Episode 202 – Unstoppable Ms. Wheelchair America 2023 and so Much More with Ali Ingersoll
I would like to introduce you to Alexandra, (Ali), Ingersoll whom I met through Josh and Sheldon at accessiBe. Ali is a C6 level quadriplegic who absolutely lives life to the fullest. Listen for yourself and see just how much Ali does in and for the world.
As a child, Ali lived in various parts of the world living often quite a life of adventure including camping at Christmas for several years on uninhabited islands in the Bahamas with her family. After high school she spent time in China. Then she came back to the U.S. where again she had and will discuss some of her adventures.
She received her college in entrepreneurship. She held a few jobs after college, but at the age of 26 while taking a shallow dive she broke her neck which is why she is an extremely active quadriplegic today.
Ali’s enthusiasm for life and her positive attitudes are invigorating. Today, among other things, she is an active advocate for the rights of persons with disabilities. As she says, if she is able to change the perceptions of one person concerning disabilities then she has done her job. Today, among other activities, she is a public speaker traveling the world to change attitudes and perceptions. I hope what Ali says to you will make a difference in your own life and world
About the Guest:
Ali Ingersoll is a corporate DEI disability strategy consultant, Ms. Wheelchair America 2023, keynote public speaker, writer, and financial assets trader.
Ali’s professional passion lies in coaching organizations on how to strategically create and implement disability inclusive policies and practices within organizations from C-suite leaders to employee resource groups. She accomplishes this through teaching how to minimize bias, increase advocacy, accountability, access, and inclusion internally.
Ali started her healthcare advocacy career after being repeatedly denied medically necessary equipment by insurance companies over the last 12 years since becoming a C6 quadriplegic and full-time wheelchair user after a shallow water diving accident. She focuses much of her advocacy work on health equity through helping people with significant disabilities get the proper approvals for the medically necessary equipment they need to not only survive in life, but to thrive in order to achieve a higher quality of life.
Disability Inclusion in our society is a priority Ali focuses on improving every day. Ali has a firm philosophy of paying it forward by giving back to the community when she is not working through collaborating with stakeholders in the government, the non-profit world, and partnering with organizations to create a more inclusive society and disability employment environment.
She believes it’s important to band together as one in order to affect the greatest change on the national stage and in local communities.
Ways to connect with Ali:
About the Host:
Michael Hingson is a New York Times best-selling author, international lecturer, and Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe. Michael, blind since birth, survived the 9/11 attacks with the help of his guide dog Roselle. This story is the subject of his best-selling book, Thunder Dog.
Michael gives over 100 presentations around the world each year speaking to influential groups such as Exxon Mobile, AT&T, Federal Express, Scripps College, Rutgers University, Children’s Hospital, and the American Red Cross just to name a few. He is Ambassador for the National Braille Literacy Campaign for the National Federation of the Blind and also serves as Ambassador for the American Humane Association’s 2012 Hero Dog Awards.
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**Michael Hingson ** 00:00
Access Cast and accessiBe Initiative presents Unstoppable Mindset. The podcast where inclusion, diversity and the unexpected meet. Hi, I’m Michael Hingson, Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe and the author of the number one New York Times bestselling book, Thunder dog, the story of a blind man, his guide dog and the triumph of trust. Thanks for joining me on my podcast as we explore our own blinding fears of inclusion unacceptance and our resistance to change. We will discover the idea that no matter the situation, or the people we encounter, our own fears, and prejudices often are our strongest barriers to moving forward. The unstoppable mindset podcast is sponsored by accessiBe, that’s a c c e s s i capital B e. Visit
to learn how you can make your website accessible for persons with disabilities. And to help make the internet fully inclusive by the year 2025. Glad you dropped by we’re happy to meet you and to have you here with us.
**Michael Hingson ** 01:20
Well, and welcome once again to unstoppable mindset today, we get to interview Ali Ingersoll who is a corporate de dei strategies consultant, ms or ms. Wheelchair America. 2023. Wow. She’s a keynote public speaker, writer, and even a financial assets trader trader that you are anyway Ali, welcome to unstoppable mindset. How are you,
**Ali Ingersoll ** 01:49
Michael? Thank you. It’s so great to be here. Happy to have a to have a chat. Long overdue.
**Michael Hingson ** 01:55
You know, we’ve been working at it a while haven’t we? Well, yeah, well,
**Ali Ingersoll ** 01:58
the best thing my dad always said he likes a job that starts hard. So
**Michael Hingson ** 02:01
there you go. So what is a financial assets trader? What the heck, we’ll start with that. Oh,
**Ali Ingersoll ** 02:07
well, I’m day trading. On 27th. After working in politics, I learned technical analysis day trading through a program called Drummond geometry and it’s basically laying multiple timeframes over one another and you can use it for stocks, bonds, forex futures, yep, sky’s the limit. It’s that’s the simplified version.
**Michael Hingson ** 02:30
So you do that for for people or what? No, no, I’ve
**Ali Ingersoll ** 02:34
just do that for myself. And then I did that part time now and I switched careers. And handful of years ago into the world of disability strategy consulting, working for a handful of beautiful organizations and disability inclusive hiring practices and helping coach employee resource groups and fighting for legislation and disability and so much more. I’m like the Energizer bunny on wheels. 2.0.
