Disability, Bring It On

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We will explore notions about stressors, and how when cultivated correctly, stressors can yield great fruit.

Vanilla grows on orchid vines. In order to make a vanilla vine produce an abundance of flowers, the farmer must put the plant under significant stress. Whether that’s through water deprivation, an over-abundance of sun, or significant pruning, the plant will produce an increased number of vanilla beans, and hence be more fruitful, as a result of the stressors. Our lives, especially as people with disabilities, are much the same. As someone with a disability, I live with stressors put on my life simply because it is hard to accomplish life’s tasks with my blindness. I think that once we recognize these stressors and begin to turn them into growth opportunities, we will start yielding fruit a hundred fold.

I’d also like to share with you some initial thoughts on my research on the success factors for people with disabilities. Really, these lessons are universal, but the success of people with disabilities makes these attitudes, habits, techniques, and practices so poignant. You can follow some of my work in this area by listening to the ExcelAbility Podcast at www.teamexcelability.com (http://www.teamexcelability.com/).

Speaker Bio:

Jack Chen earned his undergraduate degree in computer science from Harvard in 1997 and his Masters in computer science in 2000 with a focus on human computer interaction. Chen began his career as a software engineer for a startup company from 2000 to 2005 building home automation technology. He started his legal career by helping the company file a dozen patents where he also was listed as an inventor. Jack graduated from Fordham Law School in 2005 and left the high tech startup to work as a patent attorney, focusing on patent prosecution and transactional work serving clients such as MasterCard, Abbott Pharmaceuticals, SAP, and JetBlue.

In 2010, Jack joined Google as patent counsel. Jack currently serves as lead product counsel for the Chrome family of operating systems and hardware devices such as Chromebooks.

Jack serves on the board of various non-profit organizations, including Lime Connect, an organization rebranding disability through achievement, where he chairs the corporate governance committee and the nomination committee. Jack is currently writing a book that explores the success factors for people with disabilities and has recently launched a podcast focused on exploring the success factors for today’s disabled leaders, found at www.teamexcelability.com (http://www.teamexcelability.com/).