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AUDIENCE: Good morning.
CHAZ KELLEM: Good morning.
CHAZ KELLEM: Hi, everybody, good morning.
AUDIENCE: Good morning.
CHAZ KELLEM: Everybody in the right place?
AUDIENCE MEMBER: No.
CHAZ KELLEM: People are shaking their head no. Well, thank you again for [inaudible] best morning session for sure. She's waving to me. Thank you very much. All right, folks. So before we dive into
[inaudible] I want to verify the update, today's PowerPoint is not on the device you were given this morning. It is not on that device. But however, we have posted it to this website here. It is the
secondarytransition.org website. It is the postcard that was in the materials. It gives you this website information. If you go to that website and scroll all the way down to the -- to the middle of
the site, there's an employment link, so Mielo is going to click on that employment link. And then if you scroll down once you get to that employment link -- you're going to scroll all the down to
the bottom under Newly Added Resources, you will find the PowerPoint presentation has been listed there for your reference and for your use in the future. So again, that was secondarytransition.org
website is where you'll find the PowerPoint. And with that said, [inaudible] the PowerPoint. And before we actually do, Chaz Kellem and we have with us?
CHAZ KELLEM: And you have Dana and Brooke. Dana and Brooke, so Dana will give some information and some insight on as well.
CHRIS MIELO: Chris Mielo.
CHRIS MIELO: All right, guys. How are you all doing? Everybody great? So, so? All right. So we're going to get into some heavy real quick and then we'll -- it'll get a little bit easier as we go
through this. So, bear with us for the first couple -- little bit [inaudible]. But before we start, we want to kind of define what employment is. Employment, jobs requires specific job skills. You
need to -- you need to have -- you need to have basic academic skills, communication skills, problem solve, most importantly, being able to ask for help when needed. This one -- the next bullet right
there is really important for me, both learned helplessness and independence coming from adult support from people in charge in our life. And what that means for those of you who don't technically
know what it is. This idea that there's certainly a risk, we need to allow young people to grow and fail in order to learn to grow and succeed. And if we keep allowing ourselves to intervene whenever
there's trouble, we create this -- a person -- a young person, an adult that is constantly looking for help, somebody who's always looking for somebody to support them and isn't going to take on
challenges on their own and that's learned helplessness. So, what we need to do is foster an environment where young people are empowered to make their own decisions, ask for help when needed, but
take on risk in an appropriate manner. [inaudible] world, young people and all people with disabilities are contributing to society with employment and other areas. But the job market -- I'm not
going to lie, the job market is really tough out there. We all see the numbers, but just to reiterate, here are the employment rates for June of this year, so these are really current. The labor
force participation for people with disabilities is just about 20%, that's it. For those without disabilities, it's almost up to 70%, so kind of a gap there. More telling is the unemployment rate.
For people with disabilities it's twice what it is for people without disabilities. So those are some really sobering statistics right there, definitely something that we need to address. We spent
billions on advocacy, awareness, trainings, supports, services and yet people with disabilities are still constantly underrepresented in the workforce. We're still having problems finding employment,
we're still having problems maintaining employment, so that really brings the question, what are we doing wrong?
CHAZ KELLEM: So folks, we can no longer think about the disability community as being sharing. Okay? We can no longer be a community with our hand out, expecting just because some of our folks had
disability that is expected that we gain employment. Okay? So we got to make sure we're just as prepared, just as educated, just as trained as the next person. So this is a help wanted ad. Everybody
take a moment to read, this company looking for individual with autism, cerebral palsy, and extensive history of hospitalization. If you continue to read on, folks, that is not necessarily the job --
help wanted ad that we're seeing. Okay? This is not a normal job wanted ad that we're seeing. So they're not just calling and begging for us, okay. So as we assist young adults in finding a job, we
must reframe how we see the job. Again, we've got to go out there and try to find unique ways to gain employment. Okay? Value driven evolving is the key. We got to be creative with our approach. We
got to think differently and we got to find characteristics and skills that match our audience. If you look at this for a minute with me, folks, the one thing that really drives out to me is the
target businesses where job seeker's unique characteristics and skills will be assets. If you've got folks that are great at organizing or that need repetition or other great people -- have great
people skills, interpersonal skills, try to find and associate those skills and assets to allow this person to be successful. And Mielo already used the -- used the example of -- if you're going to
be a pooper scooper and I know that's really a profession, but you best be the -- the best darn pooper scooper in your town, because if you won't do it, the next person will and will do it better
than you. But again, if we take our assets, we take what are individuals are good at and assess those assets day in and day out, find ways to connect those assets with jobs, we will be more
CHRIS MIELO: So here's the other big part of the question -- of the equation is for the young people out there and I see some of them in here. This is all for you guys about self-advocacy,
self-determination, know what you guys want, what you're good at, and going after that, not giving up and not being complacent. When you're looking for an employment, there are some things that an
employer has to do in regards ADA. And there's some misconceptions about it. The ADA is not to help you get a job. It's not to give you a leg up on anybody else. It's a leveled playing field and
that's sometimes hard to understand, that if you don't have the necessary skills in order to do a job, you're not really up for that employment. The ADA is not going to give you that boost above and
it's not going to help you. The ADA is there to help you get accommodations for those skills that you need. So for example, Chaz and I are both in wheelchairs here, if we have an office and we need a
lower desk or we need lower shelves, those are accommodations that don't affect our job preparedness. However, if I'm a salesperson -- if I want to be a salesperson and I have high anxiety and I
can't communicate with people, the ADA is not going to cover that. I can't ask my employer to provide somebody to do all those things for me. They might as well just hire another person, right? So,
the ADA is not a crutch. It's something to help us reach our maximum potential within the workforce. And here's another one, young people, know your disability and know how to describe it because
it's not the employers' responsibility to ask about your disability or the employers' responsibility to care about what your disability is. They only care about whether or not you can do the job and
whether you're doing the job well. If you need accommodations, you need support, it's up to you to ask for them and for you to get them and to provide the proper paperwork for them. Here's a little
myth and facts, like I was saying, here's a myth. Under the ADA, employers must give people with disabilities special privileges. Again, they're not special privileges. Reasonable accommodations are
intended to ensure that qualified individuals with disabilities have the right to employment equal, not superior to those individuals without them. So again, it's all about leveling the playing
field, it's not about special things. Chaz.
