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Podcast With A Blindness Perspective.

Sep 24, 2018

Show Summary:

(Full Transcript Below)

Blind Abilities presents another guest from the Sagebrush Convention for the Business Enterprise Program (BEP), held in Las Vegas a few months ago. Jeff Thompson caught up with Ardis Bazyn who has written several books on topics including a 3-part series called Building Blocks for Success, addressing how to create and manage a business, Church or organization, with inclusion and accessibility in mind, as well as a book with recipes, tips and tricks which she originally wrote for her daughters. Ardis is currently working on a book about herself in which she describes her journey into blindness in hopes that others might learn to cope with challenges and change.

Ardis is an active public speaker, talking to small and large groups on change, entrepreneurship, and a variety of other topics. She also serves as a coach to individuals who take on new challenges, whether in dealing with blindness or undertaking a new business endeavor. You can find Ardis on the web at www.ardisbazyn.squarespace.com

If you are interested in becoming your own boss and want to run your own business, contact your state services, your Devision of Vocational Rehabilitation and see what opportunities they have for you.

You can find out more about RSVA on the web at www.randolph-sheppard.org

Here is a podcast all about the BEP:

The Business Enterprise program: Business Ownership Opportunities and a Promising Career

 

Thanks for Listening!

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Full Transcript:

Introducing Ardis Bazyn, Motivational Speaker, Author and Coach #SageBrush

Pete Lane:
Hi folks, this is Pete Lane. Welcome to Blind Abilities. Today, Jeff Thompson and I would like to introduce Ardis Bazyn.

Pete Lane:
Ardis is a multi-talented individual.

Ardis Bazyn:
I've written several books, one is a series, Building Block to Success. There's a lot of accessibility throughout it.

Pete Lane:
She is an author.

Ardis Bazyn:
I'm currently writing a book about myself. I started when I lost my sight to help people realize the various secrets there are to coping with challenges and change.

Pete Lane:
... sharing her business acumen and her life experiences.

Ardis Bazyn:
I speak to all sizes of audience, I think the smallest group I've spoken to is about eight, and I've spoken for groups as large as 1500.

Pete Lane:
She's a motivational speaker, talking about coping with challenges and change.

Ardis Bazyn:
I do a lot of talking on entrepreneurship, what things people should think about before they consider entrepreneurship. Sometimes people hop into it and then aren't successful because they didn't really think of all the business aspects.

Pete Lane:
... and entrepreneurship. Speaking from personal experience ...

Ardis Bazyn:
I was in the Randolph Sheppard program for 27 years. I had six different facilities.

Pete Lane:
... and success.

Ardis Bazyn:
While I was in Iowa, I had gone to college and gotten my BA's in public relations and speech communications, and I also got my master's degree in education.

Pete Lane:
... highly motivated.

Ardis Bazyn:
I feel it's important to continue your classes, even if you're in a job, even if you have a career. Check out the college disabilities services before you sign up for college. Make sure that you go to the one that's gonna help you the most.

Pete Lane:
And today, she shares her experiences with us.

Ardis Bazyn:
I keep pretty active, because I think it's important for blind people to show other blind people what they can do if they get out there, network with people.

Pete Lane:
Jeff had the pleasure of connecting with Ardis at the Sagebrush Convention for the Business Enterprise Program in Las Vegas just a few months ago. So take a few short minutes, sit back and relax, and meet Ardis Bazyn.

Jeff Thompson:
Welcome to Blind Abilities, I'm Jeff Thompson, and I'm talking to Ardis Bazyn, and she is a speaker, author, coach. She's here with us today at the Sagebrush Convention here in Las Vegas. How are you doing, Ardis?

Ardis Bazyn:
Fine, nice to be talking to you.

Jeff Thompson:
Ardis, could you tell our listeners a little bit about the books you've written and the stuff you've been up to?

Ardis Bazyn:
Sure, no problem. I've written several books, one is a series, Building Blocks to Success. The first one is Does the Image of Your Church Attract Members. The second one is Does the Image of Your Organization Attract Members. And the third one is Does the Image of Your Business Attract Customers and Motivate Employees. Covering all the gamuts of each particular type of organization, everywhere from networking ...

