Over the past few years, there has been a lot more discussion about inclusion in the workplace. However, an aspect of this that is often overlooked is how businesses can be inclusive on individuals with disabilities. While the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) requires reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities, it’s not always clear what that looks like in practice. In addition to what’s legally required, what best practices can businesses utilize to make the workplace more welcoming and inclusive of people with disabilities? To answer this question, we are talking to business leaders who have unique insights on “How Businesses Make Accommodations For Customers and Employees Who Have a Disability.” As part of our series, we were delighted to interview Amy Suzanne.

Amy Suzanne is a Founder and CEO of Pink Stork – a women-owned + women-operated company supporting women on their journey to motherhood. But more so, she is a wife and mama to 6 kids, whose motherhood journey has been filled with obstacles from infertility, severe morning sickness, and a deathbed scare, all with military deployments complicating these challenges. The most recent part of her journey has been navigating raising her youngest, Maximilian, who has Down Syndrome. Through this, she has learned that we can all make a difference in the world and she desires to advocate for the Down Syndrome community. 

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you ended up where you are? 

My journey began with a dire diagnosis and a bleak prognosis. Doctors told me I might never conceive, but miraculously I was able to get pregnant. During my first pregnancy doctors gave me just 24 hours to live. 

During that pregnancy, complications arose, and I contracted a severe blood infection from an IV line. Both my baby and I faced a life-threatening situation, but with faith and trust in God, we pulled through. Dealing with Hyperemesis Gravidarum made it even more challenging—less than 2% of women suffer from this condition, which causes severe nausea, vomiting, and weight loss.

Through subsequent pregnancies, I battled debilitating Hyperemesis Gravidarum physically, mentally, and spiritually. It wasn’t until I sought holistic solutions, working with doctors, my mom (a registered nurse), and other professionals, that I found relief. This is how I created Pink Stork, I knew many women were going through issues during their journey to motherhood. I took what worked for me and developed all-natural products to support women through fertility, pregnancy, postpartum, and nursing. 

Now, I have six beautiful children, one of whom, Maximilian, has Down Syndrome. My struggles highlighted the need for a supportive community focused on maternal wellness. Motivated by my journey, I founded Pink Stork, aiming to provide hope and support for women in motherhood.

My story stands as a testament to the power of faith, resilience, and community. With unwavering determination and support, even the darkest times can be overcome.

You are a successful leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

  • Ability to prioritize. When I first started my business, I was juggling 3 kids under 5 and all the business responsibilities at once. The ability to prioritize was like my superhero power. I had to figure out what needed my attention first, whether it was making dinner or creating my logo. There were days when it felt like everything was pulling me in different directions, but I learned to focus on what mattered most in the moment. It wasn’t always easy, but it definitely helped me stay sane and keep moving forward.
  • Drive. I realized early on that if I wanted to make a real difference and reach more women with my business, I had to push past my comfort zone. So, I started showing up at events, reaching out to potential clients, and just generally putting myself out there. Sure, there were moments of doubt and rejection, but that drive to connect and help other women who are feeling the same pain I felt during pregnancy kept me going. I met incredible people, formed meaningful partnerships, and expanded my reach in ways I never imagined.
  • Scrappy + Resourceful. When you’re a one-woman show, you learn to make do with what you’ve got. That’s where being scrappy and resourceful comes in handy. I quickly realized that I couldn’t rely on a big budget, so I rolled up my sleeves and got creative. Need a website? YouTube tutorials became my best friend. I embraced the “do it yourself” mentality and found ways to make things happen with limited resources. It not only saved me money but also taught me the value of thinking outside the box and moving quickly. Plus, there’s something incredibly satisfying about knowing you can tackle just about anything that comes your way.

Can you share a story about one of your greatest work-related struggles? Can you share what you did to overcome it? 

When Pink Stork was first diving into the world of women’s health, specifically for morning sickness, we were pioneers. Back then, the go-to advice for women suffering from morning sickness was pretty much “eat some saltines and ginger.” It was frustrating to see such common issues pregnant women face being so overlooked and I knew women needed more. They deserved better solutions and real support. So, I rolled up our sleeves and got to work. We were one of the very first companies to launch products specifically designed to support women dealing with morning sickness.

