@SlatinGroup and NYC & Company

by Austin Publicover

Astonishing presentation from Deputy Commissioner Kleo King and her companion Peter Slatin at NYC & Company's "ADA - Beyond Compliance to Service" presentation at the beautiful old-world gem Roosevelt Hotel.  Listening to Peter Slatin @SlatinGroup, who is an ADA consultant and President of The Slatin Group (which specializes in modular training for businesses who'd like to extend & improve their interactions with special-needs clients such as those with disabilities, who are a bit of a marginalized lot with about $230 million burning a hole in their collective pocket to spend at businesses who know how to treat them right) was a lot like listening to Danny Meyer: the ideas bear the twin hallmarks of simplicity & brilliance.  It is straight-forward steps born of deep philosophy and, dare I say, love. Peter's Five Elements of Service are perhaps easy to imagine in the world of hospitality but a helluva lot harder to execute with consistency & excellence.  And that's what Peter teaches to businesses ranging from the HIlton to the NEA, from Sheraton to Virgin.  Which is what makes Peter... The Man.  In 25 minutes I learned straight-forward steps which lead to compassionate respect for dealing with persons who have disabilities.  The Q&A was illuminating, too, with one audience comment veering toward the "full restaurant + seeing eye dog + allergic (or dog-phobic) guest = what to do?" end of the equation.  Peter solved the riddle quickly: "tell the dog-phobic guest to suck it up".  In a world that favors the able-bodied & the sighted, it's cool to shift the scales and learn what it is to integrate persons with disabilities into our collective social scene.  Suck it up, indeed... just as you would the table next to you who was a bit rowdy with too much wine.  This is what it is to live not only with each other, but among each other, with a welcoming courteousness and the right elements. And in that light, I say happy birthday to the Americans with Disabilities Act.  25 years old this month!  It's pretty wonderful to have people like Victor Calise (who missed today to be at the Whitehouse), Kleo King, and Peter Slatin carrying the torch forward.