Webinar Series

Friending the Mirror

Making Peace with Your Reflection

2014 Dec 14_2907 full room croppedFriending the Mirror aims to help people live happier lives by teaching them how to find beauty through happiness. Each episode features an interview with a guest who has personal experience with and/or is an expert on an appearance-related issue, physical difference or any sort of physical challenge, be it visible or hidden. Guests educate the audience about their situation or area of expertise, when possible sharing their personal stories and how they overcame, accepted or embraced their issue. They also offer practical advice which audience members can apply to their own lives. The format allows for the use of slides, photos and other computer-based visuals to enhance the audience’s experience.

This series is no longer being produced, but all 29 episodes are available for viewing on YouTube- just follow the link for each episode below. Each episode runs between 30-70 minutes. You can also find a complete list of episodes on Dawn’s Facing Up to It YouTube channel.



Episode 1: Dawn Shaw- Facing Up to It  (Originally aired January 6, 2015)

Dawn Shaw, Host of Friending the Mirror; Making Peace with Your Reflection with guest interviewer Michael Bloom, kicks off her series by telling her own story about growing up and living with a facial difference.
12 noon Pacific / 3PM Eastern


More about Dawn Shaw:  Dawn understands adversity and the value of diversity. She was born with a rare tumor, the removal of which left her face half paralyzed, so she grew up looking “different.” Despite the insecurities and unfair treatment this sometimes brings, she learned to accept and even embrace her difference and lives a happy and productive life. Her inspiring memoir Facing Up to It, published in early 2013, shares her stories and experiences during her challenging journey to confidence and self-acceptance. Her second book, a Kindle exclusive titled Friending the Mirror; Changing How You See Your Reflection, is a guide to finding beauty through happiness. When not writing or speaking to groups about such topics as diversity, accepting differences and anti-bullying, Dawn runs her Icelandic horse breeding and training farm in Grapeview, Washington. She shares the farm with her husband of 19 years, 3 cats and 3 dogs- the number of horses is ever-changing. Lately she spends more time scooping poop than she does riding!


Episode 2: Dawn and Ian Shaw- Building a Healthy Relationship  (Originally aired January 20, 2015)

Dawn discusses relationships- just because you have a difference doesn’t mean you can’t find love. Special guest- Dawn’s husband Ian Shaw.
1 pm Pacific / 4 pm Eastern


More about this episode: Despite her facial difference, host Dawn Shaw knew she would find love, but it turned out to be a rocky road. In high school and college, no one was interested. After a couple of “flings” and one emotionally abusive year-long relationship, she finally met Ian, to whom she’s been married for over 19 years. Dawn will talk about what she learned from her earlier relationships, and then she and Ian will discuss how they met and how they keep their relationship going.


Episode 3: Jennifer Beilis- “Hear” I Am Disability and Motivational Awareness  (Originally aired February 13, 2015)

Dawn interviews Jennifer Beilis: Jennifer struggles with vertigo, hearing loss, but these don’t stop her. She is an advocate for people with disabilities in higher education.
12 noon Pacific / 3PM Eastern


More about Jennifer Beilis: Jennifer Beilis has weathered many storms. She struggles with depression, anxiety and Meniere’s Disease, causes vertigo and significant hearing loss. While her disabilities are hidden, she uses assistive devices such as hearing aids, a Frequency Modulation device (FM), and a cane, which often raise prejudices and unwarranted assumptions from others. None of these challenges have stopped her from pursuing an education. She has an Associate’s degree in Social Sciences, a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, and a Master’s degree in Education and Deafness Rehabilitation. Her graduate thesis focused on how people with disabilities can indeed achieve higher education and find a useful place in the workforce using adaptive devices. As a professional speaker, she offers her Motivational and Disability Awareness seminars in person and on line. Jenny’s memoir “Hear” I am! is universally valuable, especially for those seeking hope and encouragement in the face of hearing loss and illness. It is an enriching read for anyone who wishes to increase their awareness of disability rights and issues.
You can learn more about Jennifer at http://www.heariamjennifer.com/.
On Facebook at Jennifer Beilis
Follow on Twitter @jenniferBeilis


Episode 4: Andrea Dalzell- Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Access  (Originally aired February 17, 2015)

Dawn interviews Andrea Dalzell: Andrea moved beyond being just the “pretty girl in a wheelchair” to find her strength and identity. Now she is Ms. Wheelchair New York 2015, advocating for, among other things, affordable and accessible housing for those who depend on a chair for their mobility.
12 noon Pacific / 3PM Eastern