There were definitely some bumps along the way. Breaking into a new market always comes with its challenges, but our commitment to women’s health kept us going. We focused on creating effective, reliable products and spreading the word through every channel we could find. Slowly but surely, we started to see a shift. Women were finding real relief with our products, and that was the ultimate reward.

Looking back, it’s incredible to see how far we’ve come. We’ve proven that when you truly understand and care about your customers, you can make a significant impact, even in areas that have been neglected for far too long.  It’s been quite the journey, but absolutely worth every struggle along the way!

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

Right now, I’m super excited about expanding our product line with the new brand, Amy Suzanne. This brand is close to my heart because it really lets me live out my mission to honor God by spreading love and giving back.

With Amy Suzanne, we’re diving into more general women’s wellness products, going beyond what Pink Stork currently offers. It’s all about serving women in every aspect of their health and well-being—physically, spiritually, and mentally. I truly believe that brands carry a lot of trust and authority, and I want to use that to make a positive impact.

One of the coolest things about this project is seeing how we can give back and support communities through our work. It’s not just about the products but about helping the world in every aspect we can through donating profits, volunteering, and using sustainable practices. I’m incredibly passionate about it, and I can’t wait to see how Amy Suzanne grows and helps even more women thrive.

Fantastic. Let’s now shift to our discussion about inclusion. Can you tell our readers a bit about your experience working with initiatives to promote Diversity and Inclusion? Can you share a story with us? 

Since having my sixth child, Maximilian, a little over a year ago, my perspective on inclusion has changed tremendously. Maximilian has Down Syndrome, and watching him grow and develop has deepened my drive to create an inclusive workplace.

Seeing his unique abilities has reinforced my belief that every individual has something special to offer. As a leader, I feel it’s my purpose to uncover those talents and create opportunities for growth for everyone. It’s about setting people up for success by finding the right seat for them, whether that means providing more structure, direction, or specific working conditions.

One story that stands out is when we made adjustments to the office to provide everything necessary for someone who is hearing impaired. It wasn’t just about meeting their requirements but also about showing the entire team the importance of inclusion and support. The positive impact was incredible, not only on the individual’s performance but on the overall team morale.

By embracing each person’s unique strengths, we’ve created a more dynamic and supportive workplace. It’s been a rewarding journey, and I’m committed to continuing to foster an environment where everyone can thrive and contribute their best.

This may be obvious to you, but it will be helpful to spell this out. Can you articulate to our readers a few reasons why it is so important for a business or organization to have an inclusive work culture?

Having an inclusive work culture is crucial for several reasons. First and foremost, it allows us to offer opportunities for people of all abilities and leverage their unique talents for the growth of the company. When we appreciate and celebrate each individual’s strengths, we create an environment where everyone can thrive and grow the business as a team.

Inclusion brings diverse perspectives to the table, fostering a culture where everyone feels heard. Every team member has ideas and experiences that can positively impact the business in ways we might not initially see. By listening to everyone, we open ourselves up to innovative solutions and creative thinking.

Moreover, women, especially those with kids, bring a strong presence and leadership ability to the workforce. Their multitasking skills, empathy, and resilience are invaluable assets. When we create a space that supports and values them, we not only empower them but also enhance the overall dynamic and success of our team.

In essence, an inclusive work culture isn’t just the right thing to do—it’s a smart business strategy. It helps us grow, innovate, and create a positive, supportive environment where everyone can contribute their best.

The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) requires businesses to make reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities. For the benefit of our readers, can you help explain what this looks like in practice? What exactly are reasonable accommodations? Can you please share a few examples? 

The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) requires businesses to make reasonable accommodations to ensure accessibility for people with disabilities. Here are a few examples of what this looks like in practice:

  1. Modifying Equipment—adjusting or providing equipment to help individuals who are sight or hearing impaired safely navigate the workspace.
  2. Emergency ASL Signs—installing signs with American Sign Language to guide hearing-impaired individuals during emergencies.
  3. ADA-Compliant Website—ensuring your website meets ADA standards for accessibility.
  4. Bright Lighting and Open Office Space—creating a well-lit, spacious environment to accommodate various needs.
  5. Closed Captioning—adding closed captions to social media content for those who are hearing impaired.

