Xceptional Leaders with Mai Ling Chan & Martyn Sibley

Xceptional Podcast Network

High profile topics and amazing people who are changing the worldview on disability.

Intro Episode: What's this all about?
Trailer 1 min 28 sec

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Communication consultant, Rebecca Okamoto, the self-described “20 word person”, is our guest today. Rebecca works with clients to confidently and clearly market their businesses in as few as 20 words. She worked with both Martyn and Mai Ling to upgrade their LinkedIn profiles and she walks through her process in this interview and explains how vital it is that your profile educates your audience. This is a great conversation that is full of valuable information for every professional regardless of industry.

Sep 21

31 min

Today Mai Ling and Martyn share some updates on what has been keeping them busy lately and then they follow that with a wonderful interview with Swathi Chettipally. Mai Ling talks with Swathi about her experiences as a mother of an adult daughter with autism. Swathi shares some very heartfelt stories of the struggles and triumphs their family has faced. She also gives encouragement to other parents of children with challenges. This inspirational conversation is one that you don’t want to miss.

Sep 7

33 min

In the featured guest chair on the show this week is disability equality advocate, Shani Dhanda. Shani is the founder of the Diversability Card, a LinkedIn Changemaker, and a #WorkWithMe Ambassador at Virgin Media. Shani chats with Martyn about the spending power in the disability community that some businesses fail to appreciate. She also talks about the value of inclusion and diversity in the workplace and having a level playing field for all job applicants. Don’t miss this energizing and inspiring conversation with this exceptional leader.

Aug 24

53 min

This is an exciting episode of the show today! Mai Ling and Martyn announce that the new book, Becoming An Exceptional Leader, is now available on Kindle! Additionally, Mai Ling shares a great conversation with educational specialist Kate Ahern. Kate talks about her personal experience with designing and sharing academically-focused group augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) online classes. You don’t want to miss this information-packed interview.

Aug 10

49 min

Ed Warner is our featured Xceptional Leader today. Ed is the CEO and cofounder of Motionspot, a UK-based company offering products for people with disabilities that are designed with both form and function in mind. Martyn talks with Ed about how Motionspot began and how the company got to where it is since the founding in 2012. Ed’s passion for designing equipment that has all the necessary features to make them usable but are also stylish and aesthetically pleasing comes through in this in-depth conversation.

Jul 27

54 min

Today’s featured guest is Zakiya Mabery, Founder and CEO of B. Global Diversity & Inclusion Strategic Planning. Mai Ling chats with Zakiya about the issues that are precisely what her organization specializes in; diversity and inclusion. She also talks about how vital networking has been to her career and the challenges she faces living with multiple disabilities herself. Listen in for this story of perseverance from this inspiring businesswoman and author.

Jul 13

27 min

In this jam-packed episode of the show, Mai Ling and Martyn share a conversation between Martyn and co-founder and CEO of the Kaleidoscope Group (Kg), Hardeep Rai. Through the various organizations that make up Kg, Hardeep and his teams offer a variety of services, tools, and resources for entrepreneurs with disabilities or someone who has a startup in the disability sector. Listen in as Hardeep shares some highlights from his story and how Kg can potentially support your business venture.

Jun 29

55 min

In today’s episode, Martyn and Mai Ling talk about the things going on in the world right now and how they relate to the disability community. Also, Martyn interviews internet entrepreneur Mark Esho, to learn about his successful businesses and how they started. Mark also shares some insight into his newest project, an app for rating businesses on accessibility found at accessrating.com. And lastly, Mark gives us three tips for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Jun 15

35 min

We’re joined on the show today by speech-language pathologist and founder of Smarty Ears Apps, Barbara Fernandes to talk about the recent resurgence in use of tablet apps in therapy sessions. Barbara shares how these apps are valuable tools that can have great results. She also talks about how important parental involvement can be when working with children. This is a very informative conversation that you don’t want to miss.