CHAZ KELLEM: The youth and young adults need to -- again, I feel like I'm the one that keeps saying this, understand our strengths. Okay? So, again, we need to understand our strengths and understand
our limitations and challenges in order to seek comfortable and to keep a tangible job for us. Okay. All of our--all of our folks, the folks with disabilities want to have a quality of life that
involves having money, having jobs, and keeping our jobs and there comes certain things with it that will provide that one piece of fulfillment in our lives and I think that would really -- stems
down to work and be able to speak comfortably with the knowledge about you goes back to self-determination and self-advocacy, but again, you've got to make sure that you are training your folks to be
independent thinkers and be able to communicate properly about their needs and about their disabilities. So, you have to know the job description, folks. You have to know what you're getting yourself
into. You have to understand that that job that you're seeking requires strength, requires you to stay on your feet for hours, requires you to lift heavy objects. You have to know the job
description. We have to make sure we are educating our folks about the interview process. No longer are most people asking the standard questions, strengths and weaknesses, they're being more
creative with the questions they ask. So, we have to understand the job description and the entire process from start to finish. Now, I'm going to say that from my career, I think I hire folks at my
organization and I'm always challenging the unknown. I tell people that one time that you're driving your car and you have road rage and you give the driver behind you the middle finger, you're
rushing to an interview, that interview is with me. So, the one time that you let yourself go and you aren't -- you aren't aware of your surroundings, you'll never know who's going to be on the other
side of that desk as the interviewer. So, educate yourself that these companies are going to spend millions of dollars marketing campaigns and all that, but you're always trying to make sure that you
never forget your products. That's what I want some people to think about, it's making sure that when I have a job in mind [inaudible] that comes to my desk to interview, I want to make sure that she
understands that she leaves her mark when she comes for that interview. But in order to showcase that, she's got to understand the job description. You do an investigation of it, okay, ensure that
it's a right match for her. Again, Chris already touched on this a little bit, understanding that all individuals know what is under the ADA. Now, I'm not taking our consumers to be -- to be lawyers
but I need them to understand the difference between getting a bad request, coming to the table with the right information with a reasonable accommodation and reasonable acts, okay. The basics of an
ADA will help them be successful at their jobs. Understanding when to ask for help, okay. You have to understand the fine balance of understanding when to ask for help, make sure that it's disability
related or issue that can be resolved be brainstormed with others. [inaudible] understand how to explain your disability, what it is, and brainstorm about different accommodations and different ways
to explore different accommodations.
CHRIS MIELO: And another thing is that work cooperatively with your employer, really come to the table with solutions. I think there's nothing more important -- Chaz, you can speak to this a little
more -- but if there's a problem in the workforce with your disability, just coming and complaining is not necessarily the best solution. Coming with solutions, coming to your employer with potential
solutions to the problem, "Hey, I have a hard time doing this but maybe if we try that." If you go -- what do they say, you catch more flies with honey -- vinegar or something, I don't know,
something like that.
CHAZ KELLEM: [inaudible]
CHRIS MIELO: Yeah. But the idea is go in with solutions to any problems that you may have. It shows a couple of things. One, that you are willing to overcome some of these barriers with their help,
and it also shows that you're being proactive, that you actually care about your job that you want to keep working towards it. So, be proactive and be a participant in these accommodations that you
need. And think outside the box. Again, there's going to be uncommon solutions to some problems that you have. Be thorough when you're asking for accommodations but don't be afraid to be creative.
For those of you that heard some -- what I had said yesterday with my aha moment that was -- that was asked on stage, I'm really sure to believe that having a disability makes you a more creative
person. You're constantly overcoming these challenges and struggles of living in a non-disabled, able-bodied kind of world. Use that creativity, think outside the box, market yourself differently.
Make yourself unforgettable, come up with new solutions to things. It's going to make you invaluable when it comes to an employer.
DANA YARBROUGH: And we can't have this session this morning without introducing the families. Families are a key component of the transition process from the time that they're -- our children are
young all the way up until they're at employment age. One of the things that I've learned over the years and we'll -- in a moment, you can hear our each one of our kind of personal journeys through
the employment base but one of the things that I heard over the years repeatedly was -- you know, I was in denial, how the families were in denial. Families didn't want their kids to work because
they wanted to keep hold of that SSI and I'll tell you $500 or said amount, or 600 or 700 is not what many of us or most of us are looking for to make sure we're paying our bills, you know, the
reality is very few people actually wanting to be dependent on the system. One of the things that -- it's my soapbox is that people told us for years that we had to get on [inaudible], we had to have
a system to pay for things. We had to get SSI. We had to go through work rehab. We had to get connected with a lot of service systems. My daughter needs a life and then once you think about what that
life looks like then you figure out who needs to be a part of that life but I wasn't going to sit on a waiting list and I live in out-of-state for [inaudible] the time when she was two, maybe another
twenty years on the waiting list. Families really are waiting and we're not sure what they're waiting for. And so, I think we're [inaudible] to the families when we tell them we need to get on
services that they're going to be on a waiting list because families aren't aware that they should be keen on living their life. And then, they may not want those services. So, it's important as we
talk about families that we are helping with their families. Families often cannot make informed choices. They haven't been informed of the choices. Sometimes they only talk about the service that
that one agency provides. They only talk about the ones the state funds. So, they're not talking about all of the options and so sometimes we seem like we're in denial or we seem like we're holding
our kids back, and that may be true. There are families who are interested in promoting work for their children and that's -- you'll go into those [inaudible] we do all the time. But a lot of us
don't get the information, so we can't make that informed choice and I would say the same thing for both Chris and Chaz and -- that they weren't able to make informed choices either, if the
information is not shared with them. So, families are the key component of that process. When we look at how people get jobs today, over 90% of jobs are found through networking. People network to
get jobs. They're not getting it from the newspaper. They're getting it through networks. Families are in the first place that people with disabilities network. So, they're going to know who their
parents know, who their siblings know, how did they find their jobs and so, families need to be brought in and maintained in that equation when we're looking at having to plan for transition, when
the challenge we have is how to help families move from advocating for to advocating with. And so, we are going to tell families they have to step out of the picture but we need to help them learn
how to move to the side and that's going to come through some of the initiatives in this state and others around self-advocacy and self-determination and so, people are learning to describe who they
are including what their disability is and what supports their need, and learning how to tell their parents, "Okay, I'm ready to fly on my own." And start taking the risks that Chris mentioned
earlier, how can you get families to understand and embrace that and it's a really tough thing. I can tell you many times that Brooke was connected with the service system and they let us down. The
service system wasn't there to provide what we really needed to be provided or what they told us what we're going to get when they sold the system or that service to us. And so, families have been
let down. We're afraid sometimes to let go because we don't want something to happen. The rates of abuse in the world are huge for kids with disabilities and young adults. And so we want to make sure
that they're going to be safe and protected when they're being supported in the employment setting. We want to make sure that folks have thought through some of those things that we know about our
AUDIENCE MEMBER: [inaudible]
DANA YARBROUGH: So, what can families do? Again, make sure that families have the information that they need. Help families to begin with a self determination. You're going to get about the story of
our journey in our family and Brooke's owning her own business in a moment but we started early on with choice making. And so, it is about making sure that people have the opportunity to make choice
in whatever ways -- whatever way they make choices, whether they do it verbally, whether they do it for behavior, how are they making choices and giving them that right that they should have to be
able to be the captains of their own ship. Making sure that we have those discussions. One of the things that we hear a lot -- in the work that I do, I work at a university in Virginia and oversee
about couple million of dollars of grants around transition and family support and what we hear a lot from families around the idea of future's planning is that it's not happening in schools, that
families aren't having those discussions. And sometimes it's because they don't know the tools. There are some easy great conversations to have with people. We have so many young people who have said
to us, "My parents asked what my brother's dreams and goals but they never asked me mine." And I was really saddened to hear that, that families haven't even had the opportunity to dream for their
children and so, we want to support that dreaming. And so, that's one of the things -- if you're here in the professional world is to support that dreaming. And don't say these ideas are not
realistic. You'll hear more about our story. We were told from the time Brooke was in elementary school, we were on the path to self-employment that we were in denial, that it was unrealistic. And
I'll tell you, I couldn't wait to go back to those elementary school people with her business license and shove it back in their face when we got that business license because we've been told over
and over and not supported in Brooke being able to reach the dream that she had. And so, we never want to break those dreams and goals. I have a dream about Johnny Depp, it may come true. So, you'll
never know until you don't want to -- and I won't share that dream in this audience today but -- because you'll never know what will happen, so. Kids with or without disabilities have dreams of
playing in the NBA, being a musician, and so it's not just -- but we never say no to them. We never say to the -- to someone who doesn't have a disability, "Quit talking about playing in the NBA," or
say it to Brooke if she says it. And so, we need to make sure that we're honoring people's dreams. And what does that dream really mean? If you -- we worked with a young woman in the support team
outside of my county who wanted to be -- she kept talking about being a Power Ranger. And people were like, "Oh, God, Power Ranger." I mean they really just did not listen to her and when we came in
and they kept saying she's unrealistic, that that was -- she needed to get a grip on reality, you know, saying things that really weren't that nice back to her when she kept talking about this. Well,
in further discussion with her and really listening to her, she wanted to be an actor but she didn't have that word "actor" in her vocabulary. She didn't -- all she knew was that she saw a character
on TV who was a typical kid and then all of a sudden appear in a Power Ranger outfit. And to her that meant that they were acting and so when someone really took the time to say, "What does that --
what does Power Ranger mean to you?" And it was really -- I think it was an hour to have that discussion. In five years, they never had that discussion with her and it took us one hour to get out
what she really, really meant. Then we connected her to a local theater and they warmly welcomed her [inaudible] to do some things. And she started doing some little acting things on the weekend,
it's not paid at that time but that's all she really, really wanted. And so, just please listen to people. And listen to families what they're saying and what they're not saying.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: I actually have a dream.
