The 2021 Recipients of the National Awards for Disability Leadership are:
Wenn Lawson – Wenn’s impact on Australia’s Autistic community is unparalleled. He works with researchers around the world on vital topics like aging & quality of life, has written 20+ books & co-developed monotropism, a landmark person-centred theory to conceptualise autism. With generosity & wisdom he provides advice, mentors new leaders, supports families & helps ensure Autistic kids’ rights are met at school. Dr. Wenn Lawson was one of Australia’s first Autistic advocates & has educated and helped countless Autistic people, families and community members to see autism differently. Wenn is an experienced researcher, public speaker & author. He’s a proud family man & member of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Chloe Polglaze – By sharing her lived experience, she directly contributed to a significant policy change that will positively impact children with disability around Australia. Following her contributions at the Children and Young people with Disability Australia (CYDA) and Families Australia policy forum, Community Services Ministers’ met and agreed to add a fourth priority group to the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children successor plan.
Ruby Susan Mountford – Ruby Mountford’s contribution to LGBTIQA+ disability communities and work in community development and inclusion has involved co-authored research reports, co-designed resources for self-advocacy and employment inclusion, and developing an Accessibility Inclusion Action Plan for Thorne Harbour Health to reduce barriers and support community participation for LGBTIQA+ people with disabilities.
Shane Hryhorec – Shane connects communities, councils, surf life savers clubs and people with disability around Australia to make over 50 Australian beaches more accessible. Shane regularly delivers beach access training and workshops, lived experience advisory, hosting community accessible beach days, organising equipment test and trials, and has created a free online accessible beach and waterway directory.
Nikki Hind – Nikki Hind is Australia’s first legally blind fashion designer and the Founder of her fashion label Blind Grit. Nikki is also the Fashion Editor for Wb40 – Women Beyond Forty Magazine and Magazine, she is a Disability and Inclusion advisor and media consultant. As the Fashion Editor of Wb40, Nikki’s passion is to change the around inclusion of disabled people and designers in the fashion industry. Writing features on “inclusive fashion” and why representation of the disability community matters, Nikki is making a powerful impact on how disabled women see themselves, but also changing the narrative on how mainstream media represents disability and fashion.
Kimberley Congram – Kim worked to reform & transform the inclusion network for people with disability in the Attorney-General’s Department (AGD) & the APS. She redeveloped the Celebrating Ability Network (CAN), growing membership from 0.3% to 11%. Her enthusiasm and leadership has built an environment of support & inclusivity, built trust amongst the cohort, & enhanced inclusion of people with disability & diversity.
Carol Taylor – Carol Taylor is a lawyer, award-winning artist, the world’s first quadriplegic fashion designer. In addition she is a disability advocate through both her works as a founding member of the Queensland Law Society Diverse Abilities Network and through her role as a non-Executive Director of Spinal Life Australia. Carol’s designs caught the attention of Mercedes-Benz fashion Festival Director. She was invited to design a collection of 9 pieces of adaptive clothing to open a runway event for Mercedes-Benz fashion Festival. This was a first of its kind for fashion inclusivity, it was the first time an all visible disability cast of models appeared on a national runway.