challenges together. What makes their friendship truly unique is[…]

Regina Weinstein

Episode #12 – September 7, 2023
Twin Sisters, Forever Advocates ❤️❤️
Alycia and her able-bodied twin Regina reminisce about their childhood
Regina Weinstein profile pictureRegina is a highly motivated business, leader, with Over 18 years experience in technology and construction. Currently working for Trip Hazard and focusing on accessibility in her day to day professionally. Accessibility has always been in Regina’s DNA due to growing up in an inclusive environment being raised alongside her twin sister, Alycia. Family means everything to Regina who currently has … open the full bio the staring role as her daughter Ella’s mom.

Episode 12 – Twin Sisters, Forever Advocates ❤️❤️

Join Alycia and Regina in this heartwarming episode as they reflect on their remarkable journey as twins, advocates, and best friends. Witness the enduring power of love, unity, and lifelong companionship. Dive deep into the stories of two sisters who grew up side by side, forever connected by the profound love of their forward-thinking parents. Regina shares[…]

Michael Tennant

Episode #11 – August 31, 2023
The Essence of Empathy | Michael Tennant
The Essence of Empathy and Inclusivity with Michael Tennant
Michael Tennant profile pictureMichael is the Founder, and CEO of Curiosity Lab, a purpose-driven venture studio and consultancy that builds products and experiences that teach empathy, and the author of The Power of Empathy coming October 24th and available for pre-order now. In his role as CEO, Michael creates and incubates businesses to help values-aligned individuals and organizations use empathy to live happier and … open the full bio healthier lives and to nurture productive and inclusive environments. In 2022, Curiosity Lab received an investment from Pharrell and the Black Ambition Prize.
Michael Tennant is an entrepreneur, keynote speaker, and author of The Power of Empathy coming October 24th and available for pre-order now, and the creator of Actually Curious™ the empathy conversation game, Values Exercise™, and the Five Phases of Empathy™. His work has been featured by the New York Times, Oprah and the TODAY Show for teaching empathy and fostering a thriving ecosystem of advocacy for diversity, mental health, and well-being through products, content, workshops, and technology. In 2022, Curiosity Lab received an investment from Pharrell and the Black Ambition Prize.

Episode 11 – The Essence of Empathy | Michael Tennant

Step into the realm of empathy and inclusivity with another thought-provoking edition. In Episode 11, we delve into the world of empathy, advocacy, and inclusivity alongside the dynamic Michael Tennant, a visionary entrepreneur, author, and creator of Curiosity Lab. Michael has been featured in[…]

Brad Parks

Episode #10 – August 24, 2023
Brad Parks | Paralympian & Founder of Wheelchair Tennis
Brad Parks | Founder of Wheelchair Tennis, International Tennis Hall of Famer & Gold-Medal Paralympian
Brad Parks profile pictureBrad Parks is the pioneering founder of wheelchair tennis. During an amateur freestyle skiing competition, he suffered a disabling injury when he was 18. He began experimenting with tennis as a method of therapy, and in 1976, wheelchair tennis was born. The first wheelchair tennis tournaments were held in 1977 and were a major success. This success motivated Parks to found the National Foundation … open the full bio of Wheelchair Tennis (NFWT) as the organizing body for the sport. The purpose of the NFWT was to promote physical and psychological well being among the disabled regardless of age, sex, creed, or disability extent. This was accomplished through the presentation of instructional clinics, exhibitions and competitive tournaments and sports camps. As more athletes became involved, the Wheelchair Tennis Players Association (WTPA) was formed, giving players more of a say in the governance of tournaments, clinics and expansion of the game.
Parks started the first international wheelchair tennis event, the US Open, held in Irvine, California. He was the Tournament Chairman for 18 years, setting the standard for others to follow. Today the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour is comprised of 157 tournaments in 41 countries, exceeding a total of $1,500,000 in prize money. In 1985, as a result
of increased international presence at the US Open, the World Team Cup was started. Today this prestigious Fed Cup/Davis Cup-style team event has been contested by 52 different nations in its 25- year history, and boasts men, women, quads and junior competitions.
As a player from 1980 – 1989, Parks was ranked number one in singles in the world in the sport. He is a three time U.S. Open Singles Champion (1980, 1985, 1987) and a ten time U.S. Open Doubles Champion. Parks retired from competitive play in 1995. His competitive accomplishments include a gold medal in tennis doubles at the 1992
Paralympics in Barcelona, gold medals in Singles and Doubles at the 1987 Olympic Sports Festival, and he won two gold medals and one silver medal in wheelchair track at the 1980 Paralympics. He has also won over twelve National Wheelchair Tennis Singles titles.
Parks is also credited with spreading the sport internationally by holding clinics throughout Europe, Asia and the Pacific. In 1988, the International Wheelchair Tennis Federation (IWTF) was formed to govern this growing international sport with Parks as the inaugural president. He served on the Management Committee for many years and was the driving force behind international wheelchair tennis. In 1998, the IWTF was fully integrated into the International Tennis Federation, making it the first disabled sport to achieve such a union on the international level.
Today almost 100 countries offer wheelchair tennis programs, and the sport is played at all four Grand Slams.

