In today’s Heart of the Hustle Interview, Kristen “KR” Liu, US Congressional Awarded Hearing Loss Advocate shares how she discovered her power path to become one of the leading voices in innovation for accessibility by hiding her biggest secret aka her superpower.
So you are wondering…what’s her superpower?
We’ll get to that in a second.
Let me tell you a lil bit more about why KR is my type of Mama?
For starters she is a “badass”, “disruptor” and “innovator” that have spent the last two decades as a technology executive and a strong advocate and voice championing new products that enhance the way we hear the world. KR was a featured speaker on the Technology and Accessibility panel at the Ellevate Network’s Mobilize Women Summit hosted at App Nexus on June 21,2018 in NYC. KR also spent the last two years as the Vice President of Advocacy and Accessibility at Doppler Labs, the company behind Here One. She was the driving force behind Doppler Labs policy efforts around hearing access. She developed Doppler Labs accessibility go-to-market strategy on hearing health. This initiative led to her collaborating with Senator Warren’s team on new legislation called the OTC Hearing Aid Act of 2017, which was signed into law on Aug, 8th 2017.
Most importantly she opened my eyes to the world of accessibility and the challenges within as an entrepreneur providing a service as well as a mom raising a child.
How did it begin?
Where did all this “badassness” originate?
What’s her superpower?
Diagnosed with severe hearing loss at the age of three, KR spent her youth defining her position in life. Often labeled as “less than” because of her hearing loss (aka her superpower), she often defied the odds by showing she was “more than”- more than a victim or society’s label of what she should be.
So fast forward to adulthood, KR is kicking butt and taking names however she wasn’t being true to herself.
So I know you are asking –Well! What wasn’t she true about considering she spent her adolescent discovering and defining her superpower?
Into adulthood, KR hid her hearing loss from her supervisors and colleagues until he faced her breaking point. The breaking point was she had a major company engagement on the helm and her hearing aid stopped working.
Side note- You talk about knee deep in some ish…..
Unable to be repaired she had to drop over $3k for new hearing aid because insurance coverage did not provide no reimbursement....cero....nada. Depressed, upset and furious about the heroic feet she had to undertake to ensure she could actively participate in her company’s engagement without anyone noticing her “superpower”. Her manager at the time sensed something was wrong and inquired with KR. At that moment – KR freed herself from her secret and became “true” to herself by sharing her “superpower” and the challenge she faced trying to “fit in” and what it costed her.
#MamaLesson right here – Through the transparency of her adversity - she triumphed and blossomed by the way.
So what’s happening with KR nowadays?
KR is a bad mama jamma where she has gone on to be a leader, advocate and innovator for championing tech innovation in hearing accessibility. She has been awarded a U.S. Congressional award; Silicon Valley's Top 40 Under 40 and 2017 Women of Influence; and 2015 Women on the Move by Women's Business Journal for her advocacy work in hearing health and technology. KR is on the board of the Hearing Loss Association of America, Deaf Kids Code, the Consumer Technology Association Foundation, and World Wide Hearing Foundation (Arm of the UN).
KR’s story resonated with me in so many ways.
So where do I start?
Let me start with the “What if” – What if she never shared her truth?
We would never have the dynamic Mama we see today – leading change, disrupting the context of the norm and being a voice for accessibility and inclusion. So Mamas! I challenge to be true to yourself and discover the freedom path its sets you on to unleash your "superpower"
Let me drop the #MamaLessons she rapped to me for moms:
1. Allow your kids the opportunity to explore, experience and make mistakes.
2. Don’t sit on the sidelines of life – Get involved and be a voice.
3. Discover your truth and in doing so you will provide your kids the opportunity to be boundless.
Another set of gems KR shared for emerging entrepreneurs is to remain innovative and consistent in how we service our diverse clientele with “superpowers”.
1. Leverage technology to service clients on all spectrums
2. Don’t forget to seek feedback from clients who are accessibility challenged.
Follow KR on social media at krliu_advocate.
*All photos are courtesy of Ellevate Network*
Ellevate Network’s Mobilizing the Power of Women Summit brought together an intentionally diverse and committed group of people to take action towards equality. Download the Mobilize Women Action Guide here and subscribe to the Ellevate newsletter.
Latosha Frink Harrison is the FoundHER of Mama Hustle & Co. Thru Mama Hustle &Co., she believes in Optimizing the Brand of Mom™ while Redefining Motherhood by providing “mamas” a community to thrive and discover their power paths in entrepreneurship while balancing home and motherhood. She is a native New Yorker whom currently resides in the Washington, DC area with her husband, Troy and their 2 kids, Jewel and Nyles.
Follow her on social media at @mamahustleco and @iamlatosha