About Katie and Steve
Katie Rodriguez Banister
President, Access-4-All, LLC
Mrs. Katie Rodriguez Banister, earned her Bachelor of Science in Recreation and Business Management from the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg in 1987. She survived an auto accident in 1990 that left her a quadriplegic, paralyzed from the chest down. After six months of rehabilitation and fifteen months of living with her parents, she returned to living independently in 1992. Katie worked with the city of Webster Groves, MO for five years as their Access Coordinator. Katie’s work experience prior to her accident includes: Latch-Key Director, Sales Representative for Pitney-Bowes, Social Director for Lodge of the Four Seasons.
With her husband, Steve the two co-founded Access-4-All, llc. with a mission to educate and empower others through motivational speaking and disability education. As a person who gives back to her community, Katie serves as a board member of the of the Recreation Council of Greater St. Louis Board of Directors since 1992, serving now three terms as President. Katie was a performer and founding member with St. Louis’ “DisAbility Project” for six years. She served as a board member and President of the Delta Center for Independent Living from 1996-2002 and board member of the VSA Arts of MO from 1996- 2000. She coproduced her own motivational video "Change Takes Time" as well as two music videos, “Spring” and “Beauty in the Lou.”
Katie’s honors include Ms. Wheelchair Missouri 2010, Energizer Keep it Going Hall of Fame Semifinalist 2010; 2001 St. Louis Woman of Achievement; Missouri Jaycees 1998 Ten Outstanding Young Missourians; St. Louis Jaycees Jr. Chamber of Commerce 1995 Ten Outstanding Young St. Louisans; MO Governor’s Council on Disability 1993 Advocate of the Year; Central MO State University Outstanding Freshman in the Department of Recreation 1983-84, and Kirkwood MO Jr. Miss 1982.
Vice-President, Access-4-All, LLC
Growing up with Klinefelter’s Syndrome (born with an extra chromosome, also called XXY47,) Steve dealt with a myriad of learning disabilities (LD.) The school system he went to in the 1970’s did not recognize LD as a serious condition and was of little assistance. Luckily, Steve’s mother, a former school teacher and librarian didn’t give up and helped him learn how to learn.
Steve graduated with a Bachelor’s in Educational Studies (BES) degree in Rehabilitation Counseling; emphasis in Rehabilitation Psychology from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1986. He then worked as an Independent Living Specialist at Services for Independent Living (SIL) in Columbia, Missouri. In 1991 he was promoted to Program Director and always kept a client caseload in addition to administrative duties. During his tenure of assisting people with all types of disabilities learn independent living skills, self-advocacy, etc, Steve facilitated SIL’s Epilepsy Support Group for over 10 years.
In 1999, Steve moved on to a Program Manager position at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society-Gateway Area Chapter in St. Louis, Missouri, where he managed over twenty MS Self-Help groups in eastern Missouri and Southern Illinois. Steve also oversaw a telephone self-help program and facilitated a care-partner self-help group.
From 2001 through the present, Steve has been Vice President of Access-4-All, LLC assisting his wife Katie Rodriguez Banister in creating disability awareness books, presentations, providing attendant care for Katie and helping to advocate for a more accessible society.
What Clients are Saying ...
"Thank you for the wonderful job you and Steve did for my annual meeting with the Edward Jones Dome Guest Service Hosts. I am still getting great feedback from the attendees.
- “Best Speaker we’ve ever had at training. She kept us glued to her conversation. Kudos to Maureen for finding her to motivate us!”
- “Wonderful how the presentation was customized to our facility, positions and policies.”
My staff continue to tell me how meaningful it was to hear about your life and how to best serve people of all abilities. Turning over the microphone is not easy, with my group of 300 or so staff members. Meeting with you and Steve was very helpful and I especially appreciated how you tailored your presentation to the audience, making it relevant to their work environment.
I would love to have everyone on staff at America’s Center hear your presentation, as we are all front line faces of St. Louis when conventions and events come to our facility. I would be happy to speak with anyone who is looking for a reference. I enjoyed working with you and hope to be able to do so again in the near future."
