Tell us about your business.
TCS is the nation’s leader in providing accessibility and workflow automation solutions that remove barriers for individuals primarily in the workforce and educational institutions. For over 31 years we have been dedicated to a vision of building and providing first class Accessibility Service Offerings that involve Assistive Technology and Sign Language interpreting services. Founded by Myrna Aiello in 1982, TCS is a successful Deaf-Woman-Owned small business. In the last 5 years alone the business has grown by over 250% with the onboarding of some industry subject matter experts.
Interpreting Services Division
TCS provides a unique service offering in an industry that is often overlooked. We provide ASL Interpreting Services, CART, Captioning, Typewell, and Trainings catered to the deaf community. One of our services, Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) allows Deaf individuals access to a sign language interpreter in an instant on an iPad/tablet/smartphone and/or Computer. VRI is a wonderfully unique way to remove communication barriers for deaf individuals. This service allows for facilitation of communication between and Deaf and hearing individuals without the constraints of having an interpreter onsite. TCS is also an industry leader in providing interpreting services in the Legal arena. Lead by Carla Mathers, a veteran in the interpreting field, TCS has pioneered a legal interpreting program geared to improving the skill quality of interpreters and ensuring qualified Sign Language Interpreters for any legal setting. We are currently providing our services to hospitals, government entities, commercial organizations and educational facilities nationwide. We would love to share with the nation how this works and how it can be an asset to any business by allowing access to communication to employees and potential customers.
Assistive Technology Division
TCS’s Assistive Technology services are aimed at providing access to technology for individuals who are Blind, Low Vision, and Mobility Impaired. The AT Division of TCS Associates has decades of experience assessing and implementing Assistive Technology (AT) and Information Technology (IT) solutions for persons with disabilities and organizations in home, workplace and educational settings. In addition, we are uniquely qualified to provide services that will assist your organization to navigate current disability laws (Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (Section 504) and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act (Section 508) regarding workplace and information accessibility.
Our company is not only unique, we are supreme in our field of service.
Please tell us what being a business owner means to you and why you became an entrepreneur in the first place?
I faced many obstacles and barriers as a deaf child in the days that the deaf community did were provided with little to no accommodations. I felt a drive to overcome these obstacles and break down the barriers for myself and others in similar situations. I want to show the world that success is possible for all people who have a dream to own a successful business that women truly make outstanding entrepreneurs. There are not many deaf owned businesses, let alone deaf-women owned businesses, that compete in the technology and service sector. I built this company 32 years ago and have since become the pioneer in the community paving a trail in uncharted territories for other women and/or deaf entrepreneurs to follow. I feel I am living proof, and with the right motivation, skills and implementation “anything is possible”.
What or who has been your greatest influence in business and why?
There are two important individuals I need to mention; my father and my husband.
Through my childhood adolescent years, I was faced with doing my best not to let my deafness discourage me from doing anything that my family and friends did. My father was a successful businessman and owned his own company, a great example of the American dream. He was the inspiration behind my dream to one day own my very own business. He instilled in me the belief that I too could succeed, but he never failed to point out the difficulties that I would face in setting up my own business both as a deaf individual and as a woman. He taught me what I know today and his support through it all made me a stronger, better business woman.
My husband, who is also deaf, is the driving force who gave and continues to give me all the support to continue in my venture. He has believed in my ideas and supported me every step of the way. He is my inspiration and continues to help me with leading this business.
Being an entrepreneur is difficult and being a deaf woman entrepreneur is twice as difficult. Little did I know that these two individuals were the biggest influence in my drive to become a business woman.
What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment to date?
Looking back 32 years ago, I never expected my business would be where it is today. That is my biggest professional accomplishment. It has truly been exciting to watch this business grow while knowing I have not let my deafness stand in the way of my success. Today I think that this business will be around for another 32 years and knowing the longevity of that is an everyday success for me.
What one thing have you learned as a small business owner that has served you well over the years?
Success comes with patience, dedication and hard work. While I may not be able to change the world, I can start with changing the way the world views the deaf community.
Are there any resources or tools you’d like to share with other small business owners that have helped you run your business?
The Five Elements
VISION: one must have the ability to look forward to an important vision for any business or organization. This leads to setting the tone and the direction and must be rooted in a clear view of the big picture.
COURAGE: this is necessary to aim high to seek and to share the vision. To lead requires courage to make and stand by difficult choices and to stay the course.
INVOLVEMENT: involving others transforms the vision into our vision. One needs a team to work into the mission and resources to accomplish key tasks and generate enthusiasm. Making dreams come true is hard work
ORGANIZATION: need to create an appropriate structure to support a changed vision which makes priorities and helps establish an environment in which changes can be made.
ACTION: Action transforms vision, courage, involvement, organization and leadership into reality. Any action leads to movement and momentum for changes.
These require our vision and our courage and they require our leadership. This applies to everyone who leads by example whether they are CEO or head of an organization or even a participant in a community. When I set up my own business, many asked me, “How did you do it?” I said, “easy”. I set a goal. Many people looked at me strangely after I said that. They asked me, “what you mean?” I would give them a step to step description of how I did that. I told them, I can honestly say that goals have changed my life. I have accomplished things in my life by setting goals that I always dreamed about. Goals do work.
Do you have any new projects coming up (or have you just completed a big project ~ reached a milestone, etc.)?
As I mentioned above, our Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) offering has really taken off. It is a unique way to remove communication barriers for deaf individuals. This service allows for facilitation of communication between and Deaf and hearing individuals without the constraints of having an interpreter onsite.
At TCS we are always working on a new project and our team of experts welcome the opportunity to work and educate all of those around.
What do you do for fun/relaxation?
I love to travel, enjoy reading, spending time with family, especially my 4 grandchildren, and boating. Additionally, I now serve on a conference committee and I am the accessibility coordinator.
What is Number One Business Goal you plan to accomplish over the next year?
I want to write a book on”Breaking the Sound Ceiling: A Deaf Woman’s Journey To Success”
I choose to begin with that story “My Journey” pioneering the way it relates to me as every day in my lifetime it brings me to a new journey, many chapters of my life. Like travelers you talk to each other and you benefit from that. We learn that together we can achieve much more than we can achieve alone. When we exchange our ideas of share our experiences and our thoughts we all learn. Journey means daily portion, the original sense of the world that was a distance that could be traveled in one day. We can do so much in a day and day by day we can do more in a lifetime. My journey has taken me everywhere.
My own journey is my own story which is one of frustrations, set-backs, hard work and the realization of dreams. It is, if you like, a call to arms because I urge you to listen to my own experiences and allow me to share my journey and hopefully learn from it. This will allow you to share with others and you will be encouraged to travel to new places and follow your own particular dreams as I have. It is often said that life or success is a journey not a destination. I want to begin by sharing with you a few of the mile markers on my own road to success. We are all heroes in our own journey. Our interactions with others can be seen by opportunities to help. We may not have a choice about the path that we travel but we do have the choice of how we travel. We can travel with openness, courage and acceptance or we can journey with resistance, defensiveness or even fear. Journeys are full of ups and downs. A few achieve anything without mentors and role models. There are several individuals who were my mentors and helped me with my skills and leadership style and there are more mile markers on my journey……