**Michael Hingson ** 02:58
There you go. So what is your main day job today?
**Ali Ingersoll ** 03:03
I have multiple day jobs, I work for a hand as a consultant, I work with open inclusion half of my week, which is a beautiful, inclusive research, design organization where we work with large corporate brands to help them make products, services and digital environments more accessible through high quality qualitative research. And so I run their global community of people around the world, which is a really beautiful organization in the pan disability community. I work for a handful of organizations where I help coach their employee resource groups, all kinds of disability resource groups. And then I do I travel around the country and I do keynote speaking on purpose and Life and Health Insurance and advocacy. And that’s my professional and my advocacy life. I fight health insurance companies for health equity to get people the medically necessary equipment they need to not only survive in life, but to thrive, but I have a beautiful coalition of incredible people and networks and organizations. So nothing I do is alone. It’s always a team effort with the ultimate mission of paying it forward human kindness empathy and really helping people understand that disabilities that one club that doesn’t discriminate any one of us can join it for any reason. I hope you don’t but if you do, it behooves all of us in society and corporations and just being a decent human being to pay attention to these issues for those that move think sense? differently. Can you get differently
**Michael Hingson ** 04:32
she can’t you find something to do in the free time.
**Ali Ingersoll ** 04:35
I volunteer on a lot of nonprofit boards.
**Michael Hingson ** 04:38
There you go. Well, it really is a pleasure to have you here and first we met through Josh and accessiBe which is kind of fun. Yes. And so I really enjoyed that. So tell me a little bit about ally growing up, you know, the early ally and all that kind of love. Got where you are. Might as well go back to the beginning as they say, Yeah, I
**Ali Ingersoll ** 04:59
only get Do you an abbreviated version, home base and life was always a very out Island in the Bahamas. My parents started building a place there in the 70s before I was even a thought in their mind. And so I was grew up as a beach bum girl and I having two older brothers and every wanting us to be too girly, and I went to boarding school at a very young age at 10. With a lot of Catholic nuns, I grew up all around the world. My mom is German, my dad is English American. So had the beautiful opportunity to travel the world quite a lot. And I engage in a lot of wilderness survival programs. Basically what that means is I voluntarily kicked my own butt to sweat it out in the middle of the Australian Outback, hiking for hundreds of miles with an 80 pound pack. I don’t know what I was thinking. But it taught me a lot of really great leadership skills and endurance and resilience and grit, essentially. And then at 1617, I graduated high school at a young age and I moved over to China for no good reason. Then I was stubborn, and I didn’t want to go to university yet. And over there, I lived and I worked. I went to jail over there for a while I dated Italian kickboxing instructor who didn’t speak English. I didn’t speak Italian. So I learned Chinese very quickly. I was finally dragged back to the United States to go to college, where I majored in entrepreneurship. And I got a degree in business administration, from the University of Miami, where I started working with the Rockefeller family and I opened up a nonprofit organization that got young people and underrepresented and underserved communities active in the civic engagement process. So as a beautiful use of my entrepreneur, entrepreneur, entrepreneurship degree, I’d like to say I knew what I was doing. But I was 23. So I had no idea I made it up as I went along. It seemed to work quite well at the time. And then I got slightly jaded by politics, and that’s when I moved back home to the Bahamas. When I was 2520 26, and started to learn day trading. And then August 2010, and 27, I took a shallow water dive and broke my neck, leaving me a C six quadriplegic and basically spent the next seven years six and a half, seven years, in and out of hospitals with every medical complication, you could probably think of the names might might are a little daunting. And so I was still working full time, but very lonely existence, no disability community and moved back to China for spinal surgery and spent a couple of years over there, which is that story would take a few hours. And I moved back to Raleigh in 2015 16, and spent a whole year in bed with the stage four pressure sore on my backside, which is how I really got into disability advocacy, really fighting health insurance for medically necessary equipment, took that work nationally and worked with a lot of beautiful organizations. And that one mean the title of Miss wheelchair America 2023, which I’m about to pass off the title this week, to the new title holder, the competition is going on at the moment. And about three, four years ago, I dove into the corporate world of diversity, equity and inclusion and absolutely love it. I get to meet cool people with the same shared mission and purpose and passion. That’s what keeps me going, despite all the secondary complications that are mostly unseen. Actually. being paralyzed is easy. You know, I get to drive a wheelchair. There’s so much behind the scenes and under the hood that actually affects your daily quality of life. Yeah,
**Michael Hingson ** 08:33
yeah. And driving a wheelchair with this C six. Issue is a whole lot different than being a parent and being able to push wheels. And yeah,
**Ali Ingersoll ** 08:45
I couldn’t drive my wheelchair for the first couple of months, I broke my toe, I ran over people and I cried to my mom, I said, Well, how am I going to be paralyzed if I can’t drive a wheelchair?
