The man with cerebral palsy who climbed El Capitan “El Cap” in Yosemite National Park.

Stephen J Wampler Climbing El Capitan at Yosemite National Park

Yesterday on #axschat Twitter chat our guest was Stephen J. Wampler from the Stephen J. Wampler Foundation Inc.

Stephen was born with cerebral palsy and provides outdoor educational experiences in the high sierras through Camp Wamp to children with disabilities.

Stephen Wampler
Camp Wamp – Stephen Wampler
Pic Credits to Stephen Wampler

Antonio Santos and Neil Milliken, interview Stephen Wampler for #axschat Twitter chat.

Stephen Wampler was born with Cerebral Palsy and with an amazing attitude. He was born to extraordinary parents who taught him that while his disability was permanent, he owed it to himself to charge forward and to have a great life with goals and expectations for himself.

Stephen J Wampler Climbing El Capitan at Yosemite National Park
Stephen J Wampler Climbing El Capitan at Yosemite National Park
Pic Credits to Stephen Wampler

When he was 9, his parents sent him to a wilderness summer camp in the high Sierras of California.

Camp Wamp 2017 - Elizabeth and Stephen
Camp Wamp 2017 – Elizabeth and Stephen
Pic Credits to Stephen Wampler

Stephen Wampler attended the camp for 9 summers until he aged out and went off to college to graduate from UC Davis with an Environmental Engineering degree.  Three years later Stephen met and married his love of his life, Elizabeth.  Four years later they welcomed their first child, Charlotte, followed a year later by son Joseph.

9 acre lake at Camp Wamp
9 acre lake at Camp Wamp

Stephen is now a family man and created Camp Wamp to help physically disabled children become self-reliant & live a more prosperous productive life (including becoming married, getting a job and having a family).

Watch Stephen Wampler’s Full Movie climbing🎥 “El Capitan”, he has won multiple film & festival awards. It’s an inspiring film that motivates us all. Currently, Stephen J Wampler has become an international celebrity speaking at TEDx, many Foundations, Corporations & Sales Teams to inspire and motivate. Stephen J Wampler Foundation shares his story on what it takes to make the impossible, possible. In the film, Stephen J Wampler shows us how persistence, tenacity and finding your inner strength can help you accomplish what many thought was impossible. Stephen J Wampler pulls through and climbs El Capitan “El Cap” in Yosemite National Park. – Credits to Stephen Wampler Youtube channel.

AXSChat Interview with Stephen Fry.

Today I had the pleasure of interviewing Stephen Fry with Debra Ruh & Neil Milliken for #AXSChat the topics ranged from Social Media to Mental Health Advocacy. You can watch the interview and join in the discussion on twitter.Check the hashtag #axschat on Twitter and join the conversation, Tuesday 22nd at 8 pm London.

Stephen Fry is an English actor, screenwriter, author, playwright, journalist, poet, comedian, television presenter, film director and all-round national treasure.

Whilst at university, Fry became involved with the Cambridge Footlights, where he met his long-time collaborator and friend Hugh Laurie. As half of the comic double act Fry and Laurie, he co-wrote and co-starred in A Bit of Fry & Laurie, and took the role of Jeeves (with Laurie playing Wooster) in Jeeves and Wooster.

Fry’s acting roles include the lead in the film Wilde, Melchett in the BBC television series Blackadder, the titular character in the television series Kingdom, a recurring guest role as Dr. Gordon Wyatt on the crime series Bones, and as Gordon Deitrich in the dystopian thriller V for Vendetta, Mycroft Holmes in Warner’s Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows and The Master of Laketown in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy. He has also written and presented several documentary series, including the Emmy Award-winning Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive, and is also the long-time host of the BBC television quiz show QI. He played Prime Minister Alistair Davies in the 9th season of Fox TV’s 24: Live Another Day.

Stephen Fry
Stephen Fry

As a proudly out gay man, the award-winning Out There, documenting the lives of lesbian, bisexual gay and transgender people around the world is part of his thirty-year advocacy of the rights of the LGBT community.

As well as his work in television, Fry has contributed columns and articles for newspapers and magazines appears frequently on radio, reads for voice-overs and has written four novels and three volumes of autobiography, Moab Is My Washpot, The Fry Chronicles and his latest, More Fool Me.