More about Andrea Dalzell: Andrea Dalzell was not always in a wheelchair. At the tender age of five she fell ill to a rare inflammatory disease called Transverse Myelitis (TM) which caused injury to her spinal cord. She was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, where she still resides. O​n September 6, 2014 she was named Ms. Wheelchair New York 2015. The Ms. Wheelchair America and Ms. Wheelchair New York organizations are not beauty pageants; they recognize the accomplishments and advocacy efforts of women who use wheelchairs for 100% of their mobility. As a new title holder, it is her job to reach out to different organizations and to spread awareness about her platform: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Access. As the baby boomers and the disability world merge together, it makes the disabled population the largest and fastest growing minority in the world. Now more than ever there is a need to have affordable and accessible housing to accommodate this expanding need. She currently attends the Cuny College of Staten Island where she is pursuing a bachelors degree in Biology ​and Medical Technology while also taking up a minor in I​nternational B​usiness. She plans to become a neurologist specializing in spinal cord injury and illness.
You can learn more about Andrea on her Tumblr site, where you’ll also find her blog posts.
On Facebook find her at Ms. Wheelchair NY 2015
Follow her on Twitter: @mswcny2015


Episode 5: Mike McDaniels- Life in the Socket  (Originally aired March 11, 2015)

Dawn interviews Mike McDaniels: Mike lost both legs below the knee, but that hasn’t slowed him down one bit. At the swimming pool or in the summer when he’s wearing shorts, Mike doesn’t let “what others think” bother him. After all, he says, “it’s their problem, not mine.”
12 noon Pacific / 3PM Eastern


More about Mike McDaniels: Mike is a 65 yr. old Bi-lateral BK amputee (double-amputee below the knees) as a result of a life-threatening gangrenous complication after both legs were broken in a 1970 snow skiing accident. The loss of his lower legs did not stop Mike from pursuing activities he enjoyed, such as hunting, fishing, boating, camping, photography and other outdoor pursuits. He even started skiing again, and in 1995, he was certified as a professional snow skiing instructor, skiing as though “able-bodied” with the use of prosthesis (artificial legs). While he no longer skis, he retains lots of good memories. When Mike gets up in the morning, he does pretty much what everyone else does- eats breakfast, takes a shower, gets dressed…he just does it on his knees, often with the use of knee pads. In addition, however, he needs to prepare and put on his prosthesis. 45 years of doing this has solidified his routine and given him a good “feel.”


Episode 6: Dr. Angela Lauria- The Connection Between Body, Mind and Self-Sabotage  (Originally aired March 24, 2015)

Dawn interviews Dr. Angela Lauria: Before she became a successful publisher and author coach, Angela had a problem keeping weight off- until she figured out why.
12 noon Pacific / 3PM Eastern


More about Angela Lauria: For about half her adult life, Dr. Angela Lauria was 100+ pounds overweight. She was miserable. She hated how she looked. Hated carrying that extra fat around. So she lost 100 pounds. Then she gained it back. Lost it again. Gained it back…this went on until she realized that being overweight gave her an excuse not to focus on anything else in her life. Everything was taking a back seat to dieting- and she discovered that she kind of liked it that way. When she lost her excess weight for the final time, she also lost that comfortable excuse and found herself face to face with her dreams and desires. Suddenly they weren’t so easy to put off anymore. So she didn’t. Angela earned a Ph.D. in Communications from The European Graduate School (EGS) in Saas Fee, Switzerland. She is the founder of The Author Incubator and creator of the Your Delicious Book program, publishing as Difference Press. She has helped dozens of coaches and others interested in changing lives write and publish their first (and sometimes second and third) books. She is herself an author, and her own books include The Difference: 10 Essentials to Freeing Your Inner Author & Writing a Book that Matters and If I’m So Smart, Why Can’t I Be Happy. In addition, she holds multiple coaching certificates and has spoken at notable coaching conferences. Learn more about what Angela does for authors at http://differencepress.com/
On Facebook find her at https://www.facebook.com/alauriam?fref=ts
Follow her on Twitter: @alauria


Episode 7: Leticia Moreno- Tragedy to Triumph; The Power of Personal Choice  (Originally aired April 7, 2015)

Dawn interviews Leticia Moreno: Leticia studies decision-making triggers; how the choices that people make influence their success or failure regardless of their life situations.
12 noon Pacific / 3PM Eastern


More about Leticia Moreno: Lety is no stranger to hardship. Her family migrated from Mexico in 1986, which came with its own set of challenges. Despite these, Lety pursued life to the fullest. She graduated near the top of her high school class, earning an MVP award three consecutive years. She then went on to nursing school, earning a number of certifications and finding herself faced with stressful hospital working conditions in emergency rooms and intensive care units. These physically and psychologically demanding positions fostered her curiosity regarding what transforms people from tragedy to triumph. By observing the varied reactions of people under stress, she came to recognize the need for the development of stronger coping mechanisms. Her current area of study is figuring out why people with similar situations, backgrounds and opportunities make different choices that ultimately lead to their success or failure. As a professional motivational speaker, Lety emphasizes self-development, helping people connect with their personal power so that they become better versions of themselves. She is working on her first non-fiction book based on her personal observations and experiences, as well as a book of poetry. Learn more about Leticia on her website http://www.letymore.com.
Find her on Facebook, on Instagram @LetyMBelieve, on Twitter @Chika2B

