Great Change; Great Women

Join the conversation #GreatChangeGreatWomen

We are delighted to present Microlink’s new webinar series, Great Change; Great Women. After a year of turbulence, trials and triumphs we thought it relevant to focus on the women who are influencing the disability agenda and keeping momentum going in a positive direction. In this series we’ll be asking how we can effect meaningful change, advocate equality and work together to create a healthier, happier and more inclusive world.

#GreatChangeGreatWomen

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Episode 1- Kate Nash OBE

Creator & CEO of PurpleSpace

March 25, 2021 02:00 PM

Kate Nash OBE is creator & CEO of PurpleSpace (www.purplespace.org). Established in 2015 it is the world’s only professional development membership hub for disability employee resource groups [ERG] / networks.

PurpleSpace delivers leadership know-how to ERG / network leaders and is the go-to global community of disability ERG / network leaders across all sectors. The community of change agents was born by demand following the publication of her book ‘Secrets & Big News’ in 2014.

PurpleSpace leads the #PurpleLightUp - a worldwide digital movement to encourage disability employee networks across the globe to ‘go purple’ in the run up to the UN International Day of Persons with Disability - https://www.purplespace.org/our-projects/purple-light-up. The purpose is to celebrate the economic contribution of disabled employees. She is External Advisor to GSK’s Global Disability Council, Strategic Disability Advisor to Post Office Ltd, Disability Advisor to Fujitsu, Judge on Shaw Trust ‘Power 100’ List and a member of the UK Government’s Minister’s Disability Confidence Business Leaders’ Group. In 2007 she was awarded an OBE for services to disabled people. @KateNashOBE @mypurplespace kate@purplespace.org
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Kate Nash

Episode 2- Christine Hemphill

Founder and Managing Director Open Inclusion

April 1, 2021 02:00 PM

Christine is the Founder and Managing Director of Open Inclusion, an inclusive insight, design and innovation agency based in London and operating across the UK. She is an economist by trade, a researcher, a designer and innovator by practice and a practical systemic problem solver by nature. She helps organisations grow consumer experience across all brand touchpoint (digital, physical, customer service and brand communications) through a deeper understanding  of the needs of people with lived experiences of disability and older consumers or employees.

Open provide this by conducting high quality inclusive user research and design support, usually through engaging Open’s diverse insight community of over 500 people with specific access and age related perspectives. Christine has been leveraging digital capabilities, specifically including emerging technologies for over two decades to solve unmet consumer needs, solve them better, or more efficiently. She leads the global Inclusive Design for XR community for XRAccess, is an advisor for a number of highly innovative digital startups in fintech, health tech and robotic mobility, and is an advisor to the British Standards Institute committee for wayfinding. Open Inclusion is a global expert partner for the Valuable 500 and pan-disability research partner for the RNIB and the Business Disability Forum. Christine has a BEc/BA (Asian Studies) and MBA, is a member of the Market Research Society and CPACC with the International Association of Accessibility Professionals.
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Christine Hemphill

Episode 3- Shani Dhanda

Disability Specialist

April 8, 2021 02:00 PM

Shani Dhanda is a multi-award-winning disability specialist and social entrepreneur listed as one of the UK’s most influential disabled people and BBC’s 100 Women 2020 List.

As a keynote speaker and practitioner for inclusion across business, government, non-profit and wider society, Shani helps organisations break barriers and integrate inclusion into their business frameworks.

With her determination for creating everyday equality, Shani founded and leads three disruptive platforms all united by the common purpose of empowering underrepresented communities: 1. Diversability, the world's first inclusive platform for disabled people aimed at reducing the financial pressures from the unavoidable extra costs of living with a health condition or impairment. 2. Asian Woman Festival, the UK's first-of-its-kind annual festival and global community smashing stereotypes to empower and celebrate Asian women. 3. Asian Disability Network, an educational platform and support network for people who experience multiple types of stigma due to their ethnic and cultural identities. Passionate about representation and portrayal of intersectionality, Shani is the face of LinkedIn's first-ever TV ad, which was featured across digital, print and radio channels with over 17 million views. She is a LinkedIn changemaker and sits within the top 0.09% most influential members in the UK. Shani has worked at Virgin Media for 3 years, helping to transform the experience for their disabled employees and customers. She’s also a trustee of global disability charity Leonard Cheshire and Vice-President of the Asian Business Chamber of Commerce. As a subject matter expert, Shani brings the voices of disabled people and their organisations to policy development for the Government’s Disability Unit the Cabinet Office. She is an ambassador at Valuable 500 and Parallel London. Shani's style and approach are described as 'a winning combination of authenticity and passion, helping to remove the awkwardness and fear of having confident conversations about disability within business and society.' Shani’s client list includes Google, Bloomberg, Facebook, Mimecast, Viacom and LinkedIn. She has also written for Huffington Post and as a columnist for Able Mag. Shani is currently studying an Executive MBA at Aston Business School.
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Shani's picture