These modifications help create a more inclusive and accessible environment for everyone.

Aside from what is legally required, what are some best practices that can make a business place feel more welcoming and inclusive of people with disabilities? If you can, please share a few examples. 

Making a workplace feel more welcoming and inclusive of people with disabilities goes beyond just meeting legal requirements. It’s about creating an intentional and welcoming culture. We have a lot of different initiatives that help us with this at Pink Stork. 

One thing we do is host quarterly team bonding events that everyone can enjoy. These events are designed to be inclusive and fun, giving team members a chance to learn more about each other in a relaxed setting. It’s amazing how these moments can build stronger connections and a sense of belonging among everyone.

We also hold everyone to high expectations. This isn’t about setting unrealistic goals but about believing in each team member’s potential. By fostering an environment where everyone works hard and strives to meet these expectations, we promote personal and professional growth across the board, regardless of abilities.

We also emphasize open communication and feedback. Encouraging team members to share their needs and suggestions helps us continuously improve and adapt our practices to better support everyone.

Can you share a few examples of ideas that were implemented at your workplace to help promote disability inclusion? Can you share with us how the work culture was impacted as a result?

We’ve implemented a few initiatives at our workplace to promote disability inclusion, and they’ve had a fantastic impact on our culture. One of the key ideas was creating teams that work together at random. By mixing things up, team members get to collaborate with different colleagues, learn new work styles, and discover diverse approaches to problem-solving.

This initiative has made our culture much stronger. It fosters an environment where everyone encourages and supports each other. By working with different people, team members gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of each other’s unique strengths and abilities. It’s been incredible to see how this has boosted morale and collaboration.

As a result, we have a more cohesive, empathetic, and dynamic workplace. Everyone feels valued and included, which not only enhances our work culture but also drives our overall success as a team. It’s been rewarding to see how these efforts have created a more inclusive and supportive environment for everyone.

This is the signature question that we ask in many of our interviews. What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Started My Career”? (Please share a story or example for each.)

  1. Don’t wait for it to be perfect to get it started – I use this daily on most initiatives I work on!
  2. Finding purpose and understanding the why – This directly relates to how I build the mission statements of my companies. It is so important that the “why” is at the center of the teams work. 
  3. Importance of having right people – By making sure we have a strong team, the whole company is able to accomplish more. 
  4. You don’t have to have all the right answers – It’s important to recognize you don’t know the answer the everything and it’s ok to make mistakes along the way.
  5. Trust your gut – Recognize the power of intuition. I use this daily and encourage my team to trust their gut while making decisions.

Can you please give us your favorite  “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story about how that was relevant in your own life? 

One of my favorite life lesson quotes is, “To whom much is given, much is expected.” This quote really resonates with me on so many levels.

As a mom of six kids, including one with Down Syndrome, and the founder and CEO of a company, I wake up every day aware of the immense responsibility and trust that comes with these roles. Each of these aspects of my life carries significant weight, and I take them all very seriously.

One story that comes to mind is when I was first starting Pink Stork. Balancing my duties as a mom and launching a company from scratch was no small feat. But I knew that the resources, support, and opportunities I had were not to be taken lightly. My children, my team, and the women who rely on our products all depend on me to give my best every day.

Embracing this quote has helped me stay grounded and focused. It reminds me that the more we have, the greater our responsibility to use it wisely and to give back. Whether it’s through being a dedicated parent, a compassionate leader, or an innovator in women’s health, I strive to meet those expectations with integrity and determination.

This mindset has not only shaped my approach to business but has also enriched my personal life, teaching me the true value of service and commitment.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement  that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂 

If I could inspire a movement to bring the most good to the most people, it would be centered around my new brand, Amy Suzanne. Our mission is to honor God by spreading love and giving back. We dedicate 10% of Monday’s net proceeds to charitable organizations, both locally and internationally, through our #MissionMondays initiative. We also encourage our employees to volunteer by offering paid volunteer time and donate products monthly to support women in need. This movement of giving back and supporting women could create a ripple effect of kindness and empowerment.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Instagram: @pinkstork @amy.suzanne_ 

Website: Pinkstork.com 

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success and good health!