Ardis Bazyn:
Well, the business one for example, it's everything from getting a database together, how to work with your community, how to do seminars and conferences, how to do a newsletter, PR, customer base, all the different aspects. Being open to all people.

Ardis Bazyn:
There's a lot of accessibility throughout it, like how to make sure you have an accessible newsletter, an accessible website, accessible activities, like if you have seminars, make sure you think about the people that might be coming and what the audience might need as far as accessibility goes. So all three of those books cover accessibility and involving everyone.

Ardis Bazyn:
A lot with the blindness perspective, but I also talk about other disability. Accessibility, like if you have a business, you wanna make sure your aisles are wide enough for wheelchairs. Make sure where hold meetings people don't have to climb steps, and that whole aspect. Different disability-related access, that kind of thing.

Ardis Bazyn:
And then I have a fourth one which is more of a fun book, it's my family favorite. I actually started it by doing it for my daughters, I wanted to know about all the recipes we used growing up, and then talked about healthy tips and tricks and also substitutions, that kind of thing. I started that as just for them, but then I decided, “Well, I might as well just offer it to other people too.”

Ardis Bazyn:
And then I'm currently writing a book about myself. I started it when I lost my sight, and go from there. Basically I'm writing that to help people to realize the various secrets there are to coping with challenges and change. Some people look at it as a tragedy, but I think there's positives too, because you can teach others how to change, how to do things differently, and how to just be active no matter what your disability.

Jeff Thompson:
And that's the book that you're working on now?

Ardis Bazyn:
Yes, mm-hmm (affirmative).

Ardis Bazyn:
I speak to all sizes of audience. I think the smallest group I've spoken to is about eight, and I've spoken for groups as large as 1500. My most requested speaking topic is Secrets to Coping With Challenge and Change, but a lot of them are on leadership, membership development for organizations, helping people to plan for a successful future, whether that's a career or just being successful in whatever the person does.

Ardis Bazyn:
I do a lot of talking on entrepreneurship, the value of entrepreneurship, how to get to be an entrepreneur, what things people should think about before they consider entrepreneurship. There's lots of different areas that people should think about. Sometimes people hop into it and then aren't successful because they didn't really think of all the business aspects before they jumped into it.

Jeff Thompson:
So, without being a spoiler, what are some of the secrets that you have in that talk?

Ardis Bazyn:
I ask people to think about their resources. If they have money tucked away that they can use for it, or if they know other people with money where they might be able to borrow some money to get started. Also, what other resources they might have, what is their background, what is their previous experience, have they worked at a job where they could use those skills in building a business?

Ardis Bazyn:
For example, if they worked for a computer tech company, well, maybe they could go on their own and either teach technology, or they could fix computers for people, or work with people on iPhones, etc. Or, perhaps they have a background in bookkeeping, they've worked for an accounting firm. Well, they might wanna go on their own to have their own accounting firm.

Ardis Bazyn:
So a lot of the skills they can look at, “Okay, what do I have to offer that I could create into a business?” There's also ready-made businesses, [inaudible], Mary Kay, work for a blindness company, selling JAWS, selling computer software access technology. You can look at those, those are already built in, and you just have to know how to be able to network with a lot of people to be able to sell the products, and also to train people under you to sell the products and services.

Jeff Thompson:
So you help them, before they make the leap, decide if they wanna take that step.

Ardis Bazyn:
That's correct. And a lot of retired people now want to have something to do once they retire. Let's say they worked for a company 25, 30 years, and they retire, but they're still young enough that they don't wanna just sit down in a rocking chair. So then they might be open to doing some of the things that they had done in their prior business.

Ardis Bazyn:
Perhaps they do a lot of background checks and stuff for a company. They wanna retire from that company, but they still wouldn't mind doing a little bit of that on the side. So I like to talk to younger people in transition, and then also older people that just wanna consider what they could do later on in life.

Jeff Thompson:
Older transitioning people.

Ardis Bazyn:
That's correct.