Episode 4- Dr Nancy Doyle

CEO Genius Within

April 15, 2021 02:00 PM

Dr Nancy Doyle is a Chartered Psychologist, in organisational and occupational psychology and the founder and owner of Genius Within CIC, a social enterprise dedicated to facilitating neurodiversity inclusion through consultancy, talent assessment, workshops and coaching for businesses. Nancy works with customers in finance, technology, defence towards a future where all neurominorities are able to maximise their potential and work to their strengths.

Work is such an important part of society and identity, and with the challenges the world faces we need the full range of human capability focused and included. Nancy helped create and featured in both series’ of the award-winning BBC Two series Employable Me, where she supported a group of extraordinary job seekers to unlock their own unique talents and abilities in order to secure employment. Syndicated in 2019 in the USA as ‘The Employables”, Nancy continued to deliver the trademark positive assessments and Employable Genius group coaching with some extraordinary individuals as they search for work. The show has been incredibly successful in showing that neurodiversity should not be a barrier to employment. Nancy is a Research Fellow with Birkbeck, University of London having completed her Doctoral Research at City University of London. Nancy advises NGOs, international and national civil servants and political groups on how to improve disability inclusion. In 2019 she was recognised by the British Psychological Society with an award for her contribution to Policy Impact in Occupational Psychology. Nancy’s research interests include: • Systemic inclusion principles and their impact • Universal Design of Human Resources • Invisible disability and neurodiversity • Critical realist research methodology • Coaching psychology • Disability accommodation intervention evaluation
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Nancy Doyle

Episode 5- Diane Lightfoot

CEO Business Disability Forum

April 22, 2021 02:00 PM

Diane Lightfoot is CEO of Business Disability Forum, a not-for-profit membership organisation that supports businesses to recruit and retain disabled employees and to serve disabled customers. Business Disability Forum’s 350+ members employ c.20% of the UK workforce and range from FTSE 100 companies and central Government departments to technology, transport and construction companies, retailers, higher education and other public services.

Diane is Co-Chair of the Disability Charities Consortium, Chair of the Disabled Students’ Stakeholder Group and Chair of the Challenging Behaviour Foundation. She also sits on Civil Service Disability Expert Advisory Panel and the Institute of Coding’s D&I Board.

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Diane Lightfoot

Episode 6- Debra Ruh

CEO Ruh Associates

April 29, 2021 02:00 PM

Debra Ruh is a Global Disability Inclusion Strategist, Market Influencer, internationally recognized keynote speaker, published author, branding expert, successful entrepreneur, and an exceptional mother. Debra is host of a popular program: Human Potential at Work (Audience in 92 countries and 113 Regions).

She is also an author of three books, Inclusion Branding (available in English, Spanish, Arabic, Voice via Audible), Tapping into Hidden Human Capital and Finding Your Voice Using Social Media. https://tiny.cc/DebraRuh or www.RuhGlobal.com.