Maureen Clyde, Guest Services Manager
America’s Center, a Division of the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission
"I am so grateful to finally have the opportunity to meet you! Your presentations on disability and intimacy were terrific and really opened a wonderful dialog on this subject. Please extend our thanks to Steve and Tammy as well. Their participation also made a great impression. The way you included each of them – very/non-verbal – was very powerful.
Upon leaving your presentation, I struck a conversation with one of the patients waiting for the elevator. He mentioned that the presentation was really “eye opening.” I asked, “Wonderful….I hope in a good way?”
His reply, “Oh, yes in a good way! She really had so many meaning messages on so many levels. It really took me back. She really has her act together and seeing that beyond anything else was the biggest eye opener. I am very thankful I came today.”
I also wanted to thank you for your Karma book. I read it this past weekend and thoroughly enjoyed it. Many, many valuable insights. Thank you for taking time to compose this. Loved the artwork too."
Kristine Cichowski, Director
LIFE CENTER, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago
"Katie is full of energy and she talks to people on a very personal level. The Missouri History Museum seeks to deepen the understanding of past choices, present circumstances, and future possibilities, and Katie’s poetry workshops fit perfectly with these goals. Katie leads young people in reflection that helps them to understand and relate to the world around them, AND they have fun while they are here!"
History Museum Youth and Family Programs
"Katie……Thank you for speaking at our annual conference. Your honesty and humor was inspiring to all of us. I received so many compliments about your program. You touched our hearts and made all of us realize how just in a moment our lives can change, but also in that moment, we can change our lives. Thank you for taking time to share your story with us and I hope to work with you again."
Debbie Door, President
Missouri Association of County Clerks and Election Officials.
"Thank you for your awesome presentation. I wanted to share with you some of the comments that the teachers shared with me after school. One of the girls in the 7th grade said to her teacher, "Did you notice how whenever she spoke it sounded like poetry?" A group of 6th grade students entered their classroom and told their teacher "That was so inspiring!" Another class of 7th grade students said "That was the best speaker we ever had." Thank you for sharing your life with us. You have touched young people's hearts and souls."
Jeanette Huck, Learning Consultant
St. Paul Catholic Grade School
"You made quite an impression on our students. Teachers and parents commented on the number of conversations that were generated, both in the classroom and at home."
Debbie Aubuchon, Guidance Counselor
"Katie is forthright in answering all the questions children would like to know but might be hesitant to ask. Katie is articulate and has a very good sense of humor."
Mrs. Einig, Principal
Christ, Prince of Peace School
"Your contribution to our students’ learning to occupational therapy program at St. Louis University is so appreciated."
Katie Serfas, Assistant Professor
"Katie Banister was the key-note speaker and also a small group presenter at our elementary school's Ability Awareness Day. Katie did an excellent job interacting with the students and helping them to see that she has a full and happy life even with the challenges of being a quadriplegic. Katie brought practical examples to show the children how she uses a fork, grips a pencil, travels with a portable ramp to allow her to navigate stairs. Our students and teachers thoroughly enjoyed Katie's presentation and we definitely plan to ask her back to our event next year."
Lisa Colman, Parent Coordinator
“We had Katie and Steve come and talk with all the undergraduate staff at our Residence and Greek Life program. Katie’s keynote was very inspiring and thought provoking for all who attended. Her delivery style was well received by the staff and her message hit home for all. The one thing I appreciated most was her ability to connect directly with the audience. Katie never made the audience feel like she was talking at them, but with them and to them personally.”
“In my 20 plus years in Higher Education, I’ve heard many speakers at a college campus at professional conferences. Katie and Steve’s program are among the most effective I have heard in terms of delivering a message that people remember. I would highly recommend any college campus to invite them to speak to a wide variety of audiences.”
“Another aspect I appreciated was the ease of which scheduling and arrangements were handled. The communication from the Banisters was always timely, through and helpful.”
