Infectious, Inspirational, and Courageous! These are only 3 of the many positive ways that may describe Monica Gartner.
On February, 21, 2019, the Canada School of Public Service had the distinct honor of hosting Monica, a fellow public servant at a Nationwide Armchair presentation on the topic – How Diversity & Inclusion Relate to Superior Customer Service.
With humor, realness and gusty openness, Monica elaborated on how a one size solution does not fit all. Using her life, she shared personal experiences of navigating in a world where multiple barriers and obstacles exist for those with disabilities. By the end of her presentation, there was a deeper awareness of the need for inclusiveness as it relates to how organizations and society can be more sensitive, and responsive to individuals’ needs.
What stands out most is Monica’s resiliency, her positive approach to the challenges she encounters daily; but more so – her perseverance in overcoming.
Delores Callender-Taylor, Regional Learning Advisor, Canada School of Public Service
“In my search to find some enlightening and entertaining speakers to present to an audience of 100+ at my program’s Diversity Day, Monica Gärtner was one of my first requests. Although I had never heard her speak publicly, I suspected she would be a terrific fit. Needless to say, I was not disappointed. Monica spoke candidly about her inspiring story that touched everyone in the room. She was open, genuine, funny and left us with a deeper understanding of the monumental challenges she faces everyday. I even had an audience member write me to let me know how much she was moved and impacted by Monica’s story. I would not hesitate to have her speak at any of my future events. She is a joy to be around and a woman whom I greatly admire.”
Yvette Meyer, Specialized Investigative and Operational Police Services, BC RCMP
“Monica Gärtner was a guest speaker at our ConnecTra Workshop at the Roundhouse Community Centre on September 22, 2016. As a published author, she made a presentation on her book entitled, Overcoming The Impossible: A Life of Trials and Triumphs. I found Monica`s presentation to be very informative, engaging and entertaining. As a guest speaker, I can recommend her wholeheartedly without reservation.”
Stephen Street, ConnecTra Coordinator – Disability Foundation, Vancouver BC
“This was our largest coffee group meeting thus far and guests from Richmond and Vancouver came specifically to listen to you. Hearing your story about your book was both real, funny, inspirational and thought provoking. I was surprised at the interest that came from the question of how does one have a book published. It’s part of the story; yet, I had not realized how important that piece was to the puzzle until yesterday. As always you are a bright shining star and spending time with you is like the sun shining through the clouds on a Spring morning. Thank you for taking the time to spend a few minutes with us.”
Vivian Garcia, Peer Mentor – Surrey Bean There Coffee Group Spinal Cord Injury BC
“I have known Monica and her family for many years, so it was with great joy and anticipation that we invited her to speak at our Women’s Ministries Meeting at Bethany Baptist Church. She speaks with humour, courage and fearlessness about her life – the challenges, the hurts, the successes, the love. She encouraged us with her strong faith and lack of self pity. Monica is an accomplished speaker with the ability to keep her audience riveted on her story. Our ladies were of all ages and backgrounds, but Monica’s testimony was a blessing to each one. It was a joy to have her with us that evening, and many took her book home to read her story in more detail.”
Heather Senges, Women’s Ministries Coordinator Bethany Baptist Church, Richmond, BC
“When I first saw Monica Gärtner wheel into our Sanctuary in her motorized chair, I have to admit that I thought, ‘Oh, mercy, how is anything we are saying here today going to minister to her.’ But then I heard her laugh at one point in the Service; an infectious, joyful laugh; and thought, ‘this lady is going to minister to us.’ And then I had a conversation with her. Oh, my! What a beautiful human being! So full of hope. So full of vision for the future. So clearly full of Life. After reading her story, I know why. She has found Life in wonderfully full measure. Read her story and you will never look at another human being the same!”
Rev. Dr. Darrell W. Johnson
Director of the Centre for Preaching, Carey Theological College, Vancouver, BC
“I have known Monica for over 10 years. My first memories of meeting this remarkable woman was the sound of her voice, especially her laughter prior to actually seeing her. When you first meet Monica, you may only see her disability and wheelchair. Within minutes this barrier is gone and you are deep in conversation with someone whose eyes sparkle, who is curious and attentive, and wants to have every experience that life has to offer. I remember when Monica was told that she needed a degree to get a certain job, she went and got it. When told she would never drive, she went and did it. Monica has done more in her life than many able bodied people have. She has a spirit of generosity and adventure that keep her positive and forward looking. A number of years ago I told Monica that she should tell her remarkable story. In her usual style, she has done more than that. She has written a book, started a charitable not for profit organization and is on her way to television and radio interviews. She is not one to be held back or held down by anyone, least of all herself.”
Wayne Rawcliffe, BA, BEd, MBA, EdD (cur), CHRP Educator, Speaker, Facilitator Senga Consulting Inc.
“I believe Monica’s book will be inspirational to each reader. The conversational style helped me feel part of Monica’s family and learn how she overcame incredible adversity to become a gift to many. As a parent of a son with a disability, I enjoyed Monica’s stories of how her parents loved one another and loved their children. The power of love is a gift and it definitely is a main reason Monica has thrived. I was honored to read her story and I hope many people will read it.”
Gigi Devine Murfitt, Author of Caregiver’s Devotions to Go and Co-author of My Message is C.L.E.A.R.- Hope and Strength in the Face of Life’s Greatest Adversities.
“Having known the Gärtner family for years, I’ve had the privilege to witness a living illustration of the type of Godly graces described in the Scriptures as “faith, hope, and love” the greatest of those being love. Some might read Monica’s story as a profile in courage, and they would be right. But on a deeper level, her story is not hers alone. It is a story defined by a unique and powerful model of a family and a community knit together in that godly bond called love. The Chinese philosopher, Laozi, once said that “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” Monica’s story stands at the nexus of the two as one who has been deeply loved, and who loves deeply. Such a story needs to be taken to heart.”
Dr. Lyle Schrag
Monica Gärtner is a force of nature. In my years of knowing Monica and coaching her in wheelchair dance, she continues to be a light of inspiration and a constant source of joy to anyone who knows her. Monica is an entrepreneur, owns her own home, and travels the world. She is a consummate entertainer, actor and motivational speaker. When Monica enters the room her energy and presence enter with her. For any woman, all of these positive traits would be considered outstanding. Monica does all of this from her chair. I will always picture Monica as she whirls and races and laughs her way through life. Monica Gärtner is a true treasure and one of the diamonds in my life. Thank you Monica.
Toni Triplett, Canadian Wheelchair Dance Academy Artistic Director and Principal Instructor