TyKiah Wright, No Limits
By Tamani Lucy
At three years old, TyKiah Wright was given a list of things that she would not be able to experience. Doctors diagnosed her condition that requires use of a wheel chair and placed
on her abilities. But despite her young age, it didn’t take long to decide that if she desired to do something, nothing or no one would hold her back. “I didn’t take no for an answer” Tykiah says.
Beginning in the fourth grade, she displayed exemplary leadership skills with her involvement in student council and Youth to Youth, a drug prevention group. TyKiah found setting personal goals helpful in making sure she accomplished what she set her mind to. She says that there is power in writing down goals. TyKiah herself takes great pleasure and feels a sense of pride in checking items of her list once she accomplishes them.
One of the most memorable was strikethroughs was high school cheerleading, an item that was specifically included on the list of experiences she would never have when she was diagnosed with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, which is a group of inherited disorders that affect the nerves outside the brain and spinal cord. Not only was she on the team, but she was the co-captain
Along with cheerleading, she juggled membership in various clubs and exceeded in academics. What appeared to be something short of a miracle to others, TyKiah simply understood to be a way of life. “Didn’t other teenagers do these types of things?” TyKiah recalls thinking.
She questioned her high school principal when presented with an opportunity to share her achievements with reporters from local news stations. While they all were eagerly waiting to hear her testimony, the young TyKiah was baffled by why others thought her everyday activities were extraordinary.
Her principal was the first to enlighten her to the fact that a lot of her achievements were not usually accomplished by individuals faced with a disability. She proved early on that in spite of being diagnosed with a lifelong condition and using a wheelchair for mobility, she could successfully accomplish her goals and dreams.
Writing down goals as fast as she was able to check (✔) them off, TyKiah didn’t hesitate to include not only graduating from high school, but walking across the stage. On Mifflin High School’s graduation day in June 1995, a few of her fellow classmates assisted her out of her wheelchair and helped her step across the stage to receive her diploma. ✔
Summer flew by and her first day of College arrived. ✔
Pledging Delta Sigma Theta Inc. ✔
Graduate from Wright State University with two degrees. ✔
Recalling her college experience, she remembers it being her first encounter with other students that had disabilities. Remembering them facing the odds and not letting their disabilities be deterrents, she gleams with pride, saying “We can accomplish anything.”
Motivated more than ever after making those connections, she stayed on course to obtain her Bachelor’s degree in human resources and an MBA. In the meantime, TyKiah says she always made time to interject herself into mainstream society.
After graduation, she prepared to work in an office in downtown Columbus. She could envision overlooking the busy streets, handling numerous accounts and rubbing elbows with top executives. However, after numerous interviews, she regretfully tallied up her attempts that had led to zero job offers.
Unable to land a position in a corporate setting, she undoubtedly questioned if her physical limitations posed a threat. Could she be displaying a red flag that those behind the desk would perceive as a risk? She wondered. TyKiah read each rejection letter and pondered, “Why?” Instead of holding her head down, she says she looked up and asked for guidance from God. It wasn’t long before she was filling her list again of things she had to accomplish.
God gave her a vision for an organization to start, she says. With little knowledge of the task at hand, Tykiah kicked into overdrive and obediently followed the steps to form what is known today as WrightChoice, the focus of which is to bridge the education-to-workforce gap and eliminate barriers to employment for students with disabilities and other minority populations.
Tykiah and her dedicated team have been perusing the vision for 14 years and have impacted more than 4,000 people from all walks of life. The non-profit organization has proven not only to be very successful for the community but for her own personal growth as well, she says.
She reflects over the years and recalls some of her recognized accomplishments, ranging from appearing on the Montel Williams Show for being a woman making a difference to her 2015 appointment as the Commissioner for the White House Initiative on Education Excellence for African Americans. Most recently, she received the 2016 YWCA Women of Achievement award.
Her list of accolades would astonish those that didn’t believe in her early on. The prognosis list given to her at age three can be thrown away as TyKiah prepares for her next accomplishment. Equipped with experience and knowledge, she is ready to transition to the next level.
TyKiah says she often revisits her list, though, and takes note of some unfinished business. Not to be defeated, she says she is still determined to check off employment in Corporate America. Her eyes brighten as she lays out her plans to take a chance on faith and pursue her goal to land that position.
Employers should prepare because if experience has proven anything, it’s that she’ll soon be putting a check next to that item on her list.
She says her success with WrightChoice creates a platform that allows her to continue to grow and learn in other capacities. And thanks to all the times she’s heard “no” in the past, she is more than ready and motivated to prove anyone otherwise.
“I am removing the period at the end of my story and replacing it with a comma because I’m beginning to write my next chapter,” TyKiah says.
July 3. 2022, was a magical day and perfect in every way for Tykiah Wright. As the bride of Edward Wilson. Per Tykiah’s FB post, she said, “I could and should be biased but trust me when I say God’s favor was all over the day, the weekend, and the 10-month journey to the alter. There were so many people who were responsible for creating the wedding of our dreams, thank you.