Enabling Change, Creating Impact 2017

Tue 23 May 2017

Thank you to everyone who attended our 9th Annual National Conference, Enabling Change, Creating Impact 2017, in Melbourne on Tuesday 16th May. This year was our biggest event to date, with 220 attendees, 17 speakers, and 15 generous sponsors.

Mark McLane speaking on stage at the conference

Mark McLane

Keynote speaker, Mark McLane, Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Barclays, travelled from London to talk about the highly successful diversity and inclusion initiatives of the international bank. Through innovative customer-centric initiatives including video conferencing for British Sign Language (BSL) users; ‘high-vis’ bank cards; and talking ATMs, Barclays strives to ensure that customers with disability can access their products and services with ease.

Three leading organisations were celebrated during the launch of AND’s inaugural Access and Inclusion Index Benchmark Report.

Introduced by AND Chair Peter Wilson, the Report assists organisations to understand the current level of maturity in access and inclusion practices in Australia. It also highlights areas that need more work, and provides a clear roadmap for improvement. Congratulations to IBM Australia, the Federal Department of Human Services and Westpac Group for being identified as the most mature on their journey towards access and inclusion.

During the morning session, delegates experienced an awe-inspiring demonstration of live captioning from Accessibility Partner, Ai-Media’s Tony Abrahams and Richard Boyle.

The Assistant Minister for Social Services and Disability Services Jane Prentice presented an overview of the new model of Disability Employment Services, which was developed in consultation with AND members. The new model aims to reinvigorate the national disability strategy and better accommodate the needs of both employers and jobseekers.

Tony Abrahams, Suzanne Colbert, Peter Wilson, Alastair McEwin, Jane Prentice, Mark McLane and Sara James posing on stage at the conference

(Left to right: Tony Abrahams, Suzanne Colbert, Peter Wilson, Alastair McEwin, Jane Prentice, Mark McLane and Sara James)

We also learned about attendees’ goals for the day and were delighted to hear so many different responses.  From ‘influencing hiring managers’, to ‘tips to reinvigorate our Disability Employee Network’, and ‘removing systemic barriers.

Our two panel discussions gave delegates the opportunity to hear about current initiatives and best-practice examples across the public, private, and non-profit sectors. One of the standout takeaway messages from both panels was that when you design for customers and employees with disability, you design for everyone.

The afternoon’s workshops were an opportunity for delegates to enter a focused dialogue with experts in inclusive employment practices. Representatives from Australian organisations that are leading the charge in diversity and inclusion provided valuable insights, while delegates were able to ask questions and share ideas in an intimate setting.

We were also lucky to hear leading disability advocate Rhonda Galbally address the need for better consultation with people with lived experience of disability in decision-making processes. Founder of ad inclusion advocacy group Starting with Julius, Catia Malaquias, as well as model and activist Angel Dixon, shared practical advice and prominent examples of the countless benefits of including people with disability in advertising and marketing. They key takeaway from their engaging session was that incidentally representing diversity in marketing is the most effective way to engage customers.

Angel Dixon, Catia Malaquias and Ian Tsolakis, smiling at the conference

(Left to right: Angel Dixon, Catia Malaquias and Ian Tsolakis)

The event was closed by Disability Discrimination Commissioner Alastair McEwin, who summarised the learnings of the day and left us with a reminder of the impact everyone in the room has the ability to have on the lives of people with disability.

A sincere thank you to our generous sponsors and insightful speakers, without which the conference could not be possible.

Presentations, transcripts and resources from the day are now available on the Members Area of our website and the ShowGizmo app.

Expressions of interest to contribute to our 2018 conference in Sydney as a sponsor or speaker are now open, so please email conference@and.org.au if you’d like to get involved.

Download a text decription of the video (accessible Word)

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