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Develop, support, promote disability leaders

Tag Archive: Christina Ryan

  1. DLI members in the news – December 2023/January 2024

    Melissa Hale – Melissa Hale is changing the game for deaf women in cricket

    Lisa Stafford – Disabled Travellers Face Discrimination: Seeking Change and Redress

    Shane Hryhorec – Glenelg’s accessibility beach mats open 24/7 across the next two weeks

    Lisa Stafford – Travellers with disability often face discrimination. What should change and how to complain.

    Lisa Cox – Representation shouldn’t be rocket science (paywalled)

    Shane Hryhorec – Beaches that roll out welcome mat for the less mobile

    Caroline Bowditch – Alter State igniting hope through Disability Leadership

    Shane Hryhorec – Disability advocates call for government investment to improve Australian beach accessibility

    Lisa Cox – Diversity in advertising and the high fashion glass ceiling 

    Shane Hryhorec – First-ever all-inclusive & accessible membership-based gym opens in SA

    Shane Hryhorec – Australia’s first inclusive gym opens in Port Adelaide

     

    December 2023

    Megan Spindler Smith – CEO internship, a first of its kind learning experience for all

    Kate Taylor – Speed dating with an inclusive twist

    Gemma Smart – CAPA board passes motion removing SUPRA voting rights

    Frances Kupke- Smith – Beyond barriers: Advocate sheds light on the challenges at disability expo

    Christina Ryan – The Drum

    Akii Ngo – Birthday party part of the search for inclusivity

     

    Jane Britt – Things I wish I’d known before an emergency — Notes on the Brisbane floods from someone who’s deafblind

    Disability Leadership Institute – Disabled voices leading the national conversation

    Tricia Malowney – Kinetic invests in enhanced accessibility in Melbourne

    Carol Taylor – The rise of adaptive fashion

    Disability Leadership Institute, Christina Ryan – People with disability recognised for making an impact

    Disability Leadership Institute – ABC features stories for, by and about Australians living with disability

  2. DLI Members in the news – October 2023

    Cathy Easte – Griffith launches the Deaf Space to support increasing community of deaf students

     

    Claire Pullen – Australian Writers Guild says no thanks to AI

    Claire Pullen – Good writing is human writing

    El Gibbs – To stop the abuse of disabled people, we know what needs to change (paywalled)

    Lisa Cox – Queenagers stand up and be counted

    El Gibbs – This Week – Disability Royal Commission

    Claire Pullen – Australian Writers Guild outlines position on AI

    Christina Ryan – Disability Royal Commission report handed down

    Christina Ryan – The Disability Royal Commission is about to report

  3. DLI members in the news – August 2023

    Shane Hryhorec – Disability advocate speechless over diversity and inclusion film festival

    El Gibbs – Disability advocates launch new plan to increase home ownership among people with disabilities

    El Gibbs – Return to office push could undo gains for people with disability

    Christina Ryan – The Drum

    Lisa Cox – Future is Female Award Winners announced

    Lisa Cox – APAC unveils 2023 future is female awards shortlist

    Robert Altamore – Governor General helps Radio 1RPH celebrate 40 years

    Kat Reed – Fertility struggles can be costly and time consuming. Living with a disability can make them even harder

    Shane Hryhorec – Call for more public toilets in Port Adelaide

    Yasmine Grey – Canberra Business Chamber ACT budget lunch

  4. No Business Case Required

    No Business Case Required

    An old grey suitcase with  gold coloured snap closures. It is sitting on a luggage rack.

    By Christina Ryan, DLI CEO

     

    When working to improve diversity in board rooms and executive teams disabled people are told to make the “business case” for being in these rarified environments.

     

    Yet, other groups, most notably those who created these spaces, and have been there all along, are not asked to make any business case to be present. Rather, they continue to be appointed to positions based on “merit” – that is, whether they are in the right networks and “fit in” to the existing culture. In other words, people who look like the people who are already there.

     

    If a business case was required our parliaments, board and executive rooms would lose most of their current population. Yet somehow people from preferred networks continue to be appointed without any business case to prove their worth.

     

    Why, then, are disabled people expected to prove our worth before we are allowed admittance?

     

    The “business case” is another gate that disabled people must pass through to get to a world where we are equal. A gate that is kept by non-disabled people. An ableist gate which demands that disabled people prove we can operate in a space created by non-disabled people where they set the rules and can be comfortable, and face no challenges to their status quo.

