Disability-Smart Influencer Award 2019 (new)

A selection of people pose for an award

Winners – Leena Haque and Sean Gilroy, BBC Cape

What we were looking for

People who had influenced real change (in policy, law or behaviour) that has improved the lives of disabled people.

What did they do?

Leena Haque and Sean Gilroy’s Cape (Creating a Positive Environment) programme has removed barriers for neurodivergent people across the BBC.

This project had big goals – a key achievement is the new BBC Wales HQ in Cardiff. Designed and built for maximum cognitive accessibility it features:

  • LED lighting – which doesn’t flicker and is much gentler than traditional office lighting to put people more at ease
  • Considered colour schemes – that weren’t confusing or alarming, but helped designate space
  • Designated quiet rooms – for employees or visitors feeling anxious or stressed.

Cape also developed workshops and toolkits to tackle stigmas and educate colleagues including this 360° virtual reality video to show how neurodivergent colleagues can experience typical office features: 

Leena and Sean have raised the profile of neurodiversity across the BBC. Neurodiversity is now a separate item in its Diversity and Inclusion Statement of Intent.

Why did they win?

Cape has shone light onto a hitherto underserved group and ensured that the needs of neurodivergent colleagues will continue to be considered by decision-makers.

Our judges were impressed by the sheer scale of Leena and Sean’s goals, despite not being senior management – and even more by the fact that they achieved their goals. The new offices in Cardiff embody the lasting influence Cape will have.


Anita Devi Ltd – for leading #TeamADL, a project to boost employment prospects of SEND students.

Beyond the Envelope TM – for their work to improve the accessibility of email marketing campaigns.

Virgin Media – for Shani Dhanda’s work to improve the awareness of disability in the South Asian community.

Inspired to enter the 2020 Disability-Smart Awards? Contact our Events team at events@businessdisabilityforum.org.uk for more information.