Jeff Thompson:
So what kind of businesses have you participated in throughout the years?

Ardis Bazyn:
I was in the Randolph Sheppard program for 27 years. I had six different facilities, I've had two cafeterias that I managed, one had up to 13 employees because it was the legislative building in Pierre, South Dakota, so it was the cafeteria for the capitol. The other one had five employees, [inaudible] data center in Ames, Iowa, and there I had also about 20 vending machines in another building.

Ardis Bazyn:
And then I had three different snack bars, I had one in Pierre, South Dakota, one in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and one in Dubuque, Iowa. That one also had a vending route with it. And then my last facility in food service was for the Cedar Rapids Post Office in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. There I had 57 vending machines in 13 different buildings at the highest point.

Ardis Bazyn:
But I moved to California in 1999, and to stay in that field I would have had to go through training all over again and start basically from scratch, because the Randolph Sheppard Program, each state agency has different rules, so you have to just go through the training again whenever you move from one state to another. And some states are more open to that, and sometimes will cut down your training, and other states aren't. It kinda depends.

Ardis Bazyn:
But while I was in my last location in Iowa, I had gone to college and gotten my BA's in public relations and speech communications, and I also got my master's degree in education. I had decided that I would like to make money. I had been doing a lot of speaking and coaching, but it was more just helping churches and so forth, so I wasn't charging fees. So I figured if I got my education, then I would have the qualifications to be able to actually charge a fee to speak and work with people.

Jeff Thompson:
We focus a lot on transition-age students that are going from high school to college to the workplace, and a lot of seniors who are, like you just mentioned, transitioning. What kind of tools for success did you use?

Ardis Bazyn:
I always tell people that it's important to learn as much as you can, and I am a lifetime learner, in fact just this last fall I completed a four-year program to receive an MBA certificate. I feel it's important to continue your classes, even if you're in a job, even if you have a career, because the more you learn, the more you can add to your knowledge base, and the more able you are to transition to something else if you get bored with what you're doing, or if you lose your job, etc.

Ardis Bazyn:
And I know I've talked to some transition groups for state agencies, and one of the keys I always tell people is be open to anything. Because if you limit yourself, then something might come along and you might decide that that might be the career you want. People sometimes say “Hey, I don't wanna go into that Randolph Sheppard program”, or “I don't wanna go to college”, or “I don't wanna go into technology”.

Ardis Bazyn:
But you should be open and check out everything, because you might change your mind once you start college and take a few courses. Or, if you decide to go to a technical school, you could start out take a few courses and then decide that that's not for you. So I think you need to just remain open and listen to people around you.

Ardis Bazyn:
Actually, it's a good idea to shadow somebody. If it's in a career that you think might be of interest, go to that business and follow them for a few days. And there's a lot of people that are in business and in companies that'd be more than happy to have you shadow them for a little while. Because they wanna make sure that any employee would have the right skills, and it's much better to do a shadow position, or do an internship, and then you can decide, “Hey, I really like this,” or “I don't like this.”

Jeff Thompson:
How about PC or Mac?

Ardis Bazyn:
I like PC. I do use an iPhone, I bought an iPhone a few years ago, and I've been using it a little bit more. But I still don't like the touch screen as well as I do the PC. Plus, I've noticed people have iPads, but you can't put a thumb drive in them.

Ardis Bazyn:
I use a BrailleSense, in fact I carry one with me at conferences, and I can take notes, and I like to use braille, and I'm a big friend of thumb drives. I plug in thumb drives and pop it over to my PC, and then I can rewrite, revise, etc. faster on my PC than I can on my BrailleSense. I just really enjoy PC, plus it holds so much more. I like it for that reason. Some people use both, but ... nah.

Jeff Thompson:
As an author, is there a certain software that you use to do your writing?

Ardis Bazyn:
I use Word for the most part. Now, I do ... On my note taker it's text for the most part, but then I transition over to Word I usually copy it into Word, because I'm more used to Word and I can search for stuff and check out how many words there are and so forth better in Word than I can some of the other.

