Ep 10: Overcoming the Blind Side with David Shaffer, WMATA
"My disability has made me a stronger, more confident leader " – David Shaffer Imagine graduating third from your Stanford Law class without studying thanks to your gift of photographic memory. Now imagine the ironic twist of fate of going blind at the height of your career - fighting for civil rights of disenfranchised individuals, including those with disabilities - and people suddenly treating you as stupid and incompetent because of your own disability. This is exactly what happened to my guest David Shaffer and his extraordinary story is sure to leave you moved, inspired and perhaps even seeing the world through his eyes! What You'll Learn: How David's passion and commitment to social justice and civil rights has shaped his career (you must hear about some of the fascinating and famous cases he's led and won!) How he came to terms with the devastation of losing his vision and primary tool for learning (and navigating the world!) How David helped transform D.C. metro into one of the most accessible transit systems in the country (isn’t it great to hear some good news about DC metro!?) Fascinating facts about disabilities, such as 19% of U.S. population has a disability (I had no idea, did you?) What’s really happening for people we see with dark glasses, white canes and other individuals with disabilities Astounding challenges disabled individuals encounter in every day tasks that most of us take for granted - from checking bank account balance online to reading a restaurant menu to… Practical tips and strategies to help support our friends and colleagues with disabilities in the workplace (and beyond) How technology can help disabled individuals regain independence, mobility and “sin back their lives” And so much more! Links & Resources WMATA Accessibility – for more information about WMATA accessibility programs and initiatives Seeing eye phone: Giving independence to the blind – great article David shared about assistive technology for the blind Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind – fantastic organization David partners with and the one lead by our previous amazing podcast guest, Tony Cancelosi ADA – for more information about the Americans with Disabilities Act American Foundation for the Blind – good resource to learn more about this disability and additional information about assistive technology About David Shaffer David Shaffer is the Access Policy Officer and was previously the Assistant General Counsel at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). David’s role includes development and implementation of ADA (Americans with Disabilities) Policy. He was previously Partner at Garvey Schubert Barer and Shaffer, Rappaports & Schmidt where he represented clients in civil rights class actions including against FBI, Secret Service and U.S. Customs Service; and represented employers and employees in ground-breaking employment and labor cases.