Sydney’s November Roundtable Roundup

Mon 27 November 2017

Speaker stands at lectern in front of seated audience in business attire. Projection screens show Cisco introduction slide. Auslan interpreter stands at front.

Generously hosted by AND Gold Member, Cisco Systems Australia on Tuesday 21 November, our last Sydney roundtable for 2017 was a resounding success.

Cisco highlighted some great results of a new project designed to break down barriers to employment. We heard some compelling insights from Apple about how designing for inclusion can lead to life-changing innovation. And, Life Without Barriers discussed the progress they’ve made in the first year of their Accessibility, Inclusion and Employment Plan (AIEP).

Vikki Morris, Regional Manager and Connected Disability Awareness Network Chapter Lead at Cisco, started with an introduction to Cisco LifeChanger. Based on the concept that “work is something you do, not a place that you go,” LifeChanger is an initiative being rolled out globally that aims to use technology to eliminate barriers to employment. The project has produced some amazing results, with 100 people with disability hired to date, productivity up by 220%, and lower rates of error, turnover and absenteeism. In talking about the business and operational benefits of the LifeChanger project, Ms. Morris said, “It’s a great attraction to work for a company that really does care.”

Cisco’s Sean Murphy, Compliance Accessibility Software Engineer, then took to the stage and neatly summed up accessibility: “It’s about people. We’re talking about breaking down barriers.” As someone who has a vision impairment, Sean knows all too well that accessibility challenges are unique from person to person. Discussing the benefits of Universal Design, he encouraged the audience to consider that disability can range from zero to 100 percent and we need to make sure everyone’s needs are considered during every phase of product development. “Accessibility is a marathon, not a sprint. You have to keep improving,” he said.

We learned about Apple’s approach to accessibility. How the most powerful technology in the world is technology that everyone, including people with disability, can use. To work, create, communicate, stay in shape, and be entertained.

The final presentation was led by Life Without Barriers Diversity and Inclusion National Manager, Fiona Davies and Talent and Attraction National Manager, David Meere. Having made excellent progress toward their AIEP over the past year, they stressed the importance of getting the right support: “We’ve definitely got the appetite, but we don’t have all the answers. That’s why we went to AND [Australian Network on Disability] and participate in forums like this – to keep learning,” Mr. Meere said. Excited to participate in AND’s Access and Inclusion Index for a second year, they noted the value of a whole-of-business approach to support the achievement of their goals.

If you missed the November Roundtable, you can access the slides on the member section of our website.

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