Alan Nordyke, Director of Residence and Greek Life
University of Central Missouri
“Access-4-All has been providing training for the St. Louis Zoo since 2003. We schedule classes in “Sensitivity to Individuals with Disabilities" 3-4 times a year for approx. 15-20 employees. There are some real advantages to using Access-4-All as a provider; their individual experiences and personal connections, open and approachable attitudes, they meet are specific needs, and they are dedicated to bettering the community."
Lucy Bailey and Jim Lanier
St. Louis Zoo Training Dept.
“Thank you for presenting Open a Door-Open a Mind” to the University of Kansas Medical Center’s staff, students and faculty. You provided an engaging, informative and educational experience. It is apparent from the reactions from the audience that they enjoyed your informal and low keyed manner.”
Charles Romero, Diversity Coordinator
University Of Kansas Med. Center, Kansas City, KS
“Thanks for coming again. Year after year (since 1994) you have come to our Religious School to speak to the 9th grad students. The kids really get a lot out of it and the teachers continue to feel that your visit is helpful.”
United Hebrew Temple, St. Louis, MO
“Katie’s presentation was educational, delightful, and humorous. The students and staff have a better understanding as to how individuals learn to live with a disability.”
Andra Gwydir, Principal
Wedgwood Elem. Florissant, MO
“I can’t thank you enough for coming to Webster University to speak to our students, staff, and faculty. I’ve spoken to several people who attended your talk and everyone reported that they have shared something they learned from you with at least one other person.”
Holly Hubenschmidt, Chair, Accessibility Committee
“After reading Katie’s book, The Personal Care Attendant Guide I was so impressed. It is informative, easy to read, relatable and tremendously helpful to anyone in need of personal care assistance.”
Sadye Gartland, Senior Counsel
MO Division of Vocational Rehabilitation
“Based on the feedback I received people not only enjoyed your presentation; "Entrepreneurship, Anything is Possible" but were also inspired by you. Keep up the good work about spreading the word about individuals with disabilities. You are breaking down barriers!”
Dr. Barrette Bebler
Webster Univ. School of Business and Technology
“Your interest in becoming involved with the education process is greatly appreciated.”
Susan Prosperi, Partners in Education
Marquette High School, St. Louis
“Katie spoke for three hours on “Change Takes Time – Value Life’s Changes,” discussing stress management, adversity and overcoming challenges. Comments included; Katie took time to know our company and understood what we do and she was frank, honest, funny and fun.”
Macon Resources, Inc., Decatur, IL
“Thanks for sharing your experience with our staff. They had this to say; great way to start our conference, would like her to speak longer, a very down to earth person.”
Frank Lloyd, Assistant Commissioner
Vocational Rehabilitation. Nebraska Dept. of Ed.
“I wasn’t sure if the time for Q & A would get utilized (our students are not the best at asking questions) but they surprised me and asked and received open and informative answers.”
Amy Hughey, Counselor
Individualized Learning Center, Eureka, MO
“Katie is one amazing woman who can teach a lifelong lesson just by being herself.”
St. Vincent School, St. Louis, MO
“On behalf of the Midland Group, your presentation was very meaningful and extremely informative with regard to our awareness in making our shopping centers more accessible for persons with disabilities.”
Property Manager, St. Louis, MO
“You taught our group the do’s and don’ts regarding disabilities. Most of us never thought about the disabled individuals who do not look disabled.”
St. Louis Jaycees Junior Chamber of Commerce
“Your disability awareness presentation was wonderful. Thank you so much for a job well done. Administration and students alike have given us positive feedback since your visit. It was inspirational, motivational, and a learning experience. The professional development funds allocated for your presentation and the books was money well spent.”
Jeffery Royal, Special Services Director
Romulus Community Schools, Romulus, Michigan
“Students were taken by Katie's honest and straight forward approach to her accident, recovery, and life-long experience with her disability.Katie was great to work with and made planning and executing our event a breeze!”
Wentzville Timberland High School, Wentzville, MO
“Several students commented on the absolute truth in your statement about how each of us in that room was dealing with some sort of struggle, even if it wasn’t visible to everyone else. That perspective underlines the connection with one another, and also reframes the propensity to idealize people who are living with more visible disabilities.”
Webster University Instructor
Webster Groves, MO