Hey there beauties. Welcome to November, the month of many thanks and giving! Slick Chicks is so excited to introduce you to our newest, fantastic female ambassador. But first a question for you to ponder... Does it ever seem like you have more adversity in your life than other people do? Is everyone around you having an easier time of things than you are? You begin to feel sorry for yourself and think, “Why does this stuff always happen to ME?" The truth is, if we are honest with ourselves, we all have answered that question with a yes at one point in time. Our newest ambassador, Tiffany Yu, knows all about adversity and works to eradicate it daily. She is the bombshell and brains behind the Diversability Movement. Diversability is an award-winning global movement that is rebranding disability by connecting, showcasing, and empowering people. Something we can certainly get behind!
The intention of Diversability is to foster community, both online and off, connecting and showcasing individuals of all abilities, doing amazing things. Tiffany’s personal goal with this movement is to get people buzzing and thinking outside the box about disability, overall making it the center of conversation. Uniting, engaging, and ultimately celebrating the entire disability community with just one big idea. We can change the world!
We had a chance to chat with Tiffany and she wasn’t afraid to get candid in the best way possible! Without further ado, let’s get to know Tiffany Yu!
Can you tell us a little about yourself and what you do?
My name is Tiffany Yu and I'm an inclusion and empowerment advocate. I'm currently working on Diversability, a social enterprise to rebrand disability through the power of community.
I started Diversability based on my own personal experiences with disability. When I was nine years old, my dad lost control of the car on the way home from dropping my mom off at the airport. He passed away and I broke a few bones in my leg and sustained a nerve injury that would limit the use of my right arm to this day. Growing up, I often felt isolated and alone and really struggled with self-esteem and self-confidence issues.
When I was in college, I participated in a diversity exercise where I realized that "ability" was one of the "big eight" aspects of the identity wheel. It was the first time I had seen disability acknowledged as identity, and it made me realize the way we talk about disability is often in terms of a medical diagnosis that needs to be treated, fixed, or cured. When disability is framed as identity, it can be rooted in pride and empowerment as with other identity movements. It seemed like a radical way to talk about disability, so I wanted to create more spaces for people with and without disabilities to do that. We even had the honor of having Slick Chicks CEO Helya Mohammadian speak at one of our Diversability events in NYC on creativity and innovation.
More recently, in line with the theme of empowerment, a group of 10 people with disabilities have come together to form the Awesome Foundation Disability Chapter, where we finance and award $1,000 micro grants monthly to disability projects. Outside of my disability work, I'm a part of some really incredible communities like Dreamers //Doers, Under30Experiences, the World Economic Forum Global Shapers, Sandbox, StartingBloc Social Innovation Fellows, and Hive Global Leaders.
How and where do you find inspiration?
I tend to be a bit of an inspiration junkie and can find bits of inspiration all around me, whether it is on social media (anyone else really digging all the inspirational quotes on Instagram?) or reading about or talking to people about the things that drive them and how they are making this world their own.
What does empowerment mean to you?
Empowerment to me is equipping others with what they need to get to where they want to be, to becoming the best version of themselves possible. It's part of what we're about at Diversability because feeling like you are part of a community and that you belong is the first step to everything.
October was National Disability Employment Awareness Month and I'm reminded of this quote: "Talent is everywhere. Opportunity is not." Empowerment and opportunity are closely tied together. These days, I've been thinking about how privileged I've been to have been given a voice in this community. It's not a responsibility I take lightly and I want to use this "power" to create as much opportunity for others as possible and elevate and lift up our community.
When was a time you felt completely discouraged and how did you push through it?
In December of last year, I was assaulted randomly on the street when I was walking to work. Talk about an experience that really shook me at my core. Despite all the messages and calls of support, I could not have felt more alone in this experience. It triggered a lot of memories from what it was like growing up. Childhood trauma was one thing, but whoa, this was another level. That experience taught me that no one could do the healing for me. And to be honest, I'm still pushing through it and working toward getting the help that I need through various trauma recovery services. I'm not sure if I'll ever be "ok" after something like that, but my mental health is important to me as well as being honest about and acknowledging where I am.
What is one piece of advice that you would give a young woman to navigate today's ever-changing world?
Advice I revisit often: "Don't compare your backstage to someone else's highlight reel. Have confidence that you are on your own unique journey and that is enough."
Tiffany Yu is so much more than an awesome advocate, she is an innovator, taking a topic like disabilities and bringing it to the front lines. She is showing others that disability does not have to be the elephant in the room.
Over the years Tiffany has overcome a plethora of challenges, with much style and grace! Her personal story and work with Diversability has been recognized and highlighted in both the media and many other platforms over the years. Tiffany strives daily to educate others, proving that it's totally ok to talk about your challenges and be proud to be YOU and let your abilities shine! To find out more about this AMAZING lady and the Diversability Movement visit http://www.mydiversability.com
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See ya in your skivvies!