reachAbility With Tova Sherman

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AL 27 | reachAbility

 

The movement for more inclusion and diversity in the workplace is here to stay, and it is imperative that your organization learn to adapt. Advocating for this is Tova Sherman, the author of Win, Win, Win! and the CEO of reachAbility, an organization that provides supportive and accessible programs dedicated to workplace inclusion for everyone facing barriers. In this episode, she joins Alicia Dunams to talk about how you can be inclusive and disability confident. She also discusses the myths surrounding the hesitance of inclusivity and diversity in the workplace and shares the nine leadership lessons that will prove how you treat people and establish lasting change. Plus, Tova also gives some relationship-building habits that will help you become more relatable to team members. 

Listen to the podcast here:

reachAbility With Tova Sherman 

How To Be Inclusive And Disability Confident

I’m excited for our next guest, Tova Sherman. She is the author of Win, Win, Win!: The 18 Inclusion-isms You Need to Become a Disability Confident Employer. We’re going to dive in. To tell you a little about Tova, she’s a TED speaker and a thought leader with more than 25 years of experience in diversity and inclusion. She’s an award-winning CEO of a company called reachAbility, an organization which provides supportive and assessable programs dedicated to workplace inclusion for everyone facing barriers. I’m excited to dig deep with you, Tova, because diversity and inclusion is a hot topic and we don’t want it to go away. Inclusion is a way of life, inclusive leadership. First, I want to dive in your team, your colleagues, and your clients begged for you to write a book. Share with us, Tova, why you decided to write your book.  

I wanted them to leave me alone, first and foremost, but the truth is that after over twenty years of going around North America and educating some of the brightest minds around the simplicity of inclusion of persons with disabilities, the importance and the benefits, I wanted to stop the train. I tend to be a little folksy in my sayings, so my team asked me very frankly, “Could we start writing these down? They’re so powerful.” I started to do that and I came up with what I believe was an important place to enter this field, to talk about what disability confidence is and how to get there, and what the expectation is to be able to say that with confidence.  

To say it with confidence and it’s so funny that you share that. First of all, thank you so much for writing this book. Thank you for the work you’re doing in the world. Even the word disability can be a bit divisive. Sometimes I say different-ability versus disability. It’s like I’m not disabled. I’m able-bodied. I’m just differently-abled. Even starting there, we’re in a world right now where people are even scared to open their mouth because they’re like, “Anything I say, I’m going to get in trouble.” What are your thoughts there?  

You may be surprised to hear this, but that persons with disabilities tend to prefer disability. We’d rather take the power out of the word than allow the word to be taken over by others. Sometimes there’s the thinking that, “I am a person with disability.” I’ll speak to myself. I’m on the ADHD spectrum. I’m not mild, I’m quite severe. One of the things people don’t realize about that is it’s comorbid, which is a horrible word that it comes with mental health issues. I have anxiety and depression. Although I do not take medication or in any way address the issues of the ADHD because in my field of public speaking, it’s a bit of a prize. What I focus on is what I can do, not what I can’t do. I’m putting together this book and all of this thinking in one place. What is it to be disability confident and why does it even matter? All of those things led me to one place, win, win, win, because that’s ideal.  

We'd rather take the power out of the word than allow the word to be taken over by others. Click To Tweet

It’s okay if a business wants to monetize disability. I always say I’ve been waiting. Monetize, that means we matter. There’s importance to all of the things that are happening. I truly believe we are at an important tipping point in North America. Even though the ADA or Americans with Disabilities Act has been around over 35 years, interestingly right here in Canada, we’ve only gotten our act in 2019, 2020. We might be years behind, but it’s allowing us as a community and as a nation to reflect on what that means to us now, rather than maybe what we thought it was many years ago. There are some great advantages as well. Win, win, win is just a motto, and I want every employer to know if they’re thinking inclusion is a headache, they are missing the boat.  

Why don’t you start there? How do you talk to someone on corporation, a decision-maker, where they think inclusion is a headache? 

