Janice Lintz is an innovative, driven leader with a strategic mindset who develops and implements creative strategies and solutions that transform organizations so that human life can be better. Known for her work as the CEO of Hearing Access & Innovations, a leading global business dedicated to helping the world’s corporations, cultural and entertainment institutions, government agencies, and mass transit organizations improve accessibility for 360+ million people.
Janice and HAI have established or enhanced hearing access programs at 100+ global organizations including Amtrak, Apple, Association of National Advertisers, Build-A-Bear Workshop, Capital One, Cunard, Delta Air Lines, Government of Ecuador, El Museo del Barrio, Graceland, Indiana State Museum, Mill City Museum, MOMA, The New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission, NFL, The New York City Transit Authority, Department of Interior/National Park Service, The Pentagon, Shake Shack, Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre, and Virgin Airlines to name a few.
Consulting website: hearingaccess.com
Advocacy website: janicelintz.com
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Janice Lintz and her Remarkable Story Of Creating National Change for Disability Access
Hello everyone, and welcome to another episode of Underdog. Today, I have a very special guest here with me, Janice. Janice, how are you?
Thank you, Pamela, for having me on the podcast.
Oh, it is such an honor and I’m so excited to get into your story. And your amazingness and awesomeness. Like we just talked about the network of awesomeness. I can’t wait to hear all about your story. So I guess the opening question would be. What led you on your journey, to where you are today?
Well, my daughter has a hearing loss, and when she was diagnosed. The doctor said, there were special schools for her. And my idea of special was not their idea of special and I wasn’t going to allow them to limit her dreams. So I decided that it was easier to change the world than to change my standards and so, I set up this course of fixing problems that impacted our family. And the next thing I knew, I had developed a program. But, it wasn’t as if I set upon this with this grand master plan. It evolved very organically based on our family’s needs. Now there’s a plan, but there wasn’t a plan before.
Interesting. So how did you go about making the first cycle of change, because that’s a big endeavor that you just mentioned. You’re like, I want to change the world rather than change the standards. Which I think is so powerful. So what was sort of the first step in that you recognize something is wrong with this?
Well, I think it started with the doctor. And then, we would go to live in New York City and so we would go to cultural venues. Because you can’t live in New York and not take advantage of the culture. I mean, that’s the whole reason to live here is the vast amazingness of New York City. And so we would go places and things would be broken. Where they wouldn’t work or the people were unknowledgeable and I was like, this is absurd. How do you work in a place? I remember having these distinct conversations with this woman.
Like, how do you work in a place and distribute equipment for people. With hearing loss and you have no idea how it works? And you haven’t even asked a question about it. It was mind-boggling to me that somebody, could be so clueless and so uncaring, and yet it impacted another person’s life. And I thought that’s absurd. If you can’t do this job, don’t do it then. But you can’t impact other people and I was like, so angry and furious that there was such carelessness, about people with disabilities.
People just didn’t care, not everybody. But like these particular people and I just thought that’s unacceptable. We would go, and it would be almost like an argument. Every place we went, why is the equipment not working? Why don’t you know what access you have? Like, it should be a no brainer. It should be a page on the website and this goes back a long time ago. And I flipped the website, should be updated. This is, you know, back to 96 or 2002 and why isn’t it on the website? Why is this information omitted, why is there not at the time? Then have every person who communicates with a customer.
You know, so it doesn’t get destroyed. And so you can quickly pull out the file, I remember. I used to say to people, it’s so unnecessary now. Which is really dating-based. But there should be a binder behind the desk, with the word access on the spine. So that if someone says, I’m with all the disability symbols, so that even if somebody is completely clueless, and they have a question. They’ll see the symbols and they’ll go. Oh, I wonder what’s in that book and I remember saying this way. Even if they don’t have a clue, what they’re reading about the person with the disability. Or the parents could look and go, Okay, I can read this. I know what’s here, but they didn’t even have that.
