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How will the pandemic impact disability at work?

Diane Lightfoot, CEO - Business Disability Forum

2020-21 has been a time like no other. Business Disability Forum (BDF) will be debating how the changes of the last year have impacted on disabled people and what this means for employers, businesses and wider society at its annual conference on 30 June.

“Disability: What’s New, What’s Next” is a one-day online event sponsored by BDF Partner, HSBC. The conference will consider how the “newest normal” will work for disabled people and what this means for the disability inclusion agenda. Themes will include the role of disability within intersectionality, perceptions of disability versus reality, and what the future holds for disability and diversity.

The day will begin with BDF’s CEO Diane Lightfoot in conversation with Ian Stuart, CEO of HSBC UK Bank plc, on why HSBC is sponsoring the event.

This will be followed by a panel session entitled “Everything you always wanted to know about disability inclusion but were afraid to ask”. A team of BDF experts will be on hand to answer questions and to offer practical advice to organisations new to the area of disability inclusion.

Next, we will be discussing changing perceptions of disability and how they match up to the everyday reality. Actress, presenter, and disability activist, Samantha Renke, will be sharing her experiences and views. We will also hear from Laurie Henneborn and Dominic King, about Accenture’s recent ‘Enabling Change’ study. The research highlights a disconnect between the perception of leaders and the reality for disabled employees, which can result in a failure to thrive.

Later, Kath Swallow will be talking to BDF’s CEO about Unilever’s work to design and create a new accessible deodorant. Simon Minty, broadcaster and founder of Sminty Ltd, and Samantha Renke, will join the discussion.

Looking at what’s new in diversity and inclusion, Sandra Kerr will be sharing BITC’s latest findings and their new guidance on race and mental health.

Talking about what is ahead, Tolu Oke from Amazon, will be joining Dennis Howard from Coutts, LaMondre Pough, CEO of Billion Strong, and colleagues from Burberry and HSBC to discuss whether the 2020s is the decade of disability and diversity.

Discussing the conference, Diane Lightfoot, CEO of Business Disability Forum said: “We are living through a time of great change. This has had and will continue to have a huge impact on the lives of disabled people and the way that society perceives and responds to disability. Our annual conference is an opportunity for businesses and employers to share experiences and learnings, to take stock, and to plan for a more inclusive future.”

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