“How did you get this job at the International Orientation and Mobility Online Symposium?”, one of our planning committee members asked the other day.
I shrugged, not knowing how to answer her. “I made it up!” I said.
It has been a long time since we got to chat about what I am up to now, so I figured we could sit down together, grab a cup of decaf coffee or sparkling water, and chat.
What I am up to now
The last we talked, I went on facebook live and shared that I was leaving my full time O&M job of 11 years after seeing a puzzle of an orange butterfly. (Here is the video of that post)
To me, that orange butterfly was the sign that I had asked the universe for.
Earlier that day (of the puzzle sighting), I had asked the universe for a sign if I should quit my job. I asked the universe to show me an orange butterfly if I should leave my teaching position. About 3 hours later, I walked in to our administrative assistant’s office and there it was- a large puzzle of a butterfly. The funny thing is, the butterfly was the only part that had been finished.
So, I saw this orange butterfly, and put in my resignation a week later.
The business side of things
As we were planning the conference last year, an Orientation and Mobility Specialist who has been in this business for many many years made it clear that they did not think I could run a conference on my own.
To be fair, if I were an O&M Specialist with no business background, I don’t think I would believe in someone else to do it either.
Luckily for them (and all of us), I ran an online business teaching yoga to moms for 3 years prior to starting our conference. Not that I am the best at business. Heaven knows I have more than my fair share of areas of growth, but I understand the fundamentals of how to create something that is sustainable for all of us.
To be honest, I *love* business. I love being in the back end of my business. I love writing emails, sales copy, designing my website, and figuring out systems.
Most of all, I love getting to chat with each and every one of you every week. That’s the best part about owning a business- the connections.
Back to May. I quit my job, finished out the year, and worked summer school.
Which leads to this school year
For this school year (2018-2019), I am the Orientation and Mobility Specialist at a charter school here in Austin and for a school district out of town.
To be honest, becoming a contract Orientation and Mobility Specialist for an entire district where I am the only one has been a challenge. I was used to an integrated transdisciplinary approach that was embedded in our schedules.
Now, I have to figure out how to get in touch with the other team members when I have no access to the system, or even their names.
Luckily, we just signed on a TVI for both places and I am more than thrilled! (I got my temporary TVI certification to bring over to Texas. But, it felt really hard to manage being a brand new TVI as a contract staff when I was having a hard time being an O&M Specialist as a contract staff).
What is happening with Allied Independence?
Come August 1, we had our Study Groups set up and ready to accept registration. The Study Groups are our continuing education opportunities where we deep dive in to one subject. Where the Symposium is a broad overview of many subjects, the Study Groups allow us to dive in to the technicalities and the teaching strategies used for one specific topic at a time.
We meet once per month for a webinar, and then meet every 2 months for session where everybody shares their strategies.
That way, we are all learning from one another.
The study groups are going really well and I am pretty sad that they are ending this week. Our O&M Specialists have had a lot of successes this semester. I truly could not be more proud of them!
But now we get to focus on making the International Orientation and Mobility Online Symposium the absolute best for you.
Running this conference gives me such great joy. I wish I could fully express it to you.
As of December 1, we have over 300 people signed up for the Symposium! This community absolutely blows me away!
Allied Independence is growing!
We were also able to hire an assistant who is the absolute BEST! Alecia, our new assistant, is a Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist who is getting her doctorate from Texas Tech University. She is taking care of the behind-the-scenes aspects of our Study Groups and our Symposium.
You may even start to see her respond to your emails when you have a customer service question. Yes. I trust her THAT much! Alecia is a blessing to our growing team and we are so lucky to have her.
If you want to connect with us more, leave your email below get a Sneak Peek of the International O&M Online Symposium. This will also allow us to send you emails sharing information as it comes along.