So I just thought, well. This has to change and so I went and start working. I was a stay-at-home mother and so as my children. Started entering school, I had more time and I thought this will be my project. And I will stop working on this and I’ll work one Museum, one theatre at a time and then, I realized like, at the beginning. You would do one and you would sit and wait. like okay. Where’s the decision? And so I thought I better work on a lot, so now like sitting by the phone waiting for decisions. So then I started working like sending information and evaluating, every single Museum in New York City.
And then, letting everybody know and then waiting for answers. So different museums would then come back at different points with different questions. Or they would drag their feet, I’d have to follow up. But by having so many places, almost like a basket full of museums. I say I inch forward, one at a time, like a little here. When we take a step forward when we take a step back and you go in, and the next thing. You know, there would be this almost super fact. All of them hitting their stride all at once. But that wasn’t planned, it was more to keep me from calling them every day, by having a basket full of museums.
Because otherwise, I would be calling like. Okay, it’s Wednesday, I spoke to you on Monday. Why isn’t it done. We’re coming Saturday. Like, how long does it take to fix this? Which frankly, I was surprised how long it took. Because the Americans with Disabilities Act almost implies that you call them up, you tell them what you need, right? You tell them, what appropriate access or effective access you need. And they remedy the problem. Almost as if it was like turnkey. You tell them, they fix it and by Saturday. You’re at the museum.
Doesn’t work like that. It takes upwards of nine years for some of the projects, the taxis behind me took nine years. And so, when you have this giant basket of museums and then. You expand because you run out of museums in New York. So you start expanding to other states. Create and so I’ve started working on all of them. And then, they all hit at the same time. Coincidentally, suddenly. There’s a success and a proof of concept.
It wasn’t planned, it was more to keep me from calling them every day. I would have called and said, okay, it’s Wednesday. Where’s the access and it’s very underestimated by the people who crafted the ADA. It’s a federally unfunded mandate, so there’s no money to put in what they claim they want people put in. And there’s no Sheriff going around, like the way they do with restaurants. I don’t know where you are. But in many cities, you have restaurants with valuations of cleanliness and health guidelines, but from eight to fail. There is nobody like that for disability access.
And there’s also a place of public accommodation, which receives money from the federal government, right and even the stimulus funds. By the way, carve out that by receiving stimulus funds. This does not count as receiving funds from the ADA. I checked because I thought this would be a golden opportunity, but it doesn’t. How great it would be well, you didn’t receive funds before you do now. But that’s carved out, so unless a place receives federal funds. There’s no timeline, to enforce this compliance. So why not just drag it out, until someone files a Department of Justice complaint? That’s time-consuming and like. I assume by now, this is like a huge FBI file on me for filing Department of Justice complaints. But is that really what you want? And that’s the problem, right? That’s what people with disabilities are saddled with.
Right? That’s, I mean. It’s so unfortunate that it takes so much time for change. You know, because I think of the ADA. And I think of all these different accessibility options and everything that’s been embedded into our system and I’m thinking. Because I’m not someone with disabilities, I’m thinking, oh. It’s being taken care of. And then when I hear this, I’m like, Oh, my gosh, like it’s actually nine years?
Nine years. And what’s really crazy is unlike the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. So if you have a problem with a bank or credit card. There’s this amazing agency set p81up by Senator Warren. The Consumer Financial Protection Agency, the CFPB and you go online, and you fill out a very simple form. It’s like a no brainer and you hit send and then. Whoever is the correct institution, they send the complaint to that institution and there’s a timeline. When the institution has the credit card company has to respond. And if it’s, let’s say, it turns out. It’s your mortgage and you complain to the CFPB and they, don’t handle mortgages. They sent it to the appropriate agency with a request to respond. That’s marvelous, it works like amazing.