Episode 10 – Brad Parks | Paralympian & Founder of Wheelchair Tennis

In episode 10 of Pushing Forward with Alycia, we delve into the life and accomplishments of Paralympian Brad Parks, a name synonymous with resilience, innovation, and empowerment. Brad’s story unfolds in 1980 when he founded the National Foundation of[…]

Maegan Blau

Episode #9 – August 17, 2023
Barrier-Free Design | Maegan Blau
Elevating Spaces Through Barrier-Free Design: A Conversation with Maegan Blau
Maegan Blau profile pictureIn 2009 my life changed in the blink of an eye when I incurred a spinal cord injury. I quickly learned that if I could even find a home that would fit my physical needs, it was not in line with my personal style. With so much change in my life, I was holding on to the idea that my home could reflect who I am outside of my disability. Combining my perspective of disability with my life-long passion … open the full bio for interior design fueled me to advocate for others in their accessible home journey. In 2018 I founded Blue Copper Design with the mission to combine barrier free designs with beautiful interiors and the vision to create a world where everybody can participate.

Episode 9 – Barrier-Free Design | Maegan Blau

The visionary founder behind Blue Copper Design, an Arizona-based full-service interior design studio, specializing in Barrier-Free Design. Maegan Blau’s design philosophy is a combination of accessibility and aesthetic finesse, while embedding a barrier[…]

Carli Ross

Episode #8 – August 10, 2023
Embracing Inclusivity | Adaptive Yoga + A.P.E. with Carli Ross
Discover the transformative power of adaptive yoga and inclusive Physical Education
Carli Ross profile pictureCarli Ross is a dynamic leader and educator in the field of Kinesiology and Adapted Physical Education, International APE project coordinator, founder of Carli B Yoga, and certified Yoga Instructor. She leads the Adapted Physical Education service learning programs at California State University, Chico as well as running her own successful small business. Carli’s methodology focuses on helping … open the full bio connect mind with body. She incorporates a variety of traditional practices in movement, breath, and meditation to help each of her students practice their own unique form. Carli’s greatest passion is introducing people to the world of adaptive physical activity. She has shared her passion globally through connecting her students with communities around the world.

Episode 8 – Embracing Inclusivity | Adaptive Yoga + A.P.E. with Carli Ross

Carli Ross’s dedication to inclusivity and education is always evolving. As an educator and international coordinator in adaptive physical education, she has been a leader in breaking barriers and where everyone can thrive. Carli’s passion for creating personalized plans for students with disabilities shows her[…]