Jun 1

31 min

Mai Ling and Marty share what’s been happening in their respective worlds and how things have been different during the current pandemic. Then Martyn takes the mic to have a conversation with visual artist, speaker, and bestselling author Henry Fraser. Henry shares the story of the accident which disabled him and how he overcame the odds and learned to make something beautiful from the tragedy. He talks about how his speaking led to a book deal, some of the writing challenges he’s faced, and his newly released book, The Power In You.

May 18

36 min

Our guest on this edition of the show is Christina Abernethy. Christina is an author and advocate for people with disabilities. She talks with Mai Ling about her experiences as a mother of a child with autism, her work heading the Pennsylvania chapter of Changing Spaces, and as the creator of the Love Hope & Autism website. Christina also shares about her passion for encouraging public venues to offer accommodating restrooms with changing tables for all ages, not just toddlers.

May 4

36 min

Our guest on this edition of the show is author Kendra Gottsleben. Kendra has a rare disorder known as MPS VI and is a wheelchair user, yet she has not allowed this to prevent her from doing incredible things. She is not only an author but also a speaker and disability advocate. Listen in as she shares her story of becoming a published author and gives her tips to help you achieve your goals.

Mar 23

36 min

Mai Ling checks back in with Karin York to get an update on her progress with opening a coffee shop designed to employ people with special needs. Karin was our guest back in April of 2019 to share about the first steps in this journey. Now she brings us up to date on some of the challenges she’s dealt with since then and how things are going now that the shop is open for business.

Mar 9

43 min

Actor, writer, and director David Proud joins the show today to chat with Martyn about disabled actors in the media. As a wheelchair user, David brings his unique perspectives to this topic. He talks about the importance of media to culture in general, why he feels more disabled actors should be cast in prominent projects, and shares some of his personal experiences in the acting industry in the UK.

Feb 24

46 min

We are celebrating the month of love in this episode with our guest Jennie Williams, CEO of Enhance the UK. Martyn chats with Jennie on the topics of dating and intimacy for people with disabilities and the unique challenges that they face in the pursuit of romantic relationships. Jennie has tackled these subjects in her leadership role at Enhance the UK and she shares her thoughts, experiences, and observations on the issues in this very frank and open discussion.

Feb 10

32 min

Today, Mai Ling and Martyn chat briefly about Martyn’s World Changers Academy launch and their current book project. Then Mai Ling shares a conversation with author and stroke survivor, Chou Hallegra. Chou is the founder of Grace & Hope Consulting, LLC and she talks about her life as a single mother of children with multiple challenges, the story of her stroke recovery, and how she came to write numerous books in just a few years. She also shares 3 tips for the listener who wants to write a book. Don’t miss this inspiring story of overcoming challenges.

Jan 27

34 min

Martyn takes the helm in this episode and shares a conversation with internationally competitive wheelchair racer, Rob Smith. In addition to his racing, Rob is also the creator of Active Hands gripping aids, a line of products designed to assist people with disabilities or injuries that affect their ability to grip. Martyn asks Rob about his personal story that led to the creation of Active Hands, Rob walks us through his process of product development and how he moved from a personal solution to a global business.

Jan 13

31 min

The Xceptional Podcast Network hosts came together to record a fun holiday show for you! Matt Hott, co-founder and co-host of the Speech Science podcast leads this fun group through a little show info, 2020 goals, and lots of laughs.

Dec 2019

47 min

We return once again with Mai Ling and the Xceptional Podcast Network team to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association national convention. In this episode, Mai shares some great conversations that she recorded with ASHA19 attendees who write blogs in the SLP space. Featured today are Hallie Sherman, Kristin Cummings, and Whitney Smith.

Dec 2019

31 min

Mai Ling and the Xceptional Podcast Network team have once again taken their recording gear to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association national convention. In this episode, Mai shares some great conversations with ASHA19 attendees who are producing podcasts in the SLP space. Featured today are Michelle Dawson, Erin Forward, Ayelet Marinovich, Kelly Kleinhans, Ruchi Gadodia, Maria Kotsonis, and Deborah Brooks.