First of all, I want them to acknowledge, whether they like it or not, that we have biases. We have strong biases that get in the way of our decision-making. Whether those are conscious or unconscious, implicit or explicit, it doesn’t matter until we can acknowledge it. I don’t want to get into this whole mantra that people say until we know it and acknowledge it, we can’t face it. In about everything we talk about, that’s a truth, so why not here acknowledge that where I learned about disability maybe wasn’t giving me the information. Let’s think about it, where did everybody learn about disability the first time? In my case, it was the family whispering or joking about some relative. We knew there was something off about that relative the way we were all joking and having a little bit of too much fun around it. It didn’t seem right, or the whispers when someone’s name came up, or other family would speak in other language. They’d always throw you.  

What’s happening is we’ve already been stigmatized if our first source of learning around disability is in the home. Perhaps we learned about it because in the schoolyard, which I can tell you from personal experience, it’s a very cruel place. It’s never the place to learn about difference or disability. We then say, “Where are the opportunities? Is there a Disability 101 in high school?” No. We’re the other kids. We’re stigmatizing. Movie of the week, it’s always the extreme dramatic case of the guy who hit his head and can’t remember who he is or his family. Whereas the short-term memory is up front and that’s usually what gets banged up first.  

All of these myths are where we get it, and then let’s top it off with media, which is somebody like CNN. Anderson Cooper’s a dolly, but let me tell you, he’s not telling the story of the gentleman who’s bipolar, has a wife, has three kids, holds down two jobs, and doing great. It’s that 0.1111% of people who are not only not self-managed, but are less likely to self-harm because most self-harm. Ninety percent of people with mental illnesses would harm themselves well before touching anyone else. My question is, where are we learning about disability? Unless you and I talk about the very foundation of that as being a great place to start talking about now what? Let’s acknowledge that there is implicit-explicit bias. It is a prejudice. In fact, 69% of people in America’s working age who want to work are working, and 20% of persons who want to work are able to work and live with disabilities are working. That is a huge gap and that can only be addressed through the acknowledgment of bias, and then beginning the process of healing that. 

I love that it all starts with self-awareness and from there, it’s the question of, where do we go from here? That’s what your book is addressing and I’m excited. I want to jump into some of the content. Now you have nine leadership lessons that will prove how you treat people and establish lasting change. Why don’t you share some of these leadership lessons with us?  

I got to start with my favorite one, which some love, some don’t. The fish stinks from the head. I’m from Nova Scotia. Maybe that’s the fisherman in my blood, but it’s accurate. If that boss is like, “Get me some inclusion stuff and a few diverse people. Let’s fill a few holes, but don’t bring me in because I’m a busy guy with way more important stuff to do.” We have a problem with vicious thinking and it always starts at the head.  

The fish always stinks at the head, so the boss. If there’s not that responsibility and accountability and self-awareness at that level, then the whole body starts to stink after that.  

AL 27 | reachAbility

Win, Win, Win!: The 18 Inclusion-isms You Need to Become a Disability Confident Employer

The boss says, “Do something. It’s not the most important thing to me, but it’s got to be done.” That middle management person is now saying to himself, “I’m not doing something inherently positive for my company. I’m not creating a better atmosphere for my workplace. I’m not improving innovation or creativity in this brain economy. What I’m doing is something extra.” It’s now extra work. It loses all value and becomes distilled to this one thing, two more stuff to do, rather than a plan for success, an actual road. 

It creates a negative ripple effect. Where do we go? It starts at the head. What else in terms of leadership lessons?  

I have a lot. I’m looking at my list because I want to have fun ones. We’ve discussed the fish in the head, and I truly believe it. I want to remind all our folks who do any hiring, no matter who you are, that not that many years ago, we used to teach screening out as a way to reduce resumes. I want to stop there for my friends in leadership and hiring and say, “We’ve got to start screening in, not out.” That’s another one of my isms, screen in, don’t screen out. For me, the idea of a pile of resumes coming in and going into the shredder is heartbreaking. What’s going on is we’re allowing first and foremost the biases to get in the way of maybe looking at someone who has a different background. 

