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Disabled Vet Leads Restaurant, Hires Other Vets with Disabilities

the exterior of Fourth and Olive showing glass windows

Fourth and Olive

Long Beach, Calif. – Chatter fills the room. Floor to ceiling windows encompass a room interwoven with a wall here or there. The smell of freshly cured bacon hangs in the air mingling with the scent of steak fries and fish. Exposed wooden beams hang from the ceiling, and white cloths cover the tables. The space is intimate.

It is Friday night at Fourth and Olive, Long Beaches’ best restaurant of 2017 (LA Weekly). And just like any other great restaurant, there is magic coming from the kitchen but with a special twist.

Co-owner and chef Dan Tapia started Fourth and Olive not only to produce great food but also to employ great people. Tapia is a retired Navy Submariner with a disability. He uses a walking cane. After facing discrimination by a former restaurant where he worked, he opened Fourth and Olive – a restaurant where employment will never be discriminated against because of a disability.

“When you hire someone with a disability, you’re hiring someone with something to prove who is never going to do anything to jeopardize the opportunity because he or she is not taking anything for granted,” says Tapia.

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Shark Kevin O’Leary Calls Dyslexia His Superpower

Kevin O'Leary headshot wearing a dark gray suit and a red tie

Kevin O’Leary

Rockville, Md., Oct. 3 – One of the most pronounced, dangerous and hungry sharks out there has no fins, no tale, and no sharp teeth at all; however, he does have one characteristic that he attributes to his success and even refers to as “his superpower.”

Entrepreneur, investor and famous Shark from ABC’s television show Shark Tank, Kevin O’Leary has dyslexia.

“The way to look at dyslexia is as a unique power instead of an affliction,” O’Leary told Entrepreneur in an interview. “Very few people have the abilities that dyslexics have. If you look down the road, as they grow, what happens to dyslexic men and women is they become very successful in business. This is because dyslexia gives you some really unique perspectives and abilities that I’d call superpowers.”

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Shark Tank Entrepreneur Barbara Corcoran Proves Dyslexics Can Be Successful

Barbara Corcoran pointing toward the camera wearing a blue top and silver necklace

Barbara Corcoran

Rockville, Md., Oct. 3 – Barbara Corcoran is an American Business woman who started a real estate brokerage business at the age of 23. Famous for her TV personality on ABC’s Shark Tank as an entrepreneur and judge, she credits her determination and drive to her childhood diagnosis of dyslexia.

“When you cannot pronounce the other words that other kids are reading readily and the kids are laughing at you or are shouting the wrong letter to you, or the wrong syllable to you, it’s as painful as a child that I have never gotten over it. Honest to God, I’m sure of that. And so, when I got out of school, I really decided that I’m going to prove once and for all that I am not stupid,” she said in an interview with Spectrum News NY1.

Hailing from Edgewater, New Jersey, Corcoran comes from a large family and is the second eldest of ten children, which taught her to interact with different personalities. In an interview with The New York Times she said: “Everybody’s got to mesh, so you get training early on for getting along with people. It’s a great advantage.”

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Richard Branson: Dyslexia is an Opportunity

Richard Branson smiling with arms crossed, wearing a black top

Richard Branson

Rockville, Md., Oct. 3 – Richard Branson always has had a “go getter attitude” in life, even when it comes to his dyslexia.

“Dyslexia is a kind of disability, but actually it’s an opportunity if you turn it into such,” he said during the SkyBridge Capital’s SALT Conference in Las Vegas.

As a child, Branson struggled in school with his dyslexia, failing at the all-boy school Scaitcliffe. When he was 13, he transferred to the Stowe school, a boarding school in Buckinghamshire, England. His struggles in school did not get any better, so at the age of 16, he dropped out of school.

This led to the beginning of his entrepreneur career; he started a magazine that was made by and for students. Called Student, the first edition sold an estimated 8,000 advertisements, enabling him to give out the first 50,000 copies for free.

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Daymond John: Clothing Entrepreneur and “Shark Tank” Star with Dyslexia


Spotlight on FUBU’s Daymond John

Headshot of Daymon John in grayscale with text: #RespectTheAbility, “I see the world in a different way than most people and for me, that’s been a positive thing.” - Daymond John, Black History Month 2018

“I see the world in a different way than most people and for me, that’s been a positive thing.” – Daymond John

Rockville, Md., Oct. 2 – Growing up, Daymond John struggled in elementary school, where he was diagnosed with a general “learning disability” without being provided many resources or support. Today, John boasts unimaginable success as a multimillionaire and entrepreneur as the co-founder and CEO of FUBU and a shark on The Shark Tank.

John credits his dyslexia with setting him on his path to entrepreneurial success. “I see the world in a different way than most people and for me that’s been a positive thing,” he said in an interview with AOL.

When John went to school in the 1970’s, the public still lacked information on dyslexia, so children with the disability were given a general diagnosis of a learning disability, like John was. His math and science skills were exceptional, but his reading and writing grades were below average. The entrepreneur was anxious about his difficulty reading and writing until 1999, when he finally saw a medical professional who diagnosed him as dyslexic.

