The Hotelier Lounge Podcast By Liat & Shmuel Siegel

with Guest Kerry Thornton of Whole Support Services in this epic episode Talking About Accessibility and Design Within the Hotel Industry


In this podcast episode you'll learn about the ROI of knowing your consumer, caring about their needs, and giving them a one of a kind experience!

Check out the video below or read the episode transcription

ITUNES: http://bit.ly/itunes-the-hotelier-lounge-podcast

Liat Siegel: 00:00

Welcome back to the hotelier lounge podcast. We give you direct access to the world's leading hotel and hospitality experts, helping you create one of a kind experience, generating five-star reviews, increasing your bottom line and setting you apart from the competition. And now your hosts thought leaders in the Interior Design industry, Liat, and Shmuel Siegel.

We're speaking with one of our amazing guests, Kerry Thornton. She's going to be talking to us a little bit about the accessibility and disability industry. She's gonna. Tell us a little bit about who she is, what her background is, and give us some fun insights. So you have traveled a lot, is that right? 

Kerry Thornton: 00:44

Correct. Yeah. I traveling is my favorite expensive hobby. Basically, I work a bit and then I travel and I travel and work and then I just travel and whatever. I love traveling and so I can't kind of ignore what I see just from an occupational therapist point of view. Even when I do go traveling. So I have actually been to all eight continents because New Zealand continent, most people just say seven. I'm looking at the content. Yeah, New Zealand does it. So incontinent, but New Zealand is the only bit that's above sea level.

Shmuel Siegel: 01:28

[I was looking at] Google maps. Right? Because I was looking it up. I thought it was near Australia and I just wanted to make sure. 

Kerry Thornton: 01:28


Shmuel Siegel: 01:35

I did see that. Yeah, it does have that own like landmass under water. 

Kerry Thornton: 01:41

Yeah, and I went to Antarctica and it's funny because most of my development as a human being has come from traveling in the. I was in Antarctica so that was my seventh continent because they hadn't revealed that New Zealand was the aids at that point and um, I had been saving up to go there and I got there and I was like, what is the point of living after this? You know, because you've been to Antarctica! It's amazing! Of course, there are other places that I wanted to go to, but it was such an amazing experience to be in the middle of nowhere. Absolutely, completely, surrounded by sea. And then see this one bird flying over the flying in front of the boat. And so it got me thinking and that was kind of where the vision for my business, Whole Support Services, came from.

So I came back from Antarctica and I did my master's and then I've been setting up my business this year. All the time it's been about the fact that the current systems are not helping people, you know, the current way of doing things isn't working. So when I'm in the health system, we don't get to talk the issues. Like, I mean we don't get to talk about holidays, planning trips, you know, we get to go, oh, here's your bed. This is what we'll be removing. 

Kerry Thornton: 03:11

branding-marketing-accessibility-design-hotel-hospitality-interior design

And we just go basic, basic, basic because of demand. And I just didn't enjoy working like that. I really want to help people actually get through the whole spiritual, emotional, crazy, chaotic journey that having a disability is. And to really keep families together because we're seeing in our outpatient clinics, the three months out of 100 people, you know, 100 people have their partners, six months, 75 people have their partners, nine months 50. Uh, yeah, 25 families, it breaks up families because the systems do not support the family. I mean obviously I'm talking about my experience and some people might argue that they had wonderful support from this country or this service or whatever, but I'm just talking, if it isn't working for you, I've noticed something about isn't even if it is working. 

Shmuel Siegel: 04:14

I'm sure that there are so many times where it's not that adds all that stress and, and we know that. I mean anyone who's, who's been married, uh knows that there's a lot of stress that can come in a relationship, to begin with. You know, especially once the kids are involved and you have all these different bills coming through and now suddenly you have this whole new world of, of our world of things that you have to start taking into consideration and just add all that additional emotional and physical stress and strain on our relationship that I can't. I can't imagine what, what so many of these individuals are going through.

Anyone who's is really dedicating their life to living with an individual with disabilities. I mean, all the more power to them and, and really, uh, I mean it's an incredible deed because it can be really, really difficult for, for, for the individual himself or herself to handle themselves in these situations. So to be able to be supportive and to be able to be there for them I think is really, truly incredible, really incredible. 

