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Pushing Forward with Alycia Podcast Episodes

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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 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[..]