DANA YARBROUGH: You have dream?
AUDIENCE MEMBER: To someday have my own haunted amusement park.
DANA YARBROUGH: What's your dream?
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Yeah.
DANA YARBROUGH: Did you say haunted or?
DANA YARBROUGH: ?a haunted museum?
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Yeah.
DANA YARBROUGH: Amusement park. Did you say haunted first or just the amusement?
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Amusement park.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Yes.
DANA YARBROUGH: You're going to hear about Brooke's ghost stories, so [inaudible] afterwards.
CHRIS MIELO: All right. We're going to into a little bit about personal stories with our own employment and I think what I want you guys to take from me is that you're going to hear very different
things from each and every single one of us and hopefully, you can all take a little bit of something from all of us. But for me personally, when I first -- my employment history started when I was
-- I think I was 16. I wanted to drive, so my dad said that I needed to get -- had to get a job so I could pay for car insurance. So, typical of my dad, you know, didn't let get away with anything
and treated me just like any other child, just like my brother. So, I started at a local amusement park called Kennywood. Anybody here familiar with Kennywood? [inaudible] yeah, cool. And again, as
she saying, we -- my connection with Kennywood actually was through a family friend. So I had somebody on the inside that knew me and looked out for me that we could contact and that's how I got
started working at Kennywood. I started working in the food industry. Flipping burgers -- well, actually, I wasn't flipping burgers initially. I was actually just a cashier. And they had me sitting
on a stool, just ringing people out of the stand, cashing out people all day, either hours, whatever. The most [inaudible] work I've ever experienced in my entire life. So, what was really
frustrating for me though in this employment was that I saw everybody else in the stand get to move rounds. Some days they will be doing cashier or they will be doing cashier for three hours and they
get to go inside to make pizzas or make hamburgers and hotdogs or do drinks, or do whatever. They would be rotating rounds. And for me, it was very frustrating because I knew that I could do more
than just count money. I wanted to be like everybody else in the stand. I wanted to, you know -- I wanted to do everything I wasn't able to do. And so, I worked with my managers in the stand in order
to expand what I could do. And I started small, I started doing drink, you know, just the drink fountains or whatever. And that worked out really well and so it just kind of progressed slowly into
the different tasks. And eventually by my second year there, so I was in the same stand, second summer, I started doing -- I was doing cashier stuff, I was doing hamburgers and hotdogs and, you know,
getting burns like crazy but still doing it. I was doing -- making pizzas, anything that was done in the stand. The only thing that I could not do was physically go downstairs -- go down the steps
and change the drink canisters or whatever for the soda -- for the soda or pop. Some people here say soda, some people say pop. So, I thought I had made really good strides. My third summer there, I
was starting in -- I was in college at this point so I was just coming home, working summers. And this is where things got extremely frustrating for me. I had overcome some barriers, some limitations
that they've put on me without asking me or without really knowing who I was as a person. And this summer, I really wanted to prove myself. I was over 18, so if you know anything about some of these
summer jobs, I was working 50 hours a week. I was putting extra time and about the time that school started going back -- college started going back, anybody who was not local ended up leaving. Those
were usually managers, some of the people who were in charge of the stands, ended up leaving and going back to school. And what they did at Kennywood was they offered the -- what they called a temp
manager position and this temp manager position was somebody who -- when the manager was not there towards the end of the season because they had gone back to college, you would take over the stands.
So you would be responsible for opening and closing the stand. You would be responsible for money drops or change drops or anything of that nature. You may be in charge of running the schedule,
making the schedule up for people and I was able to do the temp -- they chose me to be a temp manager which was awesome accomplishment for me. The one thing that I'm going to tell you about being the
temp manager though was that they don't actually pay you manager pay, they just pay you your regular pay but you're working extra hours, so that was frustrating. But the way that it traditionally
worked was that the following year, the temp managers were usually the first in line for promotion. You are the first one who usually come back and be a manager. We had made accommodations because
the money drop was downstairs at the end of the night but we made accommodations. I walked down there with another employee to do the money drop. So, everything was pretty much figured out. And I
came back the following season and I wasn't made the manager. And now, some of you who have experience with disability employment know when I say that there's -- there truly is at times a glass
ceiling. There's a limit at times to what an employer will see and what they see you're doing, their scope, their imagination of your -- of your potential. And so, I came back and was very frustrated
not working as a manager, not getting chosen. And my choice to approach this was to double all my efforts. I was going to work harder. I was going to work faster, stronger. I was going to be better
than anybody else. I was going to work harder than everybody else because that was the position I wanted. My vision for what I was looking to was -- well, I was going to Edinboro University. I was
coming home every summer like if this was going to be my job, I was going to save my money for school and I was doing this through four years of Edinboro. Well, I wanted to try and raise more money
and I was more responsible and I wanted resume material as well. About halfway through the summer, we had some other people quit. Some of our managers and whatnot, and so some openings became
available. And management chose to -- chose to promote somebody -- a couple of people who had been there for a year and who were both under 18. And for those of you that don't -- I guess I should
clarify not being under 18 manager is a bad thing however, when you've got more hours in a day to do the work because you're going to work eight hours a day if you're under 18. You got more hours in
a day to fill than you have managers who can fill those hours. You then ask the temp managers to fill in that time and they would ask me to fill in that time even though there are some other people
who had been there less than me, and so I had an issue with this. And so I approached the manager and I wanted to have conversation about why I wasn't in line with the management position and why I
wasn't chosen. And the first thing that they did when they came to me and I asked -- I asked for a conversation with the one person and I got 18 more people come at me. It wasn't what I wanted, it
was for I alone. And the first thing that came out of their mouth was, "It's not because you're in a wheelchair." I didn't ask that question. I didn't ask if that was the reason. I wanted to know why
I wasn't offered, what I had to do to improve, and the first thing you say to me is because it's not because you're in a wheelchair makes me think that maybe it is because I'm in a wheelchair. It is
because you see things that maybe I can't do. And so young people when you go out to the work force and you got [inaudible] you are going to be faced with negativity. You're going to be faced with
people who limit -- that see a limit to what you can do, and you're presented with a choice. The choice that I made in that situation was to honor my obligations which was to finish out the season
working and I could try to prove through the law system, through ADA that they weren't being -- they weren't making reasonable accommodations for me. They also have to weigh the option that I think