Episode 8: Vanessa Carter- Driving Online Global Medical Innovation  (Originally aired April 18, 2015)

Dawn interviews Vanessa Carter: After a car accident changed her face forever, South African native Vanessa has become internationally known as an activist for patient rights and doctor/patience communication.
11AM Pacific / 2PM Eastern


More about Vanessa Carter: Vanessa drives innovation in global medical technology so that it advances in South Africa. When a car accident in Johannesburg in 2004 changed her face forever, Vanessa found herself confronting the limitations of the South African health care system. The extensive ten-year process of reconstructing her face was due to not only the complexity of her case but also because medical specialists who could have helped her were not advertising on line and were therefore hard to find. In addition, information about the treatment being prescribed was largely unavailable. There was also no patient support, which would not only have facilitated her journey emotionally, but could have helped her avoid severe medical complications. After perceiving the need for the South African medical community to broaden their online presence, she established a medical website division to her existing business, Artext, which specializes in graphic design and brand management for small business. She uses her online and social media skills to advance accessibility and improve the patient experience. She also founded Health Care Social Media South Africa on Twitter (#hcsmSA) and is currently an ambassador to Doctors 2.0 & You, “the” International Digital Health Conference. Learn more about Vanessa’s work at www.medicalwebsites.co.za and www.hcsmsa.co.za
On Social Media, follow Vanessa and her advocacy on Twitter at: www.twitter.com/_FaceSA or on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/hcsmsa www.facebook.com/facialdifferencesa


Episode 9: Kit Karlson- “The Bell’s Toll- On Tour with Bell’s Palsy”  (Originally aired May 5, 2015)

Dawn interviews musician, composer and music producer Kit Karlson: Kit’s band, Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers, was poised to go on an intense 3-week tour when disaster struck. Kit found himself facing up to Bell’s Palsy. Heroically, he decided to go on tour anyway, which made a wild time even wilder! Join us as Kit shares his story.
12 noon Pacific / 3PM Eastern


More information about Kit Karlson: Kit holds a bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He has recorded and toured extensively for the last decade as a founding member of Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers (SK6ers). SK6ers have played over 1400 shows in 11 different countries and recorded albums for Universal, Atlantic and Vangard Records. Kit has also written commercial music for the Disney Corporation, American Greetings and Dodge Ram. As an audio engineer, he has produced numerous independent artists, mixed several tracks for SK6ers, and co-produced Stephen Kellogg’s solo record for Elm City Music (EMI). He has assisted Peter Katis and Greg Giorgio at Tarquin Studios and has studied with Manny Marroquin.


Episode 10: Michael Bloom- “From Bullied to Celebrated”  (Originally aired May 26, 2015)

Dawn interviews author and certified professional coach Michael Bloom. Michael has helped so many people through his work, but few realize that he was bullied as a child and targeted for being overweight and smart.  He often hid in the shadows and avoided social situations due to his fear of getting hurt by the popular kids. This will be the first time that Michael has publicly discussed his childhood period of torment, and he is eager to spread the message that life does get better.
12 noon Pacific / 3PM Eastern


More information about Michael Bloom: Certified Professional Coach A. Michael Bloom, MA, MS, CPC, has energized hundreds of caregivers with soul-saving coping strategies that support them in saving lives, including their own. With a wealth of practical expertise as both a family and professional caregiver, Michael serves as a welcome and sought-after catalyst to guide caregivers to stay energized and committed to work that has never been more important than it is today. Michael is the author of the book, The Accidental Caregiver’s Survival Guide: Your Roadmap to Caregiving Without Regret. You can learn more about the book, access free caregiving resources, and Michael’s coaching and speaking services at http://www.caregivingwithoutregret.com/
Take advantage of free gifts from Michael:
Live Hangouts 101 Guide at http://hangoutsthatconvert.com
Previews Chapters of his book available at http://www.theaccidentalcaregiverssurvivalguide.com/
Caregiver Support Resource Guide available at http://www.caregivingwithoutregret.com/


Episode 11: Christina Pearson- Solving Hair Pulling and Skin Picking Behavior  (Originally aired June 9, 2015)

Christina Pearson is the founder of the Trichotillomania Learning Center and current president and CEO of the Heart and Soul Academy. Trichotillomania is a hair pulling disorder that affects a significant number of people, myself included. We all think we’re the only ones doing it. We are not alone, and there is help. Christina and I will discuss causes and solutions for these embarrassing disorders.