Christina Rodriguez

Episode #7 – August 3, 2023
Intersectionality | Christina Rodriguez
Christina Rodriguez on Intersectionality, Higher Education, and Empowerment
Christina Rodriguez profile pictureChristina V. Rodriguez is a first-generation Latina, born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her family is from Nicaragua and is proud to represent her Nicaraguan culture and heritage in spaces where there is lack of Central American representation. She is an wife, mother of 2, dogmom, edu-creator, inspirational speaker, podcaster, advocate, entrepreneur, storyteller and scholar who … open the full bio embraces a multi-cultural and equity mindset with a strong commitment in creating equitable opportunities for Women of Color in Business, Housing & Academia.
Rodriguez received her Bachelor’s degree in Latino/a Studies from San Francisco State University and went on to receive her Master’s degree (MBA) with an emphasis in Marketing at Notre Dame de Namur University. She is currently pursing her doctorate in Education from Mills College and provides 15+ years of marketing and housing experience in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Episode 7 – Intersectionality | Christina Rodriguez

Our guest today is the dynamic Christina Rodriguez, founder of Latinas with Masters, an empowering network advancing the conversation on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Christina talks about intersectionality, women empowerment, race, gender, sexual orientation, and disability. As a woman of color and a[…]

Joze Piranian

Episode #6 – July 27, 2023
Invisible Disability | Joze Piranian
Championing Inclusion and Resilience with Joze Piranian: An Episode of Transformation
Joze Piranian profile pictureJoze Piranian is a lifelong stutterer turned Forbes and TED featured Keynote Speaker and Stand-up Comedian in 3 continents and 4 languages. He has delivered keynotes about disability inclusion and conquering fears at the United Nations, Boeing, Google, Meta, TikTok, Starbucks, Pinterest, Tesla, IBM,Dell, BCG, Deloitte, as well as at major conferences and educational institutions worldwide.
Joze is … open the full bio a lifelong stutterer turned International Motivational Speaker helping people who hold back turn fear into action so that they overcome their “inner stutter” and unlock their true potential in life. By empowering others to own their uniqueness and conquer their obstacles, Joze delivers transformational experiences allowing his keynote audience members and coaching clients to access the hidden powers of fear and become champions of inclusion.
After avoiding speaking almost entirely for more than 25 years due to a debilitating stutter, Joze uncovered groundbreaking insights for personal transformation that turned his obstacle into triumphant public speaking and stand-up comedy performances in 3 continents and 3 languages. Joze is now on a mission to change people’s relationships with fear and discomfort so that they start taking action and unleash their inner greatness at work, school and in life.
Winner of the Inspirational Speaker of the Year award in 2017, Joze has shared the stage with Drake music video producer Director X, Disney’s CIO, Brendon Bouchard, Jim Kwik, Dragon Den’s Arlene Dickinson and comedians Hannibel Buress & Whitney Cummings.
Joze holds a Bachelors of Commerce and Psychology from McGill University, a Master of International Business from Queen’s University and a Certificate in Diversity and Inclusion from Cornell University. He has delivered his keynotes on Inclusion and Resilience at organizations such as Tesla, Dell, Diageo and Amgen as well as conferences such as the HR Leaders Summit and the Hollywood Innovation & Technology Summit.
With more than 3 000 000 views on his Goalcast featured speech about overcoming adversity and a growing social media following of 30 000, Joze has also been featured on TEDx, Forbes, NowThis (about Joe Biden’s stutter), CBC and Global News Canada.

Episode 6 – Invisible Disability | Joze Piranian

We wind down Disability Pride Month by featuring inspirational Joze Piranian – a global speaker, trainer, and coach, and personal friend of Alycia’s. Joze champions inclusion and resilience, overcoming personal obstacles to become an acclaimed public speaker. With his captivating story and valuable insights on[…]

