I was recently invited to speak at the Shoalhaven Women's Conference, thanks to a glowing recommendation from my dear friend Ingrid (I encourage you to check out her wonderful resilience blog and site at http://www.ingridpoulson.com).
In the lead-up to the Conference, I realised that I hadn't done any public speaking since I was on the debating team in high school so I spent a long time preparing my speech (yes, once a nerd, always a nerd!). It turned out to be a great exercise in self-discovery and it had the added benefit of letting me crystallise my own personal manifesto, which consists of three words:
Connect, Communicate, Share
In one way or another, these themes have made me who I am by colouring my decisions and shaping my interactions with the world. Working as a technical writer, I wrote books and a newspaper column aimed at showing people how to use computer programs. These days, writing about MS and mobility aids is certainly a departure from the previous subject matter but I am still connecting, communicating and sharing with people in an even more rewarding way, particularly when I am out and about.
Speaking of getting out and about, one of the people in the audience at the Conference was the Mayor of Shoalhaven City Council, Joanna Gash. Mayor Gash approached me about accompanying her on a 'wheel-around' Nowra to highlight some of the issues that face people with disabilities. The intention is for the councillors to be in wheelchairs too so that they can gain a more thorough understanding of where accessibility improvements can be made.
Not only did I really enjoy speaking at the Conference, I was approached by a number of people afterwards and this has already resulted in numerous new connections. I feel confident that these will help me communicate about the topics I am now passionate about, including wheelie travel and general improvements in accessibility. I will of course be sharing via Wheelie Planet (which needs a LOT of work) and also on Facebook (if I can ever sort out the difference between posting as me and posting as Wheelie Planet. I think perhaps I should apologise in advance to everyone who receives multiple notifications from me!).
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