I am a great example of that. They might see the year I took off of work and go, “That’s screen out time,” but she took a year off to care for her dying father. If I knew that, would I respect her and think she’s a solid person who’s a community and caring, and has empathy and can commit herself to things that aren’t easy? Would I think, “She has a gap. What a mess?” These are the things that we’re doing by not including. Winning means expanding our talent pool. I want to have the most people possible. Am I saying, “Look at every resume from top to bottom, 4 million resumes come in?” No, but if you’re a big company and you’re using software that picks certain keywords, you are already implicitly putting bias into your hiring process. Forget all of the hidden biases that we have as individuals and the baggage we bring. Now we’re talking about a whole other level of it. This whole structure is built on stigma. 

Artificial intelligence is built on that. That’s the Harvard Implicit Bias Test. 

There is something and it’s a lack of critical thinking. It’s not prevalent. North America is the place that some incredible critical thinking has come out of. I’m not sure if we’re not losing as a people the capacity to do that. It’s slowing down our progress because as I said before, the three wins. Let me get back to that if you don’t mind. I wanted to say that win, win, win is a takeoff of a gentleman I’m sure you’ve heard of, Stephen Covey. He wrote a million leadership books. He sold over 55 million books in the ’80s, and his big book was Habit 4: Think WinWinHis big theory is everything was win-win.  

What he meant was, why is it that the used car salesman has to rip off somebody in order to make money? Why is it the buyer has to steal it from the guy somehow to be happy? Why can’t we have two winners instead of a winner and a loser in sales? In some ways that was a bit of a revelation in the ’80s. Now I say, Covey is good in the ’80s, but now we need to look at the win, win, win. That’s how we create disability confidence and successful innovative workplaces. There are a million, but to give you an example. You hire someone with a disability or maybe you promote them, but you hire someone, let’s talk about that. The first win is that person has probably had to go through a lot to get that job because of the implicit and explicit bias that we live with. They’re quite pleased. They got a decent job that fits their skillset.  

The team wins for a number of reasons. First of all, they’ve got another innovative thinker, that creativity, that how to solve problems that people with disabilities have the corner marketed on in some degree in a world that is not built for them. That innovative thinker, that out of the box coming from left field idea is so crucial. That team is going to feel the juices of creativity, innovation, a little bit of fresh blood. Everybody didn’t go to the same school, speaks the same language and thinks everybody’s like, “You’re five-five,” and everybody forms the same ideas.  

We are about to step into a whole new area of innovation by engaging people who have lived different experiences, who bring very unique capacity to problem solve in a brain economy. This is crucial. We got the team winning. We got the dude winning. We could talk about the employer winning, because the team’s juiced, things are happening, some new ideas are coming in. The community starts to see itself in the people that work in that company, especially if it’s a people-facing company. 

It’s powerful that you’re talking about diversity, and diversity and inclusion not being the same thing. Many of the things you shared are unseen diversity elements. We cannot necessarily see neurodiversity or ADHD. When I got on this show with you, I didn’t see you as having ADHD, there are the seen elements of diversity, and then there are the unseen elements. Speak into that a little bit and how your book addresses that.  

I often say people don’t come with instructions, which is a great lead-in. It’s one of the things I say, “We’re not IKEA furniture,” because I can’t afford to hire someone to assemble me. More importantly, we don’t come with instructions. Even if you know, “My sister has ADD. Now I get it.” We’re told where it was coming from. You might get a little of it, but the truth is we’re all unique. When you can’t see that disability, I want to tell you about my husband, because he had a specific experience. He was in a very serious car accident and his back was broken and he was up for two years. He went back to work. He’s a big burly guy but he can’t lift a box. He’s got to be careful. He went to a job and he was straight up. I’m a believer. If it’s going to affect your work, you must disclose.  

Until we know it and acknowledge it, we can't face it. Click To Tweet

If Tova was going to go work at a library, she may want to tell them about ADHD. Tova was going to be a public speaker, she doesn’t have to. In this case, I say to my partner, “Honey, you’ve got to tell them about your back because they look at this guy who’s working at a print shop, not as a printer but as a sales guy, and they’re going to go, ‘Do you mind grabbing that 500-pound box of paper?'” He was very honest with the manager at the beginning, very clear about all of this. I was so happy because it wasn’t easy to say that at the front and still get the job. A week in and everyone was bitching at him, “Why can’t you help? Why can’t you help us load the truck?”  

