Bill’s story reflects not only the incredible advances in hearing technology but also the power of determination and the ability to motivate others – 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 loss and progressive blindness.
Every year since 2007, Bill has undertaken a significant deaf-blind adventure to embrace and promote the No Barriers Life Elements. He has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, led deaf student expeditions to the Amazon, Grand Canyon and Machu Picchu, run two Boston Marathons, competed in the Adventure Team Challenge and has hiked the Camino de Santiago from France into Spain. His adventures have fueled his advocacy for those with hearing and vision loss around the world.
Bill Barkeley graduated from the University of Southern California in 1984 with a B.S. in Business Administration. For 25 years, Bill served as Director of Sales and Marketing at Steelcase, Inc., a Fortune 500 company. 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.
In 2009, Bill was awarded the James O. Goldsmith Pioneering Spirit Award, which recognizes an individual or organization that passionately and selflessly works to break down the barriers that limit accessibility to life. Bill does motivational speaking around the country to corporations, schools and nonprofits. His message focuses on building a life without limits and on the major themes of overcoming adversity, planning, excellence, community and teamwork.