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Talk Local: Dylan Rafaty

Rafaty is the founder of the North Texas Disability Chamber
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Photo: Dylan Rafaty

Being a member of growing communities in North Texas has its challenges. But being a local leader, trying to manage balance in your life, is even harder. Local Profile reached out to nine leaders in the Collin County community that have learned through trial and failure how they create balance in their daily lives, and just maybe, you can learn from their advice and experiences to find balance in yours.

Plano resident Dylan Rafaty is an activist, published author, public speaker, disability inclusion advocate, social entrepreneur and founder of the North Texas Disability Chamber. With a number of daily responsibilities and being disabled himself, Rafaty works to invest his time, experiences and knowledge into those who seek guidance. But helping others also means helping himself and finding ways to be a better leader. 

What does “productivity” look like to you?
I'm a young man on a disruptive mission. Over the last ten-plus years, I continuously develop clear, defined short and long-term goals for personal and professional reasons. Productivity happens when we effectively commit and get the job done. Sometimes, productivity happens when we pivot and focus on areas where we are needed most.

What are some ways you struggle with productivity and how do you fix it?
The ability to get distracted and over-commit to responsibilities. I am reminded that it is okay to say no and to prioritize my health and well-being.

What is one tip you would recommend to someone else? 
Invest in one. No matter what profession you are in; it is important to invest your time, experiences and knowledge in individuals who seek guidance and support. I am incredibly blessed and thankful for others who have shared their time with me. I wouldn't have made it far without my mentors.

What books have influenced you?
- Disability Visibility by Alice Wong  
- The Power of Who by Bob Beaudine 
- A Company of Owners by Dr. Daren Martin 
- Big PHAT Goals by Dean Lindsay 

What everyday thing do you excel at?
I try to brighten up a room and smile often. A positive attitude is an important part of me.

How do you decompress or relax?
There are only three things that can help me relax: sleep as often as I can throughout the day, spend hours in the dry heat sauna and listen to calming music.

When are you happiest?
Without a doubt, serving others and doing advocacy work on behalf of people with disabilities.

What motivates you?
I've said this before and it is the “Three P's.” It's following my passion, the people who believe and invest in my mission and everything dealing with Plano.

What do you wish you were better at?
The ability to be humble and express vulnerability.

What is your drink of choice or comfort meal after a long day?
A nice refreshing glass of lemonade or white wine.

What kind of goals do you set for yourself? 
I strive to build goals that can be achievable, actionable and forward-thinking. 

Who is a role model to you?  
There are too many to mention. Here are a few: my family, City of Plano Councilmember Rick Grady and Cynt Marshall.

To find out more about how to be the best at work, at home and in the community visit Local Profile’s previous issue.