Health knowledge made personal

Monica J. Foster

Landis, North Carolina
People say I’m an expert on the beauty each day holds. As the Chief Motivational Officer (CMO) of BUTTERFLYWHEELSM Motivation, Advocacy & Consulting, I’ve dedicated my life to showing those with disabilities that they can meet their challenges head on and live happy, fulfilling lives. Because I realize what a gift life is, each day presents a new opportunity to do something I’ve never done and influence the life of someone I’ve never met. I use my story of... Full Bio
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Bio

People say I’m an expert on the beauty each day holds. As the Chief Motivational Officer (CMO) of BUTTERFLYWHEELSM Motivation, Advocacy & Consulting, I’ve dedicated my life to showing those with disabilities that they can meet their challenges head on and live happy, fulfilling lives. Because I realize what a gift life is, each day presents a new opportunity to do something I’ve never done and influence the life of someone I’ve never met. I use my story of strength, courage and triumph to educate, entertain and encourage others to face their obstacles with success in mind. For me, there is truly life beyond your limitations.

I’m a North Carolina native born with spina bifida and use a wheelchair. As a result of compromised circulation in my legs, I’ve also endured battles with life-threatening infections, which eventually led me to the hard decision of amputating my left leg just above the knee in January of 2010. Still, I’ll be the first to tell you I have no regrets and my life as an amputee on wheels continues to spin in beautiful ways.

People tell me I exude a woman on wheels vibrancy. I so appreciate the compliments. 

I combine my natural abilities with an extraordinary passion to motivate others through the various transitions of life, work, love and wellness. Many veterans who become disabled, women with all types of disabilities and youth with special needs have found in me a mentor, an empathizer and a cheerleader. I’m so grateful for every connection I make.

As a cross-disability advocate, I’ve wheeled on Capitol Hill and across Raleigh, North Carolina for better awareness, civil rights and better enforced accessibility laws. I was also honored to serve under two governor’s recommendations as a two-term appointee to the North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities. I continue to seek positions on boards and commissions that allow me to champion my causes. I possess exceptional oral and written communication skills that have opened doors for me to speak to individuals, corporations and diverse audiences about how to assist, accept, understand and communicate more effectively with people with disabilities.

I love learning. I earned a Bachelor’s degree in English-Writing Studies from Pfeiffer University. Later, I received my life purpose, life and career coaching certification through The Life Purpose Institute. I also have professional certifications in meeting and event planning through the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. And, I’ve earned a certification as Human Resources Administrator-ADA Title I (Employment Measures) from N.C. State University. I’m also well versed in the rest of the Americans with Disabilities Act via continuing education coursework through the Southeast Disability and Business Technical Assistance Center, based in Atlanta, Ga. Need an accessibility consultant? How about someone to help you plan a meeting or event that is barrier-free to attendees and guests with disabilities? I can do that for you. Take a look at my website at  to see how I can help.

My professional and advocacy organization involvement includes:

  • International Coaching Federation
  • International Coaching Federation (Charlotte Area Chapter)
  • Amputee Coalition of America
  • World Association of People with Disabilities
  • American Association of People with Disabilities
  • National Council on Independent Living
  • Spina Bifida Association of America
  • TASH
  • North Carolina TASH
  • North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities
  • The Power of the Dream, Inc.

My past professional experience includes 14 years in journalism, where my articles graced the front pages of the Salisbury Post in Salisbury, NC and The Independent Tribune in Concord, NC.  I’ve also contributed my talent and insight to several cross-disability online publications.

Two other great accomplishments are my roles as a daughter and loving wife. I credit my dad, Royce, a retired Senior Chief Petty Officer who put in 22 years of service in the Coast Guard, with the lessons I’ve learned in patience and integrity.  My mother, Gail, a retired teacher, encourages me to never accept injustice and stokes the fire to fight for what’s right.

My wonderful husband, Bryan, has shown me the benefits of accepting what is, in order to discover what can be. He really is my better half. Bryan and I met in 2000, but in 2002 he sustained a stroke that temporarily disabled him on his right side. We encouraged each other through the months of rigorous rehabilitation so he could regain the use of his right side. I think it gave him a tiny bit of insight into my disability experience and allowed him space to be the needing help in our relationship. In 2005, after growing together and facing many challenges as a couple, we married. We purchased our first accessible home in December 2009 and have settled back into my hometown of Landis, North Carolina. I’m also very close to my in-laws who have supported me like I’m one of their own. I joke that they really are my extended foster family. It helps they have the last name to go with it. As an only child, the more family the better! Each member of my family has provided me with undying support and unconditional love, which I draw from daily to keep me moving onward and upward in all I do.

I have served as interview subject, panelist, motivator, facilitator and speaker for such endeavors as:
SPEAKING

  • “People with Disabilities Are People Like You” talks in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, K-12 class speaker-Charlotte, N.C. (2002-2005)
  • “Real Relationships, Risks and Responsibilities” sponsored by N.C. Council on Developmental Disabilities, panelist w/ husband, Bryan K. Foster-Raleigh, N.C. (February 2008)
  • “Unity in the Community” Celebration of Abilities at I.R. Holmes Senior Recreation Center, positive self-image, makeup and skincare tips for young girls with disabilities-Durham, N.C. (October 2007)
  • “There’s No Place Like Home: Choosing HOW and WHERE You Live” Community Partnerships, Inc., self advocate panel facilitator-Raleigh, N.C. (October 2007)
  • Annual N.C. Divisions on Career Development & Transition Conference workshop session presenting on examples of successful micro-enterprise opportunities (May 2009)
  • Girls Inspired Girls Empowered – “Growing, Blossoming and Smelling Like A Rose” presentation for young girls with disabilities support group-Durham, N.C. (June 2009)
  • TASH National Webinar Series Presenter, “Sexuality Education for People with Intellectual Disabilities” (March 2010)
  • Coming Soon! TASH’s Denver National Conference – One of five panelists discussing “Sexuality Education for People with Intellectual Disabilities”(December 2010)

I also have several prepared presentations that I can tailor a bit to your audience. Take a look and decide what would work for your audience! Go to for more….
INTERVIEWS

  • “” Rockland World Radio Online interview with Dan Windheim-Rockland, N.Y. (June 2009)
  • “” segment on Blog Talk Radio-Interview with Dr. J.L. Richardson, M.D., family medicine expert (July 2009)
  • “MoneySmart Radio” with Matthew Sapaula-Chicago, IL (August 2009)
  • “” article by Nya Mariposa Mukti Jones-Reversed Ink Magazine (September 2009)
  • “” article by Heather Sedlock-Special Needs Kids Examiner for Examiner.com (February 2010)

 

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