**Michael Hingson ** 08:55
Well, I remember. So my wife was T three para. And so she did well with a manual chair until like 2002 When shoulder started to give out and as her die as a physical medicine doctor said, you know, the shoulders don’t come with a lifetime warranty. And so she graduated to a power chair. And I remember her starting to get used to driving a power chair and had some some challenges. Remember the old song she’ll have fun fun fun till her daddy takes the teebird away. Oh, great. So my, my wife’s best friend Linda and I created the song. She’ll have fun fun fun till we all take the joystick away. She Oh yes. She was a little dangerous for a while we were in. She was in a restaurant. First day driving the chair and actually hit a table and almost knocked it over among other things. So, but she got better at it. Well, I still have
**Ali Ingersoll ** 09:59
plastic rail I was on the sides of my walls even now 13 years later, because there’s just that moment when I’m zipping around the corner. I’m like, oh, gosh, I’m the one that has to pay for it as a homeowner, so let me be careful. Yeah.
**Michael Hingson ** 10:09
Yeah. Well, we we haven’t we’ve never did do that. And Karen passed away this last November. I’m sorry to hear that. Well, thank you. I appreciate that. Well, we were married for two years. So as I tell people, no matter what anyone says, She’s up there monitoring. And if I misbehave, I’m going to hear about it. So Oh, absolutely. Gotta be a good kid. But you know, it, it is, in a lot of ways, and it is appropriate to not necessarily think that we’re in a negative situation, but I think it’s was awesome. And I think that she did well with it. She liked the person she was she was good in her own skin. And that’s as much as anybody can ask her.
**Ali Ingersoll ** 10:51
I couldn’t agree more. It’s a beautiful, it’s a beautiful sentiment.
**Michael Hingson ** 10:55
So she, she she did well, but I think she she had a pretty bad sore last July, July of 2022.
**Ali Ingersoll ** 11:06
So sores are no joke. Oh, my gosh. And
**Michael Hingson ** 11:08
it. She mentioned he had to go to the hospital and was in for a month. And I think that kind of started the eventual slide, if you will, because she also had rheumatoid arthritis. And she couldn’t take the normal infusion for RA. While she was getting rid of the the sore because the infection would have been coming back. So yes, it was a problem. So it’s just one of those things and gotten accepted. So we did this life. Yes. Such as life absolutely
**Ali Ingersoll ** 11:38
adapt, you overcome and you adjust, you have to match it, you have to adapt to the unknown every day. Yeah,
**Michael Hingson ** 11:45
I wish more people really understood that, you know, we all hear about how change is all around us and all that. But the reality is, the other side that people say is I hate change. I don’t want to change. I don’t want things to be doing well, it doesn’t work that way, folks.
**Ali Ingersoll ** 11:58
Know that that is just life. But sometimes you hear one, even when I’m on stage I, if I can affect one person’s changing perspective or purpose, just one, that is a huge win. For me. It’s never about me, when I get up on stage. It’s just giving. Sometimes I’ll listen to an audible book and I will they say myself, Wow, that one sentence. And then it just takes me on this incredible tangent. And I’m like, yes. So you know, it only takes one person whether you’re reading a line of a book, or you hear them on stage, or you listen to them on audiobook, whatever it may be. Yeah,
**Michael Hingson ** 12:32
I mean, that’s what I’ve always felt if I can change one person’s perceptions, I’ve done my job. Yeah, great. That’s, that’s as good as it gets. And when you’ve got a whole bunch of people who, who really changed and you know that they’ve changed because of the way they behave and acts going forward, then you know, you’ve really accomplished something which is so cool. I agree. Well, what is your favorite childhood memory, you must have some good memories growing up, you remember that?
**Ali Ingersoll ** 13:02
One of my favorite childhood memories is growing up on a very high on the Bahamas, and we were all over the place around the globe. We will come together at Christmas. And we had a power bowl and 33 foot Powerbot and there’s six of us in my immediate family at the time. And we would go on these Robinson Caruso camping trips, we would pick a letter 700 Islands to the Bahamas, most of them are unpopulated, and we would pick a location and we would set up campsite during Christmas and my mom would get battery operated lights around a little like a little Katarina like palm tree and bring these wrap presents. We would go spearfishing for our food and build sandcastles and get bitten by scorpions by building fires and read jokes around the fire and nighttime. And it was just the most incredible family time and it’s so unusual. And I just attribute all of that to just having I feel blessed to have such incredible parents.
**Michael Hingson ** 13:56
Yeah, being bitten by a scorpion is no fun.
**Ali Ingersoll ** 14:00
Well fortunately in the Bahamas, most things are not poisonous, they hurt you swell up, you’re not gonna die. Right? You may you may swear a little bit but
**Michael Hingson ** 14:09
yeah, I have not been even though I live on the desert and lived on the desert, most good part of my life, but I just assume not. That’s okay. I’ve been close to black widows and my brother in law, when he was growing up actually caught a Black Widow and just held it in his hand and took it in and showed his parents and said, see what I got. And everybody was well, we could get rid of that property you’re gonna get bit. Here’s an amazing guy and he still is he’s a very adventurous sort of person. Yeah. I’ve been close to them, but I’ve I’ve not been bitten and would rather not be as I say it’s okay. Yes. I think there are always experiences to have and I don’t need to have that one to understand that. That’s okay. Well, so you lived in China. And what did He learned from living in China.
