I met Pauline years ago when I was working with my friend Tony Candela on starting up the Alliance of Professionals with Disabilities, in partnership with folks from the Silicon Valley. Pauline was part of that venture. I liked working with her – she’s pragmatic, skilled, articulate and intelligent. And very interesting.
Your name: Pauline Victoria
What’s your connection with disability?
I’m a person born with a disability, no arms and one short leg
Star Trek or Star Wars?
Star Trek. I grew up watching it with my parents and I love the idea of a variety of species coming together for a common good.
If you could live in any other country for 2 years, where would you go?
Uruguay. It seems to be a melting pot of different cultures with a growing economy and a peaceful approach to worldwide issues.
What dish would your bring to our community picnic potluck?
Strawberry shortcake with whipped cream.
Now That We’ve Been Introduced…
What do you do?
As a professional, I’m an entrepreneur who does Inspirational Speaking and other online outreach. I use video as my primary platform to reach out to people. Although speaking has its place and own unique power, it is more challenging for me to travel. Also, video for me is in my sweet spot, it’s evergreen and has a broader reach beyond space and time. You can find my videos on my YouTube Channel, http://www.youtube.com/user/
Although I do general inspiration, I have been called to focus my efforts on the disability population. Because of this, I created and produce Chair Chats, a lifestyle web TV talk show with a disability twist. On this show I interview people on various life topics and experiences from a disability perspective. My motivation behind the show is to help connect, inform and inspire people with disabilities. There is nothing like this in the US. I’m hoping it can grow over the next 5 years to reach millions.
Personally, I’m a proud wife and mom to a 7-year old who I homeschool.
How did you come to doing what you do? How has your career trajectory flowed?
When I lived in California, I worked for a variety of tech companies and then for the City government. In 2006, we (my husband and three kids: 16, 13 and 4 months old) moved to the Big Island where most of my time was spent as a mom. In 2009, after a series of events (this is the Reader’s Digest version), I met Les Brown who was interested in helping me pursue a speaking career. Doing a lot of introspection, I chose to take ownership of my gifts as a person with unique perspective and experiences with a decent ability to communicate and use it in a bigger way to inspire more people to live fully. Since then, I ask for guidance from a higher power, and I bring to fruition the ideas presented to me.
Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years?
In 5 years, I hope to still be a proud wife and mother. I’d like to be financially independent with the ability to reach millions of people through the media (mainstream or otherwise).
My bigger hope is that people with disabilities are more represented in mainstream media as characters, news casters, talk show hosts, etc. I believe the media is very influential on society and can be used to create equality among all people. I have great hopes that as people with disabilities are more represented in the media, society will also be more accepting.
Not to be morbid, but what do you want people to remember about you when you’ve gone?
She lived with purpose and spirit.
Who or what inspires you?
My parents who taught me to believe in order to see.
If you could say something to yourself in the past – that is, the you that was really struggling with something related to disability – what would you say?
You are not alone. This too shall pass. Hold on to your faith.
What do you like about your particular disability?
I love that I get to exceed people’s expectations of what’s possible.
Any one thing that you wish people would *get* about disability?
Nothing is guaranteed. Disability can happen to anyone, so be grateful for what you have and use your gifts to the best of your ability.
What single piece of technology makes your life easier?
I’m so very grateful to live in this day and age of technology and appreciate many things. I have a hard time choosing one, so I’ll choose three:
1. My wheelchair which not only provides me with mobility and freedom, it also gives me dignity.
2. My van that I can drive. This is another level of independence and freedom that allows me to be more impactful and social.
3. The internet allows me to be connected globally beyond my local area.
YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/
Meriah Nichols is a counselor. Solo mom to 3 (one with Down syndrome, one on the spectrum). Deaf, and neurodiverse herself, she’s a gardening nerd who loves cats, Star Trek, and takes her coffee hot and black.