26. Janice Lintz, CEo of Hearing Access & Innovations
Hey there everybody. And welcome back to the Eric Mueller. Show, the podcast where we explore. What makes any successful person's inner clock tick today. I'm welcoming yet. Another CEO to the show. Janice Lintz is an accomplished consultant and change maker who works across the hearing, access advocacy, and related political Spectrum. She's the CEO of hearing access and Innovations. A leading company dedicated to helping the world's businesses entertainment institutions government agencies, and mass transit organizations improve. Prove their accessibility for people with hearing loss. Janice is also a consumer education, travel and food writer. She's written for Forbes Magazine. She's also visited 194 Travelers Century Club destinations, and she's on a quest to visit every single country in the world. Listen to this episode to discover why Janice chose to change the world versus lower her standards. She also shares her number one tip to develop a mindset of never giving up. Let's head on over to the interview.
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Alright, welcome back to the Eric Mueller. Show. A podcast where we explore what makes any successful person's inner clock tick today. I have the pleasure of hosting Janice Lintz on the podcast. Janice, welcome to the show.
Thank you. Eric so much for having me.
Absolutely. I'm thrilled. I'm excited to have you on here and I think you bring a really Unique Piece to the Eric Mueller show here because of your background and your, currently an entrepreneur in hearing accessibility space. Would you share a little bit about what you do and maybe the background as far as you know what pushed you into that space. What made you pursue that?
Absolutely, I entered the space as an unwittingly candidate. It wasn't like, I picked this. It picked me. My daughter was diagnosed with a hearing loss. And when the doctor told me there were right after the diagnosis. She said to me, don't worry, they're special schools for her. I hadn't even wrap my head around the diagnosis. When already the bar for my daughter's entire life was lowered. And I didn't really understand this nor was I interested in joining this group. So I decided it was easier to change the world than to change my standards and that's what I said about doing. Once I got my daughter situated with her hearing aids.
Yeah, and I mean, you really like thrust yourself into just thinking about what aspects of the world need to be changed to meet those needs. Not not let's lower the bar, but let's set our goals higher and just, you know, keep ourselves at the same standard is just everybody else because, you know, the world's moving that direction. Action for everyone else to watch it or not for everybody that has, you know, either hearing disability or visual disability. So I think that mean that's very inspirational.
Thank you. It was a really selfish Endeavor. I just didn't want to be part of this group that I just I just felt like the bar was so low and it was just not something that I was interested in and I didn't understand why suddenly a diagnosis changed my friend group. I see my daughters. School group, I didn't understand why our whole life had a dramatically changed. So it really was easier to change the world. Then change my standards. Like I say that and it sounds like a joke, but it really wasn't. Yeah, it's really I was just not changing my life and how we let it. And and so we didn't, I decided to change the world and I have and I think my friends thought, at the time, I was kidding and I was like, I think they've come to realize Now, no, I was not kidding. Yeah, I think how they love me long enough. They're like, no. No, she really doesn't joke about things like this.
You, you were serious about it. Yeah, and you're actually honored People magazine Heroes among us. Back in 2008. You're actually featured in that magazine regarding this experience with your daughter and, and things like that. So I I think that's awesome to. I mean, you're getting recognition from it that had to be kind of a surreal experience to be featured in a magazine like that.
It was really strange because I really had called called the magazine to ask them to profile at the time, celebrity who had hearing loss. And I wanted, I thought we could raise the profile of hearing loss. If we had celebrities, who had hearing loss profile in the magazine and People magazine wasn't really particularly interested in the person I had suggested. And but then the right of wanted to know why. I was so interested in the topic and when I explained what I was doing, She said, you know, we're not interested in the person, you recommended, but we'd like to profile you. And I was like, and then now, I don't think you understand. I'm not a celebrity. Yeah, I don't belong in People magazine. Why would you possibly want to profile me? And she said, because we'd like, to have you as Hmong Heroes among us and I said, I'm not a hero, and I still didn't really understand it, because this was really just a way for our family to function, you know, if you live in New York City. There's no way, you cannot go to all the wonderful cultures, and well, apparently can during the pandemic, but in none pandemic times, I wanted to partake in museums theaters. That's why I live in in New York. And that's why I love traveling around the United States. I wanted to be able to go to like national parks and see, see everything and we couldn't because that access wasn't in place. So, I did this because it was selfish. I wanted to Enjoy life. And I wanted my daughter to have the richness of life. So when People magazine said, yep, that's why we want to include you. I was I was really quite shocked and surprised and truly honored by it.
Yeah. I mean, that's quite an honor and you talk about the solutions that you wanted to do discover in the the, you know, the you wanted to be a solution to that problem for people like your daughter that are facing that challenge of having a hearing disability or, you know, having, you know, hard of hearing or you know, what have you so comes in, comes your company, hearing access an innovation. So share with us, just how that came about and what, you know, what were the steps you took as an entrepreneur to bring that that dream to fruition and to create those solutions to those problems.
