My New Personal Blog Site… “Say What”?

I love writing, particularly blogging. Blogging is an absolutely fantastic way for me to share my candid ideas without having to worry about conforming to restrictive writing rules. I guess you can say that my writing style is very much like how I talk — is there such a thing as “conversational writing”?  Maybe, maybe not… if not then I’ve just coined a new term.  Yay me!  Whatever the case may be, it’s my natural style, I enjoy doing it and it seems like others appreciate it as well.  So… I’m sticking to it.

I started blogging in January 2009 — I wrote about everything under the sun relating to human resources and recruitment.  No really, literally everything… every function within HR: compensation, performance management, talent management, succession planning, leadership, recruiting, technology, diversity and the list goes on.  My personal blog at the time started generating interest in North America, I started guest blogging and then speaking.  Fast forward to today, I have contributed blogs to at least 50 different platforms, spoken at more than 30 events and have immersed myself into the global HR blogging community, which I am extremely grateful to be a part of.  Thankfully I have narrowed my list of topics that I write and speak about to social media and HR, employer branding, emerging HR technology, social recruiting, diversity and inclusion and anything in between.

You might be wondering why I started a new blog site.  Well, I have been wanting a personal website that is an extension of my social footprint, and also a place where I can blog about something other than technology that is near and dear to me.  That is my disability.  Simply put, it didn’t fit with Stratify.co, SocialHRCamp.com, or any other technology and social media related platform.  So, here it is… FINALLY my personal site where I can write freely about the usual HR tech stuff, but also about my experiences being born with a severe hearing loss and living my life as a person with a disability.

What Exactly is My Disability?

I was born with a bilateral (means both ears) sensorineural hearing loss.  The sensorineural part means hearing loss in the inner ear — typically missing or damaged sensory cells (hair cells) in the cochlea.  The cochlea is snail-like shaped that has millions of tiny nerve (sensory cells) that basically carry sound waves to the brain for processing.

My Hope

During the course of my career I have worked on a variety of very interesting projects relating to workplace equity, diversity and inclusion and accommodation in the workplace.  However, I have done very little in the way of speaking and writing on my own disability even though I have been encouraged by many people in my network.  I think it all started when I had the opportunity to meet Jessica Miller-Merrill at #SHRM12 in Atlanta.  She encouraged me to write and speak about my own disability as a way to inspire and educate others.  So, upon my return from SHRM12 I started writing… BUT… it wasn’t until last year that I actually felt comfortable enough to publish anything.  In February 2013, Jessica published one of my posts, “Opening Doors: How I Overcame My Disability in Work & Life“.  It seemed to hit a nerve with many people, which I was surprised by, and elated.

Turning to 2014, my hopes are simple.  As I have already been confirmed to speak at 5 conferences in 5 cities across North America this year, a couple of these sessions will be about diversity and inclusion.  They’ll focus on my own story — my journey facing adversity, drumming up the courage to tackle my struggles head on and succeed.  

I’m excited about my new blog, particularly the ability for me to share my own story about my disability and how it has in fact helped me succeed.

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