Kerry Thornton: 05:16

So, you know, the identity of the person with WHO's acquired the disability and their, you know, their journey and how they need to change their life to keep doing the rules because how do you parent children if you can't speak anymore, children are pretty trixie, you know, and so trying to keep the family dynamics healthy and happy and you know, we know, we know the adverse childhood events increased people's risk of ending up with chronic illnesses and disability later in life. So what they as chronic, right? Sorry, um, what they define as adverse childhood events are something traumatic.


Now, losing your parent as you understood your parent is traumatic, however, you lose them. And so the need is there to talk to the children, to talk to the parents, to talk to the grandparents, the aunts, the uncles, you know, to really get the family involved so that everybody can help these children to move forward. Yeah. Otherwise, we're just putting another generation up for trouble when they hit their forties, 56 months.


Shmuel Siegel: 06:44

It's really a huge one. I mean, I think we're just scratching the surface here because it sounds, from what I'm hearing is there's just so involved, there are so many different aspects. 

Liat Siegel: 06:55

Just to touch on the experience of the consumer coming into the hotels and into your hospitality spaces. In this generation and what we're seeing right now, the trend is a holistic experience. Gone are the days where the hotels, you know, are these mass produced. I mean there are hotels that are, you know, these massive change and whatever.   

Liat Siegel: 07:33

The modern day consumer wants an experience. They want transparency, they want to have this holistic, feeling of love and connection and touch points, whether through texture and design and you know, if a hotel can cater with that experience in a holistic kind of way to people with disabilities, how much more impactful is that going to be in their healing process? 

Kerry Thornton: 08:06

And I think we can also see it as well the consumers. So I'm, well, I'm kind of calling on able-bodied people to do is to go, I'm not going to fly with or stay with or purchase from a company the aisles of treating my fellow human being in a disrespectful manner. That's power that happens. If we see, I think there was an airline with whether it was a fight or there was a couple of them say that, well ultimately, you know, that puts people off because they're thinking, oh, why do I want to go with a company that obviously would do exactly the same thing to me had I been in that? That's what we need to think about. If they're going to treat anybody badly, they will treat you badly. 

Liat Siegel: 09:07

I saw something and it's purchasing and using our spending power as to invest in the businesses and the companies that are heart-centered and that are focused on the holistic approach and that are focused on seeing us as individuals and seeing us as a relationship, right to build that connection with, for repeat business, and I'm not just a number. 

Shmuel Siegel: 09:42

I believe that there's, that everyone has someone in their family of close one I love the one that is suffering from some sort of a disability or another and is impacted by or has been close to someone being impacted by this. I think this is something that can really make an impact, you know, the whole Hashtag  #MeToo campaign. 

Kerry Thornton: 10:04

Very interesting that you mentioned that 'me too' campaign because one of my unpleasant I'm customer service experiences was when I was on a boat and we were on a walk. I'm one of the crew members asked if he could visit me in my cabin. Oh, my God. Yeah. And I was like, great, you've just ruined my trip because I'm stuck on a boat with a guy who is a creep. Yeah. And you know, and again, it's that whole, Oh, it's cultural, you know, I mean, so I report it, but ultimately, no, I'm just, I felt so horrified because disability when it comes to mental health and post-traumatic stress disorder and um, you know, sexual assault and all those kinds of things they can be disabling. But again, it's not in the way that you observe. 

Shmuel Siegel: 11:10

So it would be so powerful if everyone, at least everyone who is able to be vocal about this and start some sort of a hashtag campaign. I'm not sure what it would be called, but uh, 

Liat Siegel: 11:24

We'll have to think of a name and then we'll post it as like a know those headlines that go across the screen while you're watching the news. So we're going to have our editors put that into our youtube video and have that come across the across the screen.

Shmuel Siegel: 11:42

like we said before, it really boils down to awareness. People are not aware of just how widespread disabilities really are because we don't understand what disability really means. 

Shmuel Siegel: 11:54

We don't sound like it covers, most of us, right? So we're thinking disabilities. We're thinking of wheelchairs. Exactly. And, and as a result, most people don't, are not aware that people in their own family their own circles at least are disabled and if, and are impacted adversely because of that.  