this isn't the job I wanted for the rest of my life. I just envisioned this as just a summer job through college, and really maybe the best option for me was to not work there next summer. Go to
school over the summer instead and finish up my degree and try to work more towards my grades. And so that is the option I chose. This also happened again to me. After leaving school, I had a hard
time finding employment. Again for those of you who don't know me, I went to school for animation course. I didn't really enjoy animation and there's not a lot of jobs in the Pittsburg area for
animation. So a little bit [inaudible] right there. I ended up working retail and I started on as a seasonal manager. So I was working a holiday season just doing management and stuff as Assistant
Manager. And then they hired me off for the one year -- for the rest of the year as just a general worker. The following year--I worked there for about two or three years. The following season I was
again an Assistant Manager and then the regular season came to an end and I was a regular worker again. My pay had already got bumped down, again, my hours got cut. The third season that this
happened, I was an Assistant Manager for the third time working long holiday hours. This time with a new manager, I don't know, somebody who didn't know -- didn't know the system, was brand new at
our store, and I ended up teaching her a lot of what she needed to do. When we got back to regular season on holiday hours, there was an opening for Assistant Manager, regular 40-hour Lead Assistant
Manager job at the store, and they chose the brand new person. And again I got frustrated because why not me? And this was the most frustrating one for me because I was working most of the time just
trying to improve myself. I was working as an Assistant Manager, helping [inaudible] the store. I had known the general manager, the original manager who also had a disability. So, I was really
confused as to what the issue was or was it a stocking issue. It was again, I -- if I was there sorting by myself and a shipment came, would I be able to put the boxes away? And again I was faced
with that same dilemma what do I want to do? And I took that opportunity to really delve into -- really delve into what I wanted to do in life and that was I wanted to be creative, I hated retailI
hated working this stuff. That wasn't my passion. My passion was being creative, being expressive so I started exploring my options with photography and videography. I started doing weddings and
working for myself doing independent stuff. And so I think it would be a good segway into your story, but I started doing weddings, I started gaining experience as best I could while working at this
retail store to eventually a point where I could quit. I didn't need them, and I moved on. And then I decided, you know what, I really, really do enjoy this for those of you who heard it yesterday
and I said I needed to go back to school. I need to finish up. I needed to get a more specialized degree on what I wanted to do because my passion is telling stories, my passion is being creative.
So, for my -- what I want you guys, you young people, all you professionals out there is to understand from my story when it's appropriate to fight and when is the -- when it's best to maybe move on.
And a lot of that weight comes to -- back to what is your passion in life, what are you happy with, what's your goal? You need to balance that early as possible in life and if you do it appropriately
you're going to find success. I think it's a great opportunity when you start over because you guys have the greatest story that I think everybody would want to hear.
BROOKE YARBROUGH : Hi. I'm Brooke Yarbrough. I am really glad to be here. I live just outside the City of Richmond, Virginia. I own my own business. It is called Brooke's Happy Tails Pet Sitting. I am
here to tell you more about how I got to be a business owner. I don't have a good communication system. My mom is going to speak for me today. I know she looks very conservative, but she's smart and
DANA YARBROUGH: I actually wrote that.
BROOKE YARBROUGH: Go mama.
DANA YARBROUGH: The -- we will get into the communication systems today because it's a long 19 year history of trying to find a communication systems that works [inaudible] the variety of support
needs that Brooke has, but we know -- I knew when I'm playing with our -- some of the iPad apps and so we -- we're still looking through those. We -- I don't want or like to speak for my daughter
unless she gives me permission. And given the size of the room we have today, the time that we have today and because of [inaudible] Brooke yet it made sense for -- introduction to Brooke that we had
-- she ever had that I would speak for her today. And so we -- she did develop this PowerPoint and so I'm going to share this. This is what she does in school as well. She works with either family
members or friends when she has assignments to do, to develop PowerPoint that's how she turns in all of her assignments at school and then she works on a script and then she will either pick a
classmates or they will volunteer to be Brooke's voice for that presentation of her homework. So, this is Brooke. She [inaudible] seen her when she was a newborn [inaudible] about the size of a
little bit smaller than a baby doll. She was about 16 inches long and two -- a little over two pounds. Brooke was born 14 weeks early and went to the hospital most of the first year of her life. She
was given a variety of labels, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, intellectual disabilities, cortical visual impairment. Brooke wanted me to tell you the label she want the best is Brooke. And that's the
label that we gave her. One of the things that's really important in Brooke's story is that in -- and in on my side of family, we won't talk our in-laws, on my side of the family, we have had a
history of women leaders in the family and it's -- that -- from the time Brooke was born even when she came almost four months early, the expectation was regardless of whatever Brooke look like,
acted like, whatever her life look like when she hit adulthood, she will be following those footsteps. So, her great grandmother left in the far corner and her great grandmother worked airplanes
during the war. She was the first woman elected to be [inaudible] a supervisor in the town she lived [inaudible] president for that. Her grandmother is in the bottom right corner. And her grandmother
was a business owner in the '70s and '80s and was the first woman elected to -- as president of chamber of commerce in a town outside of Boston where we lived. I have own -- we're in business for the
last almost 20 years. And there's so [inaudible] the expectation in this history in the family of owning own businesses and also giving back to the community and volunteering and contributing and
we'll hear about that in a minute. When Brooke was just two years old, we were going to see what our specialists, pediatric specialists and she said to us, we're not going to talk about Brooke today.
You know, Brooke looks great. I'm not going to spend some time. I want to talk to you and your wisdom about what's your vision for Brooke? Where are you headed? What are you doing? And we were
dumbfounded. We're digging on how to answer the question. We were still dealing with the [inaudible], the 40 something pills she was on everyday, and the fee from hospitalizations, just getting
through the day was really tough. And it's the first time someone actually said to us what is our vision for Brooke and she encouraged us to write it down. And so from that time on, we have
maintained the family vision statement and this happens to be -- isn't too old, but we're trying to change it every so many years just to update it. But I'll just -- for those kids this is just so
small. It says we envision a future for Brooke that is full of richness and diversity, one in which she determines her own destiny. She will live a life of her choosing, not on a system that tells
her she has to live. We offer the support of loving parents and promise her that throughout life's many challenges, we will stand by her; there when she needs us. May Brooke be rich in what is truly
a value; relationships, friendships and deep sense of belonging. We believe for a world that will Brooke for who she is. Brooke is healthy, she is not in need of remedy, therapy or cure. Brooke is
not broken, she doesn't need to be fixed. Brooke loves chickens, sweet iced tea, dancing, and playing with the dogs that she boards for her business. She likes the computer and listening to music.