There is no centralized agency like that. That’s one of my…, when you asked me, we’ll talk about that. But that’s one of my goals, but there is no centralized agency for that. And there’s this network of overlapping agencies. So for example, if you have. Let’s say a wheelchair, right and you’re going on a plane and somewhere. Between getting on the plane airport and your wheelchair being lost, for the average person? Do they know, do they contact the airline? The Department of Transportation, the FAA, the airport. Who is the correct place to follow up with that? And if you correct contact, let’s say the airline. Which will probably be the first place to start.
Like if they don’t respond appropriately, and you want a complaint now. Who is it that you complain? Are you complaining against the airport or the airline? Because you’re caught in this crevice, between the two of who takes responsibility and then. Which is the right agency? And how do you complain? Like, there’s no online form that makes it so simple and it’s not so simple? And it’s not just that, right that one thing? So if you travel your luggage is lost, you have this isolated incident. A luggage loss and hopefully. It’s a one-time thing and they find it right, and you’re good to go. It doesn’t affect your life.
But for example, if you lose your wheelchair. You can’t move if you need a wheelchair and this is a regular occurrence. And so then it’s like, okay, where do you do it? So now there’s implemented things for the wheelchair. But for hearing access, there is no access, so every time you go someplace if there’s a problem, how do you complain? Who do you complain to? How do you get their attention? So for example, I’ve had an issue with the Smithsonian. That’s gone on now for 15 years, that’s crazy right? Now, this is our nation’s jewel of a museum, best be great. All right.
But you would consider the nation’s museum. They don’t have effective hearing access and they don’t seem to care. And if you find out there’s two agencies. If you complain, it turns out, they don’t have oversight and you’re like. What do you mean, you don’t have oversight? No, it turns out the department of justice is not, they are a quasi federal institution. So you need to complain to the only oversight. Over the Smithsonian is the Appropriations Committee in Congress. So now I have to go to Congress to the Appropriations Committee.
Now, I found this out after 12 years of complaining no crazy. I finally filed the Department of Justice complaint, I wrote an article about it for HuffPost. Now I have to go to the Appropriations Committee. Don’t do that when there’s a transition, because I need a more amenable Appropriations Committee. And so you got to wait, now imagine if you’re a child, who’s going on a school trip. Like my daughter, her school trip was nine years ago and it wasn’t fixed in time. It will be one day, that’s crazy.
I cannot, I can’t believe it. That’s just so insane to me and then, to wait 12 years for an answer to be like. And another thing though, as you were speaking. I’m thinking about it and I’m like, Well. You know, it’s one thing to create something right to have these agencies. But like you really need to enforce, right? Because otherwise, who’s really going to comply? Right? Like you were saying. Somebody should be held accountable for these types of situations? Because it’s not right, right?
And then like, there’s nobody to respond to nobody to enforce it. How do you expect to make change if you can’t enforce it? Right? Because people aren’t going to do. What they’re supposed to do, if it’s not enforced, right? Or if it’s not mandated or anything like that. If they just see it as an extra means of something else. That they have to do on top of their workload. They’re gonna be like, oh, whatever. Which is so unfortunate, but it’s like. I cannot believe that this is something, that there’s just kind of been left by the wayside. And not addressed appropriately, especially with something like the Smithsonian, like, That’s nuts.
It’s like, really, nuts about the Smithsonian, and what’s really crazy is. I mean, it’s mandated. It’s just not enforced or implemented. So there’s just almost nothing you can do except file complaints. And file and just be that person who’s constantly. But that’s time consuming, exhausting, right? The average person is not going to do this. Because who wants to accept it becomes like. Almost you become a professional complainer and so really, it’s a change of words. You could take an advocate to that really navigate as a professional complainant, right? It’s the same thing.
So, I call myself a professional complainer. But even if you do, you have to figure out how to get people to listen and how to find that right person. Who is going to make that change you want and sometimes it means being a gadfly. Which is annoying and sometimes, it’s filing complaints. Sometimes it’s using creative solutions, like writing articles. Some people seem impervious to articles, they don’t seem to care, like the Smithsonian.
