Rick Hansen

The man himself.

He rolls himself up a very steep incline to get to the podium, jokes about how this wouldn’t meet the ADA specs.

I’ve been on this journey for a little while, and ultimately I’m incredibly blown away by the evolution … looking back, you would never see a room like this 30 years ago, populated by so many people with SCI who demand to be part of the solution. I congratulate each one of you for the work that you’re doing.

We need to come together. One of our challenges is that we’re so different from one another; it’s hard for us to truly unite.

How is it that we can pick the things that every one of us can say “I’m in?” How do we do that? We have a long way to go to build that collaboration — but we’re pretty good at carving off our individual areas of excellence. Moving from good to great means accelerating the process. We’re starting to forge common language, which lets us measure the same things … we can learn from each other quickly now, but we have to do that much more quickly. We have to make tough choices, but that doesn’t mean leaving people behind. It means finding those vital few things that we can all collaborate on. We need those successes. We need to continue to create a framework … a global community of collaborators, whether in fundraising, or awareness, or best practices … whatever or project, we have to stay aware that if we can’t measure it there’s no sense in even declaring that we’re trying to achieve it. We’re going to have to hold ourselves accountable.

I look forward to being there with you, and I thank you for giving up your most precious commodity — your time.

(Okay, this is my first time hearing Rick Hansen speak. He’s brilliant.)

And that’s it for the ballroom today. We’re going to get out until tomorrow!

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