Kerry Thornton: 12:22

You can have an impairment which is that you know, you're missing your pinky doesn't impairment. What activities do you need your pinky for? Well, if you're a piano player, you're disabled because you can't play the piano with a missing Pinky to participate and that you work in an orchestra or I mean maybe they don't have pianos. Now, I really don't. If you work in a, um, in a cabaret bar playing the piano, then you've lost your job. You've become disabled by the impairment. But also if on top of that pinky you are also in a wheelchair and you can't access the cabaret bar, you've become and disabled by the environment. People will not be disabled if they are in the right environment. If you have a low on a lower cooker, then you see you. You will not necessarily be disabled in a wheelchair for cooking your meals because you can access the tools necessary. 


People will not be disabled if they are in the right environment.
— Kerry Thornton

Shmuel Siegel: 13:39

Just repeat this because this should be in a blog post when we're going to make this a blog post because we're going to take this content and just put it also on our blog for our visual audience as well. This is going to be a quote. This is everything. Say it again. Say it again, Kerry. Go ahead. 

Kerry Thornton: 14:13

Okay, so you can have an impairment which is something on your body that is not working properly and that may or may not stop you from doing activities. 

Liat Siegel: 14:29

Yep. So you're impaired by your environment. Yes. 

Kerry Thornton: 14:38

Yeah. If you, if you have them, your environment takes into consideration the impairment that you have and the activities that you need to do and the roles that you need to play in as a father, mother, employer, aunt, uncle, you know, if it takes into account those three things, like what is the impairment, so maybe you're obese or maybe you're in chronic pain and you can't walk too far or maybe you're in a wheelchair. That's the impairment. What activities do you need to do? You need to be able to get, get washed, get dressed, make food for yourself. So if we put you in an environment where you can get, get washed, get dressed and make food for yourself, you're not disabled. Wow. 


"So if we put you in an environment where you can get, get washed, get dressed and make food for yourself, you're not disabled. Wow." 


Shmuel Siegel: 15:26


Shmuel Siegel: 15:28

I think this is really, this would be something that, that all other designers or contractors listening to this should really take note of because if you can offer services that when you offer your package to your clients whether it be individuals, consumers or in hotels or other locations, if you are doing that kind of work and you can offer a package, let them know I have a package that specifically is catered for people with disabilities to make them no longer disabled. Right? 

Liat Siegel: 15:28

I'm taking away your disability!

Shmuel Siegel: 16:14

If someone is a chef and what they love to do is cooking and they and they own the restaurant, why should I not have the ability to design for them a restaurant that you're cooking? 

Kerry Thornton: 16:24 Exactly. Actually really possible. The products exist already. 

Shmuel Siegel: 16:28 Exactly, exactly. 

Liat Siegel: 16:28 My mind is blown! 

Shmuel Siegel: 16:33 Just a mindfulness and letting people know that I'm mindful of that. I think that will just perpetuate! 

Kerry Thornton: 16:40


The environment doesn't just mean physical environment. Of course, it means the institutions and the societal norms and what your government does, what your culture does. The environment is kind of social on your family. So that in itself, just people beginning to understand that actually you can, because especially for the invisible disabilities, for example, consequences of sexual trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder, offer veterans and things like that, you know, going into an environment that's maybe perhaps a casino or off the top of their head and being hit upon by waiters with all the flashing lights and bangs and crashes or it's not pleasant and it could be traumatic. It could maybe the problem with tumors, it's not that it's traumatic now, but it brings back. Yeah. And so, you know, people need help and support to work through those things, but they're not going to come and tell every Tom, dick or Harry can. You'd be like, oh, could you please make sure that there are no gun shops in the neighborhood where I'm staying. 

When we think disability, we’re really only thinking of wheelchairs

Shmuel Siegel: 18:00

That's also very interesting because you do have individuals with PTSD with post-traumatic stress disorder, you know, military veterans, etc. And there is a big part of the conversation nowadays.  I wonder what kind of innovations can be innovated to help individuals with these kinds of traumatic disorders that might not be a physical injury, but more of a mental injury, something that was just so impactful that is directing their everyday life?

Kerry Thornton: 18:29

And one of the key things that we talk about if somebody has depression or anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder is, um, in order to help to function, we look at things like routine but also exercise and you know, there's certain work that we do around the different beliefs. But, you know, like we said, right back at the beginning a whole a holiday is a culturally normal activity for most people to take some time out and go away and do something different.