Ryann Mason

Episode #5 – July 20, 2023
Disability, Inclusion & Healthcare | Nurse and Social Media Influencer, Ryann Mason
Ryann Mason shares her unique perspective on navigating disability in the healthcare industry
Ryann Mason profile pictureRyann “Ry” Mason, BS RN (she/they) is a 31 year old disability advocate, multi-specialty registered nurse, proud member of the LGBTQIA+ community, keynote speaker, model, adaptive athlete, sexuality educator, and self-proclaimed loudmouth southern belle. Ryann was born with a genetic collagen disorder called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) which caused them to begin utilizing a wheelchair for the … open the full bio majority of their mobility needs at the age of 26. Instead of allowing their disability to get them down, they decided to turn towards what they knew best, helping others. Ryann created an Instagram account called Chronically Ry, where they post photos, videos, and write ups showing her life and experiences living and working as a registered nurse with a chronic illness and degenerative disability. Over the past few years they have accomplished quite a bit including:wearing the crown for Ms. Wheelchair Virginia through both 2020 and 2021, having their story featured in numerous platforms including Woman’s Day, Scrubs , Frisson, Teen Vogue, and Forbes magazines, expanding their online presence to include Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and LinkedIn, as well as amassing a following of over 19,000 people on their original Instagram page. Along with her disability advocacy work, Ryann has continued practicing as a registered nurse in the hospital setting throughout her disability journey and hopes to increase disability visibility and employment in the field of healthcare.
Ry could have let everything they’ve been through bring their life to a screeching halt, but instead they continue to share their story, educate, advocate, and inform others about the needs, rights, and experiences of the disability community.

Episode 5 – Disability, Inclusion & Healthcare | Nurse and Social Media Influencer, Ryann Mason

From her late ADHD diagnosis and early introduction to healthcare to her evolving career in the face of becoming more reliant on mobility aids. Listen as Ry shares her unique perspective on navigating disability in the healthcare industry and how her personal journey has fostered empathy and understanding, making her[…]

Beth Wiesendanger

Episode #4 – July 13, 2023
DEI+Disability | Redefining Disability with Etsy’s Beth Wiesendanger
Gain valuable insights from Beth Wiesendanger, a dynamic advocate for DEI and disability rights.
Beth Wiesendanger profile picture26% of Americans identify with having some kind of disability – and as a double-amputee, I am one of them. I’m a lot of other things, too; I’m a woman. I’m progressive. I’m a community builder and organizer and activist. But, for the world at large, my disability is my defining characteristic.
When you’re disabled (much like when you’re a woman, Black, Latinx, Indigenous, Asian, LGBTQ+, or … open the full bio anything that isn’t a straight, cisgender white male) advocacy is not a choice. Our very existence is political. When the entire world has been constructed in ways that actively harm you – just being visible is an act of rebellion. Be it age, gender, ethnicity, orientation, religion or ability – we have to work harder to prove we can exist in spaces that never intended to include us.
I want to change that. My mission is to ensure more of us are seen and heard and advocated for. To leverage the resources I have access to and create access for those who don’t. To create opportunities, tear down the cultural and systemic barriers, and foster community, knowledge, and success.
Most importantly, I’m here to listen, learn, and grow.

Episode 4 – DEI+Disability | Redefining Disability with Etsy’s Beth Wiesendanger

Join us as we explore Beth’s personal journey as a double amputee and delve into the importance of creating inclusive spaces that uplift disabled voices. Discover the significance of disability inclusion in the broader context of intersectional identities and gain insights on fostering access and representation for[…]

Alycia & Marty Anderson

Episode #3 – July 6, 2023
Disability Pride Month | Embracing Identity
Challenging ableism and redefining Disability Pride and empowerment
Alycia & Marty Anderson profile pictureSince 1990, Disability Pride Month has celebrated people with disabilities, their identities and culture, and their contributions to society. It also seeks to change the way people think about and define disability, to end the stigma of disability, and to promote the belief that disability is a natural part of human diversity in which people living with disabilities can celebrate and take pride. … open the full bio People with disabilities make up 15% of the world’s population and are the largest and most diverse minority in the United States making up approximately 26% of the population representing all ages, races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, religions, and socio-economic backgrounds.
The concept of Disability Pride was born out of the Disability Rights movement and based on intersectional identity politics and social justice. The core concept of Disability Pride is based on a tenet of reworking the negative narratives and biases that frequently surround the concept of disability. Disability Pride is a response and counteraction against ableism and social stigma. The concept has roots in the same social theory that backs LGBT Pride and Black Pride. Disability Pride is a movement intended to celebrate the history of the Disability Rights movement and people with disabilities as positive contributors to society. It marks a break from traditional concepts of disabilities as shameful conditions, which were often hidden from public spaces and mainstream awareness. Disability Pride is built upon the social model of disability and is described as moving away from the medical model of disability.