**Ali Ingersoll ** 15:03
Wow. So many lessons that actually taught me this incredible lesson in humility and diversity and culture in that. I saw such atrocities in China at a very young age that by the time I went to university I didn’t I couldn’t connect with anyone my age anymore. fraternity parties and sororities and that college life because I saw children whose hands had been cut off on purpose when there were children when they were babies to be better beggars. I saw people someone that was shot in the street. I went to jail in a northern Mongolian city called Harbin, right, right on the border of China as an ice city. I didn’t do anything illegal. I just forgot my passport. I couldn’t pay the hotel bill. But it was really the Italian boyfriends fault, not mine. But I was in jail with these women. And I called my mom with two minutes left on my phone call my phone card mom, remember, this was in 2000. So right there phone cards right in the old Nokia cell phone. And I said, Mom, I love you. I’m going to jail if you don’t hear from me in a week, call the State Department but give me a chance to get out. And I was in jail with these women and freezing temperatures. And I was like, I understood China. I you know, I speak Chinese. And I listen to their stories. And there’s no due process and China in a communist country. And many of them had been in jail for years. So I had such a drastic perspective and the change in the way I saw people, and it profoundly impacted me to this day.
**Michael Hingson ** 16:32
I think it’s interesting. I’ve talked to a number of people who’ve had the opportunity to travel to a number of different countries. And I have as well, I haven’t seen the atrocities that that you have. But it is so wonderful to travel to different countries and see how they live, how they behave, listen to their broadcasts and listen to their attitudes. Did you know even in this country, it is so different going from, say the West Coast to the East Coast.
**Ali Ingersoll ** 17:03
There’s atrocities right here in our backyard as well. There are there are. And
**Michael Hingson ** 17:08
we don’t deal for example, with disabilities very well, which is so unfortunate. Yeah,
**Ali Ingersoll ** 17:13
I was on a world. I was on a global world forum for disabilities. It was a webinar. And there’s some folks in Africa some paraplegics and I was explaining Medicare, Medicare, Medicare and Medicaid and the systems and how you have to fight for the number of catheters you get as an example, as someone who uses full time catheters. And they said, That’s really interesting. I didn’t know that perspective. I thought America was a man of the land of milk and honey, for health insurance. I’m like, Ah, it’s probably better than Africa where you are, but it’s different perspectives. Well,
**Michael Hingson ** 17:46
and of course, we still face overall as people with some disabilities. And I’ll explain that in a second. But an unemployment rate among employable people still have in the 65 to 70% range, and there’s no reason for that to do I agree. But here’s what they do. And I say some disabilities, because and I’ve said it on this podcast a number of times, I believe everyone has a disability and the disability that most people have is their light dependent. Why isn’t that something that we consider disability because ever since the electric light bulb was invented, the fact is, we’ve spent a lot of money a lot of time and a lot of thought, to make lights available on demand. So mostly sighted people’s disability is covered up. But the reality is, as soon as the power goes out, the disability rears its head again. So the fact is, everyone has a disability, whether we like I couldn’t, I couldn’t agree more. Right? Yep. Yeah. And so it is an issue,
**Ali Ingersoll ** 18:46
seasonal depression, even seasonal anxiety. That’s a disability temporary or not? Yeah,
**Michael Hingson ** 18:51
I know. It didn’t bother me so much. But it did. Karen, when we were in New Jersey, we had some times that was really cloudy in the spring and so on. And she she got depressed by it and acknowledged it and work through it. But still, it’s one of the things that you got to understand it’s different, different things for different people, but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t understand them and deal with them.
**Ali Ingersoll ** 19:14
Couldn’t agree more. Well, well said. So,
**Michael Hingson ** 19:16
you have so you went to university. Where did you go?
**Ali Ingersoll ** 19:21
I spent two years in Los Angeles in occidental small liberal arts college majoring economics. i Well, I’m not sure if I should say this on a podcast, but I’m going to anyway, I have gotten way too much trouble and looked at the Playboy Mansion for a while. I realized this is probably not the best way to go in life. So I transferred to South Beach because that’s so much better to the University of Miami but I did take I was taking life seriously. And the University of Miami has this incredible entrepreneurship program with this amazing business plan competition. It was my dream to win it and I transfer Are their full force and just really focused on school
**Michael Hingson ** 20:05
and every opportunity. So what was your degree in sign of
**Ali Ingersoll ** 20:09
entrepreneurship actually how to start and run a business?
**Michael Hingson ** 20:14
So did you out of college and go do that? Or what did you do?
**Ali Ingersoll ** 20:18
Um, yes. So after winning, I did win the business plan competition with my partner. So that was exciting. But we didn’t think I thought I was on top of the world. I thought a job was just gonna come to me and I was an amazing rock star. Yeah, not a 22. Nobody’s a rock star. And so I didn’t know I was kind of living. I know, I was living off the money I’d won. And my first job out of college was a last 24 hours. It was for a pyramid scheme, selling office supplies. And I really got hung it i and after the first day, I was like, Oh, God, what happened? So I floundered around for a bit. And then my name got passed around through some friends in the political fundraising world to Justin Rockefeller of the Rockefeller family, who’s a lovely human being. And he was with his partner was starting a civic engagement nonprofit called Generation engage. And they’re opening up multiple locations around the country. And they asked me if they I would like to open up the Florida chapter. And I said, Yes, that would be amazing. I got to put my fundraising skills, political skills, networking, community building skills, no idea what I was doing made it up every single day, but it seemed to work well.