So you find more creative solutions to figure out. How to solve this and then you hope for the right administration, which I’m hoping we have now. That will resolve this, but it’s crazy and we’re between Appropriations Committee, so I have to sit and wait. But it’s also then for me, like getting things ready. So it’s already in the pipeline, so I’ve already done that. Like they the appropriation committee already has the papers and is languishing. The new person comes in and then, I can complain it’s been sitting around for six months, right?
Awesome. Wow. So it’s been a journey, so now it’s been 15 years, that you’ve been active, wow. And so what can you give me sort of a sequence of events of like? What you’ve worked on throughout that? And sort of where you’re heading now, what the goal is now? Even though you told me a little bit, we’ll get into it a little bit deeper.
So it’s, it hasn’t been so much a sequence of events. Because I had this basket full of museums, so in some museums. It really comes from the top, like they say. The fish rots from the head and that’s really true, because some people understand it and you know. I can think of a handful of projects. Where people got it from almost instantaneously and resolved quickly. While others, like the Smithsonian 15 years. So one is amazing and I have never been able to figure out. What is it that makes one person hear me and another person ignore me.
And I realised it’s, for the most part and has to do with their own personal life journey. That if they have some exposure or some way didn’t walk between the raindrops. They get it and people, who think that they have some forcefield around them. Their life is perfect and they don’t have to think about any other human being. like they’re fully Narcissus, they don’t get it and if you’re stuck dealing with that person. It’s going to be much harder than the person who gets it. So there was four, who got it instantaneously. They were dramatic projects, that was able to change very quickly. Because they got it, so one of them was Maxine Clark from build a bear workshop.
I approached her about adding hearing aids to bears and literally she said. Yes, in two minutes and I said. Don’t you care about the cost? And she said, No, it’s the right thing to do and I was like, Okay. That’s amazing and I had my family’s temple, I should say, five, the rabbi, also immediately, yes. What’s the cost? I don’t care. Amazing. Then there was meeting Richard Branson at Davos and asking for captions on inflight entertainment. And he had me work with his team. They just implement it and like it, like they can’t do it for the old systems. Because they’re not going to rip out all the systems.
But for any new system they purchase, they agreed. I thought that was very fair, right? Because it made the cost more amenable and so new systems. That were being implemented the new and inflight entertainments had captions, and then delta follow. They also said yes, immediately, actually. There’s more than I think about it. But delta suggested it immediately and then, the US Department of Transportation mandated it for flights emanating departing from the US and now. That’s why when you see, you’re on a plane if you ever go on a plane again. You see captions on movies now, right? Yes and that’s from that.
And what’s amazing, is it benefits people even without hearing loss. Because you don’t have to raise the volume so high. When you can’t hear when you’re watching movies over the aeroplane noise and you can catch that sound. So it also allows people to lower the volume on their in-flight entertainment. To avoid disturbing the person adjacent to you, which is a win, win. So that was another one and then, another easy convincing was Howard Roberts from the New York City Transit Authority. When he took office, his predecessor, Peter palika. Was also quite remarkable. But when he took office, it was a short meeting that he had me back.
And, he’s added the injection for people with hearing loss to the subway information booths and coal box. He said, it’s going to take a little while. But it’s going to be part of this thing called an Obama stimulus project. Which I didn’t even know what that was at the time and he’s like, but this way. We already piloted the project and it was shovel ready, and he’s like. This is a perfect project for him and it was like, okay, and like. Then it was done, so you don’t know. It’s sometimes like, approaching someone where you convince them to pilot. Just get them to do one, right. Or two, or four, or whatever it is for a pilot.
And then, these funds became available. Which you can’t possibly anticipate, that it was the perfect project for the transit authority to do. And so it was ready and it was perfect. If you have the right leader and as Howard, always said to me, leaders lead, his predecessor was a nightmare. Thomas pantographs, he said that he didn’t have the right to do that and he blocked access everywhere. I remember saying to him, Well,l. How it’s very leaders lead and you know, Thomas pendergrast, didn’t feel the same way. Thank God, he’s gone. But he was a nightmare and he blocked access. You know, when you have somebody who’s like that, and it’s very difficult to go round them, you have to sometimes wait it out. Eventually, they leave.
