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.

Anytime I stood back and watched Zinyra work, I couldn’t help but smile. I can just see how much she enjoys what she’s doing and truly wants to be a great example to others.

Paige (former supervisor)

[Speaking about snakes] Most people can’t see the beauty because of their fear. Like individuals with disabilities who are often judged. People need to see the true beauty within.