Meet Empish Jeanna Thomas

Meet Empish Jeanna Thomas

From the time Empish was a small child, she has been intrigued with the written word. She spent many weekends checking out children’s books at her local library and reading the newspaper out loud to her parents. Words have always moved and compelled her.

Fast forward to her adult life: Empish earned a journalism degree, but six months after graduation, severe headaches and sensitivity to light prompted her to see an eye doctor for the first time in her life. She was diagnosed with uveitis in its most aggressive form, and within a few years Empish was totally blind. Despite that, her love for the written word did not diminish. She took her journalism degree and her disability and reinvented herself. As some people say, you take lemons and make lemonade.

Empish decided to focus her career on writing stories and advocacy for people in her own community. She had noticed the negative and sometimes incorrect portrayal of the disabled in the news media and wanted to be proactive in changing that image. She believes language is powerful and that people with disabilities must tell their own story. She discovered this Nigerian proverb reading an audio book and felt it fits her life and career perfectly: “Don’t let the lion tell the giraffe’s story.”

Empish has spent almost 20 years working in the disability/non-profit community. She began this career journey by volunteering to write and edit a newsletter that blossomed into a paid position providing information and resources to people with disabilities. 

At the same time, she worked as an AmeriCorps member. Next, Empish launched her freelance writing career, writing articles for newspapers, magazines and a career column about people with vision loss. When the economy tanked in 2008, many of her freelance contracts dried up, so Empish began working at a vision rehabilitation center. There she gave tours, managed the speaker’s bureau and blog, and put out a weekly email alert of news and information for the blind community.

Empish believes deeply in giving back and volunteerism. She has used her journalism skills to give back to the community by becoming a peer advisor and blogger for VisionAware.org. On this site, Empish lends her professional and personal experience. She also stretched her skills by going from print to broadcast with hosting and producing a radio program for the blind.

Empish has also provided useful feedback to authors writing books with a disability theme. She has facilitated a book club for the blind and educated disabled women on breast cancer. She has been a keynote speaker and panelist for various disability conferences, seminars and workshops. All these opportunities have allowed Empish to weigh in on issues that directly affect the disability community by providing knowledge, experience and resources.

Now Empish is here at Outlook Business Solutions, ready to lend her talents and skills to move the company forward and provide exceptional service.