Wow. So these are massive changes that you’ve created. Literally that just, because you asked like the power of one, right? Because sometimes people think, right? How can I make such a difference in the world? How can I impact the world and hearing your story, right? And these amazing things, Richard Branson, delta, like going on a flight and you can see the captions, like, I mean. I recall seeing that and I’m like, actually like subtitles. I’d rather kind of almost read them out because there’s never no right. And to me to know that came, that change came from one person.
Being willing to stand up and be like. This is what’s right, is just so powerful to me. I just think you’re so incredible. You had the courage to step up and be like, you know what, no, this is not cool. This is not right. Let’s implement something that makes sense for everybody, let’s create access for everybody. And I just find it I’m just in awe of you. That’s all.
And I don’t thank you. But you know, what’s great about all those projects, all four of them occurred. Because they literally didn’t take a lot of work. They just took someone asking and then. People didn’t know and so, if you don’t ask the question. You start with a no and you can only turn into a yes. And sometimes you have to people will say, Well, I don’t know. These type of people. Well, I didn’t know them either. But it doesn’t take much to get to know someone, so now let me tell you. How I met each of these people.
So Maxine Clarke was opening her flagship store on Fifth Avenue and I coincidentally happened to be there. And then, I asked when the CEO was coming and they said shortly, so I sat and waited with my son. What makes her so incredible. Is she was opening a flagship store and I’m asking her this like she was a little busy that day. And she’s just this remarkable woman who just got it. But if I didn’t ask, it wouldn’t have happened and it became built. Where it became the first mainstream toy to add hearing aids to its product line, which is incredible.
So I just happened to be in the store. But if you see an opening of a store, like a flagship store or a major store in your neighborhood. And you have something like that or any company, right. Assume the head of the company is going to be there. Google them to get an image of what they look like. So you know who they are and then you can ask them and you approach them. Don’t look like a stalker human being, dressed appropriately, so you don’t look scary. You don’t look like you’re, you know, the unabomber. But if you look presentable, people will listen, so that was the first one. Richard Branson that was a little more difficult.
A friend invited me to Davos, so that was a little more complicated. But again, he could be at another event. Then, there was Howard Roberts, that was a very funny story. So Howard’s predecessor was Peter Calico and coincidentally, we use a few different housekeepers the same and I used to call his assistant for references on his housekeepers. And I got to know her and several funding sources. Turk, a couple of people that I interviewed, I asked her, I said. If I can get an appointment with him, so we have gotten to know each other over a period of years.
I happened to like the people, he terminated. They were well trained, he didn’t like them. But they were perfect in my house and this was over a number of years. It wasn’t like, but I got to know where to say Hi, I’m calling for a new reference. So she slotted me a meeting with him when he left. Then I followed up with his predecessor, but like, so using some sort of even tangential introduction. You can meet people like that, right? Everybody’s like one person away from another.
My temple was easy because that was going to the temple head. But it’s people may think, you know, it’s hard to meet people, it’s not so hard. On this day the internet you can reach out to anyone. You just have to not be afraid or intimidated by people. Because they’re regular people and create a very succinct message with an ask and a solution. If you just complain, it’s a rant and that’s unproductive. But if you provide a solution that’s as turnkey as possible, it’s more likely to be implemented.
That’s amazing. I just love that you broke it down, you’re like, Hey, here’s how I met them. Like, so many people coming through the programme, I want to do this, I want to do this. And I don’t know how to go about it and I don’t know it’s gonna make a difference. But it’s like, look at how practical you just made it like, hey, everyone’s one degree away. You just ask you find where the person is or you find information on them. Or maybe you know them through your network already and ask for an introduction. But change can be made. I just think it’s so powerful as long as you have the willingness, right. You have the willingness.