Well, you know, it started out that I was doing advocacy and I've done advocacy for 19 years and then post-divorce the judge in my divorce decided. This was my new company. And so, It became a company because this is what the judge decided in my divorce. That I now had a company which was a little odd. This was not meant to be my business anymore than this was just about our family functioning. And so I started working with companies to help them become accessible. And the one thing that I did believe is there is this perception among companies that people with hearing loss or their parents should provide. Information to companies on how to meet those needs companies like apple. Call it feedback. It's not feedback. That's consulting services and people with disabilities and their parents deserve to be paid for those Services because you hire, you know, companies like apple hire interior, decorators and Architects to build their stores. Adding access is another layer within the business and somehow. Yeah, they don't think they need to pay. Hey people, that people should be doing this out of the graciousness of their heart and it's kind of like Taylor Swift had said, you know, we don't ask you for free music or phones or are pot, you know to paraphrase her. Don't ask me for free music when she was discussing Apple, you know, Apple music using her music for free, downloading for free, and it's the same thing. You know, you don't give me free phones. Why are you asking me to work for free and constantly we know fix the problems that companies have. And so I felt that this was an important precedent to start that companies had to start paying for this information. Otherwise just Higher, you know, when they, when they're building stores out or museums. There should be another layer just like they figure out how to turn on the electricity. They should be hiring Consultants. But the biggest problem is that the Consultants they hire focus on disability when they hire disability Consultants, they hire people who focus on wheelchair access because in order for them to turn on open the doors, they need to get a certificate of occupancy. A sea of And physical access is built into the building codes and hearing access is not. It's built into programmatic access. So, Consultants, who work focus on disability, access tend to focus on the physical access and then when dollars are running tight, the place a slash is the places that they could still open their doors and me, it won't be noticed and maybe one day they'll get to it and the first place they slash his they hearing access. And so then When people have to complain, you have people who have to work for free and I really resented it. And I was tired of having to explain to the same architectural firm. So, you know, you had a architectural firm who builds, you know, the, you know, edit extension to the Morgan Museum and suddenly they're building the academy Museum in LA and suddenly, they forgot faxes that they put in in New York City or they forgot, you know, They did other museums in New York City with hearing access to where I work with the same Renzo Piano in Greece. And suddenly they forgot about that same access because they worked in silos and teams and the teams didn't communicate and somehow it became my problem to connect their teams. And I was like, why is a mother having to work for free? Because your team's can't communicate and it's just not appropriate and I deserve to be paid. Yeah, and then it Becomes this conflict of are you an advocate or consultant? And why are the two mutually exclusive? But if you file a complaint about the lack of access people think your drumming up business and that has to be the problem with the Ada is it's a federally unfunded mandate with no teeth, you know, when you go in many cities, you see restaurants with letter grades on Health Department, sprayed, where you see the restaurants and ABC or Out there is no buddy running around checking to see what the axis is for people with disabilities. And so, it's a federally unfunded mandate with no teeth and suddenly a full, some parents. And then you have to file complaints and basically tell companies or museums what they are doing wrong and give them a play-by-play because if you don't, then it doesn't get done. So, you're basically becoming a free consultant and then the place is say this. Is a free feedback and this is an untenable position. Hmm. And nor does anybody want to do this repeatedly? Because imagine if you had a sit-in file complaints, one after another of every single time, there's a problem. It's exhausting. And then, you know, it's making sure you with the right agency. Do you go to the Ada is overseeing by two different agencies, the u.s. Access board in the department of justice, but it's not always. Sometimes it could be if it's in the airport, the d-o-t Department of Transportation or the FAA, or it could even be the Appropriations Committee as I found with the Smithsonian and then you have local state and city organizations. And then some states. You can go to the Ernie General like in New York, but in another state like Colorado you may not be and so becomes like figuring out this Maze of government agencies is really difficult.
Yeah, and you used your your background in business and law degree, your experience as a litigator to, you know, bring to the table and beat this go-to person on all these matters related to people who are deaf or hard of hearing. So, I think, you know, the backbone of your business really is, is rooted in that that expertise you have on the, on the, you know, situation as a whole.
It's interesting. I really barely practice law because when I had my daughter, I had a son who died and then my daughter, almost died and then had a hearing loss. So I barely practice law my training and I don't practice law per se, because I'm on retirement status. So I never give legal advice, but, you know, I am really, I would say trained in keeping track, and I'm super organized and keeping track of All of the different things but it is really complicated for a lay person to sit in navigate. This complex, architecture of the Ada, is really really tough. And I think that's part of the problem and I think business has many times count on it, but I think they're focusing on the wrong idea of viewing it as compliance. I view it. As companies should provide excellent customer service and it's really important for All businesses to give excellent customer service to all their customers including people with disabilities. So even if let's say you throw out the Ada, you want to know that your company is providing great customer service and it should not be just something as a nice thing to have. It should be as a way to make sure all your customers feel like their needs are being met because that's what keeps people returning.