Episode 3 – Disability Pride Month | Embracing Identity

We kick off Disability Pride Month by discussing the significance of celebrating the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Join Alycia and special guest, business partner and husband, Marty, as they explore the empowering aspects of disability, the challenges faced by the disabled community, and the importance of[…]

Alycia Anderson

Episode #2 – June 29, 2023
Episode 2 – Disabling Ableism | Hello TEDx
Awakened from her sleep in 2018 with an idea, Alycia’s journey to combat ableism became clear
Alycia Anderson profile pictureIn 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 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 … open the full bio thinking exists in our day-to-day lives.
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. I share the perspective that is missing from American TV, politics and generally any conversation, what does it look like when you put yourselves in another’s wheels not shoes. This talk focuses on shifting perceptions of what is perceived possible by disabling ableism, a social prejudice against people with disabilities based on the belief that typical abilities are superior. I explore the topic through my own personal journey over my lifetime, its cause and effects, and how we are taught from the time we are born to favor one over the other and because of this we don’t see the beauty of difference, no matter what shape it comes in. When we disable ableism we truly begin to value our differences bringing a broader outlook to our world, expanding possibilities for all!

Episode 2 – Episode 2 – Disabling Ableism | Hello TEDx

Ableism has been present Alycia’s entire life. Ableism came from the moment she was born, along with her twin sister. Doctors recommended she be institutionalized and put into hospitals and not given the surgeries that she needed when she was born. Alycia describes ableism as[…]

Alycia & Marty Anderson

Episode #1 – June 29, 2023
Meet Alycia Anderson | Disability Advocate
Alycia’s Journey to Disabling Ableism
Alycia & Marty Anderson profile pictureAlycia Anderson is a TEDx motivational speaker, corporate Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Accessibility consultant, advocate, and the founder & CEO of The Alycia Anderson Company, LLC. She studied Adapted Physical Education at California State University, Chico earning a bachelors degree and continued on to receive her Master’s Degree from KU Leuven, Belgium in Adapted Physical Activity … open the full bio emphasizing the benefits, practices, and principles of inclusion. Alycia’s authenticity and charisma draws others to her and she naturally connects them to inspire, mentor, champion and support.
Alycia Anderson started speaking because she is a bridge for all to see how to care about, practice and learn to be inclusive and this is her biggest life work. Alycia hopes to share with people that don’t know and are curious about how it is to live a lifetime with a disability. She naturally spans the gap from how to overcome, adapt and believe in what we think to be impossible… to be possible. She believes it’s all about the past, present and future and all of the collective progress along the way.
Alycia Anderson is a tennis player, cyclist, identical twin and a wheelchair user since birth. Alycia shares her journey globally to help communities and companies understand the true benefits inherent to building a diverse, inclusive and accessible workplace and society. She shines light on how our diversities are core to the qualities that make each of us uniquely qualified and able in life. Alycia right sizes everyday obstacles to open your mind to a world of possibility, and that’s how she rolls!

Episode 1 – Meet Alycia Anderson | Disability Advocate

In today’s episode, meet Alycia Anderson, a fierce disability advocate and TedX speaker who is on a mission to empower change by disabling ableism. Prepare to be inspired as Alycia shares her personal story of resilience and overcoming the countless obstacles she has faced due to ableism. From doctors recommending[…]

Pushing Forward with Alycia (Official Podcast Trailer)

Immerse yourself in my transformative journey of disability advocacy and finding my way from TEDx speaker to the podcast host of Pushing Forward with Alycia. My inspiring podcast series gives disability a voice, challenges stereotypes, and promotes inclusivity. Disability is not a[..]