12 noon Pacific / 3PM Eastern


More information about Christina: Christina Pearson was a sufferer herself of trichotillomania (compulsive hair pulling) and dermatillomania (compulsive skin picking), starting at age 12. Once she discovered she wasn’t alone in this esteem-destroying, soul-wearing struggle, she decided she would find a solution not only for herself, but also to help others find much sought after relief. In 1990, she founded the Trichotillomania Learning Center (TLC), which has since grown into a national non-profit entity. Christina has left the organization in capable hands, and now focuses on codifying, recording and ultimately passing on the life-transforming impulse management skills and techniques she has learned, developed and refined via her new Heart and Soul Academy. She now enjoys 20 years of strong recovery from her former destructive behaviors. Her interactive online classes offer effective, mindful approaches to life and lifestyle issues involved in living with, recovering from and maintaining success with hair pulling and skin picking disorders. She also works closely with individuals, families, small groups and professionals, providing services as consultant, educator, mentor and coach.

Contact Christina via her web site: http://www.christinapearson.com/


Episode 12: Tim Wambach and Mike Berkson- Handicap This!  (Originally aired June 23, 2015)

Mike has cerebral palsy. Tim became his caregiver and later his friend. Together they created the Keep On Keeping On Foundation to help those living with severe physical disabilities including cerebral palsy. They do public speaking, and spread their message of tolerance and inclusion thru their live two-man show called “Handicap This!” http://handicapthis.com/

12 noon Pacific / 3PM Eastern


More information on Mike and Tim: Mike has Cerebral Palsy and Tim was Mike’s one on one aide in school dating back to 2001. As they spent more and more time together, they began to form a bridge from one world to another- from Tim’s world of mobility and accessibility to Mike’s world of dependence and special needs. Even as Tim temporarily went on to different projects, he and Mike knew they had a story to share and, together they wrote a book titled “How We Roll.” Later, they created the Keep On Keeping On Foundation to help those living with severe physical disabilities, like cerebral palsy. The foundation has helped families pay for therapy, equipment, home modifications, and motorized wheelchairs all in an effort to help both the child and the family. From there, they went on to create a live two-man stage show titled Handicap This! to spread an honest message of friendship, inclusion and tolerance. They have been touring the country sharing their powerful message since 2010 and have been changing lives wherever they go. They guarantee that they will educate, empower, and entertain!
They also do a regular podcast: http://handicapthis.com/podcast-2/
Web site: http://handicapthis.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HandicapThis
Twitter: @HandicapThis


Episode 13: Barbara Quayle- Beyond Surviving: Thriving After a Burn Injury  (Originally aired July 8, 2015)

Barbara Quayle’s own burn injury in 1977 instigated a deep interest and involvement in after-care and re-entry programs for burn survivors. Most notable is her involvement in the The Phoenix Society of Burn Survivors.
12 noon Pacific / 3 pm Eastern


More information on Barbara: Barbara Quayle’s burn recovery process instigated a deep interest in the after-care programs for burn survivors. She designed her own program to facilitate returning to her vocation of teaching junior high school. Since then, she has focused her efforts and expertise on creating and putting into place a variety of school and community re-entry programs for burn survivors. One such program is Behavioral & Enhancement Skills Tools (BEST), designed to facilitate the community re-entry transition of burn survivors; a program she still teaches. Barbara has written numerous articles and chapters regarding living successfully with a facial or body difference and has contributed to the creation of various educational videos on the subject. She authored The Book of Image Enhancement for Burn Survivors which was made available in 2000 with an accompanying video. She has participated in many supportive organizations and associations as well. Most notably, she’s served on the Board of Directors of the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors, and is currently chairperson of their Professional Advisory Committee. She has received numerous awards and recognitions for her selfless efforts.


Episode 14: David Roche- Facing the Audience  (Originally aired July 20, 2015)

David Roche is an inspirational humorist, motivational speaker, author and performer who has transformed the challenges and gifts of living with a facial difference into a compelling message that uplifts and delights audiences around the world. He will share his heroic journey from shame to strength.
12 noon Pacific / 3 pm Eastern


More information on David: The story of David’s heroic journey from shame to strength has inspired standing ovations from the White House to Olympics Arts Festivals, from New Zealand to Moscow, London to Sydney, and across Canada and the USA. Born to an Irish Catholic family in Hammond, IN, David is the eldest of seven children. He spent four years in a Roman Catholic seminary and later obtained his BA in philosophy (Magna Cum Laude) at St. Joseph’s College. The left side of his face displays an extensive cavernous hemangioma, a benign tumor consisting of blood vessels. As an infant and child he underwent numerous facial surgeries and heavy radiation therapy, which left radiation burns on his temple and eyelid. He’s actually been told “If I looked like you, I think I would kill myself.” What really makes David unique, however, is his remarkable spirit, warmth, wit and authenticity. He performs a one-man stage show called The Church of 80% Sincerity, which is also the name of his memoir. “My face is a gift,” says David “because my shadow side – my difficulty and challenge – is on the outside, where I have been forced to deal with it.” http://www.davidroche.com/


Episode 15: James Partridge- Facing Disfigurement with Confidence (Among other things, we will be discussing the use of the term “disfigurement.”)  (Originally aired August 4, 2015)