Yeah. Keep some come back. If you're providing. Them with that service that, you know, they've grown to expect from your business. I think that's a big piece that, you know, to hammer home here. Didn't it? Just know that if you are a business owner or a aspiring entrepreneur, you know, wherever you're at in the process. You're probably going to be serving people with it. Either service or product and if you can't convince them to come back. Yeah, that's gonna that your business is going to suffer and a big way to do that in the brick and mortar space is customer service. So I think that's a great point there. Janice. I you have any tips for people listening, you know, if they are business owners or You know, how can you improve your customer service any, you know, road maps, and how you can do that?
Well, what is to understand that hearing access is either one. I was on the phone with someone today focus on the end user. If you want to have its really expensive for customer, retention getting new customers costs a lot of money. So if you have customers, it's cheaper to keep your customers, then to go out and find new customers. And one of the ways you can keep your customers is by provide focusing on the end user. ER, and providing excellent customer service and one of the ways to do that is to make sure your customers can hear. Because if they can't hear the message, they're not going to buy what you're selling. So for people with hearing loss, one of the easiest ways to do. I mean, when you view that 1 in 5 teens has some form of hearing loss 48 million, people have some form of hearing loss 46 million heart hard of hearing. What are the easiest ways to reach people? Who are hard of hearing, who wear hearing, aids, or Cochlear implants is to use something like, called an induction Loop in your stores or at your service counters. That allows the person with hearing loss, to hear the sound directly in their hearing aids, or Cochlear implants from the speaker. And what's crazy is, you see this access in London. You see it in Israel. And for some reason stores here have not. I added the same access which is really bizarre. And it's a culture. It's part of it is it's a culture of It's About Us Versus Them in Israel. And in the UK, it's about us in the United States. Is about them and I think we need to change that mindset because people with hearing loss, don't travel in packs, there's this perception. Like, oh, you won't if you ever Unless you only travel with people with hearing loss. No, it's your friends and family. Every family has someone in it with hearing loss. So if your family can't hear, you're not going to go back, right? Yeah, you appreciate people who provide and companies that provide great customer service. And when people see the ears symbol indicating that induction Loop is available. It sends a message to all customers that we are welcoming places service.
And you helped to do That in New York City. Specifically, I remember reading in your background, that, that you were able to work with multiple organizations in the, in the city to recommend that these induction Loops be used in the subway specifically, and in call boxes as part of a stimulus package that President Obama had. So I think that, you know, taking those strides even even in a small, You Know, sample size. I mean New York City is massive, but you know, one location, you know, you still created lasting change right there.
Yes, I so I worked in New York city, so I live in New York City. I used in New York City as a best practice model, adding the access to museums theaters, subway, information booths, taxis, and then expanded it across to other states. Because once you had a model of Excellence, right? I could then say, okay. This axis is in the Intrepid Museum. It's in places like Moma and then go to state, you know, other states. So like for example in Minnesota, it's in the Mill City Museum. IAM in Tennessee, it's in Graceland in Indiana. It's the Indiana State Museum. But when you say to somebody, so it's in these museums in New York, their name-brand recognizable, museums, and people understand that. So, it's easy, if I say the Indiana State Museum, okay. It's in the New York Historical Society. They know that museum because it's a well-known well-regarded Museum, and then they're going to mirror it. The same for Graceland the owner of Graceland happens, or I don't know if he's still Zip. But he did at the time he lived in New York city. So he had a reference point. And so the people, you know, the people I worked with at the Mill, City Museum, new museums and you are kind so they were able to see it. The access they knew about it at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh. And so once you can get the access in one Museum in a state, it's really easy to expand the access across the state and my goal is for the access to be in all. 50 states and part of the way that we're also expanding the axis is through airports Delta Airlines as they renovate. Their airports is expanding access. So they have it in Atlanta. They have it in Detroit and then once people try to access its it just rolls out across the state.
Yeah, let's let's use this. Let's segue right into, you know, another topic, another passion of yours. In addition to hearing access is traveling. So you have a To visit every country in the world. You've said you've been to 194 of them thus far.
194 countries territories and unrecognized Nations. Yeah, 139 UN countries
Alright. Yeah. Yeah. Thanks for clarifying that. Yeah. So let's talk a little bit about just goal setting and why, this Milestone is so important to you. You know, you're you're actually a guru when it comes to earning credit card rewards and Airline mileage Awards, you know, what's your secret to that? And why is this Milestone of traveling to all these countries? So valuable to you?
