Watch now: Supercharge your disability inclusion strategies

Thanks for registering to watch our recorded webinar.

Below you’ll find the webinar recording, our speaker's presentation slides, and some useful resources to help you on your journey to be more inclusive.

Watch the recording and gain:

  1. Advice from the Valuable 500 - a global business collective made up of 500 CEOs and their companies, innovating together for disability inclusion
  2. Actionable disability inclusion strategies from organizations leading the way, including Valuable 500 members IBM and more.
  3. Insight into solutions that can support you along the way

Resources & transcript

  • Donna Thomson (00:00:00):

    Hello, everyone, and welcome to today's webinar: supercharge your disability inclusion strategies with The Valuable 500, IBM. We have a jampacked session today, and by the end you'll be armed with expert advice and practical solutions that you can take into your business to supercharge the great work you're already doing. And of course, 10 of you will also receive one of our book bundles. In case you miss this and you're wondering what I'm talking about, we are entering all of your names so that everyone who's joining us live today into a draw to win a bundle of top-selling books to guide your DE&I efforts. So we have 10 bundles to give away and we'll announce the winners shortly after the webinar.

    Donna Thomson (00:00:47):

    Before I introduce our speakers waiting in the wings, let's make sure you're all connected and you can get involved in the conversation. First up, I am Donna Thomson, and I'll be your host on behalf of Texthelp for today's session. Hopefully you can hear my voice and you can see the slides. For any visually impaired folks joining us, I'll give you a brief description of what I look like. I'm a white female with short red hair and blue-framed glasses, and today I'm wearing a black woolen jumper, or sweater, depending on where you're from. And I'm coming to you from my home in Belfast in Northern Ireland.

    Donna Thomson (00:01:22):

    All right, if you're not familiar with GoTo Webinar software, you should see a little panel on the right-hand side of your screen that looks something like the one that you can see on the side. In here, you can control your audio settings. As an attendee, you're on listen only mode and that's just so that everyone attending can have a good listening experience. We encourage you to ask questions, though. Please don't be shy. You can use the questions function on your GoTo Webinar panel, and we'll answer as many as possible at the end of the session.

    Donna Thomson (00:01:50):

    Why don't we test that out now? Let's make sure it works for everyone because we do want to get you involved. So you can use the questions function on your GoTo Webinar panel. Open it up and let us know where you are joining us from today. I bet we have sunnier places than my hometown in Belfast, where it seems to rain most of the time. So while you do that, I'll just mention that today's session will be recorded, and we'll share the recording and the slides and plenty of other useful resources with you tomorrow so you don't need to worry about taking too many notes. Also, if you'd like to talk about today's session online or if you think of any questions after the session has finished, you can reach us on the Twitter hashtag, TexthelpDEI. All right, let's take a look at the questions box and see where we're all coming from. We got lots of responses, so it's definitely working. We've got Claire from Coleraine. We've got Kimberly from sunny Birmingham; I like it. We've got... Who've we got? We've got Maria; she's using her phone. We've got Tonya from Georgia. We've got lots of people, which is great. So, listen, thank you for joining us today. You're all very much welcome. But I guess it's time to meet our speakers and get on with the show. Speakers, if you'd all like to switch on your webcams and your microphones, I will come to each of individually so that you can say a quick hello and introduce yourselves. Crosby, I'll come to you first.

    Crosby Cromwell (00:03:16):

    Sure. Good day, everyone. Thrilled to be here with you for this conversation. I'm coming to you from my apartment in Washington, DC. I'm the chief partnerships officer for The Valuable 500, which we'll be talking about in a little bit. For the audio description, I have long red hair, I'm wearing a pink blouse today, and have skin that will always, always burn in the sun.

    Donna Thomson (00:03:36):

    Brilliant. Thank you, Crosby. Alix, we'll come to you next.

    Alixandra Horton (00:03:43):

    Hi, good afternoon, everyone. Good morning, good evening from wherever you are. I'm Alix Horton. I am a white female with blonde, shoulder-length hair. I'm wearing a black jumper, and I'm coming to you from my home office in London. I'm very excited to connect with you and to see what this session has to offer.

    Donna Thomson (00:04:04):

    Lovely. Thank you, Alix. Chris, we'll come to you next.

    Chris Holloway (00:04:08):

    Brilliant. Thank you. Thank you for having me along today. Yeah, my name's Chris. I work in PwC, and I'm at my home office today in sunny Kent. Yep, we've got plenty of rain. I always feel like the weatherman overall. So, yeah, I'm a 37 year old white male with short brown hair, wearing a black shirt at my home office.

    Donna Thomson (00:04:34):

    Brilliant. Thank you very much, Chris. Claire, we'll come to you next.

    Claire McGinley (00:04:38):

    Thank you. Hello, everyone. My name is Claire McGinley and I'm a technology specialist at Texthelp. Today I'm going to share insights into how we can help you to create a more inclusive workplace so that all your employees can reach their full potential. And to give you a visual, I'm a white female, 40 years old. I have long fair hair, blue eyes, and I'm wearing tear-framed glasses today and a white and navy striped t-shirt.

    Donna Thomson (00:05:01):


    Claire McGinley (00:05:02):

    I'm joining you from my home in Antrim, so it's great to be here.

    Donna Thomson (00:05:05):

    Thank you, Claire. That's great. And, Martin, I've left you till the very end because I know you're starting us off today. So if you'd like to introduce yourself and go right ahead with your presentation, that would be great. Thank you.