“It was like a light bulb went off. I finally understood why I struggled the way I did,” John said in an interview with AOL.

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Ernst & Young (EY): Co-Founded by Super-Talent with Disabilities, Now Employs More Than 230,000 People

#RespectTheAbility Campaign:

Spotlight on Ernst & Young (EY)’s Co-Founder Arthur Young

Rockville, Md., Oct. 2 – Located at 5 Times Square, the red letters of Ernst & Young LLP (EY) glow on the side of its New York City offices. It’s been said that if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere; and if you have an office in Times Square, in the heart of the city, you’ve truly arrived. That’s the global headquarters of EY, which was co-founded by Arthur Young. Trained as a lawyer, Arthur was deaf with low vision and he wasn’t able to comfortably practice. He turned to finance and the new field of accounting to build his career. His “disability” drove him to innovation and entrepreneurship, which played a pivotal role in the development of EY.

EY is where some of the most talented individuals from across the globe come together to offer services that have turned the organization into an international success, with offices in more than 150 different countries employing more than 230,000 people. A largely unknown factor in EY’s success is the example instilled by founding partner Arthur Young, who because of his disabilities adapted to learn how to think outside of the box. Over the years, EY has continued this trend of hiring the best talent, no matter what package that talent comes in.

By focusing on inclusion across the board, EY has opened the organization to a wide range of talented people, who contribute a wide range of ideas, which has ultimately resulted in tremendous success for the organization. As a result of its inclusiveness efforts, EY was selected by RespectAbility and Positive EXPOSURE, two nonprofit organizations working to enable people with disabilities to be seen for the strong abilities they bring to the table, as the first organization featured when the #RespectTheAbility campaign began.

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Inclusion, Innovation and Opportunity: Celebrating National Disability Employment Awareness Month

1-in-5 Americans have a disability

Rockville, Md., Oct. 2 – RespectAbility, a nonprofit fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for people with disabilities, is celebrating National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). RespectAbility is marking this annual celebration focused on the incredible talents of the one-in-five Americans who have disabilities with solution center full of free resources, webinars and more.

SOLUTIONS CENTER: Explore our expanded tools and free resources at our new Solutions Center.

WEBINARS: We have extensive free webinars showcasing some of the most innovative thought leaders working today on disability employment issues. Do you want to learn to better serve job seekers with disabilities? Do you want to implement innovative strategies for supporting youth with disabilities? Then, visit our website.

JOB SEEKERS: RespectAbility knows that people with disabilities can be excellent employees, but the job search can be a challenge. Thus, we present a selection of information, resources and websites that can help you and your loved ones with a disability search for a job on our Job Seekers with a Disability Resource Page.

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Dancing with the Stars Shines Light on Disability

Rockville, Md., Sept. 29 – Earlier this month, Season 25 of Dancing with the Stars (DWTS) premiered, bringing 13 new cast members and their pros into the spotlight.

Not only has DWTS been praised for its high viewing rates, but the show is part of a group of reality television shows leading the way in busting stigmas on disability.

A mixture of talented celebrities, athletes, entertainers, race car drivers, actors and investors such as Barbra Corcoran, Derek Fisher, Debbie Gibson and Frankie Muniz are battling to win the coveted Mirrorball Trophy.

Known for being one of ABC’s top-notch reality TV shows since 2005, it has won countless awards such as Emmy Awards and nominations for Outstanding Reality Competition Program, Outstanding Choreography and Outstanding Host on a Reality Television Program.

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Speechless: Disability is not an Excuse

Rockville, Md., Sept. 29 – In the season two premiere of Speechless, the DiMeo family is trying to discover new things about themselves as J.J. (Micah Fowler) was away at summer camp. In doing so, the episode had an important theme: Don’t blame your problems on your kid with a disability for “disability is not an excuse.”

Last season introduced viewers to the interesting lives of the DiMeo family, and Kenneth (Cedric Yarbrough) who essentially “speaks” for J.J., who has cerebral palsy and is unable to talk. Fowler has cerebral palsy in real life but is able to talk. Speechless is one of the only shows in television where the actor has a disability in real life.

More than 95 percent of characters with disabilities on television are played by actors without disabilities. Fowler bucks that trend and is one of the rare actors in Hollywood who has a disability, despite the fact that one-in-five Americans has a disability.

In the season two premiere, the Dimeo’s decide not to use J.J.’s disability as an excuse (with the exceptions of parking tickets) to why they do not do certain things. They ask Kenneth tell them “all the madness that they have gotten use to that they don’t see anymore.”

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This Is Us Tackles Obesity, Mental Health and Alcoholism

Rockville, Md., Sept. 28 – In Tuesday night’s premiere of season two of This is Us, viewers were reintroduced to The Pearson couple, Rebecca and Jack, played by Milo Ventimiglia and Mandy Moore as well as “The Big Three” triplets: Kate (Chrissy Metz), Kevin (Justin Hartley) and Randall (Sterling K. Brown).

The first season dealt with issues of diversity, mental health and obesity by portraying various family members’ interactions. These themes are expected to continue through the second season.

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Respect Ability - Fighting Stigmas. Advancing Opportunities.


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