Well, Well, I think it's kind of, I just, am I curious person? I want to see every single country. I remember doing, you know, the quintessential post-college, backpacking trip. And once it was my first time to Europe, and I remember being in France and trying cheese. And then, you know, I'm of an older generation. We didn't have the same Quality Cheese. You can get today, you know, the thing Cheese came in a green can or with plastic around it, and I didn't really understand the point of cheese. And then I go to France and I tried it and I ate Ali and I'm like amazed and I realized at that point, I wanted to see countries myself because I've been to so many incredible countries where the perception is one thing and the reality is something else and I love visiting places and meeting the people. I mean, for example, I was in Saudi Arabia, right? After the entire. Irka shogi incident happened, and I try to stay out of politics and just focus on the people. And when I was in Saudi Arabia, people were so welcoming to me. I had women, inviting me to Coffee. They have these beautiful drugs that they, when they go on a picnic, they bring a rug which I had never seen before, and they bring coffee pots. Like literally silver coffee pots and they were inviting me to their picnics. And I thought this is so lovely. Look, my purse. Section from the media was one thing and the reality was something else. And so, part of that is seeing all these beautiful and meaning, lovely people trying to food. And also, while I'm traveling, I'm also tracking Global best practices of hearing access and various countries. That's how I was able to implement the Subways in the taxis in New York because I saw the axis in London, so I'm always working. But one of the ways that I was able to achieve visiting, some of the countries was Frequent Flyer points. As you mentioned, I took out 80 credit cards and earn 2.7 million miles on frequent flyer miles. And that enabled me to travel to so many countries. Yeah. It was kind of, like, figure out how can you do things better?
Exactly? Yeah. I think, I mean, that ties in perfectly with, you know, the entrepreneur piece that, that I want to focus on with this podcast is, you know, what? Like, you brought up a great point of the perception and the preconceived notions you have of a Is or a thing or an idea could be completely the opposite of what it actually is what what it actually, you know, exist, as so, I'm just curious to ask. I mean, how do we, you know, how do we understand people better? How do we know our Target customer target market better? Because it could be totally the opposite? What we think right now.
Honestly, I think it's talking and listening. I was on a call with someone today and I'm not going to help the company but this It was a major electronic company who for example, claimed they were Apple compatible and I was shocked to find out that nobody seemed in the executive office to have a Macbook and they had never fully tested to see that the money I was buying a monitor. This is a completely different thing. I was bought a monitor and it said, it was Mac compatible, and I couldn't get my MacBook to connect to the monitor. And I'm a I'm with the Executive offices team and they couldn't figure it out. And apparently, no one had a Macbook. Well, I don't understand how a major company if you see your Mac compatible have the MacBook tested. Yeah. Well through rate like this doesn't even make sense. It turns out you're missing a wire and I'm not sure it's a company, like, left this out and suddenly realize that you needed an adapter for an HDMI that it didn't say you was missing. But if I think most people never follow through, they make statements, but one of the reasons I think I've been successful is I follow through the rabbit hole of. If I say something I have gone through and tested it out or when people say something and I know it's not true. I tested and proved it. It's not true. Hmm, and I think far too many companies are so quick to churn out new product. They don't test their Stammers service online, they don't pick up the phone and call the 1-800 number. So, when someone proposes offshoring customer service, I think the CEO should get on the phone and try to call the 1-800 number and see what it's like when customer service is offshored as an American. It's frustrating, right? The language. There are language barriers. The people are reading scripts beaks to make sure they stay on message. That's frustrating when you're calling. I want to see. Right? Like yeah, everybody has ever experienced. That is infuriated. And and and when you have to wonder, like, did anyone fully think this through? Yes, it sounds great to save money here. But again, if you are not addressing your customers need they are going to move on to another company who does. Yeah, and I think something sunk great in theory, but nobody ever test it out or follows through with checks it out. And I think people need to get back to customer service. I think this country has really moved very far away from customer service. And I think it's starting to her cussed companies and it's time to get back to customer service.
Yeah, and just gets to the core of, you know, just communicating with people. I mean that's one aspect of my life that I always like to continually improve on is just being able to communicate with other people and know where they're coming from a know where I'm coming from. And it really just helps, you know, a dynamic, whether it's a working relationship or a personal relationship. I found that to be pretty you know, useful in my life just being able to communicate openly with people.
