61 million people in the United States have a disability. That’s about 26% of the population or 1 out of 4 people. Statistically speaking, we all know someone with a disability whether we realize it or not.
People with disabilities lead normal, healthy and happy lives. Zero need to feel sorry for us.
As a part of our “Unstoppable” series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Pancho Timmons
Pancho Timmons is a Social Entrepreneur in Pittsburgh, Co-Author of Quick and Easy World Change, Founder of Nonprofit The Inclusion Solution formerly Pennsylvania Youth Initiative, and for profit, Connect in Effect, Keynote Speaker, and Business Diversity Consultant.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! It is really an honor. Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?
It was my freshman year of college and I was getting ready to pack my bags and head home after my grades weren’t making the cut, until one teacher took me aside for a 5 minute conversation discussing my undiagnosed dyslexia. Completely unaware at the time, I went on to pursue two masters’ degrees and now own two businesses and am currently launching my first book. I became a successful Pittsburgh Entrepreneur all because one teacher gave me 5 minutes. All because one teacher cared.
Do you feel comfortable sharing with us the story surrounding your dyslexia? What mental shift did you make to not let that “stop you”?
I was never comfortable telling my story or talking about it until I realized it could help and inspire others. Now I get excited at the opportunity to talk about it. The more I have these conversations, the more people I can positively impact. Learning to ask for help when I needed it was the turning point for me. When I got the support I needed, success soon followed.
Can you tell our readers about the accomplishments you have been able to make despite your dyslexia?
-My nonprofit, The Inclusion Solution formerly Pennsylvania Youth Initiative, ran the largest youth advocacy event in the state of Pennsylvania. This event consisted of over 500 high school students.
-My for profit company, Connect in Effect, ran Pittsburgh’s first business diversity conference
-I’m a Keynote speaker for youth advocacy, nonprofit fundraising, as well as corporate diversity and inclusion.
– I’m a Business Diversity Consultant
– And, most recently, we are getting ready to launch our first book, Quick and Easy World Change, now available for pre-order on Amazon. Co-written with Point Park University Professor, Sean Elliot Martin, Ph.D., the book focuses on how acts of kindness and good deeds are not only, in itself, a reward but also aligns you with goodness in return. Learn how easy it is for one person to make a lasting impact on the world around them!
All of this happened because of a 5 minute conversation. Without that conversation I would have never finished college/ graduate school or accomplished any of this. The interactions we have with each other matter — all of them, all day. You never know when some kind words will change someone’s life.
What advice would you give to other people who have disabilities or limitations?
Success is about what you can do not want you can’t do. Capitalize on your strengths and get help when you need it. If you get the help and support that you need you will have the success that you deserve. The most successful people on the planet have not done it alone. Everyone who has been successful has had a group of people behind them.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are?
I’m lucky to have so many awesome people in my life. My wife Tricia, my coauthor Sean Elliot Martin and of course one awesome professor who taught me that 5 minutes can change someone’s life.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
My nonprofit helps thousands of young people enter the world more prepared than I was. I want to keep using that to make as much of an impact as possible.
I think the book is great way to help people improve their lives and communities.
I want to continue being living proof that kindness in action equals success personally and professionally. And I want to strive to share that message with as many people as possible.
Can you share “5 things I wish people understood or knew about people with physical limitations” and why.
Let’s just get rid of the word limitations. I managed to achieve my goals and be successful so how am I really limited?
•People with disabilities are not limited. People in wheelchairs go skiing, people with autism have college degrees and so on…..
•61 million people in the United States have a disability. That’s about 26% of the population or 1 out of 4 people. Statistically speaking, we all know someone with a disability whether we realize it or not.
•People with disabilities lead normal, healthy and happy lives. Zero need to feel sorry for us.
•Every company should do Disability Etiquette Training annually
•Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Open communication is always the best way to move the elephant out of the room.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”?
There are 3 ways to ultimate success
The first is to be kind
The second is to be kind
The third is to be kind
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this 🙂
Elon Musk or Sr. Richard Branson. Masters of calculated risk. Unapologetically chase their dreams. It would amazing to hear the thought processes behind all of their accomplishments.