Debra Ruh received her call to action when she was told by so-called “experts” that her daughter, Sara, who was born with Down Syndrome (Trisomy 21), would never walk or talk. She refused to accept the prognosis and perception of this condition. Driven by her unshakeable faith in the power of human potential and the love for her daughter, Debra was determined to dedicate her life to create a path to empowerment and the success for all those with disabilities. Her husband aged into disabilities due to a TBI sustained when he was hit by a drunk driver as a child. Sadly, his brain aged into Dementia due to the TBI. Debra had built a multi-million-dollar firm focused on ICT accessibility. Debra was convinced that "the real disability is being unable to see human potential" formed Ruh Global Communications. This new firm focuses on Global Disability Inclusion Strategies, Digital Marketing, and Branding among many other services. Debra consults with Multi-National and National Corporations and the United Nations. Debra is now internationally renowned global keynote speakers and travels the world inspiring and advocating for governments and corporations to include people with disabilities. Debra Ruh is an active public figure and she was invited to address the United Nations General Assembly at the Conference of State Parties 9th session (COSP9) by the President’s office of the UN on May 13, 2016. More recently Debra was selected to support the United Nations (UN), International Labor Organization´s (ILO), Global Business and Disability Network (GBDN). Additionally, in 2018 the U.S. State Department selected Debra Ruh as a global speaker and ambassador for the United States when visiting foreign nations and speaking on inclusion and disability. Selected as a Global Goodwill Ambassador in 2018. Proud to serve on the board of directors and board officer for World Institute on Disabilities (WID) – 2018 to Present. Board of Advisors for AI in Women and Ethics. Honored to be an Ambassador for these amazing organizations. • Business Disability Forum (UK): 2019 to present • Valuable 500 (Global): 2018 – to present • Purple Light Up (UK): 2019 to present Debra is a recognized global influencer, frequently interviewed by various media outlets and she has gathered a significant presence on many social media platforms, with over 400,000+ followers across all mediums. Co-founder of the award winning #AXSChat one of the world’s largest tweet chats with over 8 billion+ tweets. Named the “Top 5% of Social Media Influencers”, #11 in “Global Digital Influencers by Digital Scouts in April 2020”, and “Top 0.1% of people talking about Disability Inclusion and Accessibility” by KLOUT and KRED. Named #11 in Digital Scouts Top #100 Global Digital Influencers in 2020, 2019 & 2018. Debra Ruh Selected Speaking Engagements Links WITI Keynote, December 2020 Future Governments & Cities: Road to Smart Inclusive Cities, December 2020 Access Israel, Sept, Oct, Nov and Dec 2020 China ILO Global Business and Disability Network, December 2020 Fortune – Tech4All, November 2020 Business Disability Forum (BDF), November 2020 AI Women and Ethics, November 2020 NDEAM, Disability Inclusion for Flex Technologies, October 2020 Global Innovation Summit, October 2020 Creating a Culture of Inclusivity, September 2020 mEnable, September 2020 Women in AI Ethics and Inclusion, August 2020 Work Trends – Power of Disability, March 2020 Business Disability Forum, Podcast Jan and Feb 2020 International Paralympics Committee, Germany, December 2019 International Labor Organization, Global Business and Disability Network (GBDN) in Geneva, Switzerland November 2019. US Government: Interagency Forum on Accessibility, Oct 2019 Citi Financial, NY, Oct 2019 Huawei Connections, Shanghai China, September 2019 International Labor Organization, Global Business and Disability Network (GBDN) in Geneva, Switzerland, November 2017: http://www.businessanddisability.org/index.php/en/news-and-events/news/513-4th-annual-meeting-of-the-ilo-global-business-and-disability-network Macau Inclusion Conference 2018: https://www.facebook.com/inclusionconferencemacau/videos/2083747991908024/ The Agenda with Steve Paikin – Canada TV Interview with Debra Ruh – 2015 The Ability of Disability www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MU1Olxwf4g UN General Assembly: a Panel discussion on “Disability-Inclusive Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)” Dec. 03, 2014 (section 42:10 through 54:20): http://webtv.un.org/search/part-2-opening-of-idpd-2014-%E2%80%9Cdisability-inclusive-sustainable-development-the-promise-of-technology%E2%80%9D/3922158865001?term=debra%20ruh#full-text Debra Ruh Selected Awards / Achievements • Shortlisted as CEO Today Magazine’s Women CEO of 2021. December 2020 • Selected as Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame 2019 from National Disability Mentoring Coalition • Named as US Expert partner for The Valuable 500 • Debra Ruh named #15 in Digital Scouts – Top #100 Global Digital Influencers • AXSChat wins the #DES2018 Best Digital Campaign Award – Digital Enterprise Show. European Digital Mindset Awards 2018 – Digital Transformation • Debra Ruh named Global Goodwill Ambassador in January 2018. • Debra Ruh named as #38 in Global “Top 50” 2018 Data Science Influencers in The Fintech Community. buff.ly/2GCOmnV pic.twitter.com/DxURL1WZla • In 2018, the US The State Department selected Debra Ruh as a global speaker and ambassador for the United States when visiting foreign nations and speaking on inclusion