James is the front man for Changing Faces in the United Kingdom, a non-profit group advocating for Face Equality. The goal of Changing Faces is to not only positively impact those living with conditions, marks or scars that affect their appearance, but also to transform public attitudes towards people with unusual appearances.
10:30 am Pacific / 1:30 pm Eastern / 6:30 pm British Summer Time


More information on James: James Partridge OBE is the Founder & Chief Executive of Changing Faces, the leading UK charity supporting and representing people with disfigurements. When he was 18 James was severely burned in a car fire that changed his face, and his life, forever. In 1990 Penguin published Changing Faces, his book of unique insights on his experience. The warm response to this led him to relinquish life as a dairy farmer to found the charity of the same name in 1992 to pass on the lessons learned.
Web site: https://www.changingfaces.org.uk
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ChangingFacesUK
Twitter: @FaceEquality

James’s Blog: https://jamespartridge.wordpress.com/


Episode 16: Mike McGowan- Living with Albinism; Beyond the Pale  (Originally aired September 15, 2015)

Mike McGowan is the executive director of the National Organization for Albinism and Hypopigmentation (NOAH). Together we’ll explore the truths and myths of Albinism, including the issue of impaired vision.
12 noon Pacific / 2 pm Central / 3 pm Eastern


More information on Mike: Mike McGowan has albinism and like many with this condition, he is legally blind. This did not stop him from earning a master’s degree and spending 30 years employed by local government as an information technology professional in court management. He became involved with the National Organization of Albinism and Hypopigmentation (NOAH) in 1993. NOAH’s mission is to act as a conduit for accurate and authoritative information about all aspects of living with albinism and to provide a place where people with albinism and their families can find acceptance, support and fellowship. After considerable time as a board member, Mike was hired as NOAH’s first Executive Director in 2010.

Web site: http://www.albinism.org/


Episode 17: Roland Bienvenu- Smiling Inside; Moebius Syndrome & Me  (Originally aired September 29, 2015)

What would life be like if the muscles in your face didn’t move and you were incapable of facial expression? You couldn’t smile, frown, wink, or even move your eyes from side to side. Roland Bienvenu lives this every day.
12 noon Pacific / 2 pm Central / 3 pm Eastern


More information on Roland: Roland was diagnosed with Moebius Syndrome at age five. Moebius Syndrome is a rare congenital disorder characterized by the sixth and seventh cranial nerves being non-functioning or absent. Without these facial nerves, the muscles don’t activate. As you can imagine, Roland’s condition resulted in him being relentlessly teased and bullied growing up. Even as an adult, socialization has proved challenging, and he had trouble finding a job. While Moebius has limited his romantic opportunities, Roland has been married, though he is currently single. After achieving a Masters degree in Public Administration, he was hired by the City of Houston’s Personnel Department, where he worked for 28 years before retiring in 2013. Roland currently serves on the Moebius Syndrome Foundation Board of Directors, a post he’s held for a decade. Additionally, he is starting his second term on the Houston Commission On Disabilities.
Moebius Syndrome Foundation web site: http://moebiussyndrome.org/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/moebiussyndrome
Twitter: @MoebiusSyndrome


Episode 18: Leah Smith- Looking Up: Life as a Dwarf  (Originally aired October 15, 2015)

If you are under 4’10” tall and have a medical diagnosis, you’re a Dwarf. But how does that affect your day to day life? Leah is the Director of Public Relations for Little People of America and joins me to discuss such issues as overcoming stereotypes, body image and respectful language.
2:30 pm Pacific / 5:30 pm Eastern


More information on Leah: Leah is the Director of Public Relations for Little People of America (LPA). LPA is dedicated to improving the quality of life for people with dwarfism; celebrating with great pride Little Peoples’ contributions to social diversity; and bringing solutions and global awareness to prominent issues affecting individuals of short stature and their families. Leah has been active in LPA her entire life and is grateful for the sense of community the organization has given her. After completing her Bachelors in Public Relations, she decided to give back to LPA by volunteering as their Director of Public Relations. In this position, Leah responds to media inquiries regarding dwarfism, drafts press releases and advocates for the media’s use of respectful language. She has since earned her Masters degree in Public Administration. In her day job, Leah does quality assurance for a nonprofit in Philadelphia. Leah is the youngest of three children and is the only Little Person in her family. She currently resides in Philadelphia with her partner and two dogs.
Little People of America web site: http://www.lpaonline.org/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Little-People-of-America-170567479523
Twitter: @LPANational


Episode 19: Colleen Wheatley- Social Construction of Discrimination  (Originally aired October 27, 2015)

Colleen is an authority on self-advocacy and is no stranger to discrimination. She has been a member of the facial difference community since she was born with a hemangioma, and currently serves as Manager of Client and Program Services for AboutFace, a charity based in Ontario, Canada which promotes awareness and education as well as provides support for people affected by facial differences.
12 noon Pacific / 3 pm Eastern