Was it Joe’s fault? Joe could have done it a little bit better in the communication. It’s the manager’s fault. They were told and it was disclosed. They did nothing but keep it a secret, and then make Joe feel incredibly uncomfortable. What he said to me, and it struck me at the time, he says, “When people think I’m pretending like I’m saying I don’t want to lift a box or something, it makes me feel like they think what else am I lying about? What else am I pretending? I become an outcast.” All of a sudden, everybody thinks that you’re a big fake when all you’re trying to do is like everybody else, make a living and be honest about your limitations. You don’t have to have a disability to understand that. We all have limitations, whether those are responsibilities with our family, “I can’t work past 5:00.” Lots of people don’t get jobs because of that. Especially around COVID, we’ve seen the effect it’s had on women. Not to get too far off our discussion, but you can’t ignore it. Persons with disabilities are saying, “This is what it’s like for me all the time trying to get out and do things.” 

Inclusivity doesn’t stop when you hire someone. It needs to follow through the whole process. The manager in that case should have said, “We have this new person coming in and he’s unable to carry boxes, so please be mindful of that.” It’s a way of leadership. It’s a way of management.  

To anyone coming in, “She’s got to leave at 5:00, so please guys, don’t ask her to stay because she’ll feel uncomfortable and it’s not necessary.” Wouldn’t everyone want that information if it was relevant to the agreement that they had made? Not personal, but the agreements so everyone understood and was on the same page. I’d love that for every onboard. Why should it be different? 

Treat others as they want to be treated. The platinum rule. 

I’m a platinum girl from way back. I can’t afford it, so I’m not wearing anything.  

We went through some leadership lessons. What about the relationship-building habits that help you become more relatable to team members? How do you become more relatable?  

I have to twist the question a little bit. My answer to that is what we need to do if we’re going to ensure inclusion in a comfortable environment. There are two things we do. It’s education and osmosis. Let me get back to education and talk about osmosis first because education is fairly self-explanatory, but I can touch on it. Osmosis is when Tova was out doing public speaking events, especially corporate, and I see a few people in the crowd doing this. I might be talking about something as simple as an architectural barrier, very basic. We’re discussing this architectural barrier and how frustrating it must be for them, the person using the wheelchair.  

Maybe I’m saying, “Why don’t you sit next to them?” Not because you’re lowering yourself, but because it hurts your neck all day to do this. Common sense. We don’t have the pie in the sky everything. Osmosis is when I look out and I see that person going, “I’ve worked with a person who uses a wheelchair. I know exactly what you mean. It’s very easy.” Their heads are shaking up and down consistently. Osmosis is when you have the opportunity to work with someone with a disability because it removes so much of those myths that you and I touched on briefly as to the sources of the myths.  

AL 27 | reachAbility

reachAbility: We are about to step into a whole new area of innovation by engaging people who have lived different experiences, who bring a unique capacity to problem solve in a brain economy.

 

To be more relatable is to have empathy.  

That’s a given. The only way to show empathy, and it’s another one of my absolute inclusion-isms, is stay curious. I don’t mean “what the hell is wrong with you” curious. I mean honestly and genuinely curious. This came to me as I was sitting on a subway in New York. It was many years ago and across from me is this man. He’s got his head down in his hand and he’s got two kids. They are booting up the train, and booting down the train. The thing that was humoring me, which I shouldn’t have been humored about, is they kept stepping on this fancy lady’s shoe.  

I knew she was going to lose it. Finally, she gets up and she walks up to him. You can’t see his face because it was right across from me. She says, “Sir, what is wrong with you? Get your children under control.” At that moment, he was white as a ghost, his eyes were red and he said, “I’m so sorry. My wife died and I’m trying to figure out what to tell the children.” There was no curiosity. “Sir, are you all right?” That little change, that little shift in the tone, and the message and the authenticity because I don’t believe in being bogus and saying it. You got to be curious at that moment.  