You have to also be willing to walk through doors. I don’t like transactional friendships, where I feel like someone is my friend. Because they have a hidden motive of what they want to get from me. And I presume other people don’t like that either because it’s required. But if you go through life with a general interest in other people and you keep walking through doors. You don’t know which door is going to meet. So this is a very funny story where I’m at a friend’s party and I’m talking and ready to leave and go home.
And as I’m leaving, I scope to say goodbye to my friend and she’s talking with another couple. It turns out, he’s the editor in chief of this publication called multichannel news. Which was the industry publication at the time for television broadcasting and I am complaining to him. Or telling him his story is a complaint or telling same thing. But it’s all how you phrase it. I’m telling him about the problems with captions on television and he says to me. You should write you’re not fit for that and I said, funny, you should mention that I already have it written.
And I had this written, because I had been pitching it to publications like the times washington post the LA Times and I couldn’t get anyone to publish it. He said, send it to me. I did and he published it. So here is this random encounter as I’m exiting a party. Where I met him and I had my article published. Which also added to the fact that sometimes, it’s not so much that it solves a problem. But it adds to your credibility to have such a well regarded publication print your op-ed. Right.
So then, when I’m meeting with the FCC commission. I present them the article and even that. When I entered, I was very upset about the quality of captions on television. I kept writing letters to the chairman of the FCC. At the time, it was Powell and it turned out. There was this Consumer Advisory Committee, so I applied and I was declined. So I was really annoyed because there was nobody on the committee with a child. You don’t even take no as a no, that’s just a starting point. For it could be a maybe, right, so he left and I decided the new chairman may have a different opinion. Because he appointed the people to the committee. That may be the new chairman would be upset by that.
And we did new people and I was correct. I was appointed to the committee and so, were other people. Because he augmented the committee. He didn’t want pauwels people on the committee, so Chairman Martin added me to the committee. And so I was on that committee for two terms, from meeting those incredible people and understanding the system. By being on the committee, I learned what the hurdles were for captioning standards and was able to solve those hurdles.
And then I learned what the problems, were buying a cell phone and I could solve those problems. I continue to work on different issues now with hearing aid compatibility for cell phones. Based on my information and the contacts I made and just by listening to people. And sometimes you may not even know what that information is going to do. But it connects up to information as you learn more information. So it’s continuously to walk through doors, right, walk through doors,
You just don’t know. Where it’s gonna lead you, one introduction will lead you to the next and you’re just not aware of who can help you. Right. I just find it remarkable that you were able to create such massive change just by the power of ask, right. And I tell everyone, one of my biggest phrases and my biggest personal beliefs is one light can light up a whole room. You just want and you can see that light. Otherwise, it’s just pure darkness. Right and that is exactly you haven’t been that light in the community and hearing loss, especially.
But I mean, I think you’re advocating for all disabilities and what you’re doing, for sure. I mean, I know you’re focusing primarily on the hearing loss, I just think it’s so powerful. And I’m just thankful that you just kept going and you didn’t stop even though it was yours. It was a process and this and that, so many groups and red tape and all that stuff. But she just kept going, you kept coming in. Like look at what happened because you stay resilient. Right? You kept going, you became an advocate and you continue to so what’s the latest goal. What you’re doing? In detail, sort of what’s next, because you’ve made all these massive shifts. So now I can only imagine what’s coming next for you.
Well, thank you for your really gracious words. I will say having this basket full of projects helps that. So when one doesn’t go well, but you making progress on the other, it helps. Because you just like okay, whatever I can’t. I’ll put that one to the side and I’ll continue working where I’m having movements and it’s only focusing on one. Then that one takes on an unbelievable significance. Which you need to minimize kind of like the way the market goes. Like the stock market. If you have only one stock, that up and down is a big problem. But if you have a lot of stocks, it kind of evens it out.
