NEW ALBANY — A New Albany resident has received statewide recognition for his work advocating for people with disabilities.
Mark Hublar, 57, is a local motivational speaker with Down syndrome. His business, Mark J. Hublar Speaks, was one of 22 businesses selected for the Hoosier Business in Action award, a new initiative through Indiana’s Office of Equity, Inclusion and Opportunity.
This is the first year of the Hoosier Business in Action program. Mark received the award July 19 at a ceremony in Indianapolis.
He has traveled across the country as a motivational speaker, and he has received many awards for his work over the years. He has spoken to businesses, nonprofits, government leaders, schools and parents to help people understand the need for supporting people with disabilities and allowing them to reach their full potential.
“I opened my business to help my friends out — [to help] individuals with disabilities,” Mark said. “It feels good to help them.”
One of Mark’s main focuses is the importance of job opportunities for people with disabilities. Although his full-time job is public speaking, he also works part-time at Discount Labels, a printing business in New Albany.
Through his advocacy, he helps individuals with disabilities find jobs that offer a good paycheck and allow them to “live a full life of their own,” he said.
His father, Al Hublar, said his family is “very proud of Mark.”
“We kind of expected a lot, and we’ve never been disappointed,” he said. “He’s far exceeded our expectations in terms of living on his own. He has a good life.”
He is a New Albany High School graduate, and he graduated from Jefferson Community Technical College in 2016 with a major in public speaking, which led to his career. He has been employed, paid his own bills and lived on his own since age 24.
He credits the support of his friends — including those he met through the Down Syndrome of Louisville organization — for his success and the awards he has received.
Mark received a letter from Karrah Herring, the state’s chief equity, inclusion & opportunity officer, saying the award recognizes his “success serving and representing the residents of New Albany and Southeast Indiana.” The state will highlight Mark Hublar Speaks throughout the year through the Hoosier Business in Action initiative.
He is an inspiration to many younger individuals with disabilities, Al said.
“Most of the exposure now is with the younger group,” he said. “It’s always talking about what you can do — well, Mark’s already done it.”
In his career as a public speaker, Mark’s strengths include his confidence, organizational skills and his caring attitude toward others. When Mark gets in front of an audience, he “blossoms,” Al said.
“We all have talents, and it’s a matter of matching our talents to the job we have,” he said. “Once you do that, everything comes natural, and that’s what comes natural to Mark — to be in front of a group.”
Mark has made a real difference as an advocate for those with disabilities, his father said.
“It’s been good to see the changes he can make, the impact he can make on not only self-advocates, but also parents,” he said. “So many parents think about ‘what my son or daughter can’t do.’ It’s not about what they can’t do, it’s what they can do if you give them the opportunity to reach their full potential, and that’s what his message is.”