Versus rushing to judgment.  

Which is what we all do, stay curious. 

Curiosity requires us to go slower.  

It also requires self-awareness. Let’ go back to that step one again. It’s like going through a game. Step one, you’ve got to get that disability confidence, that bias awareness, then you move on, understand and acknowledge that without education, osmosis is not enough. You have to prepare people in order to remove the very myths such as, “They’re going to call in sick more.” It’s proven completely untrue because persons with disabilities tend to have less sick days because they’re so grateful and they have to drag themselves into work at times because people wait for it. They literally wait for it. It’s a myth, but who’s telling anyone that’s a myth? It’s out there.  

We must remember that it was only in the ’50s that people were driving blocks away when someone had polio in the neighborhood. We were so afraid of catching it, we would drive blocks away in the ’50s. The reality is that we have to find that acknowledgment through education, which means identifying, and that’s where I started. It was building education because it meant so much to me. My entire family lives with a disability. My mother lost her voice box to cancer. I always said she sounded smart like Stephen Hawking.  

My dad had kidney disease. My sister used a wheelchair and my brother groans. I always thought all this stuff was extremely normal to have all these unique means and accommodations. Accommodations isn’t a dirty word. Not only does everyone need accommodation, but I’ll go one step farther. I want to be a little bit controversial here. There is not a person reading now that will not have had, has, or will have a disability. The whole concept of bias, the whole idea of the stigma is so self-defeating that it blows my mind.  

That’s super powerful because I know there’s this whole conversation around the simulation versus the accommodation. Accommodation is ensuring that someone belongs. It’s affirming people, it’s hearing people, it’s seeing people, and assimilation is fitting in. Brene Brown always says that fitting in is the opposite of belonging. It’s putting ourselves in other’s shoes because we’ll eventually be in those shoes. That’s what you’re contending with that last sentence. 

I’ll even go one step farther. If someone doesn’t believe that, although it’s true, then you definitely love somebody who has had, has, or will have a disability. Would you want the best for them? I certainly would.  

It all comes down to implicit and explicit bias and us not keeping in check that bias of being self-aware, and it goes back to that self-awareness. It’s like, “I’m getting curious. Why are these kids running up and down the subway? Why is that man’s face in his hands?” We’re getting curious about that, so that slows down our decision-making, and then it gets into storytelling. I’m curious if you address storytelling in your book as maybe one of the leadership lessons or relating with messages?  

It’s implicit because the entire book is a story in the sense that it’s storytelling. It’s creating a statement and then backing it with a scenario. I have to tell stories endlessly because people respond to that so much better. Did I tell everybody be a storyteller? I would be lying if I said I did. That would have been number nineteen because I only had room for eighteen. Honest to God, it’s true. I do want to say it’s important that we acknowledge something my mom said. I lost my mom in the States. She lived in DC. After she lost her voice box, we’d all try to guess what she was saying. She didn’t have the box yet. Being the Jewish mother, we would say, “You want us to feed dad.” She was always, “Get your father fed,” and she was pretty happy.  

I would jump to the conclusion, “Feed dad, right?” She gave me the index finger, not the other finger. She used to call it the Shirley finger. She would say to me, “When you pretend to understand what I say, you’re saying that what I said wasn’t important enough for you to find out and get uncomfortable with. Until you can get uncomfortable enough to ask me, even if it takes a number of times in a number of ways, you will be removing my dignity.” Plain and simple. That’s where that came from.  

When we jump to rush because there’s something about us that wants to finish someone sentences, if there’s something in us and that’s our bias, that’s our jumping to conclusions, that is us trying to fill in the gap immediately. The thing about what I call the conscious climb, when we’re on the conscious climb, it’s slow. It takes time. It takes energy. Storytelling takes time and energy to get to know individual people’s stories. We’re so in a rush that we don’t hear that, so we are falling back to our most base tendency of making snap judgments.  

