Do It Myself Blog – Glenda Watson Hyatt

Motivational Speaker

Crazy Ideas: Let’s Bring Them to Life

Filed under: Motivation — by at 5:30 pm on Monday, February 25, 2013

In this mini presentation, I demonstrate how seemingly crazy ideas can, indeed, come to life. Enjoy!

Which of your crazy ideas would you like to make happen? Share in the comments below and let’s make it happen.

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If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a chai tea latte. Thanks kindly.

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From a Speech Impairment to a Motivational Speaker: How Did I Get Here?

Filed under: Motivation — by at 2:53 pm on Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Glenda Watson Hyatt speaking at Open Web Camp IV
(Photo credit: Dirk Ginader)

While sitting at the airport gate last July, waiting to board the plane to Portland and then onto San Jose where I was scheduled to deliver two presentations on web accessibility, I wondered, "How did I, an individual with a significant speech impairment and a physical disability, get here?"

I pulled out my iPad and made some notes, which I found a few days ago.

I asked myself again: how DID I get there – sitting at the gate, waiting to board a plane to the States to give two presentations?

I flashed back to one brief session that Mom and I spent with Fred, the guidance counsellor, during my last year at high school. Thumbing through the various university calendars and brochures, the Certified General Accountant program sounded somewhat appealing. I was good at math and I could take the courses via correspondence, which would be perfect because my family was moving to isolated rural living once I graduated. I could then establish a business and work from home as a CGA. That was the extent of my career planning. Seriously.

I did one year of the two-year program, but I slowly realized that I wanted more in life; something more than sitting alone in my bedroom, working on boring accounting assignments. (This was long before the Internet and life as I know it today.)

One thing led to another and I found myself living on my own in a one-bedroom apartment in residence at Simon Fraser University atop Burnaby Mountain. After taking a course or two per semester for seven years straight, I graduated with my Bachelor of Arts (BA) with a major in psychology and a minor in Communications.

A minor in Communications. That is somewhat related to giving presentations; kind of. But that still didn’t fully explain how I was about to board a plane on my way to two speaking gigs.

Following a few twists and turns after graduating with my BA, I found myself giving the occasional presentation. However this was long before the text-to-speech software that I use today. Presentations were participatory: audience members took turns reading aloud text on the PowerPoint slides.

When presenting at one local conference, the laptop refused to communicate with the LCD projector. For the thinking-on-my-feet solution, I had attendees come up to the front, one at a time, to read aloud what was on the screen. Now that is a highly participatory session! For my next presentation I prepared acetate sheets for the overhead projector, as a backup plan. But I digress.

Life continued meandering until another twist came in April, 2005. I share this excerpt from my autobiography I’ll Do It Myself:

I was asked to speak at the Social Planning and Research Council of British Columbia’s (SPARC BC), “Beyond the Obvious: Exploring the Accessible Community Dialogue”. My initial thought was But I don’t give speeches. I can’t. Since I was raised without the word “can’t “in my vocabulary, that was a fleeing thought. I quickly turned my thought to How can I do this?

I had been using the free computer software ReadPlease for a couple of years to proofread my writing. ReadPlease reads aloud text that is copied into the program. I thought, Maybe I could put ReadPlease onto my laptop and have it read aloud my speech for me. I hesitantly agreed to speak. Unsure if the technology would work, I took a printed copy of the speech with me, in case I needed someone else to read it on my behalf.

Finally, it was my turn to take the stage. Being on stage alone for the first time in my life, with two hundred eyes staring at me, I wanted to run. But, I didn’t. I gave my speech. When I was done, I left the stage, trembling. I had given my first ever speech! And the technology worked!

Glenda delivering her first speech

Afterwards something amazing happened. For the rest of the day people actually came up to me and spoke with me. I was heard for the first time. I was no longer invisible, no longer silent. It was an amazing, unexplainable feeling that I would like to experience again. I would like to give more speeches. I would like to be heard again.

Since that moment, I have delivered several more presentations. Each time I was heard again; an experience that has yet to get old for me.

How did I get here?

By taking the less traveled road. For an individual with a significant speech impairment, being a motivational speaker is not the most obvious career choice.

By taking a deep breath, believing in myself and  saying “Yes, I can!” to something least expected from someone who does not speak clearly.

By figuring out the technology, with much assistance and support from my husband Darrell, to make it possible for me to travel this path.

By surrounding myself with people who will not let me fail; people who see beyond my disability and push me to become all that I can be.

In a snapshot, that is how I ended up waiting for a flight to San Jose. And, to be honest, that is how I hope to get to visit more places and to deliver many more presentations.

For this reason I am beyond excited to announce my new site, my speaker site at

By following along this path less traveled to be a motivational speaker, my intention is to encourage, to entice, to motivate you to move forward, to go for it, to strive for your potential and to live life more fully.

Please visit my speaker site for more information about this adventure. And, thank you for joining me in this amazing journey.

To keep up with my adventures, musings and insights, be sure to subscribe to

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a chai tea latte. Thanks kindly.

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An Early Valentine’s Day Love Story

Filed under: Motivation — by at 10:49 pm on Thursday, February 7, 2013

Two weeks ago the Marketing Manager at Reality Controls approached me about their application control:mapper, "which is helping to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities through motion and voice control technology. Desktop computers can be controlled by voice, arm, head, torso and feet motions." I was intrigued and, because they are in Vancouver, I was interested in seeing it in action. However, my Faith kitty was unwell and I didn’t dare leave her alone.

Today, Faith was well enough to leave. Darrell came with me. I had asked earlier if he could, because I thought he would be interested in trying the application too since he is such a geek.

The control:mapper definitely is intriguing and will make gaming (and other applications) more accessible to people with motor disabilities.

I appreciated having Darrell with me because he was able to translate Glenda-ish. Even though I have my iPad for communication, having my husband translate is still easier and more efficient. He also offered valuable ideas and insights to the development team.

Darrell and I ended up having lunch at McDonald’s for the sole reason that I was in DESPERATE NEED for an accessible washroom. (His pit stop earlier that morning was not an option for me. Enough said.)

He was dreading going back to the SkyTrain Station because of the seemingly steep hill en route; that is what happens with a lack of depth perception and spatial orientation. Working around his dread, we wheeled an extra 12-15 blocks to another station (with a familiar hill). It was a quasi spring day, so why not enjoy an unplanned road trip together?

Along the way, we happened across Purdy’s Chocolates Headquarters and Factory. We experienced the store, of course.

Give and take, and working as a team: that is how love works.

Happy Valentine’s, a little early!

Glenda sitting outside of Purdy's Chocolates

“When life takes you pass a chocolate factory, ENTER!”

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a chai tea latte. Thanks kindly.

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