Founder, Tiffany Yu: 5 Ways This Disability Digital Creator Is Dismantling Exclusion

“The story is not always about overcoming. Sometimes, the story is about BECOMING."

Tiffany Yu is the founder of Diversability®, a social enterprise completely led and run by disabled people. Diversability uses the impact of community to “elevate disability pride, build disability power, and advance disability leadership.” Diversability also engages activism by helping brands include disability in their diversity, inclusion, and equity (DEI) efforts.


What is Diversability’s Story?

At the age of 9, Tiffany became disabled and sustained a permanent  brachial plexus injury. The car accident also took the life of her dad. Years later, Tiffany’s experience would become a powerful force in building the Diversability community. 

Diversability began in 2009 as Georgetown University's first-ever disability student club. In 2015, she re-launched and incorporated Diversability as a business, hosting disability events in New York City. Diversability grew to host events in other cities, including Washington DC, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Montgomery, AL, and Portland. When the pandemic hit, they could no longer host in-person events, and all of the programming became virtual, and they focused on building a digital-first community. 

Upon this, they realized how they could reach disabled people in hard-to-reach cities who were looking for community but did not have the in-person infrastructure to connect with others. Thus, the community grew four-fold, and Diversability’s ecosystem is now over 80,000. 

What does the Diversability Ecosystem look like?

The Diversity Leadership Collective

Diversability has also launched a membership community focused on disability leadership and helping disabled people get paid. As part of this, they have launched the Diversability Leadership Collective, which advances disability leadership. They host events every week, have over 80+ hours of on-demand resources, and have helped disability leaders get paid over $35,000 in opportunities. 


Digital Storytelling, Narratives, and Strategy

As part of Diversability’s mission, Tiffany advances intersectional disability representation to her audience of 200k+. Tiffany has worked with brands like TikTok, Hilton, Pinterest, Dell, Campbell’s, and more. She is the creator of the #AntiAbleism short-form video series with more than 5M+ views. 

Additionally, she was named “a 2021 TikTok API Trailblazer” and was part of the #LearnOnTikTok program. She was a creator in the Twitter Spaces Spark Program and LinkedIn Creator Accelerator Program of 2022. In 2021, she grew exponentially on Clubhouse (14k+), speaking in rooms on disability, public speaking, branding, and more.


Diversability hosts virtual events almost every week focused on creating a stage for disability thought leadership, authentic connections, and personal plus professional development. To date, Diversability has been able to reinvest over $300,000 back into the disability community. Diversability is on a mission to elevate disability pride, build disability power, and advance disability leadership.


Civic Engagement

Diversability founder, Tiffany, is also the author of  The Anti-ableist Manifesto and a speaker who champions disability representation through an intersectional lens. Tiffany Yu is a 3x TEDx speaker. She has spoken at 5 sessions at the 2018 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

Why did Tiffany start the Diversability community?

“Chronic and repeated exclusion creates irreversible trauma. It’s not the kind of thing you just get over, nor does it disappear over time. Time does not heal all wounds,” Tiffany conveyed in her 2018 Ted Talk. 

“We don’t truly understand disability. So, we don’t know how to talk about it. We’re so afraid of saying something offensive or not being politically correct – that we end up saying nothing at all. So, stereotypes in the media take precedence.  These stereotypes are rooted in assumptions. We know this as ableism “or the assumption that people with disabilities can’t achieve and can’t dream. And because of that, we are not even afforded the chance to succeed. Likewise, we start to believe this for ourselves. The disability is seen, and the ability is judged. But, the thing is – no one asked me how I wanted to be viewed.”



Tiffany continues to express why she embarked on Diversability’s mission.


“What happens when we look at disability as identity – as part of the fabric of who we are? Like any identity, it can be rooted in pride and empowerment. There’s no pity, victimization, or shame.”

That is why Diversability works to reaffirm, empower, and help disabled people achieve self-actualization. Tiffany says, “When part of someone’s identity is not acknowledged, it is invalidating. One can only compartmentalize who they are so much. I can remember noticing stares, but I always felt like no one truly saw me. Likewise, there are over a billion people in the world who feel overlooked, forgotten, and excluded. Being excluded means feeling like you don’t belong and that you need permission just to show up.”

And that’s where Diversability’s mission comes in.

Tiffany’s experiences have made her very passionate about empowerment. She never wants anyone to feel as though they’re alone or like they don’t matter. For that reason, she has rooted Diversability’s mission in the power of community. In fact, Tiffany has been building communities everywhere that she goes. 

She says, “As a function of community, you feel connected, like you belong, and you feel empowered. This includes being gainfully employed, feeling valued at work, or feeling independent and self-reliant. It can come from feeling like you have people who root for you, support you, challenge you, and lift you up. It feels like people who see you for your potential. We all have diverse lived experiences to bring to the table that are waiting to be shared. Community means fostering the sense of belonging and seeing people for the gifts they have to impart on the world.”