**Michael Hingson ** 21:33
So what did you do after that? Or how long did you do that?
**Ali Ingersoll ** 21:36
I did that a handful of years up until I was 26. And then I just got jaded by politicians a little bit in the political process to be completely honest. And I wanted to find a profession that I could be independent and figure out how to help other people. And my dad suggested, be a day trader, put yourself through a 12,000 page course, I will help you with macroeconomic discussions. But you got to do the work, kid. And I said, I can do that. And so I moved back to the Bahamas, I helped take care of the property there in exchange for, you know, room and board. And I really, I mean, it was wonderful life was perfect. I couldn’t I remember saying to my mom on the day broke my neck that I wouldn’t change one thing about my life, Mom, it’s so perfect. And then 10 minutes later, to that dive.
**Michael Hingson ** 22:22
And so do you still think you wouldn’t trade anything?
**Ali Ingersoll ** 22:28
You know, it’s, you know,
**Ali Ingersoll ** 22:29
it’s a really good question. It’s one of those what if questions, yeah, I can’t change it. I don’t think like that. I don’t think well, if I could trade this, you know, if I could have my hands or what I rather have, where my feet. I mean, it is what it is, it was an accident. I never harbored anger or resentment. This is a life I’ve been given. I’ve always had a quirky dark humor, sense of attitude with loving to build people up and loving to help people, I just took me a long time to figure out how to do that, because I quite literally was a medical survival mode for seven straight years. So I didn’t have the ability to do that. So I have a very analytical strategic mind when I was living from crisis to crisis to crises. And I, I feel like I make the most of what I can. And you know, the most the biggest thing that gets me as a chronic pain, it’s like burning pins and needles from the chest down on my arms. And I combat that with probably overworking by helping people mentoring people and meditating.
**Michael Hingson ** 23:32
And meditating and taking that person on time is always a very useful thing to do.
**Ali Ingersoll ** 23:36
I’m trying to draw more boundaries in my life and figure out how to do that. I’m not brilliant at it. But I work very hard at
**Michael Hingson ** 23:44
what you’re you’re accomplishing a lot. And you You sound very comfortable in what you do. And I agree with you, you can deal with what if all day long, but the bottom line is, you don’t have any control over that. Well, you do have control over.
**Ali Ingersoll ** 23:55
You do. Here’s the thing, many of us have died multiple times with significant disabilities. At the end of the day, whenever my wife comes, and I’m very comfortable with death. I want to not only think about necessarily how hard I worked, but whose lives I’ve affected how I’ve affected their lives. And if I could be so blessed and lucky to when I’m gone that one person takes something I said and it changes their life or impacts them in some way. Or they spread that message to their child or their friend or someone in the future. That’s a legacy I’m comfortable with even if I’m gone tomorrow. Yeah,
**Michael Hingson ** 24:31
I know exactly what you’re saying. I was blown away earlier this year. I did a speech in 2014 in Washoe County, Nevada, was a safety and emergency preparedness. Oh, yeah. And earlier this year, one of the audience attendees wrote an article about my speech and what I said
**Ali Ingersoll ** 24:56
oh my god years later, Miko wow
**Michael Hingson ** 24:59
and and He didn’t, he said all what I would think are the right things and so on. But that’s incredible. And as I said, if I can influence one person, I’ve done my job. And I’m, I’m very happy with that. So, and I know there have been other times that, that at least I’ve had the blessing of learning that that people did discover something from what I said. So that’s pretty cool. So I understand exactly what you’re saying. And, you know, whatever is gonna happen is gonna happen.
**Ali Ingersoll ** 25:28
I couldn’t agree more I you know, I used to fake it till I made it, right. And then I turn that into fake it till you become it. And I really did become the Corky quad dark humor enthusiast. And then I’ve since changed in the last year to face it till you ace it. And I truly, authentically know that and believe that about myself.
**Michael Hingson ** 25:51
And you can’t do better than that. I mean, that makes Hmm, that’s really cool. Well, even through all that. What’s what’s probably the biggest failure biggest thing that you’ve ever had to face in real life?
**Ali Ingersoll ** 26:05
Oh, my gosh, I feel 80% of the time, people. People think I succeed. They’re like, wow, you’re doing so much. It’s because I throw a lot at the wall, and maybe 20 plastic rails I know, or maybe 10% works out. But I literally I do I feel all the time from professional and personal things I go through. But because I have so many things in the works that when one thing doesn’t work out, I don’t know if I’m genetically wired this way. But I’m like, Okay, that didn’t work out. Bummer. I’m gonna move on to the next thing. But I think that might just be me. Yeah.
**Michael Hingson ** 26:44
Well, well, you’re you’re wired is you’re wired and and then as long as you can deal with it and learn from it. I mean,
**Ali Ingersoll ** 26:49
we could spend an hour listing off my failures. But I mean, those are the lessons I’ve taken from the failures. Well,
**Michael Hingson ** 26:55
and I still am a firm believer in failure is such a horrible word to use, because it’s really a learning opportunity. And
**Ali Ingersoll ** 27:02
well, I learned, I live by the Winston Churchill quote, I repeat it every morning to myself, that success consists of moving from failure to failure, without lack of enthusiasm. Yeah.
