Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Joyce Bender biography

Difficulty: 0

My name is Joyce bender, the founder of Paychecks Not Pity,

and I want to take a few minutes to tell you what got me on

this road to be an advocate for Americans with disabilities.

An advocate for employment, because if you would ask me what is my life all about, I'm on a crusade.

I'm on a crusade for competitive employment for Americans with disabilities.

I guess you could say I'm an expert in two areas. One, employment, and the other area disability.

Because I began my career in the area of executive search and employment. Working with corporations

throughout the United States. Finding out why they hire people, why they don't hire people.

Why some people get promoted, and others do not. But in the midst of my career, I had this little problem.

I had these ongoing feinting spells. I remember clearly the one night my husband, Bill, finding me,

unconscious, in the bathroom, with a black eye, and I went straight to the doctor, I described what happened,

but unfortunately there was a misdiagnosis. He told me I was fine, he told me I would be ok. He did not test me.

But I wasn't ok. And I went on with my life. I went on working in executive search, and one evening,

a Sunday night in 1985, in my home town of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania,

I went one evening to see the movie Amadeus. A great movie, but a really long movie.

So long, that there is an intermission. And at the intermission, I walked out to the concession stand to get

a Diet Coke, and I had a tonic seizure. I hit the floor so hard I fractured my skull,

had an intracranial brain hemorrhage, broke all of the bones in my right ear, thats why I wear a hearing aid

and have a 60% hearing loss. And I was rushed to the hospital in a coma.

They told my husband they didn't think I would live. And even if I did, against all odds,

no one dreamt what could possibly be the result of one seizure. One seizure.

That evening at the movie theater, it changed my life forever. That evening in intensive care,

it changed my life forever. Because of course I lived, I had this wonderful, miraculous, recovery.

But it changed my life when I heard one word, "Oh, and by the way Joyce, you have epilepsy".

Me, and 3 million other Americans, three million Americans, in this country have epilepsy, a neurological disorder. 00:02:55.74.00,00:03:02.46 So I started taking convulsive medication, which I still take to this day, but you know what?

When I got back to work, three months later, I said to myself, why can't people with disabilities do these jobs?

Why can't they work in IT, or finance, or accounting? And what does it matter if that person is in a wheelchair?

Of course it doesn't matter, companies should be looking for ability, not disability.

But unfortunately, we have this high unemployment rate,

and that's what caused me to found Bender Consulting Services eleven years ago, in 1995.

I want to say one thing about this, I want to tell you that there is one man that really changed my life.

And that man is Tony Coelho. Because, I met Tony when I joined the Presidents Committee

on employment of people with disabilities, and until that day I would not say that word, epilepsy.

But then I saw what he did, the author of the Americans with Disabilities Act,

a man with epilepsy that changed the world forever, because he stood up.

So Tony, this is for you. Thank you.

The Description of Joyce Bender biography