Dec 2019

45 min

Our guest today is wheelchair model Samanta Bullock. Martyn interviews this amazing inclusivity advocate turned fashion designer about her efforts to make adaptive clothing that meets the needs of those who need accommodations but also fits well for those who are able-bodied. Samanta talks about why she started on this journey, shares some of her biggest challenges, and expresses why she feels it important to have both able-bodied and disabled people model the same ensemble in the marketing of her fashion line called SB. Mentioned in This Show Samanta Bullock https://samantabullock.com/ Styling With Adaptive Clothing with Mindy Scheier http://xceptionalleaders.libsyn.com/styling-with-adaptive-clothing-with-mindy-scheier  Episode 16: Samanta Bullock - That Happy Buzzing Feeling https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/martyn-sibley/the-martyn-sibley-show/e/54465859  American Speech-Language Hearing Association 2019 National Convention https://convention.asha.org/ 

Nov 2019

33 min

Actor and comedian Danny Woodburn is our guest today on the show. In addition to his acting work, Woodburn is a disability rights activist and serves on the Performers with Disabilities Committee for SAG-AFTRA. He talks with Mai Ling about the importance of inclusion for actors with disabilities, holding the film entertainment industry accountable for making auditions and jobs accessible to everyone, and his one-on-one chat with Bryan Cranston regarding these issues. Don’t miss this insightful and informative conversation with a Hollywood insider.

Nov 2019

34 min

Our new co-host, Martyn takes the lead and interviews his friend and co-founder of Accomable, Srin Madipalli. Accomable was an accessible accommodation website that Martyn and Srin later on sold to Airbnb. Through late-night coding, angel investors, and many trans Atlantic flights; Srin pulled off the impossible. Learn how he managed such a progressive achievement in this insightful and inspiring conversation.

Oct 2019

39 min

This episode is the first with our new format and new co-host. Martyn Sibley joins Xceptional leaders as our regular co-host so today we spend a few minutes getting to know him. He shares a bit about his background with Disability Horizons and Accomable and then he and Mai Ling tease the new format for the show.

Oct 2019

15 min

This week, our host, Mai Ling Chan, is in the hot seat. The roles are reversed as fellow Xceptional Podcast Network host, Matt Hott of Speech Science takes the mic to interview Mai Ling. She talks with Matt about what prompted her to start this podcast, gives insight into what keeps her going, and shares some news about the future of the show. In addition to all this valuable info, Matt digs into just what makes Mai who she is as a person.

Sep 2019

54 min

Xceptional Leader Sara Simpson is our guest on this edition. As a person with physical challenges, Sara has nevertheless led a fulfilling life and achieved many goals that are remarkable. She shares about how she has excelled in corporate America with a disability, gives her personal story of hardship and how she turned it into a speaking career, and talks about her special heart for reaching out to children.

Sep 2019

33 min

Catherine Hughes, aka The Caffeinated Advocate, is our guest today. She has been advocating on behalf of those with special needs for many years and she brings a wealth of knowledge on the advocacy space to this conversation. Catherine talks about the nitty-gritty of advocacy work, strategies for reaching out to politicians for advocating, and some of the things that drive her in her work.

Sep 2019

35 min

We are joined by Karen Siff Exkorn, bestselling author of The Autism Sourcebook: Everything You Need to Know About Diagnosis, Treatment, Coping, and Healing--from a Mother Whose Child Recovered. Karen shares with us why she wrote the book and how she approached the book-writing process. She also gives some tips and encouragement for someone who wants to write a book, and even talks a bit about the controversial topic of autism recovery.