People who genuinely care about you are a mirror. Click To Tweet

I’m going to climb on that a little bit and say there’s one other thing we don’t like to do. We don’t like to say, “I don’t know anymore.” When did that happen? When we’re supposed to know everything? I can go to New York to this day and I could stand on the street, because I’ve done it, and I could say, “Which bus for the Bronx to?” Everyone will give me an answer. It will be completely different, but no one goes, “You don’t? I don’t know, sorry, I can’t help you.” I’m pretty sure it’s sixteen. It made me think when did we stop being able to say, “I don’t know?” Tell me about your disability. I don’t know that much. How much vision do you have? I noticed you mentioned you were vision impaired. We’re so afraid in this sort of cancel-culture vibe too, but it was even before that to be uncomfortable. I used to say, Canadians don’t want to be rude. They would rather take your dignity away as my mother says because they don’t want to ask you twice. 

Also, asking ourselves the question, “Am I certain?” When we make an assumption about someone, preconceived notion, am I certain?  

Am I comfortable enough to ask? 

That’s a whole thing because the whole thing is when we talk about the platinum rule and treating others as they want to be treated, I always ask people, “How do you know how they want to be treated?” You got to ask. 

You got to stay curious. We’ve been saying the same thing.  

Someone’s like, “What if I say the wrong thing?” That’s where the rubber hits the road there. It’s being curious enough, but not something like a microaggression. An example is I was at a Kinko’s once, and this gentleman comes in and he goes, “You are so exotic, you must speak Spanish.” Some people see that as curiosity, and some people see that as a microaggression. That’s the world we live inI sit there and I go, “You are so curious.” That’s what I said. That was my response.  

That’s a very nice answer. I’ll have to use that sometimes when someone asks me what part of Italy I am from. 

It requires almost some joyful play in it, but then there’s so much pain around this as well. We’re constantly on that line between curiosity or are they just being rude and not doing the research themselves? Pronouns for example, and asking someone which pronoun they want to use. It can get to the point where you need to be delicate in the asking.  

I have one rule because I’m ADHD, so I can’t be very polite all the time. It’s not in my DNA. What I do is I live by a simple message and that is I am not politically correct, so I may not have a lot of friends, but I do believe in dignity. I run by the dignity by me. I go, “Is this dignified?” It may not be cool, but is it dignified? I’ll be very genuinely curious of people who say that someone who’s vision impaired does not usually hear. “Tell me, how much vision do you have?” It may seem like, “What the hell are you doing?” I’m actually saying, “I’m curious. Are you legally blind or are you just low vision?” She’ll see that there’s a genuine understanding, hence education, and a curiosity that is going to evolve into the osmosis thing where we all learn from each other by being there. It’s so exciting if we can get everyone past the bloody stigma.  

AL 27 | reachAbility

reachAbility: If you want innovation, broaden your talent pool, welcome everybody because it genuinely, not could be, it’s proven to be a win, win, win.

 

Osmosis as what I’m hearing you say is that’s conversation, that’s communication, that’s common ground. That’s being in connection. 

You and me having lunch and be going, “It’s not that scary to be with someone who has a mental illness.”  

Asking those questions that might be deemed as rude, that’s going to lead to another opportunity to go deeper with that person. That’s an awesome way to put it. I love that because you have that East Coast vibe, Tova, so I know you’re from California. How do you become a more modest, humble and relatable person, Tova? 

As a person who self-identifies as being on the ADHD spectrum, I can only speak to my experience. The answer is people who genuinely care about you are a mirror. Whether it’s a friend, a good friend or my case, it can be a friend or a family member, because I’m very blessed. I have a very cruel and honest but loving family that has kept what might be a little bit of narcissism under control. I went to a therapist once and I said, “I’m a little worried, I might be a little bit of a narcissist, and she goes, don’t worry, you have so much empathy, it’s fine.” I was so proud of that. I went, “Empathy overtakes narcissism. That’s one for the empathy team.” What I can say is I look at the people who are honest and say, “Is it me?” Sometimes it is.  

That’s a condition that we’re hard on, narcissism, but that might be another conversation.  

That’s a whole book. I’ve got at least eighteen things to say about that, but I want to focus on getting everyone welcome to the workplace because the truth is, we are going to grow our talent pool, our population is getting older, innovation is the new way to be. If you want innovation, broaden your talent pool, welcome everybody because it genuinely, not could be, it’s proven to be a win, win, win.  