We're excluding people from this situation and you know, actually being somewhere that has a nice look to it. That feels luxurious. You know, can be part of the self-care routines that we might get somebody to start. But the whole idea of somebody else doing the cleaning and going out and seeing all the sights and learning new things, meeting new people and being treated nicely. 

Kerry Thornton: 19:34

That in itself, that creates that love and connection that perhaps somebody with depression feels that they're missing, you know if it's not. Yeah. So it works with the holistic approach and showing the consideration and not assuming that everybody's fine and not assuming that everybody's not fine, but just thinking about if somebody is very anxious or in, you know, in how they talk to you kind of thinking, well, what might be behind this, you know, there are obviously people that are just going to be rude so and so's and that's all.

There are also probably people that, if they're in a very stressful situation have run out of results is except the animal instinct of self-preservation. So if that's what you're seeing from somebody, there are ways that you can handle that. That's still, we both of you with dignity. It's so healing. And it is. And that's what people want. People want to heal. Nobody wants to be excluded and marginalized and prejudice, you know, have prejudIce against them. No, nobody wants to be treated badly. 

Liat Siegel: 20:56

We have a method that we use at Hadar Interiors, called the ROED Method, it's the return on emotional design and basically it's taken into consideration the emotion and the touch points that we have with our environment around us and how it could be healing and, and how, you know, just even the texture and colors and the psychology that goes behind all of that really is a, it's a return on our investments of making our spaces beautiful, making it a space of healing. And that really just furthers, the point of the ROED Method, that it's even more impactful for those with disabilities.

Kerry Thornton: 21:40

Yeah. I'm, why should somebody who has a disability go into a bathroom that looks like the one they had in the hospital. I don't know if you're interior designing hospitals, but hospitals have a function and again, just a medical system that aims to do particular tasks and not holistic experience. 

Liat Siegel: 21:59 We'll see a change in that soon. 

Shmuel Siegel: 22:01

I think that's going to change. Yeah. There's no reason why, if you are a hotel that is offering beautiful facilities while you should have a bathroom to looks sterile, boring, and just functional but not beautiful. Like you said, there's so much available now out there to make it functional and beautiful and there's really no reason to cut back on that. And I think really the point that I kind of keep on seeing that in our conversation coming up again and again in my mind is that the first thing that we can all do that is impactful is beginning the conversation. We should start the conversation.

Anyone who is listening who is maybe disabled themselves or knows someone and if you have the ability within you, I know it's not easy like you said, for everyone to speak about it, but if you have that ability to talk about it and let people know what, what you go through and let people know, the struggles you may face on a day to day basis. 

Shmuel Siegel: 23:04

Just bringing that awareness alone I think is going to really shift people's mindsets like we see that is happening with the 'Me Too' campaign, like that is happening with the campaigns for our veterans rights, social justice. It's really a shame that it's such a massive, massive segment of the population, I'm talking about the entire spectrum which is from A to Z but it's a shame.

Kerry Thornton: 23:33


Like you mentioned inclusion is inclusion. We're not necessarily going to notice that you've taken out the stairs because we're not going to notice, but the people that can't do stairs are going to notice. And the other thing that's very interesting as well as rest homes because they are accommodation and they become people's homes and they're not hotels. Some of them are kind of fancy like hotels, but there is a whole different ballgame. And actually, my masters project was about young people living in rest homes and how they could, if they tried to meet the needs.


Inclusion is inclusion. We're not necessarily going to notice that you've taken out the stairs because we're not going to notice, but the people that can't do stairs are going to notice.


Liat Siegel: 23:33 For our listeners that don't know what Rest Homes are, can you explain?

Kerry Thornton: 24:18 That's a facility where you have probably 24-hour care available to meet your medical needs 

Liat Siegel: 24:25 A rehabilitation center? 

Kerry Thornton: 24:27

No. Mobile and where you live, like a nursing home you might call them or a geriatric care facility. A private hospital or the hospice is, are a bit better because it's end of life care.

Liat Siegel: 24:51 Assisted living? 

Kerry Thornton: 24:52 Yeah. Assisted living. Yeah. But again, they can be quite institutional. They can be not so forward in the design not so fast on the customer service. 

Shmuel Siegel: 24:52 They're there like you said for functionality. 

