Meet Bela Gaytan, M.Ed.
Image description: Bela stands outside Kasbah Aït Ben-Haddou, in the Ouarzazate province of Southern Morocco. She is a light-skinned Latina with short, black, curly hair, wearing a baggy pantsuit. She is surrounded by a clay wall and buildings, as well as palm tress.
Well met! I’m Bela Gaytan. My pronouns are she, her, and ella, but I am okay with any pronouns as long as they are used respectfully. I’m delighted to tell you a bit about myself so we can see what kind of awesomeness we can make happen!
Known for my authenticity, transparency, and vulnerability, I unapologetically disrupt spaces to create change. I leverage my lived experiences and intersectional identities as a neurodivergent, visually impaired, queer, and physically disabled Latina to educate others on DEIA: diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility. I always strive to leave a positive impact on all that I do. I place a high value on folks and especially organizations doing good and support others doing the same.
Identifying as a multipotentialite, I have many passions and I bring this uniqueness to all of my projects:
- As an Instructional Designer, I empower learners to succeed by building inclusive and accessible solutions that are effective, engaging, and enjoyable.
- As a WordPress Web Developer, I carefully transform client visions into unforgettable and unique beautiful websites.
- As a Community & Social Media Manager, I build connections, strengthen community support systems, and nurture the power of social learning.
- As an Advocate, I talk openly and unfiltered about my intersectional identities, tackling “taboo” topics, and leveraging the power of my lived experiences.
- As a Coach, I celebrate individuality, nurture a growth mindset, and empower my clients to realign with their intentions.
I grew up in Michigan and still hold up my hands to show which part of Michigan I am from. (If you’ve ever been a Michigander, you know what that means!) I currently live in Tennessee. I am a nomad at heart and always looking for my next place to call home and my next adventure.
I’ve worked in customer service, healthcare, human resources, and now in education and technology. I’m obsessed with learning and bettering myself in any way I can and you’ll always find me attempting to learn some new skill.
I have two amazing adult kids that mean the absolute world to me. I know everyone says that about their offspring, but mine are pretty rad! My daughter graduated with her Master of Fine Arts in Film and Television Studies from Boston University. My son is working towards a degree in Athletic Training. I also have two cats: Liylu and Ash-hole. Bonus nerd points if you can figure out where the name Liylu comes from… and I’ll pat myself on the back if I made you laugh out loud imagining me calling out the second cat’s name.
Instead of simply sharing text, I’m sharing my happy face as I achieved my goals of being a first-generation college graduate and the first in my immediate family to obtain a graduate degree!
As Seen In
Articles & Online Mentions
- June 27, 2022: People to Follow for Learning About Accessibility and Disabilities and Accessible Design Resources by The Accessible & Inclusive Design Conference 2022 (AIDC22)
- June 27, 2022: Accessible Design: AIDC22 Recap by Kayleen Holt of Scissortail Creative Services
- October 2021: A Tour of the Church of St. Archangel Michael formerly the Carmelite Church by Dr. Jim McKinley Brown
- May 15, 2018: Cleveland Resident Wins Web Developer Scholarship Amid Multiple Sclerosis Scare by Chattanooga Times Free Press
- I have explored eight countries (one for less than 24 hours, but hey – I think that still counts) on three continents, eight UNESCO World Heritage sites, and one disputed territory surrounded by hidden land mines.
- I was chosen to participate in Grow With Google’s Developer Challenge and went on as one of the top performers chosen to continue with their Front End Developer program. Google Developers even featured my story of perseverance on their blog!
- I am disabled, with several chronic and genetic conditions. Four of my conditions are rare disorders and I’m colorblind, as well, which is very rare for someone with 2 X chromosomes. I have quantifiable proof that I am rare!
- I am a multipotentialite. I passionately dive in to learn about topics that interest me and have a very broad skill set. This is an asset, aiding in my creativity and ingenuity.
- My father was a migrant worker and my mother’s family were sharecroppers. My parents grew up working in the fields, harder than most of us have ever had to work and for much less than we would ever accept.
- I’m a gamer! I mostly play World of Warcraft and Hearthstone these days. I also dig Portal & Portal 2. My kids are gamers, as well – especially my son. Our home is like an arcade with PS5, PS4, PS3, PS2, XBox 360, XBox One, and XBox Series S. My custom-built gaming computer is even named after one of my WoW characters. I’m such a nerd!