Trailblazing2017 with Dr. Temple Grandin
I’ve known for a year that I would meet Dr. Temple Grandin at Trailblazing2017. Like a kid waiting for Christmas to arrive, it seemed like forever and a day.
But, the time passed. And, during this time a lot of amazing opportunities presented themselves. One in particular, is the opportunity to host #JobCreatorsRadio. Not only would I meet Temple Grandin at Trailblazing2017, I got to interview her a few weeks before the conference.
Trailblazing2017 was fast approaching when hurricane Irma threatened not only to postpone the conference but inflict serious damage to a place many of my friends call home. With some luck, the show was able to go on as planned. When I arrived the aftermath wasn’t obvious but people have also worked day and night to clean up and move forward. The hurricane had to of affected the organizers but you wouldn’t know it. Trailblazing2017 went off without a hitch and, it was awesome.
The big day finally arrived and I participated as an expert on the All-Star Panel with otheresteemed panelists including Temple Grandin, Eileen Grubba, Stephanie Martin and Meg O’Connell. Jose Velasco of SAP’s Autism at Work Program moderated the panel discussion on “Tapping into America’s Untapped Talent Pool”. Participating in this discussion was both incredible and humbling at the same time.
Meeting Don’t dis-my-ability celebrity brand ambassador Eileen Grubba was also a huge treat. Eileen is an Actress and advocate, she was just as incredible in person as she was online.
I am very proud to say that Eileen is also on the cover of Ability Magazine so please be sure to pick up a copy!
Conferences for adults are like summer camps for kids.
As I attend more and more conferences I experience the déjà vu feeling from my childhood. Do you remember how it feels to make new friends and having to say goodbye just after saying hello, or so it seems. It still makes me happy and sad but it also motivates me to stay connected with my friends.
JR Harding and I met at Trailblazing2016 and kept in touch by email and occasional Skype call. I also read his book “Now What?”, I don’t usually read books because they don’t hold my attention. I read JR’s book from front to back in one sitting, I couldn’t put it down. It was great getting to spending one on one time with JR outside the conference to connect. Click here to buy JR’s book on Amazon!
In addition to participating as an expert panelist I also moderated the final panel discussion of the day. I was joined by expert panelists Jan and Austin Underhill, Dr. Stephen Shore, Regina Rice and Ignacio Segovia to discuss “Growing Opportunities for Entrepreneurs with Disabilities”. As one entrepreneur to another this discussion was exciting for me to be a part of.
As an entrepreneur and foodie, meeting Austin Underhill of Austin’s Underdawgs was really cool. Austin’s Underdawgs is a gourmet hot dog food truck. Austin showed me a few pictures of his gourmet fare and they looked amazing.
A trip to Fort Lauderdale wouldn’t be complete without stopping in to see my good friends from Different Brains. I credit Hackie and crew for finding me on YouTube which led to me becoming a contributing blogger and vlogger for DF. That exposure helped me get to Trailblazing2016 and where I am today.
Special thanks to Hackie for donating resources for me to share. I will keep one set in my office for clients and colleagues to borrow and the other sets will go to Autism Connections in Fredericton and the Arm Book Nook Store in Miramichi New Brunswick, Canada.
Must read Don’t dis-my-ability testimonial
from the Master of Ceremonies for Trailblazing2017,
Dr. Michael Alessandri
“Meeting Trailblazer Shawn Smith was such an exhilarating experience for me. The passion and genuineness he brings to the neurodiversity movement is so deeply inspiring.
I found myself hanging on his every thoughtful word and his many deeply personal insights with a level of intensity and interest that is quite unusual for me after all these years.
He’s a very special guy who I’m sure will be in my life for many years to come.”
Michael Alessandri, Ph.D.
Assistant Chairman, Community Outreach and Engagement
Executive Director, Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD)
Clinical Professor of Psychology and Pediatrics
University of Miami Department of Psychology, College of Arts and Sciences
CTV Morning Live interview with Alyse Hand
On my way home from Trailblazing2017 I stopped into CTV for my second appearance. This time with Alyse Hand. I am very appreciative of CTV’s support and hope to be back again soon!
Click here to watch my second interview!
What’s next for Don’t dis-my-ability?
I am extremely proud to be a finalist for the national Startup Canada Resilient Entrepreneur Award. Awarded to an entrepreneur with a visible or non visible disability who has impacted Canadian entrepreneurship through exemplary activities and leadership of their companies. The nomination is a win for me, I just reached a different plato of positive exposure, I am on someone’s radar – they just might not know it yet.
Attending the Startup Canada Awards Ceremony Finale in Ottawa on October 19th, 2017 is going to be an amazing experience. I know this because opportunities are what we make them. I’ve already started connecting with presenters and other finalists on LinkedIn and following them on social media. It is my way of being able to spot familiar faces in a crowd to ease my social anxiety.