More information on Colleen: Having been born with a hemangioma, Colleen started with AboutFace at a young age. She became engaged in experiential programming through her local clinic at Sick Kids (a pediatric hospital in Toronto) and at the inception of Camp Trailblazers, and also began speaking as a representative of the facial difference community. Her education has been in Family and Social Relations and in 2010 she completed her Masters of Social Work specializing in health and mental health. She has been a child protection worker and youth therapist. When not working, Colleen loves spending time with her nephews, or skating with her roller derby team the Death Track Dolls. Colleen is proud to be a member of the facial difference community which is full of insightful, creative, and fun people many of home she is lucky enough to call her friends.

AboutFace web site: http://www.aboutface.ca/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AboutFaceInternational
Twitter: @aboutface


Episode 20: Charlene Pell- Why People Stare; Easing Social Interactions  (Originally aired November 10, 2015)

There is a reason that people stare, and it’s usually not to be mean. But for people with differences, being stared at is awkward and uncomfortable. Charlene Pell, a burn survivor and founder of the non-profit organization Facing Forward, has studied the science of staring, and has combined research, personal experiences, and communication skills to create a workshop titled What to Do When People Stare, which she has presented throughout the United States and Canada.
10:30 am Pacific / 12:30 pm Central / 1:30 pm Eastern


More information on Charlene and Facing Forward: Charlene Pell is the founder of Facing Forward, a national nonprofit organization that provides information, emotional support and educational programs to help individuals with congenital or acquired visible differences contend with staring and communicate with confidence. She offers lectures and workshops to promote public awareness about the challenges of living with a facial or physical difference, and encourage acceptance of visible differences, and advocates for advancement of psycho-social programs to aid individuals living with disfiguring conditions. Charlene and her former fiancé were severely burned in a private airplane crash in 1994. She sustained severe burns to 64% of her body, including her face. Early on, she discovered that no programs in the U.S. existed to help adults adjust to a changed appearance. As a former communications executive, she used her experience and expertise to manage intrusive stares, and explored and researched techniques to facilitate communication, which she now teaches others through her workshops.
Facing Forward web site: http://www.facingforwardinc.org/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/facingforwardinc
Twitter: @PCPell


Episode 21: Loretta Jay- Combating Stigma Through Cross-Identity Collaboration  (Originally aired January 5, 2016)

Stigma is the attitude that someone is unacceptable because they are different. Loretta is a co-founder of B Stigma-Free, a national non-profit organization working to reduce stigma. B Stigma-Free aims to foster understanding and respect of people perceived as having a difference, such as an attribute, trait or disability, partnering with others who share the commitment to eradicate bias and prejudice through education, advocacy and community engagement.
11 am Pacific / 1 pm Central / 2 pm Eastern


More information on Loretta and B Stigma-Free. Loretta is a nationally-recognized, inspirational change agent and advocate for families and children with more than twenty-five years of experience in comprehensive program design, implementation and evaluation. She has published, spoken and testified extensively on complex issues regarding child protection, mental health and specialized healthcare populations. Her current mission is to influence change in the world so her children and their peers will have a safe and compassionate place to become the people they are meant to be.
B Stigma-Free web site: http://bstigmafree.org
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Bstigmafree
Twitter: @BStigmaFree


Episode 22: Dr. Linda Rozell-Shannon – Vascular Birthmarks Awareness  (Originally aired February 10, 2016)

A vascular birthmark is a discoloration of the skin that is caused by blood vessels that don’t form correctly. These include port wine stains and hemangiomas. Dr. Linda is the president of the Vascular Birthmarks Foundation, which she co-founded in 1994. We’ll be discussing why she started this organization and what services it offers people with these sorts of physical differences- advocating for those who seek medical treatment while seeking acceptance for those who don’t.
12 pm Pacific / 3 pm Eastern


More information on Linda and Vascular Birthmarks Foundation: Dr. Linda is an adjunct professor at Excelsior College where she teaches in the Liberal Arts and Health Sciences programs. She is considered the lay expert in the world concerning vascular birthmarks. She is the co-author of “Birthmarks, A Guide to Hemangiomas and Vascular Malformations,” published in 1997. It is still the only publication available on the subject that is written for parents. She co-authored a second book which is due for release later this year. Prior to 1994, Dr. Linda was a legislative/administrative analyst in New York State Government. The Vascular Birthmarks Foundation is an international charitable organization that networks families affected by a vascular birthmark, tumor, or syndrome to the appropriate medical professionals for evaluation and/or treatment, provides informational resources as well as sponsors physician education, mobilizes medical missions trips, and supports research and programs that promote acceptance for individuals with birthmarks.