Share with us 1 or 2 things in your book that you want to leave the audience with? 

I want to share with you something that inspired me from day one to do what I did. It’s a lot, but we have an arts festival here. The only one in Canada dedicated to disability, arts community, both evolving and emerging as well as professional. We’re running free programming for people all across the country and in our community. We’re celebrating the new Accessible Canada Act. We’re throwing books out there in the middle of all of the other stuff I’m trying to mention, but what’s important to everyone to say to themselves, all of your readers, I don’t care who you are. You can make a difference and never ever let what you cannot do get in the way of what you can do.  

Empathy overtakes narcissism Click To Tweet

There’s plenty I can’t do. There are some limitations. Ask my staff. Sometimes I say, “Maybe you should leave,” but it’s okay. We have an understanding. I wouldn’t suggest that openly, but don’t do that to me. More importantly, I understand that’s a reality, but the most important thing is to know what you can’t do leads you to know what you can. I am a voice for many people who don’t have one. I have cute folksy sayings and good little stories that seem to translate into a way to understand and embrace the first steps to being disability confident. All of us want to be that because it’s going to be us and the people we love. We don’t want to marginalize people we care about or ourselves.  

It’s this whole idea that never let what you cannot do get in the way of what you can do. You will always be able to make a difference. I don’t care if you’re one of the fish that stinks from the head, or you’re an entry-level person trying to figure out how you can contribute. The reality is never let what you cannot do get in the way of that what you can, because you can always make a difference if you choose to. It doesn’t mean you’re going to solve everything, but you’re going to make a difference and that’s contribution and that’s good for our hearts.  

Win, win, win leads to collaboration, leads to connection, leads to common grounds. We were talking about that before. Where are some places that people can find out more about you, Tova? 

I’m notoriously bad for Twitter because I’m too sensitive. I didn’t go near it. I think there is a Twitter site, but I don’t think I’m running it. Leave what you want because I’m not looking. You go to www.Reachability.org. We’re all there. There’s stuff about the book, about me, the programming, the work we’re doing. There are great videos that anyone in the world can turn on and learn from. We’re not trying to hide anything, we’re trying to share it. We’re trying to shift that paradigm from medical, which means we are people that people want to do things too, that we are broken to a much healthier paradigm when we all have a right to do something.  

Never let what you cannot do get in the way of what you can do. Click To Tweet

You can find the book on Amazon.com or Amazon.ca as well as all of the usual book places. Forgive me again, I’m a little bit leaning to Amazon. More importantly, that’s where we’re coming from. Also, you can reach out to reachAbility directly if you want to find out more or get a book, also get me to come out and talk at your next event because there’s one thing I do well, and that is communicate. I’m so grateful for that gift and I’m not going to waste it. I’m going to use it for the benefit of those who didn’t have that. 

Continue using your voice, Tova. I love it. Is there one more thing that you want to share as we wrap up? Anything else? 

Yes. I want every one of your readers to feel bolder, not better because I’m not here to pat anyone. I’m not a therapist. I want you to feel bolder at the end of this and decide what is the one thing you will do different after you read this? What is that one thing? You take it to the next place, whether it’s a conversation, whether it’s a reflection, whether it’s writing a note, whether it’s telling someone you love them even though they’re difficult. Be aware. Do one thing and you’ve already made a difference. How exciting that is? How much control that gives you into affecting things around you? It’s a beautiful thing, and it truly is that win, win, win. 

What I choose to do is to ask the question, “Am I speaking to this person? Am I respecting them? Am I giving them their dignity?” 

My mother would be very pleased.  

Tova, thank you so much for being here.  

Thank you so much. It’s been wonderful.  

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About Tova Sherman

AL 27 | reachAbilityCo-founder & CEO

Tova’s status as an inclusion and diversity trailblazer has been recognized across Canada.

She brings a first-person voice to every conversation and believes in equity for all.

She is a lover of all things travel, especially when it takes her to see her grandsons.

 

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