Yeah, but I think sometimes it's even more than that. It's like Google your products. I remember working with a company. Hewlett-Packard, and there was all over the Internet that every time you use the printer, it would print to side it and there was no way to unlock. Make it to have the printer not print to side without unticking, a box every single time and all these people online. We're having this problem of wasting paper and it was frustrating and I contacted the CEO because I'm like, have you seen you this problem? This is annoying. Ringing. And apparently, the code was written in India and no, but the person in India, never thought to Google because it's a different culture and Americans like things their way. Well, apparently, in that culture. They're more accepting of the way. This is the way it is. Hmm, and they didn't even know it was on the internet and I was truly shocked. They fixed it. They rewrote the code and fixed it and now you can Take it permanently. Yeah, which is super helpful, right? You stop wasting paper. You stop wasting, which is really not cool. But you got to Google you product and chat. And if your code having people code in another country, you have to understand the differences in the differences of culture to understand that people in different cultures have different perceptions. And if you're selling your product in one country and, and and the person creating the product is another country. Or maybe a mismatch of values. It's not bad or wrong. It's just different. And if you want to focus on your end user, you actually have to Google your product and stay on top of what the feedback is. And if you see that there's a problem fix it. This to me, seems like common sense. But I think customer companies are constantly. So, eager to churn out new products that they're not looking to how to meet their customers needs.
Yeah, I think remaining on a Competitive Edge. It seems like, I mean even that that previous previous example of saying we're Mac compatible without really having a proof of concept of that. I think probably is just you know, they need to remain on the Competitive Edge and be you know Market, you know competitor basically and so if they don't say they're Mac compatible, they're not going to get anybody to buy it once he's for Mac. But you know how many customers bought that product to then find out that it, you know, I mean, how many calls did you create for your call center saying? This product doesn't work by not testing it out to begin with. So I think that's what
I spent five hours on the phone trying to solve this already. And I mean, not everyone calls the CEO the way I do. I mean, that's my personal Mo, if you want to solve a problem contact, the CEO, but it is amazing to me, but I'm seeing this more and more with companies and it's the same issue whether it's disability access or any other companies are not focusing on the inducer the way they used to. And they need to get back to the focusing on the entry end-user. And I think when you focus on the end user and you deliver an excellent product and you actually test out the issues that what and the claims you claim customers are more satisfied. And then the reviews come in and you sell more product because you focus on the end user.
Yeah, and you got to keep in mind who your end user is Right, which which target market are you? Are you looking at? So, I mean, I think, You with your company. I mean hearing access. I mean that's a pretty niche market of people that you know have hearing troubles or you know, they need they need to be able to hear better. But I'm curious to ask you if I have, you know, a business where I'm creating a product, that is maybe more mass Market or, you know, as could theoretically be used by everyone in the u.s. What, you know, marketing tips or what, you know, what types of strategies would you take with that to know that I'm targeting the appropriate end
user. Well one I would figure out who You're who do you think is your end user and then make sure that they can actually use it. So for example, The in my Monitor situation bright, I have this monitor. It is not easily set up above. All right, and in my opinion, if you have tech people, creating the user manual, right? And you can't get if you can't get Understand the use of animal because it's to Tech complicated. You want to make sure as I joke that like a grandmother can set up their monitor. Yeah, it should be simple and I think sometimes companies also like getting their own head and they think they're talking to their own audience and they should open it up to a much more. It's not simplifying in, it's not dumbing it down. It's just bringing clarity. See the situation but focusing on. Okay, who is your end-user? Are you only targeting tech people are you? Or are you targeting? Let's say, for example, on a monitor lay people who may have no background. Well, if you may have no background then make that set instruction booklet simple. So that someone without a tech background can actually understand it.
Yeah, put it in. Put it in layman's term, basically. Right? I mean make it make it so it's it's easily accessible to people. So kind of comes back to The theme of your company. Mean, you're you're targeting, you know, people that have hearing loss, but that is also going to benefit everybody else. If a company is very, very accessible and can, you know, accommodate everybody? That's gonna help you experience for everyone as a whole.
But it's also if you're talking to people with a, you know, when you're targeting just people, you want to make sure you're targeting people with hearing loss with physical disabilities, and okay. Now, what does that mean? How do you make something accessible? So if you have videos on, Online adding captions to every single video so that they can access it. If you have a storefront, making sure that your service counters have this an induction loop. It's it's walking through but hiring Consultants who have an expertise in the area enough, so you can't just I found it. Fascinating People will hire disability. Consultant who says they do everything, which is really hard to do, you know? You you would never ask. One one of One race to make a decision about another race. But yet we are always asking people of one disability to make a decisions about another disability and people somehow don't doesn't occur to you that that people that that's not an appropriate thing to do until you switch it to race. And then suddenly it becomes clear why that is inappropriate. Sure.
Yeah. No. And Janice. Let's take a little bit different angle now here, so we've talked a little bit about your experience as a traveler and I really just want to To kind of dive into that with, with you being a CEO of your company and also having this Burning passion for travel. How do you balance that? I mean, you have any tips for anybody who is, you know, wants to travel. But also is a they're working a full-time job, or maybe they're a student pursuing. You. I know you're also pursuing a degree at the Harvard Kennedy School. So, I guess, how would someone navigate that challenge of of wanting to travel and get out and see the world, but also have responsibilities, whether it be in business or education?