Vascular Birthmarks Foundation web site: https://birthmark.org
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VascularBirthmarksFoundation
Twitter: @VBirthmarks


Episode 23: Kaelin Ball – Born to Inspire; Sturge-Weber and More  (Originally aired February 24, 2016)

When Kaelin was diagnosed at birth with Sturge-Weber Syndrome, her parents did what any loving parents would do- they founded a non-profit dedicated to improving the quality of life for people with Sturge-Weber and associated Port Wine Birthmark conditions. Kaelin has become a disability advocate who focuses on rare-disease, beauty and self-esteem.
12 pm Pacific / 3 pm Eastern


More information on Kaelin: From a very young age, Kaelin has advocated on behalf of The Sturge-Weber Foundation and Positive Exposure, an arts, education and advocacy organization which utilizes the visual arts to celebrate the richness of human diversity and to expand and challenge conventional standards of beauty. She has done media interviews as well as spoken at live events, conferences, and even before Congress. Kaelin earned her Masters degree in Disability Studies in 2014 from the City University of New York’s School of Professional Studies. She currently lives in Denver, CO and loves being a mom to her dog, Stella.

The Sturge-Weber Foundation web site: http://www.sturge-weber.org/
Twitter: @Sturgeweber
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Sturge-Weber-Foundation/231991960556


Episode 24: Pauline Beal – The Challenges of Adversity  (Originally aired March 22, 2016)

Pauline Beal is an up and coming film director and producer who happens to be affected by a facial difference caused by a cleft lip and cleft palette. With no role models, she made her own way in the world, learning to use her facial difference to her advantage and to appreciate the unique perspective it offered. A graduate of the Film and Television Production program at Humber College in Ontario, her final-year independent film project was to produce what was to become an award-winning documentary called “A New Reflection.”
1 pm Pacific / 4 pm Eastern


More information on Pauline: Pauline’s cleft lip and cleft palette are genetic. It’s been passed down to each generation, but up until she was born, every affected individual in her family has died shortly after birth. This left her without a family member for guidance about living her facial difference. For years, Pauline was unsure of what she had. All she knew is that she was “different.” She has come to realize over the years that difference makes you thrive and allows you to educate the world and yourself in unimaginable ways. Her 2015 student film documentary “A New Reflection” is about the life-journey of a young artist named Katie Atkinson, who was born with multiple facial differences. Despite all the challenges she’s had to face, Katie has grown into an intelligent, talented young lady who is not defined by her physical differences. The film has won awards at the Best Shorts Competition in California and at the Canada Short Film Festival, and has been nominated for a Cultural Relevancy award at the Toronto Youth Shorts Festival.

Web site for “A New Reflection:” http://anewreflectiondoc.com/
Personal Facebook: www.facebook.com/pauline.beal.75
Facebook page for “A New Reflection:” www.facebook.com/ANewReflection/
Follow Pauline on Twitter: @Pauline_Beal


Episode 25: David Furukawa (“Dave the Blind Guy”) – Vision Versus Sight; A Mixed Perspective  (Originally aired April 26, 2016)

What does someone who’s blind have to say about appearances? Lots! Dave recently retired from Emory Healthcare, where he worked as a staff physician’s assistant in the Department of Ophthalmology. That’s right- he worked with other patients who had eyesight issues. In Dave’s own words: “For years I have seen and talked with patients who seem to have lost interest in the best meaning of life: laughter, fun, and adventure are some of the greatest components to the secrets of happiness! There is far too much negativity and reason to dwell on what is wrong with life, so why not focus on the ‘ride of your life?’ Live a little as we never know how long we have on this earth!”
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More information on Dave: David Furukawa is a world traveler, despite having Retinitis Pigmentosa, a retinal degenerative disease. He started out with reasonably good vision, but gradually over the years his vision has declined at first to tunnel vision, then progressed to where he can only see shapes and movement. Dave lives in Atlanta with his wife and 6-year-old son. In addition to traveling, he enjoys camping,  hiking, and history. His community involvement includes: president  of the Japanese American Citizens League-Southeast Chapter-Civil Rights Protection / Cultural/ Historical Education Group; past board member of the Foundation Fighting Blindness-Georgia Chapter; Trustee for the Center for the Visually Impaired in Atlanta; Civil War Medical Reenactor-surgeon 21st Ohio Volunteer Infantry.

Web site: http://www.davetheblindguy.com/
Facebook page: www.facebook.com/DaveTheBlindGuy


Episode 26: Crystal Hodges  – Beauty = More than a “Like”  (Originally aired May 11, 2016)

People may not know Crystal Hodges by name, but millions have seen her face. Born with a prominent, purple Port Wine Stain birthmark, Crystal unintentionally became an Internet meme when a photo of her went viral, traveling the world to over 30 million people through social media. Since then, she has striven to redefine society’s understanding of true beauty via blogging and public speaking, emphasizing that photos are made up of far more than pixels and that we don’t need strangers on the internet to validate who we are.
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More information on Crystal: Crystal addresses audiences at elementary schools, churches, youth camps, women’s events, and has lead several hospital sensitivity talks in her local area. She is currently writing a book about her journey with a facial difference, and she is the social media coordinator for The Vascular Birthmarks Foundation. Three constant companions are her camera, a pen, and some paper as she constantly tries to capture the beauty that surrounds her. Her work has been seen on Yahoo and on The Mighty as well as her own blog at www.thetravelinchick.com.

