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Marking the midway point, the third seminar in this year’s Power of Diversity Breakfast series tooks place on Wednesday 5th July to discuss ‘Disability – A Desirable Disadvantage.’ Generously sponsored and hosted by Aon, the Lord Mayor’s Appeal invited guests City-wide to hear first-hand experience of the ‘desirable disadvantage’ from having a disability and the positive capabilities disabled candidates can bring to the table in spite of lives prefaced by ‘swimming against the tide.’

With the Lord Mayor, Alderman Dr Andrew Parmley in attendance and chaired by the brilliant Kate Nash OBE, Founder of Purple Space and the world’s leading authority in ‘Networkology,’ the breakfast will share insights and success stories from experts on the subject, including:

-          Yasmin Sheikh, Founder, Diverse Matters

-          Graeme Whippy, Disability Workplace Specialist, Channel 4

-          Hector Minto, Senior Technology Evangelist (Accessibility), Microsoft

What the speakers said:

As stated by the Lord Mayor himself, four in ten disabled people say that they have lost out on a job opportunity because of the way employers perceived their impairments, yet in such a challenging market place for talent, a huge pool of candidates is being overlooked. Yasmin Sheikh, Founder of Diverse Matters, is a disability consultant and multi-award winning speaker who sustained a spinal stroke in 2008, resulting in her having to use a wheelchair. Yasmin shared real life examples of how people with disabilities can bring better skills to an organisation: "they are better at problem solving, taking the lead and being resilient" - showing how disabilities can be a 'desirable disadvantage'. In lieu of this, Graeme Whippy, Disability Workplace Specialist for Channel 4, responsible for creating an award-winning approach to making workplace adjustments for disabled employees, explained how Channel 4 has changed its entire culture to fully integrate disability as part of its business, utilising the fantastic pool of talent and increasing its disclosure rate from 3% to 11.5% in just 2 weeks. Following this, Hector Minto, Senior Technology Evangelist (Accessibility) for Microsoft outlined the unique strengths and capabilities that people with autism are bringing to Microsoft, whilst also stating the necessity of technology evolving to make workplace adjustments even easier. The session closed with a lively Q&A between the audience and panellists, followed by networking over more delicious granola yoghurts.

Disability leads to productivity because disabled people are problem-solvers. The speakers shared evidence which showed that by actively recruiting from this untapped talent pool, you could significantly add to what the business can deliver and achieve.

What our guests said:

"The best thing about today's event was the sharing of cross sector best practice and hearing from those who have made advancements in their disability agenda - really showcasing the value in the Power of Diversity breakfast sessions." - Joanna Symes, BNY Mellon.

"The Power of Diversity Breakfast series works so well because it brings a range of organizations from across the City together to focus in a very practical way on specific topics that impact our people in meaningful ways.  In particular, hearing first-hand experiences from Yasmin Sheikh about the difference between just "fitting in" and truly "belonging" will leave a lasting impression.  Helping Baker McKenzie to become even more disability friendly is both a moral and commercial imperative for us, and these events are helping us to achieve that in tangible ways." - Adam Farlow, Baker McKenzie LLP.

What City A.M. said:

If you are interested in attending any of our other upcoming topics, please contact us directly by either emailing diversity@thelordmayorsappeal.org or calling 020 7332 3777. The full 2017 Power of Diversity Breakfast Series programme and biographies of the speakers can be found here.

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