Well, I start my degree in July and next July so I haven't started yet. But you know one way you can adverse, you know, squeeze in vacation time is if you're going to a conference, you know, if your conferences on a on a Monday, you know, leave Friday night so that you get the weekend, you know, tag on weekends attached meetings across next to Long weekends so that you're already in a destination and Even make a little holidays when you're on a business trip, you know, it's a little harder now with covid, but on a business trip, you know, go to dinner and find like whatever the hot spot of dinner. Don't eat in your in your hotel room, you know, make it as a little vacation meeting. And you know, if let's say your meetings and you have a little break between meetings, squeeze in a museum or book a later flight and go to Eno squeezing something, you know, that maybe is take a walk around the town. I'll get up early and, you know, take a run around the town, you got to kind of squeeze it in and, and, and put in that extra distance, but plenty of people travel for work and they could do it. But even if you're not traveling for work in your own home town, I always do walking tours in my hometown. I want to see, you know, I'm in New York City and the best thing is going on. Great walking tours in different areas. And even if I've already done what I Are all the walking tours, I'll go to the same area with a different guide because different people have different perceptions of the area. Sure this over some overlap, but you know, what sometimes also if I hear it twice, I actually remember it. But different people see the same neighborhood in there is so much history. They so, you know, that's a great way to squeeze in and just your own neighborhood going to museums looking for, you know, Fun odd things in every town. It's a great, you know, you can always squeeze in an opportunity and and then at a minimum go to restaurants from another, you know, Cuisine or nationality, then you typical don't just always do the, you know, this Italian or French seek out. Every area. Has people who have immigrated to the area, go try their specialty and their food first. The bridge has a culture between instead of viewing people as Outsiders. When you taste their Cuisine, you're sitting in the restaurant and you're talking to them. Be open and listen and try to food and ask questions about it. People are really happy to explain their food because they really are happy when you are trying to learn about their culture.
Yeah, and I know you, you know, love to, you know, talk about the amount of love, you have for culture itself. I mean you You, you know, you by traveling and figuring out, you know, the different ways that you can improve your business. That that's one thing but you just have a love for culture as a whole. So I think that's I mean, that's very
inspirational. Yeah. I mean my favorite thing is in yo truck for I love, I mean, I live in New York City. So there's tons of restaurants. There's tons of neighborhoods. I love going into different neighborhoods and trying food from different cultures. I just think and then talking to the people. And I have always found that if you Come in with a very open mind and you're talking and asking questions about like what to eat, or your kind of like, you know, nicely peering over to other people, like to see what they're eating, people will see your interest and and you can start a cup of conversation and say, well, you know, I'm just curious what you're eating. It looks so good. And people will tell you, and I've met tons of so many nice people just being really nice and friendly, I think, you know, and what Will you do if you ask questions with a smile? People are just take it so much warmer when you're asking they're happy to share their culture. I mean, who went when you own a restaurant, you love your food. You want people to enjoy the food and and if somebody doesn't know isn't familiar with that food, people want you to try it. And so they're happy to share with you. And if you, you know, one of my favorite things is to To sometimes ask if there's like, either a tasting menu or if you can order small plates. So you can try lots of things. Not just like one dish and sometimes I've been in restaurants, even in other countries. I remember, I think it was in Somaliland where I had one meal and I'm one person. I can only eat so much food, and I wanted to try a lot of dishes and I asked if I could just buy, appetizers of like all these different dishes that were on. Is. And the guys, the guys just said, you know what, sure, why not. And so he sold me. Appetizer portions of entree is so that I could try like five six dishes because he knew I was really interested in sampling everything. Sure. And I had like my guy who I was with. So I didn't he didn't even know you could do this and I'm like, if you don't ask, you don't know and I had the most marvelous time, really. List, I'm trying so many different amazing dishes. It was wonderful.
Yeah, I think you bring up a good point to of if you don't ask, you're not going to get it. So I think that really applies to to a lot of Avenues in life. And, and really, I mean, from a goal standpoint with, with travel and being a culture lover. So if you were to visit every country in the world, you would be able to put, you know, a cap on that and say I have achieved success in that way, you know, there's a measurable way to say you've done that if you visited every country, you know, there's a numerical things. You could do with that. But Janice what what is your definition of success? As a whole, whether you mean, you could Target this from a business standpoint from a relationship standpoint. But how do you define the term success?