Kerry Thornton: 25:06

Yeah. Baby boomers are demanding more and there is a very nice trend of them looking better, but still this, the issue is with the customer service and the still pointed that can be done to make them look nice, but what I find interesting is that what we are I'm trying to do is not to speak on behalf of people with disabilities because that's what we've done for yet. So I would be incredibly interested to hear from people who have disabilities in how they want us to speak. 

Liat Siegel: 25:45

Hearing that feedback is so massive. I think the first two action steps that our listeners can take away from this amazing conversation is one, have the conversation, to begin with, bring awareness and be sensitive. And number two is finding out, you know, speak to your consumers, speak to your audience and find out how what you do can play a better role in their holistic healing and just life betterment and quality of life. 

Kerry Thornton: 26:22

Well, you really have to remember is that if you've already excluded that population group, it's going to take time to find them and to encourage them to come in because they are shooting. They did do an internet search. You know, they've never even thought the whole day like you were saying about your father.

It's just a non-issue so that yes, there will be some people that have come to that point where they're gonna make it happen for themselves. Breakthrough those barriers create a holiday for themselves because they are at that point in their journey.

  • But you're also going out and trying to find the people onto that point in the journey and say, how can we help you get to this point where you will take a holiday?

  • Why should it just be in a camp that specifically designed for disabled children, disabled people, only holiday with disabled people?


Shmuel Siegel: 27:21

Right, that's a great point, ...and I think there are... We do have the ability nowadays with technology to find where most people with disability, different types of disabilities are congregating. Because everyone has a place online where they go. Whether it’s a...

Liat Siegel: 27:21 Or targeting them with adds even asking...

Shmuel Siegel: 27:21 Right,

Liat Siegel: 27:21 You know... how can we help you?

Shmuel Siegel: 27:21 And I think that,

Kerry Thornton: 27:21 Yeah!

Liat Siegel: 27:21 How can we offer you this service?

Shmuel Siegel: 27:37

...and it doesn't have to be like you said, it doesn't have to be just by my facility is designed for people with disabilities. It could be regular hotels that have options for individuals without disabilities that should go out there and let people know, hey, you know, you're looking for a place to go. We are in,

Liat Siegel: 27:37 We understand,

Shmuel Siegel: 27:56 ...we understand and our staff is trained to assist you.

Liat Siegel: 27:56 That’s huge!

Shmuel Siegel: 28:00

And to know, imagine that if I knew, if I am just trying to imagine what it would be like and I'm sure I can't even begin, but if I, if I was in a position that I needed real help, I would love to know that the place I'm going to is prepared...

Kerry Thornton: 28:00 Hmmm

Liat Siegel: 28:00 without having to search and call and find out... 

Kerry Thornton: 28:18

Yeah, some people are taking along carers from an institution, from a service and organization so that it's not necessarily that family. so even just, you know, how do those carers, what, where can they go on their time off, you know, how can their shifts be managed? Some things you know there are going to be. Maybe we don't have to start with the people who will have the most complex life situations. 

Liat Siegel: 28:18 Even just taking a step


Just take a step in the right direction, make a change- even just a small change.


Kerry Thornton: 28:50

yeah, just start with the people that are excluded because they can't afford to stay in five-star accommodation, which is the only accommodation that offers them a disability... ..a wheelchair, bathroom. You know, Just giving A few more options. 

Liat Siegel: 29:11

Exactly, and I think that you know, everyone, all of our listeners should know that done is better than perfect. So it doesn't even mean that we need to fully, you know, completely redo our, our spaces and our businesses, but rather take their step in the right direction to make that happen. Get data back from, from our customers, how can we continue to improve... improve a little bit more to think about ...

Kerry Thornton: 29:36

but also, how to go and alter it and then go, oh look, we've all had to do for you and it's like, did you consult us? Did you ask us?

Shmuel Siegel: 29:36 Right

Kerry Thornton: 29:44

are we ever going to come to you because you're so arrogant?

Shmuel Siegel: 29:47

really what it comes down to communication if we collaborate, collaborate, right? Because as long as we're communicating or collaborating with speaking, we were looking for what is needed and then just like, oh, we know we, we're going to put up a little sign on our website saying were wheelchair accessible, but we're going to let you know what kind of services we provide. So if you are an individual with a disability, you can know, hey, we have plugs next to your bed for a CPAP machine. We have, you know, we have the ability for you to come in for an easy access for a wheelchair...

