Stephen Kuusito


"Insight for a Global Age"

Founded by Professor Stephen Kuusisto of The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, Kaleidoscope Consulting offers new insights on diversity and the contemporary workplace. Professor Kuusisto, who has been blind since birth, is the author of the acclaimed memoir Planet of the Blind and has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Dateline NBC, The Leeza Gibbons Show, The BBC, The Voice ofAmerica, National Public Radio and The Arts & Entertainment Network. A Fuibright Scholar, Kuusisto has served as an advisor on disability and diversity management for colleges and universities, government and corporate clients, and non-profit agencies and museums. "I stare at the world through smeared and broken windowpanes," says Kuusisto. "When you see a blind person you might think that he sees nothing at all. But I see a kaleidoscope—a hundred shifting colors and shapes. I've studied the arts of listening and judgment as a means of understanding the worlds' complex diversity. These are the components of what is now called 'emotional intelligence'. Think of diversity as a kaleidoscope. If we can learn to manage all our misconceptions, opinions, and ideas with emotional intelligence, we can effect change and broaden understanding."

Through Kaleidoscope Consulting Professor Kuusisto offers workshops and keynotes on emotional intelligence and diversity. We meet barriers and challenges everyday," Kuusisto says. "A coworker isn't supporting the operations team; a client is demanding; a cultural difference leads to a workplace misunderstanding. Top managers in Human Resources know that emotional intelligence is vital for success both locally and globally."

Reflecting on global change and today's competitive business environment Kuusisto notes: "In a global era, emotional intelligence means success for corporate teams. We can learn strategies for managing diversity and promoting vitality in the workplace while encouraging critical thinking and successful listening skills."

"Facing Challenge with Emotional Intelligence
in Corporate, Nonprofit, and Educational Settings"


    "Lying in Wait for Happiness: A Common Mistake"

      Enhancing emotional intelligence is better than "losing it" — a motivational talk on building successful working relationships.

    "Comic Visions: Diversity in the Workplace"

      Like the great comedians we can turn difference into beneficial stories. Mind, body and spirit are nourished by laughter. Poems, jokes and folk tales from around the world illustrate the essential components of emotional intelligence.

    2, 4, 6, 8... Volunteers and Team Building"

      Many organizations and agencies rely on their passionate and talented volunteers. Learn how to identify key volunteers and strengthen your team.

    "Planet of the Blind: A Dramatic Reading"

      Selections from the award-winning memoir, read by the author, with a discussion about disability, diversity, and the power of writing "life stories"

    "Emotional Candor and Disability"

      Clear and effective steps toward resolving the most common workplace misunderstandings. Tips on listening and developing reasonable accommodations.

    "I'm Busy Right Now and Forever: Confessions of a Homework Buff'

      The story of the author's journey from his reliance on food stamps and Social Security to his appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Dateline NBC, The Leeza Gibbons Show, and many others. The role of "focus" and time management in the achievement of goals.

    "The Ways of Knowing"

      Drawing on scientific method, the social sciences, and the humanities, Professor Kuusisto takes the audience on a colorful history of problem solving. How thinkers and researchers optimize their chances for getting "a lucky break".

    "Diary of a Blind Bicyclist"

      "Risk taking" is a popular buzzword in business. The author draws on his experiences with daredevil stunts (blind bicycling, driving a motorboat, a car...) to show how you can take smart risks by using the proper tools. (Note: this talk is partially delivered by Professor Kuusisto's guide dog "Vidal".)

    "The Politics of Experience": How do I talk about.. .disabiity, race, gender, cultural diversity...?"

      We know about "political correctness" but often lack confidence when difference becomes the subject. Proven strategies for bringing people together and raising comfort levels at work or on campus.

A few thoughts from others...

    "It is a delight to work with poet and writer Steve Kuusisto as a commentator on National Public Radio's evening new program, All Things Considered Steve is warm, witty, and extremely insightful. Millions of listeners love his on-air messages...I am a steadfast fan!"

      - Marika Partridge, NPR's All Things Considered

    "He is a powerful writer with a musical ear for language and a gift for emotional candor. He has written a book that makes the reader understand the terrifying experience of blindness and that stands on its own as a lyrical memoir of a poet"

      - Michiko Kakutani, NEW YORK TIMES

    "You have a number of unique gifts that you are able to share with your audience, namely a fertile mind with wonderful insights and a rich vocabulary and delivery that is both entertaining and provocative. Your positive mental attitude and delightful sense of humor gave our staff and volunteers a real high."

      - John P O'Brien President, Cleveland Sight Center

    "If you are going to be on the agenda, try to arrange it so that you speak ahead of Steve. He is the proverbial tough act to follow... A captivating communicator, he can either make you laugh out loud or he can bring a lump to your throat as he reveals the will and the spirit that have made him an inspiration to anyone who meets him, whether sighted or blind. An international traveler with an unending repertoire of tales and experiences, Steve is the only person I know who can speak with equal eloquence about Enrico Caruso and Carl Yastremszki, not to mention the ADA and issues of emotional intelligence!"

      - William D. Badger, President and CEO Guiding Eyes for the Blind Kuusisto muses on how blindness is perceived by the sighted world and relates his fearsome and wonderful adventures before and after he finally teamed up with a guide dog, his incredible resolve, good humor, and irrepressible love for life remind us of the awesome power of the imagination, and the true meaning of vision."

      - Donna Seaman, Booklist Magazines

    "A talented writer judged against any standard, Kuusisto opens the world of the disabled in Planet of the Blind. He does it without self-pity, and he does it without gratuitous lecturing."

      - Deirdre Donahue, USA TODAY

A brief biography

  • Graduate, Iowa Writer's Workshop
  • Fulbright scholar
  • Professor and Dean, Hobart & William Smith Colleges
  • Director of Student Services, Guiding Eyes for the Blind
  • Professor, The Graduate Program in Creative Writing, The Ohio State University
  • Correspondent for All Things Considered, National Public Radio
  • Featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Dateline, NBC, The Leeza Gibbons Show, The BBC, Talk of the Nation — National Public Radio, Dogs with Jobs — PBS Television, Open Book, the A&E Network
  • Award winning Writer, Public Policy Speaker, and Consultant
  • Author of Planet of the Blind: A Memoir (Dial, Bantam, Doubleday). A New York Times "Notable Book of the Year" for 1998.
  • Author of Only Bread, Only Light: New and Selected Poems (Copper Canyon Press)
  • Consultant and Keynote Speaker: USA Bank; Chase Bank; National Industries for the Blind; The Museum of Modern Art, New York City; The Metropolitan Museum, New York City; The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The Wilmer Eye Institute, The Johns Hopkins University; The Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind; The Finnish National Association for the Blind; The Canadian National Institute for the Blind; The Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities, The City of New York; numerous colleges and universities, and others...
  • Member: PEN; The International Writers' Union; MLA; AWP; The Academy of American Poets, and others...



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