Mark Farrell Motivational Speaker

“Are you blind?”

Mark Farrell has heard that seemingly innocuous question many times, and while it can leave someone with a visual disability feeling inadequate or angry, Mark always responds politely, “No, I’m not blind, but I am visually impaired.”

Mark was born with Retinoschisis – a congenital disorder similar to Macular Degeneration. To the world he appears “normal” until he uses his magnifier to read a restaurant menu, or uses the accessibility feature on his cell phone to “speak” names and numbers. Once believing his identity was shaped by his early-life limitations, much of his initial motivation was simply built upon his need to survive and fit in. But Mark overcame so many obstacles in his life: struggled through school unable to read chalk boards, had difficulty playing team sports, was unable to get a driver’s license along with his peers, and had to learn to navigate in a radio production environment requiring precision with a visually complex board of various knobs, buttons and levels.

In facing these daily challenges, Mark developed a get-up-and go, optimistic outlook and sought out activities which made him happiest. His optimism includes a passion for life and music, an appreciation for life’s little things: a hearty laugh, a good song, a delicious meal, a perfect sunny day, and a great bike race or triathlon. Although he can’t see the course buoys for the triathlon swimming leg, he follows the other swimmers for guidance. Mark recognizes that there is more than one way to cross the metaphorical finish line and everyone has the right to accomplish their goals in life. He feels that perseverance, knowing how to ask for help or assistance, and loving yourself are some of life’s most essential elements.

At age 25, Mark received a card with his picture on it, indicating that he can legally operate a motor vehicle. Yes, Mark has his driver’s license. And, with a driver’s license in hand and James Bond-like telescopic lens eyewear, he drives. And to this day, hasn’t received a ticket from any of the fine men or women in blue. He drives to New York City where he works as a talk show host and on-camera personality, producing show topics as well as interviewing guests for his public affairs radio talk show. He also drives to events and conventions to share his story with non-profit organizations, persons with intellectual or physical disabilities, and suicide prevention agencies.

As well as being able to drive to such events, Mark appreciates the opportunity to impact the lives of others. And using the same telescopes that assist him when he drives to destinations safely, he was able to witness the arrival of his son, Luke, to this world. Mark is open about his story and shares his visual disability with others. He wonders where he would be in life if he hadn’t had a “spotter” waiting with him on his first date with his now wife, Preeti, whom he initially met fleetingly. Public speaking comes naturally to Mark, yet some areas took longer to become comfortable sharing, such as his brother’s suicide. But he wanted share his experiences to help others by providing hope and coping insight. And after his brother’s suicide, he learned that depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses don’t discriminate, and unfortunately many people experience depression. Through his own experience with anxiety and panic attacks, he has become even more educated in mental health through seeking help and developing invaluable coping mechanisms that permit him to live a full and rich life. Mark’s experience with mental illness, his visual disability, and the loss of his brother, are undoubtedly the most challenging and growing experiences of his life, and they continue to shape him both personally and professionally. He recognizes that everyone is faced with circumstances beyond their control and the rest is up to us to leave our mark and make our time in this world meaningful and fulfilling.

Have your organization benefit from Mark’s experience. Here’s how to contact him:

Mark Farrell
(p) 201-344-7138

Mark Farrell
Mark hosting event
Mark shooting a DIY video
Mark shooting a DIY woodworking video
Mark Farrell
Telescopic device allows Mark to drive
Mark Farrell
Mark doing his radio show