She has blue eyes, light brown hair, an infectious smile and giggle. She also has physical, intellectual and sensory disabilities. Having disabilities is only a small part of who Brooke is and it's
our vision not to change Brooke, but to change the world around her. And so as long as [inaudible] we encouraged families to do. We encourage keep [inaudible] up youth and young adult to [inaudible]
up for this. To be able to write down on what your vision is for the future and that is been a part in every -- it's in her doctor's offices, it's in search providers, it's in her IEP file. We have
it at home in a Vial of L.I.F.E. We have it on [inaudible] our parents live in a elderly community [inaudible] of Vials of L.I.F.E. where you put all your emergency things and a l[inaudible] stick in
the refrigerator and all that emergency responders if they get that the Vial of L.I.F.E. it has all that information. And we have it in our refrigerator and we have an information as part of Brook's
emergency file as well. So throughout the years I'm into that -- in elementary school the expectation was that Brooke was going to own her business. Partly because it was a -- it's kind of history in
the family, but also part of us was we move from that time with Brooke because we wanted to see -- we get a lot of support needs. There is no doubt to that. We're not going to deny that. Brooke had a
lot of support needs. She continues to have a lot of support needs. But we knew that given her -- the kind of combination in disabilities finding a job that was going to be an interest that in an
office building, in a retail store, it will be kind of challenging for Brooke and so we started thinking about this idea of business ownership and talk to some family and friends, and many of them
stuck to that. So that became the expectation from fourth or fifth grade on in every IEP we started writing a language about Brooke leading to have her own business. And so throughout the years --
well, particularly in high school. High school was amazing through the years. High school had just maintained [inaudible] in the middle school and then it literally kept all the sixth grade kids from
one grade, all the seventh on another, and eight on another , it couldn't [inaudible]. It was about kind of managing the hunger at the school that Brooke goes at. So, here is what you could do much.
In high school as early in ninth grade we really approach the kind of awesome transition coordinator and if it hadn't been for John who is this just a great transition coordinator, we will never go
to a [inaudible] nowadays. So he wasn't shown how to communicate with Brooke. She doesn't use words, didn't have communication system at the time, wasn't able to watch videos because of the vision
impairment and bunch of things that she liked. And so it really was about trying on jobs. And so John took her out into the community. He knew from listening to us and listening to some of Brooke's
friends in school that she really loved music and she really love dogs. So he start the day, [inaudible] or two really good passions of Brooke's. So he just jumped in another places maybe had spent
half a day, sometimes a day, sometimes a week in this various size and the first things [inaudible] to see what might really work for Brooke. And he discovered again being in a retail store, Brooke
love [inaudible]. She didn't really want to do it, but she literally just sit and dance and listen to the music all day and we're going to pay her for that. And so -- and probably it wasn't
[inaudible] that she was too young to be able to do all and do the dancing in the bar. So, we already had options to the music at the time. The DJ [inaudible] higher unless you had a college degree
and so we started looking at -- we were focusing on the dogs. Next slide. And this is where a lot Brooke's love of dogs came from. This was Brooke's dog, Tatonka. She was a Siberian Husky that we
have. We had it just a few months before Brooke was born and she grew up with Brooke. She passed away at 17 and a half so she was an old dog. And you can see him a lot of that -- even from this time
as a baby that, you know, Brooke was making chances to attach to her [inaudible] almost on top of Brooke. They have a really close relationship. And we want to train him as a service dog but Huskies
don't work well. They love to run, they're kind of hyper and so she didn't really want to listen to us [inaudible] and so -- but it did work out one of her service dog, but she was really playing
with Brooke and really that's where Brook's love of dogs came from. For graduation, if you want to see her picture from last year, from Varina High School. She received in our state [inaudible] on
Certificate of Completion an IEP Diploma. And so there she is. She was back at school because she was doing -- they offered some business classes at their high school and so Brooke went back because
she is a post high graduate and took some business classes and maybe a little some music piece off because it developed her dog business [inaudible] Brooke want in another year. And so we wanted to
continue -- just to look at the idea of music stuff. So she maintained a few classes with the course in [inaudible]. And then she took a few more business and music classes. One of things I just
wanted to kind of mention is this idea of decision making and how we can support decision making. I mentioned this idea with [inaudible] choice, Chris talked about dignity at risk. When Brooke was
approaching 18, we were told about school system that if we don't [inaudible] Brooke, then we could no longer come to IEP meetings and that wasn't actually correct. But it really brought us thinking
about what we need to have to support Brooke in decision making when she turned 18. And so we -- I know the disability field in Virginia [inaudible] University Center for Excellence and Disabilities
a lot of connections with choice and how they should specialized in a field and we decided to start a least restrictive supports for decision making. And so we have a power of attorney so we have --
that is what we have with Brooke. We [inaudible] with Brooke, we support her decision making at educational meetings, at medical meetings. And we support financial decisions that Brooke needs to
make. We have bank accounts that Brooke and I both do signatures on. So there's -- and I could kind of keep an eye on if I need to support her in spending money. But we are not going to the
guardianship route, we don't have to go that route. So I think that this is an important part of the discussion of employment that is part of the family as well is to talk to their child or son or
daughter as they're, you know, approaching adulthood or at the age of maturity about what's supports do they need. So, the next slide shows a little bit about how we did some of that. We have some
probably important -- we have this one page of ideas. "What's a good day and bad day? What are my dreams? What are my nightmares? What are the supports that I need? What are the things that I really
like to do and I not really care about doing?" And so this happens to be Brooke's but it could come in different formats, but that -- this is part of how we got there. When we used a tool -- set of
tools that our state developed using IMDetermined project which is IMDetermined.org. And we took those tools and we sat with a group of people and we all [inaudible] an input listening to Brooke and
that's what we came up with. And that's where we came to the idea of just using a [inaudible] to begin with. So this is for dog boarding business. It initially was called Brooke's Happy Tails Dog
Boarding and which she need to get a company license, business license, we do not want to use the word boarding because from then we have to have a kennel license and we don't want to have -- start
with a kennel license so we had to switch to the pet sitting and so within minutes they're getting her a business license established. So we were able to show a picture of that today. But she has her
nieces developed a -- or nieces, her cousins [inaudible] level for her. And this is where the journey that Brooke took for self-employment. So the area we integrate with on state location rehab
office to see what are the services. At one of the IEP meetings, they suggested that we could connect it with the whole rehab agency. So, we asked them what you can do on self-employment. So they
have one specialist that serves their office and that's all he does is support people with disability who want to start their own business. So he said that we needed to do market research first and
come back to him to make sure the idea Brooke had was something that was going to really be even generating. And so we went back to the school and asked for the business class where Brooke was in if
