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Shelly Houser

Shelly Houser

Introduce yourself to our audience. Tell us who you are and what you are currently focused on.

Greetings Ladies of Ellevate! I am Shelly Houser, currently living in NE Pennsylvania and am passionate about disability advocacy and education! I created Inclusive Consulting in 2021 and have worked with universities, emergency responders, state workers and companies to broaden their knowledge and recreate their best practice approaches to working or serving persons with disabilities.

Tell us about your favorite Ellevate Network memory or success story. Why are you a member?

My favorite memories are the time I have gotten together in person with other local Ellevate ladies and just bonded. Networking is the reason I joined and I have made such great personal and professional connections.

How would you define your professional mission?

My professional mission is to be the change that I want to see in society. To date, there is still a large gap in services and equality for those with disabilities despite the Americans with Disabilities celebrating 33 years this year. However, I have begun to hear a buzz within the medical fields that are know more curious to study this gap and create change. I have connected with colleagues to be a part of a five year grant study. I am grateful to be an integral part that will bring a voice to this project that will bring a change in the way medical curriculum are taught.

What is one of your most memorable career accomplishments?

Receiving the Region III NCIL- National Council on Independent Living Advocacy Award on the DC stage in 2019 was a huge honor for me. For many years I have worked hard to bring equality to the disability community. To be nominated and win was a wonderful validation of my work.

What are some career challenges on your radar?

One thing people often often tell me after hearing my story is, "You need to write a book about your life!" It's a daunting process, however I have reached that bridge and am ready to cross it. So in the new year I will begin the process to put it all down on paper till it's no longer inside me. All the fear, torment, shame and hopes that I have endured will be in black and white to connect with someone else that needs to hear it, and know they are not alone.

What legacy do you hope to leave through your work?

I grew up before the ADA, struggled through school and society without rights until I was well into college. Even then, society didn't really embrace and rush to make enormous changes to become more accessible overnight. Employment for disabled persons is still disproportionately different. I hope to leave a legacy much like Judy Heumann. One of education, empowerment, human rights, and disability pride is everything I do. Judy died. Judy worked for 30 years to help create the ADA. She died on March 4th, 2023. Knowing her tenacious spirit, I cannot imagine it was a coincidence that she died on that date. She wants us all to march fourth (4th)!!

Who are your role models?

Judy Heumann, Michelle Obama, Tiffany Wedekind, Keanu Reeves

What would you say your personal superpower is?

Connecting the dots for sure. My children and colleagues are always amazed how I can come up with a solution or know someone that is the right piece to the puzzle. My brain has always worked that way, reaching far and wide and not just looking at a problem from one angle.

What does success look like to you?

Success to me is a work - life balance, hybrid work model that is ever changing. I like when things change. It gives me new energy and keeps thing fresh! New endeavors and people reaching out with problems they don't know how to solve feel like exciting challenges not "problems". Success is about networking, branching out, finding solutions and feeling like something great was created and accomplished!

What is one piece of advice you’d offer working moms?

Practice self care daily. We can only do son much, our To-Do list will never be empty, and we if we don't take time to care for ourselves, who will?


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