That’s the same with projects for advocacy. If you have a lot, it makes the negative. Not so upsetting when it doesn’t go well. So one of my projects for the future. You know, these I have grand projects and then I have small projects. The grand project is definitely to create a CFPB for disabilities. And yes, my goal is, while I may start with hearing loss. My goal is to bring all the disabilities, that may be where we start the conversation. But the whole conversation is about disabilities in general. And I don’t want it to be only about hearing access, it’s about all disabilities.
So I want a centralized place for complaints. There, it’s too unmanageable, I think it’s going to save the government money. Because each time an agency has to respond to a non compliance. They have to dig research, they have to spend time on it. It wastes time on the government’s part, as well as the individuals submitting it. And I think that’s problematic. If there’s one centralized place, it’ll save everybody money and also see. Where the which agency is really problematic, who’s not compliant. Because the government should want to know, we don’t want to have agencies. Not comply with laws that’s problematic.
Otherwise, what’s the point of having them? I’m hoping with the new administration, we’re going to finalize I was on the federal rail. But as the new administration is coming in, we have some legislation that’s still pending for the rail and passenger vessels. And I was on both of those federal committees under the US Access Board. So I would like to see the finalization of that. On the day-to-day problems. I’m working on my goal to expand access across the US, so I’ve worked now in 15 states. And my goal is to reach all 50 states. Because if we can create one model of excellence in every state. Then, those can be the models to roll out the access for the rest of the state and so we just need one significant museum or business.
So I’m trying to work with either corporation. Who are going to spread the axis themselves and one company, that I’m in conversations with now is hopefully going to move that way. So let’s say for example and I’m making up numbers. They have 1000 stores, right and if they have 1000 stores across the United States. Then they add that access and think about each community where that store is. They’re introducing this induction loop, that allows a person with hearing loss to hear the sound directly in their hearing aid. Which is how the induction loop on the taxi works.
And so, that blocks out background noise. So they can go into that store and hear, so they get accustomed to hearing in that store, right? Then imagine they’re going to expect it in their Museum, their theatre, their supermarket, their pharmacy, and it will roll out. And so I’m looking to work with one company, that is going to roll it out across the store and the more of those types of companies that I can have. So what happens is, it almost becomes like a layered effect across the United States. Like you have one store company with 1000, stores another. Let’s say with another 1000 and you are getting into multiple markets. Then it connects almost like a web and then, it becomes the norm and that’s my goal.
Janice Inspiration Throughout Her Journey in Life
I know you’re gonna get there, without a doubt. You’re gonna get to all 50 states and you’re going to kill it. And it’s going to be incredible. Look at how far you’ve come. You know and all the changes that you created thus far and I just think it’s I think it’s remarkable. And I mean, your source of inspiration I know I’m sure is your daughter. Did you have any other sources of inspiration? Throughout your journey in life.
It wasn’t so much my sources of inspiration as really interesting. As I look to other and by the way, just a footnote on the stores. Apple has the access in all their locations. They just don’t have signs up, which is preposterous. And my goal is to get those signs, they don’t like signage. That’s not an apple sign and my goal is to get those signs in all the stores. Because it’s absolutely absurd and so, that’s another project is to get those signs up. And if necessary, I will address it, because that will also help create the network.
My inspiration has come from incredible changemakers. So there hasn’t been really anyone in the disability community. That has been that dramatic of a change maker since Helen Keller was. Who was born in 1880, which is kind of ridiculous. So I look to other advocacy areas and I’ve always said this has been my strength. I think the disability world has been very siloed within how they advocate. And so, I will go to lectures and this is something everyone, can do who really wants to affect change. I go to lectures on every topic under the sun.
The key for me is not what they’re talking about, but who they are. I went to a lecture in john hopkins on sex trafficking, I went to class to change where Jeffrey Sachs from the Earth Institute spoke I will go. Literally on every single topic. I race relations, where I heard congressman john lewis speak. Each one of these topics are from incredible people, who were able to affect significant change in their area. It doesn’t really matter what the topic is, it really matters is how did they do it? So each of these lectures provided me with a scaleable or something that I learned.