she and her teacher and the classmates could do that. And so Brooke worked with her classmates and they conducted a market research and not surprising, people spend money on their animals. They buy
clothes for their dogs, they have -- like in -- like even with bad economy, the surveys that they found online, people are going to spend money on their animals. So, we knew that [inaudible] to a
business of having with their own animals was going to still produce income. So, with that [inaudible] we then came out to do a budget. And so Brooke worked on a budget. Starting a pet sitting
business isn't very costly. We went to the local PetSmart and just said, you know, "Brooke's going to be starting a business." And the manager said, "Here's a $50 gift card." And he just went to the
register, point it to her and said, "When you're ready to go bring this in and we'll support Brooke get some toys and other things." We went to a neighbor who had a big kennel. That's a 15x15 kennel
and they said their dog had passed away, that we could have it. So we just moved it from there for a few hours. And so we have a place for the dogs to run. We have seven acres and so there are plenty
of room we just don't have a fence. So, we were concerned. So we look at the cost of the fence and at the time it wasn't -- it was a whole lot that Brooke could handle at the time. So between
donations, between what she had of her own money already, people, when she graduated knew she was starting a business and she received hundreds of dollars of -- on either toys, of dog toys or dog
leashes. So, she received a lot of support from people who knew she was starting this business. So with that, it was pretty easy. It was very little money we have to spend out. In getting money here,
you don't get a lot. Brooke only charges -- what do you charge, Brooke? $12 a night for a dog and then 15 if she's going to provide the food, and so she has nine clients right now and most of them
stay about an average of two weeks with us when they come to stay with us. So, she does a really huge amount of money. Last year, she only ran the business for about six months when she started it
and her income was around -- I think it was around $150 a month. So, it's a slow start, she's going to be building her business, but it was a way for us to figure out if this was something that she
was still interested in. It's been a year now. She's probably added to around the same, a couple of hundred dollars a month right now. She have plenty of time not to move on and so Brooke recognizes
that, we recognized that. And so we are going to go back to our state's self-employment director and asked him for some other ideas. He's -- has a few which he already mentioned to us, but these are
other things if you're going to start your own business. You have to have a Federal Employer ID number. So, Brooke was able to call the IRS through a regular phone, got her a Federal ID number so she
could start her bank account. She enrolled with the SWAM and that's -- that is for women-owned and minority businesses. And so every state has a SWAM office and so we encouraged Brooke to register
with that office in the state level. So, it's important for her to recognize since to register. So, in case there was any bids that came out and the state is looking for something that had to do with
animals, Brooke would get an email and then if there's -- if the proposal requirement for using the SWAM and it's potentially that Brooke would be contacted for that. She got her own business
license. She's got her bank account. We have to draft all those dog boarding agreements, the applications, everything that she needs to run the business part of it. She had offered her classmates at
school. We just turned a lot of that over to them and said with this, you know, she's part of the Future Business Leaders of America, the FBLA in her school. They took this on as a project and all of
her classmates helped and peers in that -- in that FBLA club helped develop all of those things which is great. So, Brooke got a lot of support in doing that. And now she's kind of doing a public
awareness piece which she have Facebook and a couple other sites. These are pictures of some of the dogs that Brooke has. There's Gus in the bottom at the lake. She takes dogs to the park and walks
them at the park. Star is the little baby dog that's in the bottom of the -- on the left side. She is just kind of chilling out, resting. She's a little dog and needs to have a lot of extra TLC.
She's got Cherokee, he was on the top, who a lot of Brooke's time spent really just giving the dogs a lot of attention. A lot of the dogs are never been in homes. They're outdoor dogs and so one of
the things that Brooke says to the owners when they come over is, "They will not be outside, they'll be sleeping in a bed, they'll be in a house, it's their vacation. You take yours, this is their
vacation. I'm going to spoil them. I'm going to give their needs you probably don't give them." And so people know that right upfront that if they're going to-- they're going to be in a home
experience and that's what the market research did is that people will pay for that. They did not have to put their dogs in the kennels anymore. They wanted them to be in a home-like environment. And
so the dogs get a lot of attention. There's a couple of digging, ticking at the top that were sleeping. Brooke brings in a bed for them to sleep on. And then the next slide there's a few other
pictures. We've had dogs over for holidays and Brooke gets Christmas gifts for them. Again, there she is providing -- she feeds dog food, and water in a bowl. There's she's filling out a bowl for one
of the dogs. She's outside of the yard taking one for a walk. And unfortunately Cherokee just passed away. Cherokee had spent quite a bit of time with us over the last year and he was older and had
never been inside the house and so he really love to be inside and unfortunately we -- he was not acting himself the way he was with us last month and we could see that something wasn't right and so
we contacted his owners when they got back, when they came to pick up Cherokee and said that they was -- he was a little more aggressive than he had been in the past. I was a little concerned because
he was a little aggressive and he had never been that way before. And they took him to the vet and he had -- they discovered cancer and tumors all over his body and so he --they made a decision to
put him to sleep. And so we're glad that Brooke had to spent several weeks with Cherokee because he -- she likes to think that she gave him an awesome vacation in those last two weeks of his life.
And then this is the big elephant in the room. We get this all the time. Who really gets to run a business when a person with significant disabilities is self-employed, they're owning their own
business and more and more people with the economy now are owning their own businesses with or without disabilities. And so we get this awful lot when people talk to us about Brooke's business. Does
-- is Brooke really running the business? We know Brooke. She's got really significant disabilities, significant cognitive disabilities. Is she really doing this? And so these are the things that
Brooke wanted you to know that she does. She plays with the dogs. She feeds them. She collects the payment when they come to pick up their dogs. She email -- when [inaudible]. She emails them the dog
application and collects the [inaudible] and use it to make sure all the questions are answered. She goes on and gets all their food and toys and supplies that they need. She does the Facebook and
all the marketing. And then these are some things other people do. Brooke doesn't do typing of the receipts. The package that is being used is -- so the accounting can understand what's happening is
one that's a little more challenging. And so I actually help her with the receipts of the budgets, and then those go to Debbie who does the accounting for Brooke. We have some of the volunteers to
provide free accounting for Brooke. And all I do is just -- we just ask people and they donate their time willingly. We do need help with walking the dogs. There are quite a few dogs that just aren't
used to the wheelchair. We have dogs who pull a lot. And we -- if they get loose, we live in a back country road and we're afraid that they'd get out and get hit. So we do have to get a little
careful when we're walking the dogs. So, usually someone is either helping Brooke walk the dog or their dog is riding on her lap or that we -- one of us or someone else that volunteers to help Brooke
is actually walking the dog. So we -- she doesn't do that part of it very much. And then, again, either I or Debbie does the filing of the paperwork, but she has to keep maintaining that business
