In this powerful, uplifting interview, I talk with Katie and Steve Banister, two extraordinary disability educators and co-founders of Access-4-All. We explore their remarkable story of tragedy and triumph, what it takes to follow a passion or dream in the face of adversity, and advice they would offer to anyone who wants to play bigger in their life and career. In the process, we explore the surprising ‘crash’ that sometimes follows a huge success, strategies for getting unstuck, and the incredible, healing power of listening.
Come join us for the delightful stories and stay for the amazing insights. You’re one <play> button away from a wonderful listening experience.
Two degrees of separation. That’s how excruciatingly close (and equally far) I was from securing an interview with the inimitable Katie Banister. What were the chances the beloved speaker, playwright, poet, actor, songwriter, and disability educator would say yes to my invitation for an interview? And what were the chances her equally impressive husband and business partner Steve would join us? Those were two of my many questions as we planned for Season 3.
So, I did what any self-respecting podcaster does when she’s driven to the edge of distraction. I reached out to a dear friend (whom Katie and I shared as a webmaster) and asked for an introduction. At the time, Katie was only days away from opening night of her exciting, new play Roll With It! which is based on her incredible personal story. In classic Katie fashion, she responded immediately to my invitation. And just like that: The gracious Katie and Steve Banister said” Yes!”
To say that Katie and Steve are exceptional is an understatement. They’re also refreshingly honest, warm, and witty.
At the age of 25, Katie was critically injured in an SUV rollover accident, which left her a quadriplegic, paralyzed from the waist down. After six months of rehabilitation followed by 15 months of living with her parents, she returned to independent living, built a career in the corporate world, and later launched her work as a disability educator and advocate. Her husband Steve is an equally formidable disability activist. After a chance meeting one day on the steps of the state capitol, their lives and work would change forever.
During our interview, we talk about their incredible lives and work, including the unusual way they met and the kiss that virtually rocked their worlds. One of the most poignant moments of the interview is when Katie talks about her surprising ‘crash’ at the end of her play’s first run. You’ll be touched by her honesty and candor as she shares her experience, and you’ll appreciate her thoughtful advice for navigating those unexpected moments.
Two of my favorite parts of the interview are when Katie and Steve talk about each other’s superpower and kryptonite, and the person with whom they would most love to spend a day on a desert island. You’re going to love their stories, their witty banter, and their thoughtful wisdom.
Fun Facts: Opposites Attract
- Katie used to be cold, and Steve was always hot – now the situation has switched, and it cracks them up.
- Steve is 5’9 and Katie is 4’11, which makes moving her from her bed to wheelchair easier than it would be if their roles were reversed.
- In high school, Katie was voted ‘Most Likely to Win an Oscar’ and Steve, ‘Most Likely Watching’.
- Steve can fall asleep in a minute, and Katie can take hours—yes, she’s jealous!
- Katie’s fast. Steve’s slow. But they’re always together.
Quotes by Katie + Steve
Katie: “Our passion is to educate. And I love it when a child or an adult, when I tell them how I do something…and I can see them go, ‘Oh.’ Either they’ve learned something or ‘Oh, I can apply that.’ That is exactly why I do what I do.”
Steve (on following a dream): “You definitely have to be open to whatever comes your way and go with your gut. As long as things feel right, then it’s the way to go. If you have trepidations about it, then you need to think twice about it.”
Katie (on navigating the highs and lows of big successes): “If you allow yourself some time and be with whatever you’re feeling, don’t deny your feelings, and [if] you take care of your mental health, the next big thing can happen. And that’s how it starts.
Steve: “If you have bad things happening in your life, you need to try to get those out of your head, get counseling, or figure out a way to get yourself in a positive place. And you have to listen to your gut.”
Katie: “Like anybody in the world, I wish I had more money because I would do much more for the culture of disability than I’m able to, but listening costs nothing, and it makes the world a better place.”