Kerry Thornton: 29:47 To get into the swimming pool,

Shmuel Siegel: 30:20

to go to the swimming pool, or to the shower. You know, if we, if you can let your consumers know that you're listening to that, not just that you are accessible, but what kind of accessibility is you're providing, you're, you're saving them so much heartache and so much, you know, the need to call... the shaming or....

Kerry Thornton: 30:37

Yeah, and I definitely think we have to go. There's a lot of people that you have to go to because it will not be on their agenda at the moment because of their current stress levels and, and the just the too hard basket, you know, so actually even competitions and um, you know, hosting opportunities during discounted rate, just trying to get interesting people in and see how it goes might be attractive to people. But ultimately I feel that in the future we need to not be making life difficult for people. regardless of their age, their gender, their sex, their disability, because that's the right thing to be doing. you know, everybody deserves a chance to have a good life. As part of the human rights act. We managed to ignore so many. I mean, you literally couldn't prosecute all the human rights violations and I don't even know that they will ever be able to bring all of that human rights violations to case and you know, but we don't... yeah, we get together as a community to say that we think that there are some human rights and this is what we think that they are 

Liat Siegel: 32:09 being an example, being leaders. 

Kerry Thornton: 32:10 Yeah, exactly. 

Shmuel Siegel: 32:12

And I think I actually have another suggestion that might really help places that are looking to innovate or looking to offer more or looking to even try it out and connect with the right organizations. They are so, so many organizations out there that are offering currently helped or assisted living for individuals with disabilities. Reach out to them, speak to them, ask them what would you, what would you recommend us, you know, what would you look, what isn't available? What would you recommend us to, you know, to do, to try to change, to be able to care more because instead of reinventing the wheelchair on this case, right? You know, reinventing the wheelchair and trying to come up with a solution yourself. There are so many solutions out there. Speak to the people who know already 

Liat Siegel: 32:12 Or the industries that are innovating. 

Shmuel Siegel: 32:56

I know. I have a, I have friends and family that, that are working in these in these fields that are, that are working in special homes, you know, for individuals with assisted living people with uh, a really.  I mean, they're really low functioning but, but I know there are, I have friends who speak with also higher functioning individuals and, and I know that these places, that's all they do. I mean, they work around the clock to find ways, places they can take the uh, the individual when they're younger to vacation, to have fun and, and you know, connect with them, find out what they're looking for, what, what would make their lives easier and give them special packages. Let them try it out. And, you know, test your facilities, make sure that they can offer what you think they can offer. Exactly. Right. And, and, and really try to try to innovate because I think we started off, is there so much room for growth in this area? And it's not just one for growth, it's a need and necessity and it's something that, that is, 

Liat Siegel: 32:56 it's our responsibility. 

Shmuel Siegel: 33:59

It's really a basic human right to be able to not be ashamed to be able to like another human being go to a place without having to think 100 times over, you know, if this is going to work for me in google researchers to find out if they really have the right kind of facility, I think that, that, that is possible

Liat Siegel: 34:20

And that can be communicated so much through our social media campaigns, through our branding videos of what the facilities are like what, you know, interviewing, in the brand videos, interviewing the staff and, and, and, and, you know, seeing what their personalities are liking if they would be, um, if they would be sensitive to individuals with disabilities or the wide range of different types of consumers coming, coming to, to stay at your, at your space. So, um, yeah, 

Shmuel Siegel: 34:56

I would just want to say, if this is something that you feel that you are not capable of, you don't feel capable of helping individuals with disabilities, you don't feel capable of communicating with them, then I think you should really reconsider the way you serve your customers because if this is something that is not possible in your mind, then you really have some massive, massive holes in your customer service and the way you do your business.

Kerry Thornton: 35:30

It can feel overwhelming, as I  explained its a different spectrum of things. But that's why when I work with companies, I break it all down much more simply. We just do one step at a time. We don't have to take on the world. Just go, "Okay, well, so maybe your clients are predominantly older people and you put them on the 14th floor at the far end, 200 meters away from the left. And then they have to walk another 600 meters to the restaurant. Not so helpful. [Think about] Smart design.

You can start from where you are. And make one change two changes, three changes, four changes. What I really don't want people to do is to think that, 'well, we don't want them anyway' because that's what society has done for years. You know, 'oh, well, we don't want disabled people in my life, in my hotel.' You know, I don't want that to be the attitude. 'Too much work.' It's not true! 

