Australia has globally recognised leaders with disabilities who sit on boards, lead teams, run organisations, and represent our communities locally, nationally and internationally. Yet any mention of diversity rarely includes disability and doesn’t acknowledge the incredible wealth of experience and expertise that people with disabilities can contribute.
People with disabilities have almost no presence in politics, high levels of business or government, or as members of boards or advisory groups. Often it is assumed that there are simply no people with disabilities qualified to operate at these levels, or that people with disabilities can only be experts in disability related areas. So, leaders with disabilities are rarely in the room and remain invisible. Few disability leaders are known; even fewer are appointed or recognised.
Despite this Australia has never had a cohesive ongoing program to support and develop leaders and emerging leaders with disabilities.
The Disability Leadership Institute has been established to address this diversity imbalance. The Institute offers coaching, mentoring, training and connection to opportunities, including communities of practice, leadership development, and a range of resources. Both existing and emerging leaders with disabilities will be supported to connect to leadership positions and opportunities, while being provided with targeted support and training.
For the first time a National Register of Disability Leaders will offer a single portal for companies or agencies wishing to engage C suite expertise, find a new board member, engage a conference speaker, or locate a media expert. The register is open to all people with disabilities, and open to all companies and agencies wishing to improve their diversity.
The Disability Leadership Institute has been established by leaders with disabilities for leaders with disabilities. It is time to change the way leadership is understood.
Meet the gardener of leaders. For over 20 years Christina Ryan has been a leader in the Australian disability community, working at an international, national & local level to change the diversity agenda, while coaching numerous people with disabilities to their own leadership success.
Christina founded the Disability Leadership Institute to create a professional hub for leaders with disabilities, so that Australia builds & supports its disability leaders. She hopes to see a growing presence of disability leaders across all sections of our community & a growing recognition of the expertise of leaders with disabilities.
Christina is a management consultant (organisational development specialist) who embeds inclusion and ethical frameworks across organisational structures & culture. She has held CEO, senior management & team leading positions across both government & non-government sectors for 20 years, is a high level strategic thinker & noted innovator, using design thinking & collaboration to build new approaches.