When you're living the life you actually want to live
short and sweet. I love
that. Yeah, I think really is, you know, it's, you know, you can have all the material things in the world. But if you are not happy with them, you're constantly looking for more stuff and there was and I actually She wrote an article about this. There was a point where I had a very materialistic life and you know post-divorce post-cancer. I really had this moment where I had a focus on what exactly was important to me and when I embarked on this two-year sabbatical of traveling, I focused on like if I died tomorrow, what was it that I would be really remiss at not doing, you know, taking my children of course off the table because that's you know, like Given, but like, what about for me? And I realized it was it was traveling and it wasn't about just taking a box. It was I really wanted to see every single place because God, I have the worst case of fomo, you know, fear of missing out. Yeah. God forbid. I'm in a place and I miss something and someone says, oh, did you see that is the worst thing you could say to me? Yeah. Because I will be like, oh, and so I keep these running list on every country. So if I do miss something in a country. You never know when you can end up passing through a country or its on the way to another country and you can make a stop. And if something is really important that I miss, I can add it back in and like so that I could go back or sometimes. I just I just want to enjoy every single place. So for me, it's really not taking a box, but that the end. The other thing was, I always did want to go back to school and to go to Harvard and I just thought my time had passed and I thought, you know, I'm older I'm 58. I just thought like it was a missed opportunity and when my daughter was applying to school and I know she's trying to figure out what schools to apply to myself. Well, aren't you going to apply to Harvard? Because when we had done the college tour, we stopped at Harvard and I thought it was the most amazing school. And I, when I stepped on that campus I Thought. Oh my God. This is just unbelievable. I wish I had that opportunity to go here and it wasn't the right school for her. And so she said to me, if you want to go you go. Yeah. I was like, yeah, I'm going in 58 years old and she's like, why not? And you know, she's like, I think they're you know, this year during the pandemic their way thing. The GRE is and the GMAC son is like really, and I ended up applying and it was a major I didn't expect. It in. But it was a major tick, the box for me of life goals, and I realized you get one life. You want to do things that are really meaningful to you yourself. And so for me, success is my getting to travel the way. I love to travel and doing the things I want to do, like going to school that is complete success to me, you know, and working on the projects that I love that. Success, having another pair of shoes or handbags backs, not success driving a great car. That's not success to me. Just doing the life. I want to live. That is
Success. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it certainly sounds successful to me. If you're able to do what you want to do and lead the life that you want to lead. You know, that really is. I mean, that's a great definition of success. I have a I have another question built off of that that really has become the core question of the Eric Mueller show and that is, you know, the podcast is aimed to explore. What makes any successful. Person's inner clock tick and stay driven. So, I want to ask you Janice. What is the one single driving force? That keeps your inner clock ticking toward success.
I never give up and to me know, is just an it's not acceptable. I just when I feel that there is an injustice to someone or something. I am going to remedy that Injustice and I never ever give up. Up. I'm working. Now. I just one of the projects that I just had a success with last week. Was the over the county hearing aid regulations, which the new proposal I've been working on that project. Since 2009. I was told, you know, I didn't understand why hearing aids were so expensive. I didn't understand why I couldn't get clarity of what I was purchasing for eight thousand dollars and I was determined Herman to figure out why in just because something is been done that way for a long time. To me does not mean it has to continue. And so I was driven by what I view. It is an injustice to people with hearing loss of purchasing really expensive. Hearing aids with no information. And so I am really driven by fixing in justices. And I love doing it and it and people said it couldn't be done. And I think a lot of people underestimate me and I was really, really proud when the FDA published the rules and cited my FDA testimony in the fit footnote. That's what drives me helping people. I really love to help people who I feel are marginalized.
Yeah, and I know that I mean, for, for those of you listening, they'll tag this in the show notes, but you also contribute, your contributor on, tell her she can't.com. So I know that tell her she can't is a book by Kelly Louis, you know, but I think I mean your articles on that space probably have a lot to do with, you know from from a woman standpoint, you know, just basically fighting for for for for Quality. And in a sense that correct?
Yes, and no, it's just I don't like I have always fought for people my including myself who feel marginalized and people, you know, whether it's fixing a printer and getting you know the thing to not print to side. I just want to fix things. I'm a Problem Solver and I really just like when people say it's just been that way. Well, fix it. Yeah. I don't know. You know, I don't really know why, but this is just something that is my personal pet peeve. When someone tells me, it's just that way. Like, no, it's not, and it's going to change. Yep.
Yeah. It's a great entrepreneurial
mind. It always does. I really am unable to solve a problem because I have a really deep stick-to-itiveness to a problem.