part. And, you know what, I used to work -- when I first got out of college and Chris was sharing some business experiences, I worked for someone who was a silent owner. He owned the business and he
didn't do anything with the business. He hired people to do everything. And so it's interesting that we have -- we never ask them about who's really doing the work for that business, but we're going
to ask Brooke. And then so it's not okay for them to hire people or get volunteers to help her with the business, but it is for -- what's going on over there? She's got a something with her chair. We
didn't get to talk at 10:00 last night and so -- and then got up at 6:00, so I suspect she's a little outsourced this morning. We had a long drive from Richmond. And so -- and so we want to be honest
with you all that that is something that we get asked all the time, and it's something that people should be asking. But if you're going to ask them of someone with a disability, than ask them of
someone who doesn't have a disability who owns their own business if they're running everything in their business or that they have support too because the reality is most people probably have
supports. And then I wanted to just quickly say that these are some of the things that got in the way when we were on our journey from [inaudible]. And these are some of the things that [inaudible]
and so things that really worked well. We have a lot of open-minded people. We did have people on Brooke's IEP team that jumped right in and said, "We're going to go for this. We had Jomar, the
transition coordinator who said, "We're going to make this work." He goes, "I have to make it work for Brooke [inaudible] and I can make it work for kids who have lesser support needs." And so we did
have a lot of people who jumped on Brooke's journey. They were very open-minded. They never said no. They said, "How can we make it happen?" We had this idea of staying on the path. We pretty much --
Brooke do without this employment idea and was appointed as an expectation in the family. She uses their expectation that she needed to volunteer and that she needed to consider being a business
owner following the footpaths of other women in the family. And we stay in the path. We didn't veer off it. So we always kind of have had that dream and that goal, and we're staying on it. Also, just
getting out of networking. Brooke has gone to the Chamber of Commerce in her town from -- they have their whole monthly coffees. Brooke doesn't drink coffee, but she goes to the meetings and they are
shocked to see someone owning a business. They never even considered it and the -- and the doors and the minds that she's opened by just going into these coffees and networking with people and then
connections that she's made and that we've made over the years. I happened to work with Paul Wayman and some people may know Paul's name. Paul Wayman has been around for decades and is -- and is
really considered the father of customized supported employment. And Paul works at the university where I work. And so we've had the benefit of being able to talk with Paul and saying, you know, give
us some tips about what we can do. So we make use of my connections and the connections that she's made. And then I receive a lot of support over the years from parents and from young people with
disabilities. When Brooke was little, the first thing I wanted when she was born was to talk to another parent who had walked in my shoes so I could hear from them. I didn't really want to hear them
from the doctors. I really wanted to hear from another parent to give me the real scoop of what life was going to be like. And then I wanted to meet young people with disabilities. I wanted to see
what the future was for Brooke, those possibilities. Some of the things that didn't work too well, change is really hard and this, I know. And so we had to come to grips with that. That takes a long
time for change to happen. And it may or may not happen in our lifetime, but we know it will. Some of these discussions we're having in 2013 had been going on since the '70s and '80s. And so we --
those unemployment rates and employment rates have not changed. We have dismal record of employing people with disabilities. And it's sad as Chris mentioned earlier with all the money and the
innovation and the expertise that's going in demonstration projects that we're still not getting people employed. We've had a lot of turnover. So, we just get someone who knew Brooke, really know how
to work well with Brooke, have some great ideas and then they would leave to go somewhere else. And if they wouldn't be able to tabulate, to start all over. And so that took a lot of time. Waiting
lists. Again, I mentioned earlier when I told you she was two to get on the waiting list for Medicaid waiver. We never did. Brooke is now, just now, just recently started receiving SSI. She has
private insurance through me. She actually owns her own home. One of my husband's aunts passed away and she had polio and did not walk as a child and always felt a real affinity to Brooke so she
decided to leave her house to Brooke. And so Brooke owns her own home. She lives in her home. She receives the money that she gets from her dog business. She gets some support from SSI and that is
it. She does have a few special life services that she receives but no other services. Brooke is living a life and we just, again, pull those services in when we need them. And often we pull them in
for free because we want her to be connected to the community, so we ask people who know her to give her a ride or we ask her if she's-- they're going to go to a dance or something, "Hey, Brooke
wants to go. Can we make this happen?" And so we don't need services and to pay someone to go to the dance with Brooke; we find a friend that's going and she goes with them. And then the last one
with [inaudible] is kind of just the poor assessments. I mentioned the AT and we really struggled with that and not being able to communicate is a huge detriment for anybody. And so this has
continued to be a little bit more of a challenge for us. And then finally just the future. The [inaudible] you know what, I think Brooke would make some money by telling our people how to start their
own business so she can charge people whether they have the experience or not on how to start a pet sitting business. And so he is now giving out Brooke's name and contact information. Brooke hasn't
set a rate yet for that charge, but she's going to probably do some market research with some classmates on what should she be charging to provide that TA for other people to start businesses. And we
have been exploring a second business with a ghost hunting. We went right on the Battlefield in Richmond. It actually runs through her yard and it runs behind our house, so the battlefields and there
is no one that's running a ghost tour through the Battlefield. And so we -- and it's not stemmed. It's privately owned so we've been in touch with them about running some ghost tours. And so Brooke's
in the process of getting the budget. They've done the market research and people love ghost stuff right now. This is some of the ghost hunting equipment that people gave her for Christmas, so
[inaudible] through the -- getting some work over the weekend and so Brooke's going to be in a hotel, using our EFM detector since you're finding a ghost. But that's where we're heading next. We want
to try another business so that one's going to take a lot more work, but Brooke's excited about it. So that's Brooke's story.
CHAZ KELLEM: I don't know about the whole ghost thing, Dan. [inaudible] all right. Exactly. All right. So my journey briefly, I actually started similar to Chris as a youngster. I was 16. I was pretty
good with computers and had a summer job with a company. I was around data entry and help desk and always, I dreamed of being a computer god, fixing them. I love the idea of trying to fix something
that was broken and so it happened, I was good with my hands and loved the idea of being able to fix computers, but after getting -- starting my career off and going off for several summers from high
school, I found that it was me and a computer by myself and I really didn't find joy in that, and if you fix a computer, just me and the computer and although I found joy in it and although it was a
fun process and a learning one, I just didn't feel it. I did go to school however at the Edinboro University, small school, north, two hours in the middle of a snowball. I don't know why they put a
[inaudible] school in the snow. I don't quite understand that. But I actually took my major, folks, four times. So even after entering college after trying to figure out a career path, I took my
major four times. And so I found something I really love. And if you don't love what you do, you're in the wrong business and you're going to hate it. So I wanted to find something that I loved.
