What’s your 60 second elevator speech?
The Disability Network is the first stop for people with disabilities. Founded 15 years ago as a Center for Independent Living, we are an organization that is made up of, run by and led by people with disabilities. In the last year, we served over 13,000 people, helped 200 people get jobs, helped 50 people leave nursing homes and provided access to our technology center for more than 3,500 people.
Our goal is to help people live independently and to live out their American dream.
Our motto is, “Nothing about us without us,” which means if you are dealing with issues regarding people with disabilities, whatever they are, those people should be a part of the discussion.
To learn more visit our web site, disnetwork.org
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
“Does that make sense?” That often comes up for me as we look at possibilities.
What drew you to this line of business?
I acquired a disability. When I was 35 I was in an accident and became a paraplegic and had to use a wheelchair. I was fortunate because I wasn’t a plumber or something; I was a banker that worked in marketing and public relations. I remember while I was recovering in the hospital a guy came in to see me who was a stockbroker, a very successful broker. I looked at him and thought, if he can do it, I can do it. I want to bring that kind of peer support to others who have had to deal with disabilities and make sure they know they are not alone and that they can do it.
What is your most marked characteristic?
I think my most marked characteristic is integrity and faith. I also always keep in mind an old saying, “If you want to make God laugh, plan something.”
What lessons would you share with other entrepreneurs?
Never give up!
What are we likely to find you doing on a day off?
Sleeping, sometimes I just get going so fast that I need some rest. But really, I have 7 kids and 26 grandchildren, my wife and I love to be with them as much as we can.