OM, OM, OM: “Our Mantra - Opening Minds, Opening Markets”
By Herb Drill
“Lift up your faces, you have a piercing need
for this bright morning dawning for you.
History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived,
but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.”
On the Pulse of Morning
Maya Angelou - author, poet, humanist
“Top 10” lists usually drive me up a wall. I wonder who took the poll, and under what rock they found the respondents.
But a recent poll of “Trends in 10 Industries” conducted by George Anders, of The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) seemed to be on target.
For one thing, Anders wondered: “How do trend spotters find what they're looking for?” The answer was: “They keep their eyes open.”
The article highlighted Jim Breyer and Candace Corlett, experts in utterly different fields. He’s a Silicon Valley venture capitalist, immersed in
computer networks; she’s a New York-based retailing analyst who “hangs out
in shopping malls to see what everyone is buying.” The common thread is that every week, Breyer and Corlett read voraciously and brainstorm with colleagues. They travel to hot spots of innovation to find the latest business trends with staying power. Their long-term professional success, just like that of countless other executives - depends on being early and accurate trend
If there's a common denominator, it's that the best way to find out
what's around the corner is to look around the corner and keep your mind - and your eyes open!
Which brings us to Adrian Guiglielmo and her company, Diversity Partners LLC, of Brewster, NY.
Adrian’s mission is to make the world better for disabled people through dignity, accessibility, and opportunities. Born in New York City, she was influenced most by her paternal grandparents - Joseph and Eva - both deaf.
Joseph and Eva birthed two hearing siblings: Elaine and Ira. Elaine founded Su Casa, the first New York City drug program for women and their children and later created the city’s first shelter for deaf women. Adrian’s father, Ira, taught her his parents were her grandparents first and foremost. Her Aunt Elaine taught her to be an advocate for the hearing-impaired, a lesson which came easily to a little girl with a big heart.
Adrian had her own demon: attention deficit disorder forced her to drop out of school at 15; she received her GED before her class graduated. At New Paltz University with SAT scores close to 1,200, Adrian studied psychology and minored in education - and met her husband, Steve.
At Hunter College, she earned a master’s degree in psychology, with an emphasis on schizophrenia. Laughing, she says that helped her in business. Her main education came on the streets, observing her world. Her father opened Redi-Cut Carpets. Her mother opened Long Island’s first lingerie shop for women who had suffered mastectomies, and she called upon designers such as Christian Dior to design stylish, feminine prosthesis undergarments, something which had never been done.
Adrian’s parents’ passion for their careers inspired her. She credits them with giving her the driving force to succeed with clients such as Avis Rent-A-Car, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, UPS, American Express, and Microsoft.Today, Adrian and her for-profit professional team market premiums, and teach corporate America how to deal with people who possess “different abilities.” She trains corporate employees, empowering and teaching them how to interact with the disabled community. This has landed her on two magazine covers, given her a chapter in a book about women who broke the glass ceiling and make a difference in their respective fields, and will bring her two major awards in 2004.
Companies open markets for products and services when they open minds and envision possibilities. Endless is the potential presented by having millions more disabled people earning their own way. At Diversity Partners, Adrian says, “We advise companies on how to market to the largest minority group in the U.S. - disabled people. My staff and I do this by creating value in approaching the disabled community with marketing, promotions, and training. Our mission is to change corporate attitudes towards people with `different abilities’.”
Diversity Partners specializes in promotional marketing to disabled consumers of products and services, such as accessible rental cars, adaptive hotel rooms, and innovative adaptive medical devices. Company clients include Fortune 1,000 companies such as Cendant’s Avis Rent-A-Car, Johnson & Johnson, UPS, and Foxwoods Resort, among others.
For example, Diversity Partners advised the Cendant Car Rental Group in developing and marketing the nation’s first accessible rental car program, named “Avis Access.” Since this program’s success, Cendant had us consult with their hotel division to make their half-million American hotel rooms more accessible and adaptable for disabled travelers. For Johnson & Johnson’s Neutrogena, Diversity Partners will promote adaptive skin-care applicators for women who suffer arthritis and other physical challenges.
For J&J’s INDEPENDENCE iBOT Mobility System, Diversity Partners developed and produced the INDEPENDENCE Bag, a unique backpack/lap bag suited specifically for this revolutionary wheelchair.
As we said, Adrian is making a difference as she gets more people to open minds, open markets and make waves instead of ripples. As founder and CEO of for-profit Diversity Partners, she has extended her experience and expanded her expertise as a marketer to the disabled, especially as a member of the Women Presidents’ Education Organization (WPEO).
Adrian says, “You always must be trying to be Opening Minds, Opening Markets!”