Yeah. Yeah, and you mentioned, you know, the drive that you have and just you know nap not ever giving up. So, I think I mean, that is such a powerful mindset to have. And I think it, I mean, I know for me, you know, it's very tough to adopt that into everyday life, you know, 100% of the time. There's there's days where it's it feels like, you know, maybe becoming an entrepreneur maybe is not my future and then I think well, you know, self-doubt and those types of things. I mean, what tips do you have Janice to, to persist through and to not give up, you know, especially in the entrepreneurial Journey you hear it time and time again, you know? It's a Grind. I mean, you might fail. Ten plus times before you succeed. So what advice do you have? For those of us out there that are pursuing entrepreneurship and, and need to know, to not, give up
couple things. One. I never view it and I was having a conversation with a friend recently. I'm Ruth. I never feel like I failed. So when I may not succeed, initially, I just view it as I need to fine-tune whatever I was doing. And so if it didn't work the first time, It just means I may need to work hard and I may need to change something, but I don't view that as a failure. So, for example, with the FDA ruling, I tried filing a petition in 2009, in the FDA, didn't accept it, and I couldn't figure out why. So, I tried again and I tried something else and then when there was an opportunity to testify, I testified and in between had spoken to Senator Warren and then the rule and the law was languishing. So I tried again and suddenly the time was right. It was a different error. And so my petition this year was accepted. So I did few, the 2009 is a failure. It wasn't just the right time and I had a pivot, and I had to figure out how to fix it. So, I tried something else. So, one of the ways of handsomely sometimes, things just, it's just nothing to do with you as a person, it has to do with just timing. So I have You know, how you have them in the GDP? You have a basket full of products, the gross, and I mean, and G MP. The gross national product. You have a basket full of products. I have a basket full of projects projects Now Products projects that I'm working on very diverse projects. And so when one slows down, I moved to another project, sometimes it could be, for example, the people in office, like, for example, in New York City. We have a mayor who, in my opinion. Units. It's can't. I can't move past projects. He's on his way out next week, right? Sure. Yeah, but so, I have to kind of sit him out. Sometimes it could be a president. I have to sit out. Sometimes it could be an industry. I have to sit out. So I have to sometimes move away from a project put that on hold and move to another one and then like the Smithsonian. I've been working on that project since 2005. That's a long time. Yeah, but I maintain it. I maintain a phone log so that when I need to go back to that project, I know exactly where I left off last time. I know the last time I spoke, what the next step is. And so when an opportunity arises, I can quickly go back to that project. So in the current Appropriations bill, there's a paragraph about hearing access in the Smithsonian because I An opportunity where suddenly that project could move forward. Yeah, and I had a history of working on that from 2005. Now, what is interesting is sometimes putting something on hold actually benefits you because for example in the advocacy world you're now going back. And you're saying, listen, I've been working on this project for 16 years. This is insane. And here's all the documentation here. The article I wrote about it for HuffPost the time waiting actually helps you write because that's a long time. Nobody should have to work for adhering axis at the Smithsonian for 16 years, right? Yeah. Year people. So sometimes the delay can actually work to your advantage and but it wasn't like, I was just sitting at my computer screen staring at the Smithsonian project. I worked on other projects in between old. So then by moving and shifting I got I had successes with other projects which helped with my credibility so that when I came back and I returned to the Smithsonian, I had built up this other credibility. That help me boy, you know lift up the Smithsonian. So having many projects and pivoting, and I think that's one thing. You learn from travel is, sometimes you can be on a trip and it doesn't work out quite the way you think it's going to and you have to shift and yet to be flexible and you learn how you may have to change cities. You may not be able to go to the museum. You wanted to because they closed and whatever reason you learn to be flexible same with projects and I think having a lot of projects you're working on. That I helps because you keep your not 100% vested in one single
project. Yeah, I know that resonates with me specifically. I mean I have my hands a lot of different projects. I've got you know a lot of different passions and sometimes I feel like I'm spreading myself too thin, but it's but it feels good to hear you say that, you know, if you need to put one, you know, on a break for a little bit and focus on it later. When you come back to it, you know, in your case, I mean, certain things move with with politics and administrative. Type features but you know your project by just setting it, you know, if you're writing a book and you just set it to the side for a little bit, come back to it later. Your mind might be refreshed and you might have better ideas and you might have a renewed perspective on that. So I think that I really do appreciate you saying that
Janice. Yeah, and I think sometimes you had end up having a fresh perspective that you see things you didn't see before and sometimes a roadblock. There may be an opening within the roadblock that you may have not seen before just because you were too close to it. And sometimes you just it just needs to sometimes you just really can't solve the problem at that given time. And there are lots of reasons why just put it aside, move on to something else and then you come back to it with a fresh perspective. Absolute, I never viewed them as failures. I just view them as putting it to the
side. That's a great. That's great way to view it. I mean, that's a very, you know, that's a very not give up mindset of viewing it. So I appreciate you. I appreciate that sentiment there Janice and I want to be respectful of your time and I really do appreciate you being a guest on the show. Thank you so much for sharing, you know, your expertise and I think everybody will learn a lot by going to your website and reading about your company. I'll tag all of that in the show notes. Everyone definitely go check out Genesis website or Website as well as her company. She's featured in a lot of articles. I mean, she's really, she's got her hands on a lot of cool things. So definitely give her a check out. And Janice. Thank you so much for being a part of the show.
Thank you, Eric so much for having me. I really appreciate it.
Absolutely. You have great evening. You too.
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Voice audio: Written, produced and edited by Eric R. Mueller
EDM music: Produced and edited by Eric R. Mueller