Bill Barkeley’s story serves not only as proof of the incredible advances in hearing technology but also as a great motivator to other people – with and without disabilities – to reach for their dreams. Bill is one of 20,000 people in the United States and 100,000 worldwide who suffer from Usher Syndrome, a condition characterized by hearing impairment and progressive blindness. Bill completed a climb of Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa as a project for the deaf-blind. He has been featured on local, regional, national and international media such as WOODTV 8, The Grand Rapids Press, Faith Magazine, Hear The World, Healthy Hearing.com, Sierra Club Radio and Good Morning America. A film documentary by Josh Levine, Walk Your Own Path – Bill Barkeley’s climb of Mount Kilimanjaro, has been released to the adventure film circuit and was in the July 2008 edition of Outside magazine.
Bill Barkeley graduated from the University of Southern California in 1984 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. Bill was Director, Sales and Marketing, at Steelcase Inc., a Fortune 500 company, for 25 years with leadership positions in Seattle, San Francisco and Grand Rapids. Bill currently travels the world as an adventurer and storyteller to promote education and awareness around hearing and vision loss. He is on the executive committee of the Hearing Loss Association of America (Grand Rapids chapter) and serves on the Board of Directors of Metro Health Systems, which is the fourth largest employer in the Grand Rapids, Michigan, area.
In 2009, Bill was awarded the James O. Goldsmith Pioneering Spirit Award. This award was created to recognize an individual or organization that passionately and selflessly works to break down the barriers that limit accessibility to life. Through pioneering spirit, focused determination, innovative spirit and tireless effort, the recipient creates or improves a product, process or service that opens the door to adventure for others.
Bill does motivational speaking around the country to corporations, schools and nonprofits. His presentations to all groups focus on building a “Life Without Limits” and four major themes of Overcoming Adversity, Planning, Excellence, Community, and Teamwork.