and disability. • In 2017 Debra was selected as the United States representative for the United Nations (UN), International Labor Organization´s (ILO), Global Business and Disability Network (GBDN). • Debra Ruh Named as “Top 5% of Social Media Influencers” and “Top 0.1% of people talking about Disability Inclusion and Accessibility” by KLOUT for 2018, 2017, and 2016 • Debra Ruh ranked #6 in "Global Online Influencers" 2018, ranked in the Global Top #10 since 2015 by Rise Market Insight • Debra Ruh ranked "Top 100 Digitalization Influencers in 2018 and 2017" by Digital Scouting • Debra Ruh included in the “Top 50 Over 50 Global Marketing & Though Leaders for 2016” by Brand Quarterly • "Top #5 Social Media Influencer in Accessibility, Social Media, Disability Inclusion, Social Good and Digital Inclusion" in 2018, 2017, and 2016 by SocialFav • Ruh Global Communications was Awarded “Business Excellent Winner: Strategic Digital Marketing Firm of the Year by the 2016 AI Awards” • Debra Ruh named as a finalist in the “Global Women in IT Awards Women in IT Awards” by Information Age magazine in 2016 • Federal Computer Week’s Fed Top 100 Award, 2008; • Wells Fargo and NAWBO (National Association of Women Business Owners), Trailblazer Award, 2007 Debra Ruh – Published Books • “Inclusion Branding: Revealing Secrets to Maximize ROI” Published March 29th, 2018 http://a.co/hzMRsxp (Now available in Spanish, Arabic, and Audible – 2019) • “Uncovering Hidden Human Capital: How leading corporations leverage multiple abilities in their workforce.” Published May 2016, Publisher: G3ict http://tinyurl.com/hnvzswu • “Finding Your Voice by Using Social Media” Published on Amazon March 2013, revised April 2015, http://ow.ly/kxglR Debra Ruh Hosted Weekly Radio Shows • Human Potential at Work filmed Live on Facebook. Then the audio becomes a podcast and is placed on over 35 channels including iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, I Heart Radio and Empower Radio http://www.ruhglobal.com/podcasthuman-potential-work/. The Show is watched in 86 countries and 113 regions with downloads hitting a high of 20,000 downloads and views for some episodes. Audience of over 200,000 listens. • AXSChat – One of the worlds largest tweet chat in the world with over 8+ billion tweets. AXSChat is held every Tuesday at 3pmET and 8pm London Time. www.AXSChat.com Speech Topics with Descriptions. 1. Aging in place. Debra is a recognized expert in why aging employees are valuable, and how they can impact not only a brand´s bottom line but also brand loyalty. Debra explains how to work with aging employees and help them stay relevant and productive in the workplace. 2. TechForAll. Debra explores how technologies like AI, Robotics, Wearables and other newer technologies and communications can support people with disabilities, and the people that are aging and acquiring disabilities continue to age in place, thrive and be included in every aspect of society including education, employment, transportation, and other segments of society. Understanding how to navigate technologies, including voice devices and other AI/Machine Learning technologies can support the empowerment of our community and reduce digital divide and the built barriers and enhance digital inclusion. 3. Navigating Disability Requirements. Debra Ruh is a well-known expert in the disability and inclusion space. She can guide corporations, universities, agencies and governments on how to be compliant and embrace the community of People with Disabilities without being concerned about being sued for wrongful termination or failing the ADAAA Physical Accessibility Requirements. 4. Inclusion Branding. Debra Ruh recently published her 3rd book on that topic, explaining how brands can learn to engage with the Community of Persons with Disabilities and other minorities in creating solid ROI and positive social impact. 5. Digital Divide and Digital Inclusion Debra analyzes the importance of inclusion and diversity in the efforts we are making to reduce the Digital Divide and Digital Inclusion. She explains the economic impact, and social factors with regard to the access and use of ICTs. 6. Women´s Rights and Disability Inclusion. Debra Ruh and her daughter Sara Ruh (diagnosed with Trisomy 21, Down´s Syndrome), are both fierce advocates for women with disabilities all over the world who are shamed, bullied, raped, murdered, and treated as if they do not matter. They discuss how it is past time for all women to be empowered and to support all genders. 7. Return on Investment (ROI) of Inclusion and Diversity. Debra Ruh has a unique position as a market influencer and advocate to speak about how Inclusion and Diversity initiatives have proven benefits; nevertheless, the best efforts are those that fit the overall company strategy and the design of their programs into their business model, policy, and culture. Understanding this is essential, and it can yield unprecedented ROI. 8. Understanding the community of Persons with Disabilities. Debra and her company Ruh Global Communications are sought after as a bridge between companies and the community of PwDs. Today more than one billion people or about 15% of the world's population live with disabilities – that is 1 in 7 people. 1 in 5 people identifies as having a disability in the United States. There are many myths surrounding the community, but the facts show the potential and capability of this generally untapped market and talent pool.
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Debra Ruh

