On 3rd December 2018, disability networks, resource groups, allies, champions and supporters are coming together to celebrate the economic power of disabled people across the globe through our #PurpleLightUp.
To help us spread the message we are proud to be working with a special group of ambassadors. Our ambassadors are leaders, shakers and visionaries from around the world, key allies that will help us to engage and excite organisations to light up or go purple in celebrating the economic contribution of people with disabilities.
Meet our #PurpleLightUpAmbassadors:
Julian John, Managing Director, Delsion
Julian John is the Managing Director of Delsion, a people and development consultancy that focuses on supporting organisations around Learning & Development and Inclusion. Julian has set Delsion the social goal of: "Making Wales a leading nation for inclusion in the workplace, specifically around disability".
Following a successful career in HR and Learning & Development at a senior level,Julian developed brain damage. It was this experience that prompted Julian to start Delsion as his own pathway into work and to engage and educate employers around disability inclusion. In 2015 Julian and Delsion made Swansea the first Disability Confident city in the UK and in 2017 led the #PurpleLightUp initiative in South Wales.
Debra Ruh, CEO, Ruh Global Communications and Co-Founder, AXSChat
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 received her call to action when told that her daughter, Sara, who was born with Down Syndrome (Trisomy 21), would never walk or talk. Refusing to accept the prognosis and perception of this condition she was driven by her unshakeable faith in the power of human potential and the love for her daughter and has dedicated her life to creating a path to empowerment and success for all those with disabilities.
By 2010, Debra had built a multi-million dollar firm focused on accessible technologies. Debra is a recognized global influencer and co-founder of the award winning #AXSChat,the second biggest tweet chat in the world with a reach in the billions. Debra was also named in the "Top 5% of Social Media Influencers" and "Top 0.1% of people talking about Disability Inclusion and Accessibility" by KLOUT.
Martyn Sibley, Co-Founder, Disability Horizons
Recently voted Britain's Third Most Influential disabled person, Martyn is a thought leader for inclusion. After graduating with a masters degree in marketing, he worked fora large disability charity in London, before flexing his entrepreneurial muscles. Not only has Martyn co-founded Disability Horizons and Accomable (which was sold to airbnb), he's a published author, global adventurer and keynote speaker.
Susan Scott-Parker OBE, Founder business disability international
Susan Scott-Parker OBE, is a creative thought leader on how to mobilise business leadership worldwide behind the economic and social inclusion of people with disabilities. She is currently facilitating a partnership between Rotary International, the Equitas Bank in India and the Essl Foundation in Vienna, focused on enabling Microfinance to extend its reach to the poorest of the poor-that is, to the hundreds of millions of persons with disabilities living in low income countries.
She is the Founder of Business Disability Forum (UK) and the Technology Taskforce as well as founder of business disability international and its Global Procurement Taskforce. Susan is also a member of the steering group for the Global Actionon Disability network.
In 2003 Susan 'invented' the concept and language of 'Disability Confidence' - in the knowledge 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 multi-stakeholder network, enabling new conversations between business, persons with disabilities, civil society and public policy makers.
Sarah Kaiser, Employee Experience, Diversity & Inclusion Lead, EMEIA, Fujitsu
Sarah Kaiser is the Employee Experience, Diversity & Inclusion Lead for Fujitsu EMEIA. She has driven Fujitsu's activity to become recognised as an exemplar on gender pay gap reporting, a Times Top 50 Employer for Women, a Disability Confident Leader, a Stonewall Top 100 Employer and a Top 50 Social Mobility Employer. She is passionate about finding creative solutions to unusual diversity challenges, developing cultures where everyone can achieve their full potential, and the representation of diversity in contemporary culture.
Previously Sarah was the Head of Equality at Brent Council, where she led the organisation to achieve the Excellence level of the Equality Framework for Local Government. Beforehand, as the first Diversity Manager for Tate, Sarah increased the diversity of Tate's audiences, workforce and programme. Prior to that, Sarah was the Director of RenéCassin, an international human rights NGO.
In her personal capacity, Sarah has worked on a wide range of diversity and inclusion projects, including with Citizens Advice, the Great British Community Project and the Commission on Women in Jewish Leadership. She has a degree in Philosophy from the University of Cambridge.
Paul Deemer, Head of Diversity and Inclusion, NHS Employers
Paul has been a HR professional for over 30 years. He has worked in local government, the voluntary sector and the health service - with particular experience in the fields of recruitment, employee relations, employment law and diversity.
It was whilst working for the charity Barnardo's that he took on the role of national equality and diversity manager, further utilising the experience and knowledge gained in this role when he was seconded into the Department of Health's equality and diversity team in 2000 to help them develop their national strategy in this area.
Paul currently works for NHS Employers - which represents and supports NHS trusts across England - and is helping NHS organisations to embed diversity and inclusion good practice across the NHS.
He says: "As the largest employer of staff in Europe and one of the largest employers in the world (employing almost 1.4 million staff) the NHS is well aware of its duty to promote and raise awareness of issues faced by disabled employees. Encouraging NHS trusts to support #PurpleLightUp will have great significance in improving the experiences of staff with disabilities."
Sara Abdessamie, #PurpleLightUp Youth Ambassador
Sara Abdessamie is a medical student from Canada, who has been a member of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Youth Council since 2016.
Sara who is an activist for inclusion and youth rights, got involved in the disability agenda following a placement as a policy analyst for the Canadian Government's Office for Disability Issues. Sara's work at the ODI related to culture change, compliance and enforcement and werekey to informing the first National Accessibility Legislation in Canada.
This experience allowed Sara to learn more about the challenges that people with disabilities have to face every day and the ways that policy work can help resolve those challenges and she continues to be passionate about creating an accessible space for everyone.
In her role on the Prime Minister's Youth Council, Sara has helped to advise on issues that matter to youth in Canada, including:the environment, indigenous issues and disability issues.
In 2018 Sara spent three months as a volunteer Program Officer at PurpleSpace in support of #PurpleLightUp.
Dr Hamied Haroon, Chair, National Association of Disabled Staff Networks (NADSN)
Dr Hamied Haroon gained his PhD in biomedical magnetic resonance imaging at The University of Manchester in 2005 and has worked there as a Research Associate since then. When Hamied became a member of staff he was shocked when all the support available to him as a disabled student suddenly disappeared! He was elected Chair of the University's Disabled Staff Network when it was established in 2006/2007.
In 2014, Hamied launched the National Association of Disabled Staff Networks (NADSN), an umbrella "super-network" for disabled staff networks in institutions of higher and further education, although open to any interested organisation.
In March 2018, Hamied joined two other esteemed disabled academics to deliver the Annual Disability Lecture at the University of Cambridge.
Dr Caroline Casey, CEO, Binc Global
Caroline is a social entrepreneur, international speaker and leading authority on diversity and inclusion.
Since taking a life-changing decision at 28 to leave her successful career in management consulting and travel across India on an elephant, Caroline has been committed to building a global movement to create an equal society for the 1.3 billion people in the world with a disability. Caroline's personal story of coming to terms with her own hidden disability is universally compelling. Her passion and ambition for life without limits or labels are both authentic and contagious.