Partner Group Reception 2018: Disability and accepting who we are

01 August 2018

Business Disability Forum started its 2018-19 financial year by announcing its new focus on the theme of ‘identity’ at its Partner Group Reception on 26 July.

Set in a unique ‘indoor garden’ with hedges, shrubs and grass in the heart of Royal Bank of Scotland’s offices in Bishopsgate, the event put disabled people front and centre as they talked about how their disabilities informed and overlapped with their identities.

The attendees came from Business Disability Forum’s Partner Group which comprises leading businesses that sign up to work closely with Business Disability Forum’s experts on finding the best ways to approach disability whether within the workplace or the wider world.

Host John Brady of RBS told attendees that being open about having a disability and how people viewing it as part of their identity had become the ‘new normal’ at work.

One of the speakers was Oliver Lam-Watson, who won second place at Business Disability Forum's Film Festival in 2017. Speaking on the same theme, Oliver stressed that identity could not be imposed on someone by others, and shared his experiences of challenging preconceptions and assumptions by his peers what he was and was not able to do. In addition to being a filmmaker Oliver is hoping to qualify for the next Paralympics as part of Team GB.

Delegates also heard from Business Disability Forum’s Lucy Ruck, about how being an amputee has shaped her life and ambitions from being a trainee hairdresser to taking on leadership of our Technology Taskforce which turned 10 this year.

Business Disability Forum Associate Graeme Whippy MBE spoke about how he felt disability overlapped with his work in equality and diversity at Lloyds Banking Group and beyond. Delegates also heard from Fazilet Hadi, Head of Advocacy at the Royal National Institute of Blind People, about how disability shaped her identity.

Stay tuned for more work on the theme of identity over the coming year.