**Michael Hingson ** 27:13
Yeah. What are the failures? They’re just learning opportunities. And so it didn’t work out like you wanted? What do you do about it? What do you learn from it? And that’s really what it should be? Exactly. So you learn, you go forward, and you go from there? Well, so given everything that’s happened in your life, if you had a chance to go back and talk to your younger self, what would you teach her? God, or at least advise her whether she wants to learn it or not, but what would you advise her? Um,
**Ali Ingersoll ** 27:42
what would I advise? You know, what? It’s a really profound question. There’s only one piece of advice I would give myself, I have this philosophy, and whether one agrees with it or not, is different. I work hard, and I play hard. So I do things oftentimes, for the story. It’s not always a great idea. So sometimes, I just came back from Costa Rica, and I did some fun, wild, wacky adventures that may not have been the safest. But I said, you know, what I’m safe is to that I’ve planned for whatever is gonna happen, it’s gonna happen. The only piece of advice I would give myself is, I would say, after college, I would have taken and during the last semester, taking more opportunities to network and build a network of great human beings to have helped me earlier on in life because I meant to go and help a lot of new people. And I think it’s really important to have a professional mentor, and I did not have that I did not build that. I didn’t put that effort forward. And so after college for a good six or seven months, I floundered. And I had no purpose and I didn’t know where I was going. And people think well of America, there’s so many opportunities, and I think that sometimes is a really big problem and challenge for young people. Because there are so many choices and you don’t know where to go. And that that’s probably the only thing I would change. Honestly, not even my experiences that I will keep private from the Playboy Mansion, not even though I would change.
**Michael Hingson ** 29:13
Well, that’s all part of what your life was, right?
**Ali Ingersoll ** 29:16
It was exactly. And
**Michael Hingson ** 29:18
so, you know, if you could change them, then you wouldn’t be the same you that you are.
**Ali Ingersoll ** 29:23
Precisely I couldn’t agree more.
**Michael Hingson ** 29:26
So that that’s okay. So, you know, what you do a lot. You are a quadriplegic, and so on. So, how do you how do you do what you do during the day? What, like, what is your morning routine? Like, how do you I am
**Ali Ingersoll ** 29:44
I’m a military, like, I’m like, I’m a regimented military Sergeant in my own life, but when I do have play time, even if it’s only for eight hours or five hours, whatever happens in those five hours, I will go to the moon and back. It doesn’t matter. But when I’m in my serious work Work Mode, I wake up every morning at 5am caregivers come in as a quadriplegic, they helped me with bowel and bladder and getting dressed. And then I exercise 60 to 90 minutes every morning, five days a week, no matter what at a home gym, I have. And then I get up to my screens at about seven or 730. In the morning, I work all day, unless I have a doctor’s appointment or I’m traveling, whatever that may be. And around 330 or four every single day, due to so much cervical neck pain and other pains I have from surgeries, I actually work with my caregivers, again, do more exercise or take a shower or whatever it might be. And then I work in my bed, which is a total hospital electrical bed and a queen size is very cool. One just looks like a normal bed. And I work from a laptop and my bed because that my body needs that for my pain perspective. And then I’ll work until late, I just have to switch position. So Monday through Friday, I’m pretty regimented about that. And I don’t change that. And I don’t know if people are gonna like me or not after they hear this. But I have the opposite problem of ADD, where I have this intense focus. And I think I’m genetically wired like that, where when I get in front of the screen, or I’m writing an article, I’m working on a project or working for a client, I can just sit there and I just won’t move until it’s done.
**Michael Hingson ** 31:18
Yeah, you know, I had a job for several years in San Diego County when in Vista, California. Well, Ashley was in Carlsbad. And what I loved about the job was I was first into the company, every day, I was in by sixth selling to the East Coast. And I loved the fact that I had the building to myself. And even after people started arriving, I ignored people wasn’t very sociable until at least after nine. Because I was busy doing what I needed to do. And even then, I work to staying very focused, I understand exactly what you’re saying, when you got a job to do, you got to do the job.
**Ali Ingersoll ** 31:55
Well, that’s it too. I’ve actually listened to this book right now called the one thing, I’m trying to strategically design my life a little bit in a more streamlined way for 2024. And they were just talking this morning on this chapter about like cutting out four hours of your day uninterrupted no matter what to focus on whatever it is that one thing that you really want to focus on, and I was listening to, and I’m like, wow, I do that. I’ve done that forever. I already do that. And it really does help. And that creates a habit. And through the habit that creates a routine and it just becomes part of you.
**Michael Hingson ** 32:31
Well, and you you spend time thinking, and I’m sure that there is time during every day that you spend time analyzing what you do or how the day went. And then what do you do different tomorrow? Or how could you improve whatever you were doing? Absolutely.
**Ali Ingersoll ** 32:47
Yeah, well, you’re a car. It’s a constant iterative process of life. Right? Absolutely. And that’s why people with disabilities are some of the most creative problem solvers on the planet, because we literally sometimes have no idea what’s gonna hit us in the morning when we wake up or in the middle of the night for that matter. Right.