Sep 2019

33 min

We are joined on the show today by the multi-talented, young Cassidy Huff. She is a singer/songwriter, musician, and a voiceover artist for Dreamworks and Amazon. Cassidy has a rare disease which has resulted in her undergoing dozens of surgeries, yet this encouraging teenager is constantly giving back to others in the same condition. You don’t want to miss her sharing her inspiring journey on this episode.

Sep 2019

36 min

Speech-language pathologist, Amanda Charney, is our guest today. Amanda founded Small Steps in Speech, an organization that provides grants to families with children with speech and language disorders who are either not covered or not fully covered by their health insurance. She tells the story of what led to the creation of the nonprofit, shares tips on how to select board members for a nonprofit, and explains the importance of building relationships and partnering with others in your field.

Aug 2019

32 min

IEP Coach and international speaker, Catherine Whitcher, is our guest today. Catherine is an expert at helping educators and parents create IEPs that fit their specific needs and she teaches others her methods through online and in-person training. She shares with us about building an online brand, challenges with setting pricing for online resources, and reminds us that not everyone in your niche is a potential client. Don’t miss this informative conversation.

Aug 2019

34 min

Kenny Salvini is our guest today to share about his journey since a skiing accident made him a quadriplegic as a young adult. After a meeting with other individuals with similar disabilities opened his eyes to the importance of community, Salvini took it upon himself to make the same thing happen for others. He founded the Here and Now Project to meet that need for those in the Pacific Northwest and he shares the story with us today on the show.

Aug 2019

35 min

Entrepreneur, computing technology expert, and universal design advocate, Todd Stabelfeldt, is our guest today. Todd is a C4 quadriplegic who is passionate about discovering new ways for disabled individuals to gain more independence. He shares the story of the accident which caused his spinal cord injury and talks about gaining as much independence as possible through the assistance of technology. Todd is a business owner and in recent years was a keynote presenter at Apple’s WWDC.

Aug 2019

37 min

Steven Spohn is our guest today and he began his journey in the world of accessible gaming as a gamer with disabilities himself. He’s now an author and the Chief Operations Officer and Community Outreach Director for the AbleGamers Foundation. Steven shares his thoughts on when “gated communities” for gaming are appropriate, advocates for insurance companies to cover gaming as social therapy, and much more in this engaging conversation.

Jul 2019

33 min

Steve Isaacs joins us today to talk about using gaming in the classroom. He clarifies the difference between gamification and game-based learning, shares his insights as a game design and development teacher, and speaks about his involvement with Minefaire, the #1 Minecraft event in the United States.

Jul 2019

29 min

Dr. Kathryn Ringland joins Mai Ling to share with us how she used the Autcraft Minecraft server as a research environment to learn first-hand how it was benefitting autistic kids. In addition to sharing what she learned from the research project, Kathryn tells how she is using the data she collected and how others can use it as a resource for similar efforts. She also talks about the recent founding of her own non-profit and gives us 3 tips that we can take action on in our own projects.

Jul 2019

33 min

Stuart Duncan runs the Minecraft server, Autcraft, and he is with us on the show to share his experiences with us. Autcraft is a Minecraft environment created especially for kids of all ages with autism to play the game in a safe setting. Stuart tells us the origin of the idea for the server, a bit about his background, and the volunteer team he’s put together on the server. He also explains how running Autcraft led to him giving a TEDx Talk and he also talks about his approach to preparing for it.

Jul 2019

36 min

Blogger and gamer Erin Hawley is our guest today. Erin has muscular dystrophy which can inhibit her gaming so she shares with us her strategy for choosing new game titles, the story of how she began working with Microsoft on an adaptive controller for the Xbox, and the origins of her blog, The Geeky Gimp. She also talks about how she overcame her reservations about hosting an audio podcast.

Jul 2019

36 min

Abigail David and Erin Nealy are the co-founders and co-executive directors of Bridgeway Academy in Columbus Ohio and they are our guests on today’s episode. Bridgeway is a non-profit educational institution created to serve children with autism and developmental disabilities. Abigail and Erin talk about the secrets to building a successful partnership, delegating and successful division of duties, and the importance of listening to constructive criticism.