Episode 7- Susan Scott-Parker OBE

CEO Business Disability International

May 6, 2021 02:00 PM

Susan Scott-Parker OBE is an internationally recognised creative thought leader on how to mobilize business leadership worldwide behind the economic and social inclusion of people with disabilities. She works where the aspirations of persons with disabilities and the needs of business coincide.

She founded the world’s first business disability network, now Business Disability Forum (UK) and its Technology Taskforce. Under her leadership BDF launched the first benchmarking tool to measure a corporation’s disability related performance across the business – and the world’s first leadership development programme for persons with disabilities. In 2016 she established business disability international with Barclays, GSK and Infosys, and leads its Global Procurement Taskforce

With IBM and Oxford Brookes University’s Institute of Ethical AI, the Visconti Centre and the European Disability Forum she leads the global campaign addressing the fast-growing risks to the life chances of persons with disabilities generated by AI Powered Recruitment tools and by ‘HR Tech’ more widely. Susan sits on the steering group for the Global Action on Disability network and is Technical Advisor, on labour market re-engineering in Bangladesh, Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda, for Inclusive Futures, the international development consortium. She advises the ILO Global Business Disability Network and the Valuable500 campaign and is a global ambassador for the Essl Foundation’s ZeroProject in Vienna, the Australian Employers Network on Disability and Purple Space. She also acts as an Ashoka Foundation mentor helping social entrepreneurs to maximise their impact In 2003 Susan ‘invented’ the concept and language of ‘Disability Confidence’ – knowing that if we can change the way people talk about the world, we make it easier to change the world. She continues to connect leaders from her extensive international multi-stakeholder networks, enabling new and productive conversations between business, persons with disabilities and public policy makers. She is a Canadian, who lives in the UK. Susan sits on the boards of the Central Ballet School and Light for the World (UK)
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Susan Scott Parker

Episode 8- Jenny Lay- Flurrie

Chief Accessibility Officer at Microsoft

May 13, 2021 04:00 PM

Jenny is chief accessibility officer at Microsoft, leading the company’s efforts to drive great products, services and websites that empower people and organizations to achieve more. Her team is at the forefront of creating positive experiences that apply technology to make a difference in the world and the lives of individuals, from how we hire and support people with disabilities in employment to innovative technology that aims to revolutionize what’s possible for people with disabilities.

With the help of her team and broad community within Microsoft, Lay-Flurrie leads many initiatives to empower people with disabilities both inside and outside of Microsoft. She founded the Disability Employee Resource Group at Microsoft and chaired it for 10 years. She created the Disability Answer Desk, which provides specialist customer support to people with disabilities (over 1M calls handled to date), hosts the annual Microsoft Ability Summit, which focuses on empowering 2000+ attendees with the inclusive and innovative thinking necessary to enable people around the world. Instrumental in projects such as Autism Hiring Program, Soundscape and the Microsoft Ability Hackathon, which has supported over 500 hackathon teams building technology for people with disabilities. Lay-Flurrie was recognized as nominated as a technology groundbreaker by CEO Satya Nadella in Wired Magazine, and is a contributor to the book, “The Ability Hacks,” which shares behind-the-scenes stories of the hackers who pioneered two innovative hack-turned-solutions used by people with disabilities worldwide. Outside of Microsoft, Jenny is the current board chair of Disability:IN and is on the board of Gallaudet University and Team Gleason. Was recognized as a ‘Disability Employment Champion of Change’ by the White House in October 2014 and as one of Fast Companies Most Creative people in business in 2017.
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Jenny Lay-Flurrie