A new sitcom for CBS, The Great Indoors, aired in both the US and UK in the spring of 2017.

Stephen’s new book, Mythos, his unique retelling of the Greek myths will be published in November.

Age at Work: Advocating Baby Boomers

Keynote from Steve Anderson, Founder of Prime Candidate at the Atos Diversity Inclusion Expo, where we discussed inclusion at the workplace and the future of work.

(Video includes captions)

Steve Anderson Bio.

Prime Candidate was founded by Steve Anderson. Frustrated with the inequity of employment opportunities for the more mature worker, Steve brought together a senior team to formulate an approach that would create a more level playing field for mature job seekers – the result is a Social Enterprise using the name, Prime Candidate.

Steve is the designer of the Champion Age Diversity philosophy, providing practical applications and pathways for employers to access the skills and experience they need, and Prime Candidate is the custodian of the Champions Charter.

 

steve
Steve Anderson

We know it’s all about the customer, and the Prime Candidate brand has a reputation for quality, integrity and innovation, resulting from many years of building relationships with clients based on trust and mutual respect. We recognise that people are the most significant asset. Many organisations claim the same but fail on their promise. We take great care to develop close, long-term people relationships that are underpinned with a mutual trust and understanding.

 

Steve lobbies for equal employment opportunities for an age diverse workforce.  Steve also sits on the Executive Board of the Chamber of Commerce where he champions regional and international business for development, sustainability and growth. Steve also sits on the DWP’s Age Action Alliance steering committee. Steve is also a regular fund raiser for the Breakthrough Breast Cancer charity. (credits to Prime Candidate)

Tuesday, May 30th on #AXSChat Twitter Chat – Jake Abma – Accessibility Lead for ING Netherlands and Ambassador of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

ost of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed be no help at all. (34)

Accessibility Lead for ING Netherlands

For the last four years, Jake has set up a raft of initiatives to make sure products and services are accessible to people with the widest range of capabilities. He’s a passionate promoter of accessibility both inside and outside the Bank.

jake3Product Owner

ING has introduced different initiatives to ensure full customer accessibility to our services and products, initially on a somewhat ad-hoc basis. Since 2 years Jake is the Product Owner for Team A11Y, and his mission is to make it managed and documented.

Champions Network

Building the right technology, and creating standards, is a top priority for Jake and his team, which is made up of people from different disciplines, such as IT, UX and communication, some of them having a disability themselves. “We’re also setting up a Champions Network, inspired by BBC and Barclays, and we’ve just launched a new page on the Dutch ING website inviting feedback from customers on what their needs are, and communicating with them about what we’re doing.”

ING Accessibility Team
ING Accessibility Team – (credits Jake Abma)

Ambassador UN CRPD

Since a year and a half, Jake is very active as an ambassador of the UN CRPD. As an ambassador of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) actively contribute to spread the knowledge and to raise awareness of the existence and necessity of the rights of people with disabilities.

Map - Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Countries who ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol

Web Guidelines Expert Group (WCAG)

Part of the WEG within the Netherlands. The WEG will propose amendments, ideas, concerns, interpretation and clarification of the Web Guidelines into consideration and issue a non-binding opinion thereon to the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Collaborating across banks

One of the initiators of an accessibility ‘Task Force’ from within the G3ict, set up in conjunction with the UN, which currently involves nine banks in many different countries, sharing best practices on a range of topics. “Accessibility in banks extends to branches, ATMs, banking cards, basically any financial transaction where people are involved.”

Accessibility Guild

An Accessibility Guild within ING, along with the lines of the Spotify model, is another of Jake’s initiatives. The Guild invites colleagues from different departments – IT, communication, debit cards, ATMs, branding, to come together and see how we can all help and strengthen each other. “This is currently just in the Netherlands,” says Jake, “but with the rise in modular architecture, with projects like TouchPoint Architecture and Model Bank, it could become relevant for other countries too.” Jake is in regular contact with countries such as Spain, Poland, Germany and Belgium, sharing best practices on accessibility from the Netherlands.