There's a huge difference in my mind between a job and a career. A career is something that I believe unfortunately but fortunately we take home with us everyday, you know, many of us in this room
are in careers that we love hopefully. So, I always had love for sports and I always had a love for the community. So, I entered the organization after graduating the Pittsburgh Pirates. Anybody who
loves baseball in the room? Baseball fans? All the Philly fans, raise your hands for me. The door is that way. So, I started at the Pittsburgh Pirates in December of 2005 and I'll be honest with
everybody, I was actually a telemarketer for the organization. So I was one of those annoying guys calling you, begging you, asking you to purchase Pirate tickets for a team that lost [inaudible]. So
I was trying to create a miracle and trying to create a fan base and get people excited about Pirates baseball and was promising a future and go team and encourage the people that comes to the
[inaudible] of America and blah, blah, blah. So they actually worked. That's the network thing. My first step in that process was calling family members, friends, calling people in that network that
weren't necessarily buying tickets for the Pirate Games, they were buying and purchasing into me. They were buying at home and they were purchasing for me. And if you would buy things, probably you
were still buying for me and that worked for [inaudible]. And then I -- what I did then was I've figured out untapped markets and the Pirates had reached out too as well. So I reached out to the
faith-based audience. They created faith lines and I created a disability awareness event where we had a -- we had very accessible and [inaudible] to the disability community. So I thought about how
to --how to bring the disability community. So I thought about untapped markets being created for my environment. You can think that I already knew so my advantage is sell Pirate tickets. So then
after that, I got promoted into a full-time role and was lucky enough to be able to do to do ticket sales for three seasons with the focus specifically on the group market where I was creating an
event for people. So anybody that [inaudible] whether it'd be at church or a solid group or you'd fly kites for fun or you're on a book club and everybody is a part of something. So, my job here was
to create atmosphere if you're in a book club, I will do get your book club [inaudible] about baseball and then come to the game. If you fly kites for fun, go fly kites from the bridge outside of
[inaudible] and then come and see the game. That is my job. Still, as many know, we aren't necessarily have not been a winning franchise as of -- [inaudible] tough test. I had to measure my craft for
I always read books. I read journals. I master my craft and figuring out the best secrets and talents that make people great sales people. And I created friends first and then a client next. Again,
if you were a total stranger, I made you my friend. I wrote down notes about your dog. I wrote down notes about your spouse's name, a vacation you recently took. I learn about you as a person, your
habits, things that you love that means to you and then I sold you tickets. That was the last piece of the puzzle. You bought into me even if you were a total stranger. And, folks, that worked. Don't
know how, never in a million years were into sales, at 25, you can make good money in ticket sales. And I was making good money, but I always love my community and I do not want to get into this
black hole of just making good money and not finding joy in my job. So I got -- I was lucky enough to get promoted then into the current role of manager of Diversity Initiatives. So, now, my job is
to go after a community and design, create and target multi-culture and diverse populations. And we define the first three at the Pirates' seven main audiences [inaudible] disabled, the unreserved,
unsure and the LGBT population. So I create a design program around those seven different audiences. I will tell you when I'm into the role, there were three. Disability was not one of them. So
there's no way [inaudible] job for disability and disabled not be a population that [inaudible] do work around. So, I have a great job, allows flexibility, the company understands what I'm good at
and I understand my role within that company. Folks, I am not determining the story coming out tomorrow. I am not determining -- we actually play at 4:00, folks, so I've got a TV here shortly, but I
have [inaudible] are not discussing [inaudible], I promise. I am not determining who draft. I am not determining the baseball, the [inaudible] operations that I understand my goals, my expectations
and it is not any longer driven by [inaudible]. So that to me was a huge transition where in tickets sales, I had this floating number off my head that I had to achieve. Now, it's hard to determine
success versus failures, but we do that by just being creative, always having name first off in the community and regardless of the win-loss record, year to year, I still have a job to do. Long as
they pay check clears every two weeks, which it does, I have a job to do. And I can't control or worry about the things outside of my -- of my job. I control when I can. I take care of the big things
like I've mentioned yesterday or the little things and the big things take care of themselves. I'm in my 8th season with the Pirates and I never really thought, folks, that me [inaudible] the
wheelchair work for major baseball, I have some great friends that are players. I've worked for our organization, played for us. I love what I do. I'm passionate about it. It's baseball. The Pirates
are winning games right now. That makes it more fun yet more challenging, but I go to [inaudible] theme parks to work everyday. Not an office that is [inaudible], my cafeteria is centerfield on a
regular basis. How can I complain everyday being able to do what I do? I love it. I've been with many good people around me to help, to volunteer. It's a very, very cool job. I understand that I'm
blessed. I'm not the smartest man in the world, but I will outwork many men. And to me, that has been what's worked and hopefully I will continue to be what works. So, that is my journey. I
appreciate everyone who shared their story. You will continue on that. We -- thank you. I love this guy. He's [inaudible] right? So, fellows, we wanted to conclude by sharing a few viable resources
that you can take away with you that help those you work with or those around you, obtain and keep jobs. There are a variety of wonderful resources both locally and nationally for you. Some of these
are locally obtained, but some of them are national. . I found great success with referring people to the job accommodation network which was the first one there enlisted for you. Again, I found
great success for everything we worked. Chris [inaudible] for me too. There are even more on the national level and state level for you all. Great resources. Again, this PowerPoint is available on
that website for you, so that way, you can have these, but feel free to jot them down now. Any final comments from others on the panel? Anything else? We've got a couple of minutes, about 10 minutes
here, if anyone have any final question or thoughts. Yes, ma'am?
AUDIENCE MEMBER: How do you know [inaudible]
DANA YARBROUGH: And someone just repeat just so they can?
CHRIS MIELO: Yes. Okay. So the question is -- we have a [inaudible] here who [inaudible] who is -- who's -- I know you work for us and he's asking if a -- working about five hours at a time or so as a
reasonable accommodation through ADA for the employer and I believe the answer would be, it depends on the employer I think. Unfortunately, the way that the ADA works, and I'm a law expert. By the
way the law works is that the employer can decide whether or not an accommodation is reasonable or not. You -- so it depends where you're working on their hours. If you have the ability to maybe take
work home with you, any number of factors. Does anybody else -- maybe my OVR people maybe have an answer further.
CHAZ KELLEM: I often think if the, you know, if the employer is working well with you and it's -- that's a good thing, I will continue that with open dialogue and have a conversation about what that
employer can be or can do to help you be more successful and it sounds like we're in that [inaudible] range is what we allow to be most successful and they seemed to be providing appropriate
accommodations to start [inaudible] and encourage that they can [inaudible].
DANA YARBROUGH: And I would just add that I would make sure you document everything. So anything that you're asking for that you document that and why you're asking for that so the human resource and
the ADA, they can make sure that they've documented it, but also [inaudible] employer and one of those require tasks of the job or one of those marginal tasks which other people could do. So if the
concern they have is, well, this job really does require eight hours, separate that out into a tasks, what are those tasks, which of those require task you need to get done with those five to six
hours just so that you really can do that job and the marginal task would be done by someone else.
CHRIS MIELO: We have a question.
DANA YARBROUGH: We have one.
CHAZ KELLEM: Question about?
AUDIENCE MEMBER: How do you know how much is too much or not enough to make [inaudible] employer?
CHAZ KELLEM: The question was, how do you know whether there's enough or too much and I didn't know what number was not enough.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Share with your?
CHAZ KELLEM: Share with you employer. I mean, for me, it has been from day one to getting my needs and my information with my employer and I work for amazing baseball franchise where when someone
smaller [inaudible] so I'm oftentimes from the beginning having conversation with our HR office about my disability, but I don't go into too much detail. I mean, if I would -- if I require a network
[inaudible] or a doctor visit, I'm giving -- taking that as early and as frequent as possible and I'm open with them with those things. And they have been welcoming and encouraging me, providing them
appropriate accommodation with me. But I've tried to fend that down from the personal life and a professional life. And I try to make sure that I keep those within reason to meet both my needs and
then my employer. So, any additional comments?
CHRIS MIELO: No. I think -- I think that it touches on it pretty well. You got to find that balance for yourself and decide what's really important as far as what you -- what you disclose or not.
DANA YARBROUGH: And try to kind of breathe that filter of informal support. We -- I work beyond very significant physical disabilities and our university was a little worried about all the
accommodations he was going to need. And we help him voice interpret during meetings, internal, external, that's a different thing, but internal, we learn how to speak Japanese and so we help and
voice interpret for jack in meetings. We -- if Jack needs coffee, I can do the same thing for my other co-workers. I'll go grab a cup of coffee for him and bring it back to his desk. And so I think
also that idea of just getting those informal supports is people are nervous when anyone of these guys I'm on the stage with a wheelchair wheels in, they first start -- I'm sure they think, "What's
it going to cost me to have this person? What special accommodations? How much money am I going to need?" The reality is, a lot of it's informal and can be done without a lot of accommodations that
CHAZ KELLEM: Any other questions? All right, folks. Well, thank you very much for [inaudible]