For example, John Lewis. I asked him and I always ask how I affect change. So John Lewis said to me. You have to make people uncomfortable and that’s a very uncomfortable thing to do. But he’s 100%. Right and it’s true, but every time I’m about to do something that gives you that pit in the stomach. I remember the congressman’s words to me and Frederick Douglass. Really said something very similar of change doesn’t happen without a struggle. Which was a quote, I was about to tribute to John Lewis, but it’s the same thing, you have to make people uncomfortable. Because it’s never going to be comfortable for change.
You want someone to do something, they don’t want to do. Sometimes you have to push the envelope by going to the climate change lecture. I spoke to Jeffrey Sachs about how to implement change for people with hearing loss. And he said to me, create a model of excellence in New York and then, roll it out across the country that formed the whole basis of my programme. Because he was right, I could really make significant change because I was here. And then use those museums or theatres to leverage change across the country and so that’s what I did at the sex trafficking conference.
In Hopkins, I met the former general counsel from Mayor Bloomberg. Who became a friend, who then helped me on different projects. So she was attending and I wouldn’t have met her if I didn’t go to Baltimore. And then I had the opportunity to ride the Amtrak back with her and really get to know her as a person and we became friends. She was able to help me and that’s so random, right to go to a sex trafficking conference about disabilities. But over and over again, I have met incredible people. Because anyone who attends these conferences, for the most part. Is going to be a smart, interesting person.
They’re engaged. And the goal is to meet engaged smart people. Because they will know how to help and everybody in their own community has these various conferences. There’s always somebody, who’s peddling their book, right? Or the local library, the University, and I tried to go to events. Where there’s an opportunity to meet the person, not these massive stadiums events. Those to me are pointless, you might as well listen to a podcast much cheaper, right? Because you can’t speak to the person. My goal is to attend any event where I can speak to the person before or after. The person is a little nervous, they’re looking for someone to calm them down before they’re about to speak. They’re looking for a connection in the audience, that they can look at during the audience. They will remember you if you are that connection.
These are brilliant pieces of advice on how to create change by surrounding yourself with people. Who have the same endeavour, even though they were in completely different worlds, like you said. Sex trafficking, but still you have the same theme and the same pattern. So I find that brilliant, I find that absolutely brilliant and also to get there early. Because they will remember you, as they’re practicing on stage and they don’t see many people but they see you.
They’re talking to you beforehand. And sometimes if you get there. They’re looking for someone to talk to and so I’m happy to be that person to speak with them afterwards. Everybody’s lining up, but very few people arrive early. I always arrive early.
That’s brilliant advice. And then I have my last question for you. Which is what would your older self? Tell your younger self based on what you know now. Through your life experiences.
It sounds trite, but don’t sweat the small stuff. It all seems to work out, I always thought in life there was a golden path. You go to high school, go to the right college, you graduate, get the right job, you get married, have children, you know like. Basically, let that line life is not like that. There were ups and downs, huge ups, huge downs and just kind of knowing that if you lead your life with integrity, it does work out. And you can lose everything but never lose your integrity. Because that is the only thing, no one can take away from you. You can only give it up
And now if you could share, where everybody can find you Janice and your awesomeness and you know. So they can catch up with you on what you’re doing next or how they can support you?
I have two websites, I have my professional website for consulting that’s hearing access.com and I consult with Companies, government agencies, and people. And that’s through hearing access Comm. My advocacy site is my name, Janice Lynch, calm and I’d love to hear from people. I love meeting people who want to affect change.
I love it. Janice, thank you so much for being here today. You’re so powerful and remarkable. And I can’t wait to see the work that you’re doing. Come to light all of your goals and having the agency and everything like that. So I’m so excited for you in the future.
Thank you so much for having me. Pamela. This has been so much fun. I really appreciate it.
Tune in to the episode to hear the rest of my incredible interview with the amazing Janice Lintz.