Jake Abma and Debra Ruh
Jake Abma and Debra Ruh (credits Jake Abma)

A passionate promoter

“The CRPD changed the definitions,” Jake explains. “It was no longer the person who had a problem, but the product, service or environment; if it had barriers that hindered a disabled person’s full participation in society on an active and equal basis with others, then it needed changing.”

Since then, Jake has been a passionate promoter of accessibility. He has made sure that accessibility principles can be found within ING’s user interface framework, The Guide. “And they’re not just for IT, but for Product Owners, designers, developers, the whole spectrum.”

Jack photo from M-Enabling
Jack photo from M-Enabling. (credits Jake Abma)

More info at AXSChat

May 23rd – #axschat Twitter chat with Rosemary Musachio.Chief Accessibility Officer at Ruh Global Communications.

Rosemary Musachio
Rosemary Musachio

When Rosemary was born on September 13, 1966, at an American naval hospital in Pozzuoli, Italy, the doctor asked her parents, “What will you do with her?”  Her parents looked at each other and thought he was crazy.  The ignorant physician asked because she had brain damage, which resulted in cerebral palsy.  Ironically, her brain was damaged because of his clumsiness; he bumped her head during delivery.  He presumed that she would be a vegetable for the rest of her life.

Rosemary has proven that doctor dead wrong.  For every limitation she has, she has been able to overcome it in one way or another.  Even though she cannot walk, she dances in her wheelchair to music.  Although she cannot talk, she uses a word board to communicate quite eloquently.  Although she cannot use her hands to perform daily tasks, she uses a head pointer to type on a keyboard.

Despite all her challenges, Rosemary has been able to accomplish a great deal during her life so far.  A year after graduating Cleveland States University Magma Cum Laude with a B.A. in Communications, she became a monthly columnist for Sun Newspapers in Cleveland, Ohio.  Her column, Bit Of A Challenge, was the paper’s most popular column, running for ten years.  She also had articles published in The Plain Dealer and Italian Gazette.  Also, she edited and published two monthly disability-related newsletters, The Able Informer and Ability Age.  Issues still roam around the Internet.  In her spare time, Rosemary reads, watches foreign movies, and writes poetry.  In fact, one of her goals is to publish a book of her poetry by the end of the year.

Rosemary Musachio hang gliding in Ridgley, Maryland
Rosemary Musachio hang gliding in Ridgley, Maryland

Besides establishing herself as a writer and a poet, Rosemary has pursued her dream of travelling and setting new heights…literally.  She has visited Italy (5 times so far), Germany, Austria, France, Spain, Holland, and Belgium.  During one of her visits to Italy, she met the Pope!  She also has a daredevil spirit.  Several years ago she did tandem hang gliding in Ridgley, Maryland, where she went up twice at 2500ft and 5000ft.  A year afterwards, she took a ride on a customised motorcycle through eastern Metroparks and Chagrin Falls.  She also rode a horse on a Colorado dude ranch and skied at Brandywine ski resorts.  For her next adventures, Rosemary wants to paraglide and go in a hot air balloon.  No wonder her motto is “If you don’t accept challenges, you are not living.”

Rosemary photographed with a horse at a Colorado Dude Ranch

In September 2001, Rosemary saw an ad by TecAccess, a Virginia-based technology company, in a disability newsletter.  It needed web testers, so she applied for the position.  During her ten years at TecAccess, she did everything from writing press releases and conducting business development correspondence to testing software and websites for accessibility standards.  Rosemary even helped train disabled veterans.  She was an accessibility analyst and a blogger for two other technology companies before holding her current position as Chief Accessibility Officer at Ruh Global Communications.

Rosemary is very adamant about the rights of non-verbal patients.  She believes communication between medical professionals and non-verbal patients is vital to treatment and recovery.  She has given presentations and written articles on the topic.  One day she hopes to offer a training course on it.

When people say how inspiring Rosemary is, she shakes her head and rolls her eyes.  Of course, she is humbled by and grateful for the compliment.  Yet, she feels there’s nothing inspiring about living life to the fullest despite disabilities.  Ironically, her parents and friends have been Rosemary’s inspirations.  Without their love and support, she might have ended up where that doctor at the Naval Hospital insinuated to place her.

Follow Rosemary on Twitter!