As part of our experience with the MN Cup Competition, we were asked to create materials about our organization, including a video. "Create a one minute video that communicates the essence of your business," the MN Cup Committee instructed. A deceptively difficult task. Where do we start? With our recruitment model? With our training program? With our unique business partnerships? What is the most important thing?
It took the staff at Flint Group, who created the video, to bring the focus back around for me. "Could we tell your story from the perspective of someone with autism?" they asked, "would one of your Specialists be willing to do the voiceover?" The most important thing. The incredibly talented, under-utilized, most important thing.
Forrest, one of our Specialists, agreed to be "the voice" of Mind Shift and I had the delightful opportunity to spend the afternoon with him and the Flint team in the recording studio. It wasn't the first time Forrest has impressed me with his patience, his professionalism and his sense of humor. He pointed out that some of the script didn't resonate with his life experience. With a sheepish grin, he corrected some grammatical errors and then graciously recorded a multitude of takes. Forrest was able to fit an almost inhuman number of words into a mere 60 seconds.
Forrest stepped out of his comfort zone and into the recording studio to help us share the Mind Shift story. My time with him emphasized, once again, that he is not a diagnosis, but an intelligent, funny, precise, unique person. A person that I, as an individual, don't want to miss out on knowing and that we, as a society, can't afford to miss out on employing.
The people. The MOST important thing.