You can start from where you are. And make one change two changes, three changes, four changes.
— Kerry Thornton


Shmuel Siegel: 36:37

Until you realize that your loved ones are amongst them and suddenly it hits home. That's why I think it's so important to really start the conversation. Recognize that you know and everyone knows so many people [that have some sort of disability]. 

Kerry Thornton: 36:50

Yeah, exactly. When you look at it as the full spectrum of disability and a lot of people you know who acquire a disability do not necessarily believe that they identify as having a disability, but if you are unable to complete various parts of your life as a result of something that you are disabled. So if you had depression and you're no longer able to go out and complete, I'm a spot. Join a sports team. It's something that interests you and you're not able to do it because of this condition. 

Shmuel Siegel: 37:36 Or going in public because of your own body image. 

Kerry Thornton: 37:38

Exactly, and that's because society has created as disabled people and created this ideal body and you know, and as I said before, it doesn't help you achieve, it blames you if you can't get it. Most people that are working in the real world, you know, are actually struggling with health conditions and even if you're not struggling now, if you're on the hamster wheel of chronic stress, you will be struggling later and I'm trying to get people off the hamster wheel of chronic stress that's, you know, the crisis of a medical condition. And I'm talking significant medical conditions more so than, oh, you just Broke your leg. That can obviously be stressful and create issues. But the crisis of that is an accumulation of lots of events prior to this for most people.

Liat Siegel: 38:48 We can lessen that through the environments that we create. 

Kerry Thornton: 38:53

And customer service at the bank, you know, all these people that are getting so stressed and crying and floods of tears, you know, customer service is terrible and they're desperate. 

Liat Siegel: 39:02

I'm going to design differently from now on. This is definitely going to change my perspective and the way we designed this is going to change forever. 

Shmuel Siegel: 39:14

I think we're going to try to create a package ourselves that will be much more mindful. We're going to seek this out! 

Liat Siegel: 39:20 This is going to be our next step

Shmuel Siegel: 39:23

I think we should definitely seek out companies that offer these type of facilities, equipment, etc. I mean just overall mindfulness. I think it's so crucial and there's no reason that in this day and age we shouldn't have those things available. 

Kerry Thornton: 39:51

Ultimately it's kind of there but for the grace of God go high. We are going to get older, things are going to go wrong. The things that we want to do and the way that we want to interact with society will be challenged if we become medically unwell. So it's our own best interests to help those people that have already had this situation happen to them because ultimately we're following them. You really want to be self-seeking about it then fine, you're protecting your own future and being able to do what you want to do. But ultimately I'd rather people just cared that well, the people are not being treated fairly. I'd rather people just cared that that was a problem. 


Shmuel Siegel: 40:40

We should use that same tool that people are becoming numb by [the internet] to create more attention and for those who need our hearts, they just need our consideration. They need love. The last thing they need is as us making their life, like you said, more stressful. Well, you know, it's really been a pleasure speaking with you and now we've learned so much. Can you let our listeners know how they learn more about you and your business? How can they get in touch with you? If they wanted to learn about, um, becoming more aware or working with you. 

Kerry Thornton: 41:13

Yeah. Absolutely, I'm really excited to work with anybody that actually cares about others in the world. So, um, my... because I'm in New Zealand day, I'm on a different time zone so, um, obviously we do have to do a little bit of thinking around meeting up, but my email address is wholeservices@outlook.com and hopefully, you can maybe put it somewhere. We're going to put it in the show notes. Um, and I do have a facebook page called whole support services that also in the show notes and I have a website which is still reasonably on the construction, which is wholesupportservices.co.nz. perfect. And I'm on LinkedIn under Carrie Thornton. 

Shmuel Siegel: 42:23

Perfect. Okay. We'll put all of that information and anyone who wants to connect with you, anyone wants to just learn more, like you said, and become more mindful. And then 

Kerry Thornton: 42:31

I'm definitely used to working on skype and video conferencing. I mean, I'm not going to object if somebody's flying me to their hotel, but I'm used to doing things over the internet, 

Shmuel Siegel: 42:52

Especially if our listeners have the right kind of hotels and facilities, we invite Karry over. So, um, 

Kerry Thornton: 43:01

well, and also I know the people that are looking for knowledge about these facilities. Exactly. So yeah, 

Shmuel Siegel: 43:11 you're the right person to invite to their hotel. So 

Kerry Thornton: 43:14 I will not object to that at all. 

