the story of Z

Artisan. Motivational Speaker. Animal Lover. Athlete. Champion. Leader. Friend. Zinyra Ross can be described in a million ways. Yet if you ask by what name you should call her, she will probably reply, “Just Z”.

Z has lived two distinct lives. In the first, she was isolated by a severe cognitive disability and bullied. In her present life, she is confident, courageous, and admired. She is employed with the Chicago Zoological Society at Brookfield Zoo, competes as an athlete for Special Olympics Illinois (for which she serves as a Global Messenger), and acts as a mentor, advocate, and leader in her community. She is also an incredible artist and innovative entrepreneur.

By embracing her disability, Z uses the gifts and talents she has discovered to create her future with kindness, creativity, and positive thoughts. In doing so, she inspires others to follow their own dreams.

There are many remarkable things about Z; her humor, art, dedication as an employee, passion for animals, and her ability to connect with everyone. What I hope people find most remarkable is that Z and her mom don’t necessarily find what Z does to be exceptional; it is simply the life she lives.  That she inspires others in the process is a cherry on top!

Jill (supervisor)

I was so fortunate to work with Zinyra! She is such a strong and determined young woman, and she inspires me to this day. She has accomplished so much already and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for her.

Natalie (former supervisor)