Ardis Bazyn:
I'm an Excel user, I use Excel for different databases. I don't use the other ones too much. I'll read PowerPoint, but when I speak I don't use PowerPoint, I tend to like handouts better. Because I've found a lot of people misuse PowerPoint. They'll be reading everything off the PowerPoint. That's not the point of PowerPoint, the point is to have some key points.

Jeff Thompson:
Ardis, what advice would you give to someone who's in high school, looking forward to transitioning to college and the workplace?

Ardis Bazyn:
I would suggest, as far as going to college, make sure you check out the college disabilities service before you sign up for college. If you have three or four colleges you're looking at, make sure that you go to the one that's gonna help you the most.

Ardis Bazyn:
Some disabilities services are really good, and they'll help you to get your documents put in a format that you can read, they'll help you with testing, etc. And some disability services are not real good about ... They don't wanna be flexible in your schedule. If you're having to take afternoon and evening courses, for example, and you're working in the morning, you wanna make sure that that college can accommodate you.

Ardis Bazyn:
I did that when I went from community college for two years, and then I had to transition to a four-year, and then when I was checking them out I just wanted to make sure what courses I had in their different majors. Because I found out one of the colleges I was heavily considering for a public relations course, they wanted me to take layout and design, they wanted me to take photography, those kind of things, which, for a totally blind person, is really ridiculous.

Ardis Bazyn:
And they said, “Oh, we can have somebody help you.” Why would you wanna bother taking a course that you aren't gonna be able to use in the future? Whereas the other college I ended up going to, they gave me a list of courses, and I just had to take so many out of this particular list. They were much more flexible. So it's real important to check that out when you look at a college.

Ardis Bazyn:
The other thing is decide how far away you wanna be from your parents or your family, and think about all these things ahead of time, before you say, “Hey, I'd like that college, it sounds really great, they're offering this.” But you really need to check it out.

Ardis Bazyn:
I actually wrote a document for students looking at going to college, it's called A Guide to a Successful College Experience. And anyone that would like to get a hold of that, they can contact me and I'd be glad to send it to them. It covers all the different things you should look at when you're looking to go to a college. It's especially written for blind students, but a lot of the stuff would work for any disabled student.

Jeff Thompson:
So Ardis, how can someone find you on the web?

Ardis Bazyn:
I have two websites, one is bazyncommunications.com, B-A-Z-Y-N-communications, with an S, .com. And then under my name, ardisbazyn.com. And on the Ardis Bazyn one I have a blog, whereas the other one is more of a traditional website, and it has a majority of the links and then my Ardis Bazyn one links to that site.

Jeff Thompson:
So right at the end here you start talking about a blog. You just seem really busy with a lot of writing, you must really enjoy it.

Ardis Bazyn:
I don't blog as much as I should, I should do it every week or two, and sometimes it's once every couple of months. But I like to share tips and tricks for people of all ages. And I'm on several boards, I'm on American Business Women's Association, I'm active with Business Network International, BNI is for both men and women whereas ABWA is more for just women, although they allow men to join.

Ardis Bazyn:
Plus I'm real active in blindness organizations, American Council of the Blind, Randolph Sheppard Vendors of America, Independent Visually Impaired Entrepreneurs, as well as the California Council of the Blind and the State Independent Living Council in California.

Ardis Bazyn:
So I keep pretty active, because I think it's important for blind people to show other blind people what they can do if they get out there, network with people.

Jeff Thompson:
You're gonna need more than a business card to put all that on.

Jeff Thompson:
Well, Ardis, thank you very much for taking the time out of your day here at the convention and speaking to the listeners of Blind Abilities.

Ardis Bazyn:
Thank you for having me.

Pete Lane:
This concludes our chat with Ardis Bazyn. Jeff and I would like to thank Ardis for chatting with us. Special thanks to [inaudible] for his absolutely gorgeous music. And for all of you, thanks so much for listening, and have a great day.

Pete Lane:
For more podcasts with a blindness perspective, check us out on the web at www.blindabilities.com. We're on Twitter, we're on Facebook, and be sure to check out our free app in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.