E118 - Diversity is difference, and difference is an asset - with Christina Ryan

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Imagine in the lift at the end of the day, being asked for the 8th time, ‘so, what happened to YOU?’ People with disabilities are confronted daily with intrusive questions about the intimate details of their physical condition. Something we would not dare ask others. This is but one of the challenges people with disabilities endure every day. Disability leader and advocate Christina Ryan wants us to get beyond the discomfort of visible difference and get on with the job of talking leadership: how difference offers more viewpoints.

We explored disability as identity, disability disadvantage in employment, vertical developmental leadership through the lens of disability, the core attributes of disability at the leadership table (inclusion, collaboration, resilience, and innovation), how acknowledging the whole self including disability is fundamental component of spreading perspective and inclusion in workplaces and community.


Diversish video satire report on diversity inclusion

Christina’s Westpac Fellowship report

Carly Findlay - Appearance Activist

About Christina Ryan:

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Christina Ryan is the CEO and Founder of the Disability Leadership Institute. 

Christina pioneered the use of mainstream forums by women with disabilities at the United Nations, and now mentors and teaches effective use of the UN for rights activists globally, while working as a leadership coach for people with disabilities. 

Christina established the Disability Leadership Institute in 2016 as a professional hub for leaders with disabilities to build & support our disability leaders. It is the first organisation of its kind globally, run by and for disability leaders. The DLI aims to grow the presence and recognition of disability leaders across all sections of our community. Christina is also a regular keynote speaker and commentator.

Disability Leadership Institute has a register where you can advertise a role for leaders with a disability:

Disability Leaders - website.


Related episodes:

E114 - We’re all the same and a little bit different - Yenn Purkis, speaker author, Autism advocate, non binary gender person

E113 - Diversity and inclusion - How we do it at GHD, interview with Rory Waddell

E10 - The Power of Saying Yes with Peter Gordon, CEO Hands Across Canberra


P.S. And when you’re ready, here are three ways I can help:

1. Grab a free copy of our People Stuff Toolkit

It’s the roadmap to better teams and culture: e-copy of my latest book, Loyalty, checklists, templates.

2. Get equipped at our next event

Meet other adventurous leaders seeking to be, think, and do more. Leadership training and tribe meetings are listed here.  

3. Join me and other renegade pathfinders in AMPLIFIERS to get your deep work done.

AMPLIFIERS is an implementation community for big thinkers. If you’d like to amplify your message, motivation and results, send me an email with AMPLIFIERS in the subject line and let me know a little about your work and what big impact you're striving for.


Zoë Routh is one of Australia’s leading experts on people stuff - the stuff that gets in our way of producing results, and the stuff that lights us up. She believes developing people leadership perspectives is the gateway to better decisions and greater results.

She has worked with individuals and teams internationally and in Australia since 1987. From the wild rivers of northern Ontario to the remote regions of Australia, Zoë has spent the last thirty years showing teams struggling with office politics and silos how to work better together.

Zoë is the author of three books: 'Composure - How centered leaders make the biggest impact', 'Moments - Leadership when it matters most' and 'Loyalty - Stop unwanted stuff turnover, boost engagement, and build lifelong advocates.’ Her past leadership roles include Chair of the Outdoor Council of Australia, President of the Chamber of Women in Business, and Program Manager at the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation. Zoë is also the producer of the Zoë Routh Leadership Podcast.


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