Thursday, May 30, 2024

People with disability leading change

When organisations think of leadership, do they think about people with disability in those leadership roles?

Many don’t. The Disability Leadership Institute says that needs to change.

Founder and CEO, Christina Ryan says, “there are disabled people in leadership right now,
using their disability to thrive as inclusive, empathetic people managers, excelling at
innovative problem-solving.”

“A major advantage for us in the disability community is that we are often doing things differently, thinking laterally, looking at problems and barriers from a different angle. This can give us a head start when change happens, because we are already familiar with adapting systems and thinking laterally.”

“Great companies know that their workforce needs to reflect the communities they are aiming to reach with their products and services. People with disability make up 15% of the
population, and are increasingly active consumers.

“So how do business and organisations ensure that they can reach this new market share
with confidence and skill? Employ and invest in people with disability themselves, of course,” says Ms Ryan.

People with disability lead differently, and have a wide range of valuable skills because of
their disability, she said.

The Disability Leadership Institute was established six years ago and is a world-leading
disability leadership centre, run by people with disability, and focused on developing the next generation of disability leaders. The Institute offers a world-leading disability leadership program called Future Shapers, and also a membership program for disability professionals.

“As more people with disability are included in the community, we are becoming more
recognised in the workplace. But disability leaders need disability-specific leadership
programs to fully develop our potential,” says Ms Ryan.

“When organisations put in the effort, and the resources to develop their disability leaders,
they can become a disability employer of choice.”

Members work in a wide range of industries, including the private and public sector, the disability and other not-for-profit organisations, and many are entrepreneurs running their own business, said Ms Ryan.

The year-long Future Shapers leadership course is the flagship program of the Disability
Leadership Institute.

“Disability leaders benefit from the rigorous program, designed specifically for people with disability. Alumni of the Future Shapers course have further developed their innovative, problem-solving skills, and recognised how their disability is an asset to both their organisation and their leadership journey,” Ms Ryan said.

Applications close June 30. Find out more at

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