Judges 2019

The Disability-Smart Awards are given to companies that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to employing, working with and doing business with disabled people.

Our 2019 Judges are:

1.    Geoff Adams-Spink, Business Disability Forum Associate

2.    Nassar Siabi of Microlink PC

3.    Paulette Cohen of Barclays Bank

4.    Mark Lomas from HS2

5.    Diane Lightfoot of Business Disability Forum

6.    Kamran Mallick, CEO of Disability Rights UK 

7.    Bela Gor of Business Disability Forum

Geoff Adams-Spink, Director, Adams-Spink Ltd

Geoff Adams-Spink

Until April 2011, Geoff was the BBC's Age & Disability Correspondent, covering issues of relevance to older and disabled people for radio, television and the BBC News website.

Geoff now runs his own company which is very active in the arena of disability and technology. He also chairs a pan-European federation of organisations for people affected by congenital limb difference. The European Dysmelia Reference Information Centre (EDRIC) has 24 member organisations in 17 countries and represents around 5,000 people with the variety of rare conditions that are collectively known as 'dysmelia'.

Dr Nasser Siabi OBE, CEO, Microlink PC Ltd

Nasser smiles at the camera

Nasser is the CEO of Microlink PC Ltd founded in November 1992. The companies’ core mission is to provide Assistive Technology in both the workplace and educational facilities, working towards an inclusive society and offering support throughout a persons’ lifespan.

In 2010 Microlink pioneered alongside Lloyds Banking Group, MiCase, an innovative Workplace Adjustment service that has taken the corporate world by storm, decreasing condition related absence by 53% and shortening the duration of cases by 83% saving organisations vast amounts of time & money and increasing overall productivity by 90%.

In addition, Nasser was awarded an OBE in 2010 for his contribution in helping over 250,000 disabled people transition from education into work and received the lifetime achievement award from the National Diversity Awards in 2015. Nasser is consulted on policy and procedure by the BDF and high level Government and Civil Service institutions.

Paulette Cohen, Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Barclays

Paulette Cohen

Paulette leads Barclays' D&I strategy and campaigns across global functions, and has lead responsibility for driving forward the disability agenda across the business, including Barclays campaign on mental health and wellbeing, This is Me.

She joined Barclays in 2010, following six years as Deputy Chief Executive of Windsor Leadership. Previously, she headed up communications at Save the Children, VSO, and The Conservation Volunteers where she was a board member for seven years. She currently sits on the board of the International Broadcasting Trust.

Mark Lomas, Head of Equality, Diversity & Inclusion at HS2 (High Speed Rail 2)

Mark Lomas

Mark has delivered numerous diversity and inclusion projects for organisations across a wide variety of sectors, including The Financial Reporting Council, Groupama Insurance, The BBC, The Law Society, Sheffield University, NHS Clinical Commissioning Group Boards, Highways England, ITV, and The Bermuda Human Rights Commission.

Mark is a published author on the topic of Equality and Diversity having authored the Law Society E&D Risk & Compliance Toolkit, which assists law firms to comply with regulation.

Diane Lightfoot, CEO of Business Disability Forum

Diane smiles at the camera

Diane joined Business Disability Forum as Chief Executive Officer in February 2017 after moving from her former role as Director of Policy and Communications for United Response, a leading national disability charity. During her 13 years at United Response, Diane led and developed the charity’s campaigning, public affairs and lobbying activity, with a particular focus on promoting employment for disabled people. She subsequently took on the strategic leadership of the organisation’s employment services as a whole and is passionate about the role that good work has in transforming people’s lives.

Diane meets regularly with Business Disability Forum Partners and Members and also works closely with Government to help shape disability employment policy. She is a member of the Department of Work and Pensions’ Disability Confident Professional Advisers Group and the Disability Expert Advisory Panel for the Civil Service.

Previously Diane has held responsibility for marketing and membership for the National Council of Voluntary Organisations and at the Pre-School Learning Alliance, a national children’s educational charity, after starting her career in local government.

Kamran Mallick, CEO of Disability Rights UK 

Kamran is CEO of Disability Rights UK, the UK’s largest user-led organisation for disabled people. Previously chief executive of Action on Disability, Kamran has also worked for the spinal injury charity Aspire as well as running his own business. He is on the boards of Inclusion London and the Lyric Hammersmith, and chair of Candoco dance company.

Kamran is also a member of Transport for London’s Independent Disability Advisory Group.

Bela Gor, Head of Campaigns & Legal at Business Disability Forum 

Bela is the Head of Campaigns & Legal at Business Disability Forum (BDF). She has over 20 years’ of all aspects of disability discrimination law and best practice including

  • Providing high-level consultancy support to business and government agencies leading reviews and improvement processes for organisations including banks and government agencies.
  • Writing best practice guidance including the Line Manager Guide series
  • Writing guidance for external organisations including the Association of Convenience Stores and Parkinson’s UK
  • Writing and producing e-learning on disability and mental health
  • Providing regular analyses and updates on discrimination law
  • Delivering training on all aspects of disability, mental health and the law                    

Bela has worked closely with the financial, retail, broadcast media and health sectors and advises on a variety of subjects ranging from the law and reasonable adjustments in both employment and customer contexts to consumers in vulnerable situations and accessible technology and mental health.  She is a lawyer who took some of the earliest cases under the then new Disability Discrimination Act 1995 while working for the Disability Law Service, a nationwide law centre for disabled people, and has since influenced the development of the legislation.