Rebel-hearted inclusion activist Caroline Casey: AND’s International Keynote Speaker

Thu 27 May 2021

Woman (Caroline Casey) smiling with her hair blown back a bit with wind. Background is blurry.

Image: Caroline Casey, CEO of The Valuable 500. 

“I have had moments when I have been brought to my knees in the struggle to make things happen, and moments when things have happened in a strangely magical way.” – Caroline Casey.  

Founder and CEO of The Valuable 500, Caroline Casey is a self-described “rebel-hearted inclusion activist,” and “dangerous dreamer.” Ahead of her  keynote speaker role at AND’s upcoming Conference, we sat down with Caroline Casey to discuss the power of business in creating change.

Passion for a just future

For Caroline Casey, the passion for an equitable future began when she was a young girl. Today, that drive has connected her with a robust group of like-minded people, also motivated to advance disability inclusion in business. 

For me, my proudest ‘anything’ is the teams of people who have worked with me since joining this space.”

While there have been highs and lows throughout the journey towards a disability inclusive future, a recent moment that moved her was presenting the phase 2 plans for The Valuable 500 to the original believers and followers from #valueable.

“That moment was incredibly emotional as these were the people that believed in me before anyone did. It may have taken longer than we hoped, but for them to witness the outcome and to hear how proud they were, that was an incredible moment. That touched me, because so many people on that call were directly connected to disability.”

The power of business in creating change

As founder of The Valuable 500, it's clear that Caroline knows the power business has to create change. 

“Business is the most powerful force on this planet,” she says, “And the leaders are some of the most powerful leaders in the world. If a leader turns their intention and attention to something, then we can drive innovation and activation.”

That’s why The Valuable 500 targets CEO’s to put disability inclusion on the agenda.

Leaders make choices, those choices create culture,” Caroline explains. “With a CEO, change can be scaled faster. CEO’s in today’s world are leaders that can make change happen in days.”

The reasons for disability inclusion in business are simple.

Disability is the one group that everyone one of us will belong to at some point in our lives…Today through family and friends, 70 percent of our global economy is affected by disability. How on earth would business consider leaving that behind?”

Significant progress is being made in the area, with 500 CEO’s committing to disability inclusion as part of The Valuable 500’s initial campaign.  Having launched Phase 2, The Valuable 500 has identified several innovations in six key areas that Caroline is hopeful can accelerate disability inclusion within the next few years. These six key areas include c-suite, customer, culture, representation, reporting and research, and data.

The key for us is that we have designed tools to help unblock barriers at the very top of the organisations in these areas, and also to help our Valuable 500 community act collectively to make change happen in the business eco-system.”

With change on the horizon, there is no slowing down Caroline Casey.

I am motivated because I know that things can change if there is the right will and intention, a collective that is brave enough to push it through, the right timing – and for me, it’s business.” she says.

Hear more from Caroline as well as other international and national leaders at our Conference. Find out more about AND’s Conference.

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