**Michael Hingson ** 33:05
And so you again, you also learn to accept a lot. Oh, I heard somebody who did a survey, and did a study of blind people using the internet as opposed to sighted people who said that blind people tended to be more patient with internet websites, because a lot of the times they’re mostly not accessible. So we kind of learn how to muddle through, but we all can take advantage of some of those things and become better and stronger. But we look for everything to be handed to us. And that doesn’t help.
**Ali Ingersoll ** 33:38
No, but I mean, I’ve learned you just through my disability, infinite patience. So, you know, it’s it’s like, I have a friend that just broke their arm. And it’s been a few weeks and she’s in a cast, and she’s so impatient. What is it gonna get better? I’m like, well, everything that’s medical generally is measured in three months, time periods, right by the time we’re done with rehab. And that’s the same with disability with spinal surgeries. Everything is measured in many, many months or sometimes a year. You know, and so that that has taught me infinite patience, which is helpful.
**Michael Hingson ** 34:09
Yeah, it’s very helpful. People challenging people. Yeah. Who are typically very impatient. Yes. What technologies do you use to do your job during the day?
**Ali Ingersoll ** 34:23
I’m from a tech from a program perspective. i My heart soul is Dragon speaking naturally. dictation software without a doubt, and I have. I do my hands are paralyzed, but I have wrist extension, but I can’t. So I grip I can raise my wrist up but I can’t raise them. I can’t pick them up wrist flexors, so I can type upside down with my knuckles. But I have a giant Chester Creek easier. It’s called like easy eyes keyboard. So like this big yellow with big yellow keys that older folks use. So So are they need enlargement, so I can type it there. And I have a Kensington mouse, which is a giant trackball, and I have a both my little paws. That’s what I call my paralyzed hands. And it has two buttons on each side with a big trackball in the middle. And I’m pretty self sufficient. And I can use most other programs like most other able bodied folks, I don’t have I’ve tried to eye gaze tracking software, I didn’t work for me, I don’t really need it. I’ve tried using Dragon as a function of like as using it as a mouse and going across the screen. That took too long for me. So you know, there are some programs I have problems with, like, for example, with Dragon, Microsoft 365 does not play well. They do not play net well together. So I have to purchase all standalone software programs, which can be expensive, which is expensive and can be very challenging. I
**Michael Hingson ** 35:55
understand that there is a sale going on through at least Thursday, and it’s a Liberty sale from Microsoft, you can get Microsoft Office 2021, the full software package, not 365, but actually the software and have it for 35 bucks, which is interesting. Yeah,
**Ali Ingersoll ** 36:12
I have Office 2019. I have a philosophy that’s not broken. Don’t fix it yet. So
**Michael Hingson ** 36:18
yeah, unless there are enough new features in the upgrade that makes it worthwhile. I’m the same way with iPhone. Yeah, I don’t go off and buy a new iPhone just because there’s a new one coming out. Now, not only new features, but new features that I can use that make it worthwhile upgrading unless something really feels in the heart.
**Ali Ingersoll ** 36:38
**Michael Hingson ** 36:41
But it is it is a challenge. So you. So you use though all of that pretty well. I know Josh uses one bluffing SIP stick, as opposed to being able to do a keyboard.
**Ali Ingersoll ** 36:54
Exactly, yeah, he has a whole mouse set as well. And what I do as well is I have a laptop, and I get a small it’s like $80 It’s called pluggable, it’s a docking station. So I’ll plug all my periphery devices into pluggable, I have multiple video cables, I have three screens, I have a keyboard, but then I can just unplug everything very quickly. And I can take my laptop and travel, it’s I can use my laptop fine. But it’s hard one screen because I have to click click clicking with a lot of my shoulder challenges, it’s a lot of clicking it really hurts. So for me, the biggest thing in a day, from a digital accessibility perspective is how can I reduce the number of keystrokes and the number of clicking I have to do on a website or any document for that matter? Yeah.
**Michael Hingson ** 37:42
And they’re still not doing a great job of making websites overall, least from the outset. Accessible, which is why companies like excessive beer making such a big difference.
**Ali Ingersoll ** 37:54
Yep, there are a lot of companies out there I mean digital, except that we have a long way to go, just progress over perfection. And you’re never gonna make everyone happy, and that not one solution is going to fit all. And we also have to be mindful of that as consumers, I think and also applaud companies that are making an effort and are willing to learn when they get it wrong, because no one’s gonna get it right. We’re gonna get it wrong all the time. But it’s about iterating and improving it through AI and very smart individuals. And AI
**Michael Hingson ** 38:24
is going to make an and is already making a significant difference. It’s like anything can be negative, or it can be positive, depending on how we deal with it and how we use it.
**Ali Ingersoll ** 38:34
**Michael Hingson ** 38:36
How do we convince people, though, ultimately, that be inclusive, like with internet websites with providing products and all the other things to make a company and jobs accessible? How do we get people to understand that that really should be an is part of the cost of doing business?
