Exploring Identity Conference - Senior Scottish business leaders join call to talk honestly about disability in the workplace

20 November 2018

Businesses from across Scotland are being invited to a free conference in Edinburgh on Tuesday 11 December, where a number of senior Scottish business leaders and politicians will be speaking about their experiences of disability. Acclaimed Edinburgh Fringe comedian, Steve Day, will also be joining the line-up.

The event is aimed at improving the visibility of disabled people (with visible and non-visible disabilities) and openness in the workplace.

Organised by Business Disability Forum and hosted by the Royal Bank of Scotland, the conference is open to organisations who want to learn from other businesses and the disabled people who work for them how to create an open and inclusive workplace that attracts and retains the best disabled talent.
Whilst one million people in Scotland define themselves as disabled, only 50 per cent of working age are in employment compared with 80 per cent of the non-disabled population.

Diane Lightfoot, Chief Executive Officer, Business Disability Forum, said:
“This is the second conference in Scotland that Business Disability Forum has held together with our Partner RBS. Last year’s event was a sell-out success and we hope this year’s conference, with the theme of ‘Exploring Identity’, will be even better.

“Too often having a disability is something that people feel they need to hide at work. We believe that it is something that can and should be celebrated as an intrinsic part of our identity.

“Business leaders have a vital role to play in leading cultural change to make this happen. By sharing their own experiences of disability, they have the power to “normalise” the conversation and pave the way for others to do the same. The result is a happier and more productive workforce where people feel able to bring their “whole selves” to work.”

The line-up of speakers for this year’s conference includes:

  • Aurora Constantin – University Teacher and a post-doctoral researcher at the School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh 
  • Caroline Eglinton – Senior Business Change Manager, Network Rail 
  • John Brady – Senior Customer Journey Manager, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), and Co-Chair of RBS Enable
  • Diane Lightfoot – CEO, Business Disability Forum
  • Steve Day – highly acclaimed Edinburgh Fringe Festival comedian
  • Sally Witcher – CEO, Inclusion Scotland 
  • Jeremy Balfour – MSP for Lothian
  • Marsali Craig – Member of the Mobility & Access Committee for Scotland (MACS)
  • Dr Caroline Casey – Founder, Binc Global
  • A member of the Scottish Cabinet

The conference forms part of Business Disability Forum’s wider Identity campaign. The campaign seeks to encourage more people to speak out on how disability, which is often non-visible, affects them and help change public perceptions. As part of the campaign, Business Disability Forum has produced a series of podcast interviews in which disabled people working in a variety of roles talk about their identity in the workplace and the person behind the job title, which can be listened to online.

‘Exploring Identity’ will take place from 10am to 5pm on Tuesday 11 December, Royal Bank of Scotland, Conference Centre, Gogarburn, Edinburgh, EH12 9SB. A limited number of tickets for this free event are still available. Admission is by ticket only. For further information go to Business Disability Forum's events pages.