Liat Siegel: 43:18

Yeah. So, oh my gosh, it was really, really a such a pleasure having you. And um, I think that we're definitely going to have you on again in the near future. 

Kerry Thornton: 43:33

I really, you know, I know that it can feel overwhelming for people, you know. Oh, oh my gosh, don't feel bad if you've been a terrible person before, that's ok. [Liat-Laughing] You know, we're just learning and growing, we've all been inappropriate. 

Liat Siegel: 43:54

What's important is that we're evolving and growing and that we, you know, I think that's the whole point of podcasting and interviewing people is I love this. my husband and I love this so much because we get to learn and we get to become more aware and remove a little bit more and more and more of our ignorance.

I think that our listeners are going to be the type of people and their ethos is just... you know, that they're caring, loving people that want to make the world a better place. I think those are going to be the people that are going to be attracted to our podcast because specifically we're talking about innovation and to be innovative, you need to constantly.


You have to be of the growth mindset to think and be an expansive thinker and always want to learn and always want to grow and always wanting to improve yourself. And people that listen to podcasts are always people that want to improve themselves because they're like, well, what can I learn now? How can I grow? How can I improve? 


"You have to be of the growth mindset"


Shmuel Siegel: 45:02

And I, I know, I mean I've worked in restaurants and I've, and I've been around many of these facilities in the hospitality industry and like you said, there's so, so, so much room to improve and to move forward. I mean I know that everyone has heard at one point or another about people who have the Seeing Eye dogs, you know, having issues getting into facilities like that. So I think just starting the conversation alone is very powerful. Becoming aware of the needs of individuals with special needs I think is, is huge. 

Kerry Thornton: 45:31

So many. There are so many things that are available to discuss and to think about. And so it really does help to kind of have a plan and have some guidance to think about things and have that discussion with the communities that you're trying to help rather than just kind of in your own head what they might possibly want. 

Shmuel Siegel: 46:01

Correcting the old myth, don't do for others what you want to be done for you, but do for them what they need to be done for them.

Kerry Thornton: 46:08


What's also very interesting is that you know, we come from a society that has only very recently begun to change, you know, people have been asking for change for centuries and now it just feels like it's moving a bit faster than those previous centuries.

It's making up for a lot of time to make fast forward right now. Yeah, exactly. So, you know, nobody needs to feel bad. You are, I mean this is the perfect example of how you are part of your environment. If your environment has never made you think about these things, right? Because that's the way it works on a social, political, economic level.

Then why would you?

One of the things I'm, when I'm working with the families is that I'm actually saying, you know, the development of a chronic medical condition or a, um, acquired medical condition. It's a spiritual process because it throws your whole wild out of sorts and you are forced to grow. You just ignore it. many people might get away without growing. They can just do the humdrum same, same.

They don't have to think too much about personal growth and development. when this is what's in your family, and your family is at risk of being torn apart, you have to grow. Yes, but I'm the actually provide the support and the sort of services that are heart-centered are there to help people. 

Shmuel Siegel: 47:39

It's really something that I've, I've observed firsthand, um, with uh, seeing families with children with a disability, the ones who, especially the ones who brought them into their home as foster families. The impact that these children have on the family and not the other way around.

I mean, of course, we know the other way around that these families have provided so much and given so much to these children.

But the impact that these children have on families that bring them in is so massive. I see the kids and the parents, you know, they have such massive hearts and it's the mindfulness that the, that these children bring into the family. The heart, the care, and understanding is something that we can all use. You know, a lot more. And, and, and this is what your business really focuses on, correct you, your business really helps it consults with other companies to help them be more mindful of the needs. 

Kerry Thornton: 48:29

It's two-fold. One is that I'm working with companies to help them, um, improve that facility, that facility. The other one is I work directly with families that are struggling as well because again, you know, and also if you know, if I've worked with you on your facility, well then I go to a family and I'm like, hey, this is the only facility I know of because you know, because I worked with them on, you know, here's two or three in this area. But this one I've met, I've heard of, I know this is one that I think could help. 

Liat Siegel: 49:08

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