Enabling leadership for people with a disability

17 May 2018

On Tuesday 8 May, we held a Disability Leadership Program Participatory Forum with more than 80 emerging and established leaders either with a disability, working in the sector or caring for someone with a disability.

Throughout the day, participants were asked to think about their civic participation, their leadership in the future and their fondest aspirations. There was a lot of experience and wisdom in the room, with many powerful new connections established throughout the day.

A common theme of the day was that “advocacy will lead to a point where we will mobilise as a collective to drive positive changes that can improve the lives of people with disability”.

Together, we can:

  • Build new pathways for civic participation and expand our leadership opportunities, for those in the room and for other people with disabilities
  • Remind each other that leadership is an activity, not a position. Anyone can lead, anywhere, anytime
  • Drive the change outside these forums i.e. using social media or forming advocacy groups
  • Prove people wrong!
  • It's better to do something than do nothing at all. Things may be done differently by people with a disability, but they are still achieving
  • Establish support teams. And stop seeking approval and idolising the able-bodied life
  • Educate leaders to change their mindsets and unconcious bias
  • Take risks. Get into uncomfortable leadership territory to advocate change Create a better world through exceptional leadership

We thank our guest speakers who openly shared their own leadership challenges, successes and learnings:

  • Dean Barton-Smith AM, Olympian, Chief Executive, Advocate
  • Phil Hayes-Brown (WCLP’16), CEO, Wallara 
  • Colleen Furlanetto (WCLP’15), Chair, Victorian Disability Advisory Council 
  • Amanda Lawrie-Jones, Disability Inclusion Consultant, Accessibility Action 
  • Llewellyn Prain (WCLP’17), Director, Eye and Ear Hospital 
  • Peter van Vliet, ‎Executive, Department of Health and Human Services, Victoria 
  • Matthew Wright (WCLP’13), Branch Manager, Design and Inclusion, NDIA
  • MC - Scott Harris, Disability Leadership Program Participant

Leadership Victoria acknowledges the support of the Victorian Government and Disability Leadership Institute