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/travelinchick
Follow Crystal on Twitter: @travelin_chick or on Instagram @thetravelin_chick


Episode 27: Faye Linda Wachs  – Adjusting to Acquired Facial Paralysis  (Originally aired August 17, 2016)

Faye Wachs is professor of Sociology in the Department of Psychology & Sociology at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. After developing synkinesis as a result of Bell’s Palsy, she has been conducting research to explore the social, professional and personal impacts of facial paralysis. Over the last 8 months, she has interviewed over 100 people with facial paralysis. Among other things, she seeks to gain a better understanding of the effects of facial paralysis on self-esteem; a person’s perception vs what they actually encounter; the effect of outside influences including family and peer support, access to resources, and how invested they are in a career; the effect of facial paralysis on social standing; and how the absence of facial expression affects social and professional life.
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More information on Dr. Wachs: Dr. Wachs received her Phd. in Sociology from the University of Southern California, along with a graduate certificate in gender studies. Her published work focuses on gender equity, health, fitness, media, sport, sexuality and consumerism. Her book, Body Panic: Gender, Health and the Selling of Fitness, co-authored with Shari Dworkin was the recipient of the North American Society for Sport Sociology (NASSS) Distinguished Book Award in 2010. Aside from facial paralysis, her research focuses on youth, race and social media, and best practices in education. In her spare time, Dr. Wachs enjoys hiking, running, biking, sailing, knitting/crocheting/sewing and spending time with her family and dogs.


Episode 28: Rick Guidotti  – Positive Exposure; Redefining Beauty via Visual Arts  (Originally aired September 14, 2016)

Rick is a fashion photographer who discovered that beauty is more than just what the fashion industry told him to point a camera at. He is the founder of Positive Exposure, a not-for-profit organization that utilizes photography, film and narrative to transform public perceptions of people living with genetic, physical, intellectual and behavioral differences.
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More information on Rick: Rick worked in NYC, Milan and Paris for a variety of high profile clients including Yves St Laurent, Revlon, L’Oreal, Elle, Harpers Bazaar and GQ. That is, until a chance encounter with a pale young woman with blue eyes and stark white hair on a Manhattan street began a process of discovery – about albinism, about people with genetic differences, and about himself. What he found was startling and upsetting. The images that he saw were sad and dehumanizing. In medical textbooks children with a difference were seen as a disease, a diagnosis first, not as people.So Rick turned his world upside down – he stopped working in the fashion industry and in 1998 he created Positive Exposure. Instead of viewing people with such differences as objects of pity, fear and misunderstanding, Rick’s goal is for them to be seen as their parents see them; as their friends see them. As valuable and positive parts of society. As beautiful.

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/positiveexposure/
Web site: https://www.facebook.com/positiveexposure/
Twitter: @PositiveExpo


Episode 29: Shameka Andrews – Wisdom on Wheels (Originally aired October 12, 2016)

Many of us take independence and mobility for granted, but those dependent on wheelchairs still face tremendous accessibility barriers. In New York state at least, Shameka Andrews is here to help. Shameka was born with spina bifida, so she has had to rely on a wheelchair for mobility. She is a past Ms. Wheelchair New York and is the current pageant coordinator. She also serves on a number of other committees and councils related to disability advocacy. She is employed by the Independent Living Center in Troy, NY, providing health and wellness workshops and information to people with disabilities in an effort to help them live as independently as possible. In addition, she works with other health and wellness facilities to help them become more accessible to people with disabilities.
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More information on Shameka: Because of her Spina Bifida, Shameka was not expected to live past the age of five. She is currently in her 30’s and going strong. Despite having to depend on a chair for mobility, she was the first person in her family to finish high school and go to college, where she earned an associate’s degree in business management. While in college, she worked at the Independent Living Center in Albany, helping individuals with disabilities advocate for the benefits that they needed. After college she joined AmeriCorps for 2 years and did disability awareness training for hospitals and schools. Then she joined the Self-Advocacy Association, working with elected officials on policies that involved individuals with disabilities. She serves on several committees and councils such as the Commissioners Advisory Council for the NYS  Office of People with Disabilities, The NYS Developmental Disabilities Planning Council, The Spina Bifida Association of NENY Conference and Adult Programs Committees and Volunteers for the City of Albany Special Events Office and Albany County Convention and Visitors Bureau. Somehow she manages to find time to attend zumba and yoga, and enjoys reading and rocking out at concerts.

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/mswheelchairny/
Web site: http://www.mswheelchairnewyork.com/