Stef Barber takes every day challenges and turns them into opportunities to create a better world for her community.
Born with spina bifida, Stef was introduced to Rick Hansen at age nine. Through Rick's Inspiration, Stef got involved with wheelchair sports and went on to compete for Team BC in Wheelchair Athletics at the age of 15.
It was in sports that Stef found out more about herself and her abilities, accomplishing more than any doctor could have expected for her at birth.
Today, Stef owns her own accessibility consulting business, Success Ability. Together with the former mayor of Saanich, a district in Greater Victoria, they created Victoria's first accessible beach and an inclusive playground. Their efforts have brought the community together, showing the abilities and similarities that lie within everyone.
1. Describe yourself in five words.
Determined, proactive, neighbour, stubborn, and adventurous.
2. What are you most passionate about?
I'm passionate about advocating for and creating inclusive communities
3. If you could change anything in the world, what would it be?
I wish people would see the person first before the disability.
4. What is your favourite quote?
"Every time we reach an obstacle, we believe with all our hearts that somehow, someway, there is a way over it, under it, around it, or through it; but somehow there is a way. We just have to find the key. We control the key." – Rick Hansen
5. Describe a challenge you have overcome.
Overcoming my daily challenges with accessibility and society's attitude toward people with disabilities has inspired me to be the change to advocate for better access and create inclusive communities.
6. If you could remove one barrier what would it be?
Disabilities aren't only what you see, nor do they only affect a specific group. We are all able if we set our minds to something.
7. What are you most grateful for?
I'm most grateful for the challenges and experiences I have had, they have made me the person I am today.