     

    There is a wealth of research about the benefits of diversity; how it improves bottom lines, decisions made, productivity outcomes, and innovation levels. Yet each diversity group is required to prove its worth before being allowed admittance. Now, apparently, it is the turn of disabled people to prove our worth, to put our business case to pass through this gate.

     

    Business cases are reserved for those on the outside of the right networks, those who are hoping to be allowed in, not those who have the right friends and find themselves already on the inside.

     

    To require an entire diversity group to make a business case is systemic discrimination, otherwise known as ableism.

     

    To exclude an individual person because they are disabled is discrimination, also known as ableism.

     

    There are plenty of highly competent and qualified disabled people who should be appointed to boards and executive teams. It is not the lack of a business case that is preventing these appointments. It is the discomfort of those on the inside, those whose status quo is being challenged. Those who somehow feel that disability equates to incompetence and inexperience.

     

    Some of these people fear being upstaged by a disabled person who is more competent or qualified than they are. Unfortunately, many of these people also hold the keys to the gates of equality and they won’t let us in.

     

    No business case is required to advance equality for disabled people. Rather it is the willingness of those keeping gates to open them.

     

    Sign up for regular updates from the Disability Leadership Institute. 

    Christina Ryan is the CEO of the Disability Leadership Institute, which provides professional development and support for disability leaders. She identifies as a disabled person.

     

     

     

     

  5. Be That Leader

    Be that leader

    by Christina Ryan, DLI CEO

    A cluster of coloured pencils standing upright.

    Culture comes from the top, from the very top.

    Leaders intervene when they see something. They change the way work is done in their organisations. It is the leadership of an organisation that makes it an employer of choice.

    Leaders are responsible for generating a culture of inclusion, and for making sure that disabled people can get their work done on the same basis as their colleagues.

    Leaders send a strong message when they:

    insist that only one person speaks at a time in a meeting. Many meetings become a competitive solution sharing festival, with people talking over each other and interrupting when they have something to say. Such meetings are noisy and fast paced. They also exclude many people by confusing captioners, denying interpreters the ability to keep up, and by preventing an ability to focus because there is too much noise. Be the leader who insists that only one person speaks at a time. Use a talking stick to help if your team has fallen into the trap of competitive solution sharing. Diverse teams solve problems faster, but only if all team members get to participate.

    cancel the meeting because not all staff members can participate if there is no auslan interpreter or because the alternative format meeting papers weren’t distributed in time. If members of your team are unable to participate, they are unable to do their job. Make sure everyone is prepared for the meeting and has the mechanisms in place that make it possible to participate alongside their colleagues.

    insist on hearing the opinion of every person in the room. Loud raucous meetings are great environments for extroverts who are not disabled. For everyone else they are stressful and hamper thinking and collaboration. Not everyone finds it easy to loudly interject. By checking in with each team member for their views you are ensuring that everyone is part of the collaborative effort. Why are they on your team if you don’t want to know what they think?

    step in when overhearing ableist language. Employers now have a positive duty to prevent harassment in their workplace. For disabled staff, ableist language is harassment. There are many words about disability that are used widely as insults. Nip it in the bud and make it clear that this language is not welcome in your workplace. If your organisation has a revolving door for disabled staff, it is not unlikely that this is a contributor to their sense of being unwelcome.

    ensure workplace adjustments are in place. As soon as you know adjustments are needed make sure they happen as a high priority on your task list. Don’t ask once and assume it has been done, keep checking until they arrive. A team member without their adjustments in place is a team member who can’t do their job and can’t contribute. Make it clear to the team member that it is your responsibility, not theirs, to get adjustments happening and then take responsibility. Don’t exhaust your team member by questioning what they need. Most employees will know what it takes to set them up for success. Your job is to listen and promptly act on it.

    There are many ways that leaders can contribute to a culture of inclusion, a workplace culture that ensures all of their team are able to work effectively and comfortably. A culture that is safe. These are just some examples.

    When you are this leader the message you send to your team, and to the wider organisation, is that being disabled is part of how we do business here, not an awkward add on or the responsibility of individuals who have less power than you do. If your disabled staff don’t need to speak up about inclusion they can put their energy into their work, rather than wasting their valuable time and energy making your organisation accessible.

    Can you be that leader, or are you waiting for someone else to step in?

     

    Sign up for regular updates from the Disability Leadership Institute. 

    Christina Ryan is the CEO of the Disability Leadership Institute, which provides professional development and support for disability leaders. She identifies as a disabled person.