Jun 2019

38 min

Our guest today is television and film actress, Peggy Lane. Peggy is the creator and director of the web TV show, Donna On The Go, which highlights the struggles of a person with disabilities in a comedic way. She talks with Mai Ling about the inspirations for the various issues addressed in the show and where the idea originated from. Peggy also shares three tips for someone who wants to start a similar type of project.

Jun 2019

32 min

Ifunanya Nweke is our guest today. She is the founder of Jazz Hands for Autism, an organization that works with musicians who are on the autism spectrum to help them hone their skills and find work doing what they love. Ifunanya talks about the origins of the idea for the nonprofit and really shares her heart for the students they’re working with. She also talks about the importance of surrounding yourself with people who share the same vision and the value of constructive feedback from your team and clients.

Jun 2019

32 min

Our guest this week is outdoor accessibility advocate, Ian Mackay. He founded the nonprofit organization Ian’s Ride which helps bring awareness to the issue of outdoor accessibility and advocates for support services on behalf of those with mobility impairments who still want to experience nature. Ian shares the story of his spinal injury, what he’s done since, and how he lives independently day to day with the assistance of smart home technology.

Jun 2019

28 min

Our guest this episode is Angela Mahoney, a Special Education teacher, author, and creator of the I Can Work educational curriculum and training program for children and young adults on the autism spectrum. Angela talks with Mai Ling about the importance of starting to build life skills early on and how to equip young people with special needs to choose a career path that is suited to their unique abilities.

May 2019

37 min

Blogger, speaker, author, and world traveler, Martyn Sibley joins Mai Ling on the show today to discuss what it’s like to travel with a disability that requires a wheelchair. Sibley also talks about launching his blog, creating an online space called Disability Horizons for people with disabilities to share their stories, and how he started a company that he exited with a sale to Airbnb.

May 2019

39 min

Children’s book author and motivational speaker, Simon Calcavecchia, is our guest on the show this episode. He tells about the challenges he’s faced as a quadriplegic and how he has turned his attention and energy toward encouraging and inspiring others through his speaking and books. This is a heartfelt and encouraging conversation that you don’t want to miss.

May 2019

39 min

George Braddock joins Mai Ling on this episode to talk about his work designing homes for persons with disabilities in mind. George is the president of Creative Housing Solutions, LLC, an engineering company that uses person-centered planning principles to design and build homes that fit the specific needs of the people who live in them. His passion for the work and the people it benefits shines through in this informative conversation.

May 2019

51 min

Our guest today is blogger and disability advocate, Heather Watkins, a woman of color who wants to remind the world that disabilities also affect minority groups. She is a co-founder of the Divas with Disabilities project and she joins us to share her personal story and give some tips for how you can raise awareness for an issue in your disability niche.

Apr 2019

30 min

Our guest today is Mindy Scheier, a fashion designer and mother of a child with a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy. She is a TED speaker and the President and Founder of Runway of Dreams, a nonprofit organization which works with top clothing brands to develop clothing designs that are made specifically for people with disabilities that make dressing themselves a difficult task. Scheier talks about her journey and also shares her Top 3 tips for launching an organization.

Apr 2019

36 min

Filmmaker and entrepreneur, Andrew Pilkington is our guest for this episode. Andrew was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy as an infant and lives every day with the challenges that come with such a condition. He shares how he learned to use what strong motor skills he has to compensate for the ones that are lacking and other methods he uses to overcome obstacles that stand between him and his dreams.

Apr 2019

41 min

Today’s guest, Karin York, shares about her journey as the mother of a son with Down syndrome and her work with special needs children in the Arizona school system. She also expounds on what led her to start a coffee shop designed for persons with special needs as both employees and customers. Karin invites you to participate in a menu taste test at the site of the soon-to-open coffee shop on April 13, 2019.

Apr 2019

32 min

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