Interview with Donald Bailey
How did you begin your speaking career?
I really haven’t looked at my speaking as a career. It is something I have done most of my adult life. I have always been comfortable talking about things I believe in from sports, to investment opportunities to the issues of raising a child with a disability.
What’s one thing people often misunderstand about autism?
I love the saying ,”if you’ve met a child with autism, then you’ve met a child with autism.” While people on the spectrum do have similar personality traits, they also have their own unique personalities. They each are their own person and they are all different.
What would you like to achieve in the next 5 years?
My goal for the next five years is to continue providing hope for families by helping them understand that their child will continue to grow and learn and may have the opportunity to go to college and have a job and be independent. By sharing my experiences as a father, an investment adviser, and an advocate for the special needs community, I think I can help families simply by understanding and talking their language.
Describe yourself in 3 words – why these words?
Describing myself in three words? Passionate, motivated and honest. Helping families with a disability has become my life. The lessons I have learned as a father raising a son on the spectrum has been eye opening. One that has motivated me to share my life experiences so others will have information that will help them navigate the issues of raising a child with autism or any disability.
I have always been a motivated individual. Growing up in a poor family helped me understand the importance of getting up, getting out and working hard.
I grew up being motivated to be successful and continue to have the outlook that the glass is half full. I learned early in my life being honest was probably the biggest asset a person could have. If you aren’t honest, then you are not trustworthy.
What types of unique experiences have you had as a result of your profession?
The unique experiences I have had professionally is the personal relationships I have built with my clients. Managing families’ financial affairs and having their trust is not only unique, it is also rewarding and it validates who I am professionally. I have met many people from many parts of the country, have been involved in education from K-12 through college and was able to help develop programs on the collegiate level, so young people who have an intellectual disability, can attend college. My profession allowed me the opportunity to pursue that while maintaining my advisory practice.
Who and what inspires you most?
My family has always been my inspiration. As one of five boys I was always inspired by one or more of my brothers throughout my early life. My wife, daughter and son inspire me daily to be the best that I can be in life. Doing what I can to make our world a better place for all families who have the challenge of raising a family member with a disability is what gets me out of bed every day.