**Ali Ingersoll ** 38:57
I mean, simple education. Well, three words education, advocacy and awareness. And it’s, it’s podcasts and webinars like this, and showing people in real time because, you know, the thing about human nature is just like you have a belief systems are a value system, it’s very hard to change. And there are a lot of folks I run into all the time like, no, that’s not a good work. Did you read what happened years ago, and that what that company did? Okay, yes. Have you seen the improvements said you said company have made has made and it’s showing slowly and being finding people that are open minded to kind of pave the way through that. And you’re only going to do that through collaboration and through partnerships, specifically with a lot of community organizations, especially national ones. Yeah. But you have sometimes you know, sometimes national, I’m part of them. Sometimes the answer organizations are set in their ways as well. So you’d have to start at the local chapters, and work your way up there.
**Michael Hingson ** 39:56
**Ali Ingersoll ** 39:57
and usability testing. In an inclusive surveys, and working with, you know, an inclusive design and having diary studies and actually doing the research and including people with all disabilities and part of the process.
**Michael Hingson ** 40:17
Yeah. And there’s something that we all need to remember that is national organizations, like everything else is really something that’s composed of people, and people will be the way they are.
**Ali Ingersoll ** 40:29
And it’s about being pleasantly persistent. You keep following up until someone answers you, but you do it with a smile.
**Michael Hingson ** 40:34
Yeah, you got to do it with the patient.
**Ali Ingersoll ** 40:37
And it’s no different than working with politicians. Yeah,
**Michael Hingson ** 40:41
except that I think they take a dumb pill to become politicians. I haven’t figured out when that happens. But they must, you know,
**Ali Ingersoll ** 40:48
I plead the fifth on that one.
**Michael Hingson ** 40:49
I’m still with Mark Twain Congress. Crandall, benevolent asylum for them. So So yeah, I know what you’re saying. I have met. However, over the years, some really good not only well meaning, but intelligent politicians who really had principles, but they’re, they’re not as common as one middle life. And that’s, that’s unfortunate, but it’s the way the world is. And that’s what we got to deal with a grade. So we cope. Well, I know you’ve got things you’ve got to go do. So I’m not going to prolong this and then make your boss come in.
**Ali Ingersoll ** 41:26
And I go, we could chat.
**Michael Hingson ** 41:28
I know we could. Well, we’ll have to, we should do another one. I
**Ali Ingersoll ** 41:31
would love to do a follow up. Yes, of course, count me in.
**Michael Hingson ** 41:35
Well, I will, I will definitely do that. But I want to thank you for being here with us today and taking your time and giving us a lot of good insights. So thank you for that. And I want to thank you all for listening out there. We’d love to hear from you feel free to Well, let me ask you, Ali, how can people reach out to you and maybe contact you if they want to?
**Ali Ingersoll ** 41:54
You know, I think I have my cell phone all over the internet. So you could find me even if I didn’t want to be found. But I have a website called the quirky quad quirky quad.com And it’s a q u i r k y quad.com You can find me on LinkedIn ally Ingersoll, Ali Ingersoll, and I’m on Instagram Ali, Ingersoll, Facebook, so pretty much just type it in and I’ll pop up somewhere. So you can hunt down, you can hunt me down, although I do fight on Google with. There’s another ally Ingersoll in Raleigh, North Carolina, who’s an investigative reporter and I know her so we always joke around fighting on on articles together on Google.
**Michael Hingson ** 42:32
That sounds like a lot of fun. Yeah, she’s great spread rumors.
**Ali Ingersoll ** 42:37
People are like Ali, wait, you switched careers? Again? You’re an investigative reporter. I’m like, no, no, I want to not me.
**Michael Hingson ** 42:43
Or you could just say well, yeah, didn’t you know,
**Ali Ingersoll ** 42:46
I know. As a Canadian, so I would say, there
**Michael Hingson ** 42:49
you go. Well, thank you all for listening. I hope you’ll give us a five star rating wherever you’re listening to us. And if you’d like to reach out to me, I’d love to hear from you. You can reach me at Michaelhi at accessibe A c c e s s i b e.com Or go to our podcast page www dot Michael hingson.com/podcast and hingson is h i n g s o n . So love to hear from you. But Ali one last time, I want to thank you for being here and we will do another one of these. We’ll schedule it and do it.
**Ali Ingersoll ** 43:18
I would love that Michael. It’s a pleasure. Thank you for having me. I hope everyone listen listening to one change in perspective, whether it’s Michael myself or both of us.
**Michael Hingson ** 43:33
You have been listening to the Unstoppable Mindset podcast. Thanks for dropping by. I hope that you’ll join us again next week, and in future weeks for upcoming episodes. To subscribe to our podcast and to learn about upcoming episodes, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com slash podcast. Michael Hingson is spelled m i c h a e l h i n g s o n. While you’re on the site., please use the form there to recommend people who we ought to interview in upcoming editions of the show. And also, we ask you and urge you to invite your friends to join us in the future. If you know of any one or any organization needing a speaker for an event, please email me at speaker at Michael hingson.com. I appreciate it very much. To learn more about the concept of blinded by fear, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com forward slash blinded by fear and while you’re there, feel free to pick up a copy of my free eBook entitled blinded by fear. The unstoppable mindset podcast is provided by access cast an initiative of accessiBe and is sponsored by accessiBe. Please visit
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