    Martin Mckay (00:05:16):

    Sure. Thank you, everyone. Thank you, Donna. My name's Martin Mckay. I'm 51. I have a tuft of gray hair on the top of my head and a beard, and I've got blue glasses on and a white t-shirt. And I'm on the shores of Lough Erne. I'm actually offsite today at a training event. Tonight I'm going swimming in the lake and it's going to be two degrees Celsius. I'm really looking forward to it. It's going to be super exhilarating.

    Martin Mckay (00:05:41):

    Let's kick things off. As I said earlier, I'm Martin Mckay. I'm the founder and CEO of Texthelp. I'm really happy to be here. I'm particularly excited to be partnering with The Valuable 500 and some of their key members, IBM and PwC, to spread the word about inclusion in the workplace. It's a subject very close to my heart. I've been so impressed by the work and the campaigning led by The Valuable 500. Couple of years ago, I remember seeing the DIVERSish videos and thinking they hit the nail in the head and they're really funny, but they were drawing attention to a serious issue. If you haven't seen them, you should definitely look them up on YouTube.

    Martin Mckay (00:06:21):

    And the thing that caught my mind or caught my eye was it mentioned that 90% of companies claimed to be prioritizing diversity, but only 4% were taking action on disability. I think disability needs more attention. And at Texthelp, we're specifically focused on hidden disabilities like dyslexia, and The Valuable 500 team have been working hard to make sure disability is included in leadership agendas of the world's leading brands, and it's brilliant to see the progress that's been made. At Texthelp, we work really closely with many members of The Valuable 500, and it's been fantastic to hear about some of the great work that's been done to make workplaces more accessible.

    Martin Mckay (00:07:06):

    At Texthelp, we help people who can't read very well. 8% of the population have dyslexia and 12% of people are in special education. And when they leave education, they don't go to special work, and they don't leave dyslexia behind, and they don't put their hands up and say that they're dyslexic or they're having difficulty reading, because that's a career-limiting thing. And people who can't read are excluded. They find it hard to understand, hard to express themselves, and make themselves understood, and that is a societal problem that we really want to try to fix.

    Martin Mckay (00:07:39):

    This is why we feel so much alignment with The Valuable 500. Our missions, I think, are really aligned. This is our mission. We're very passionate about it and it really drives all of our behaviors at Texthelp. This is what we do, why we do what we do, why we get up in the morning. Absolutely drives everything we do. We've got about 50 million regular users of our products, which is really gratifying, but we're really ambitious and we want to do a lot better. We want to have a huge social impact globally. By 2030, we want to have positively impacted the literacy and understanding of a billion people. I know that might seem like an audacious goal, but I really believe that we can do it, and I think we'll do this through partnering.

    Martin Mckay (00:08:28):

    For those of you who haven't heard of us before, I'll give you a super quick bit of background. When I was 12, my dad had a stroke and he lost the ability to read and write and communicate, and actually move his arms and legs as well, one arm and one leg, and it had a profound impact on me. As soon as I was old enough, I started making assisted technology to help people communicate. I started Texthelp in 1996, which was a very long time ago, hence my gray hair. Inclusion has always been at the hardware of everything we do. We started making software for kids who find it hard to read and write, kids with dyslexia or English as a second language.

    Martin Mckay (00:09:07):

    And today at Texthelp, we have 350 people working in the company. We've helped over 50 million people. And we've got offices in the UK and the USA and Norway and Sweden and Denmark and Australia. 20% of all the students in the US have got our software. When they leave school and when they enter the workplace, they need the tools to help them read, just like I need glasses. My glasses aren't connected with my intelligence, but they're connected with my ability to understand the world around me and they're connected with my ability to write. Assistive tools can help millions of people thrive. Inclusive assistive technology can make millions of people really thrive in their work and achieve their full potential. Dyslexia is not a measure of intelligence. So that's enough about Texthelp. In just a minute, we'll hear from Chris at PwC. I'm really excited to hear what he has to say.

    Martin Mckay (00:10:06):

    One last thing before I go, I mentioned that we're already working with many global organizations to make the workplace more inclusive for people with disabilities and literacy challenges, but we can always do more. We are determined to reach our goal of helping one billion people. But we can't do it by ourselves, so if you would like to partner with us and better understand how our tools can improve inclusion at work, I'd love to hear from you. My colleague Claire will be chatting a bit later in the session about some of the ways that our technology supports employees within organizations like KPMG and Sainsbury's and Network Rail. And not just dyslexic people, people who are from a different culture, who have a different first language, can find English a difficult language to work in. The same tools that help people who are neurodiverse can help people who are linguistically-diverse as well. It's a really sweet thing when you see it working in workplace. So if you want to find out more about our team, how our team can help your team, in the chat window just type, "Let's talk," in the chat window or the questions box, and we'll set up a quick 20-minute chat with Claire and see how we can partner to make the world a little bit better. Donna, that's it for me. Back to you.

    Donna Thomson (00:11:23):

    Lovely. That's great. Thank you so much, Martin. You've really started us off with great energy today. Look, I really appreciate you joining us. I know you've got to shoot off now, but folks, if you have any questions for Martin, you can drop them into the chat box that he's referenced. And if we can't answer them directly, we'll get Martin to certainly respond after the session. But listen, Martin, I know you've got to shoot off, so listen, thanks so much.

    Martin Mckay (00:11:44):

    Thank you, guys.

    Donna Thomson (00:11:45):

    We'll catch up. Bye-bye.

    Martin Mckay (00:11:45):


    Donna Thomson (00:11:47):

    All right, well, listen, before we hear from Chris at PwC, we have two very quick polls for you. This will really help to inform our discussion today, so please jump on and get involved. Let me just launch the first one. So you should see on your screen very shortly the poll. Here we go. The question should be on your screen now. Do you have a diversity and inclusion policy in your business? Now there are four options to choose from. It's either "Yes," "No, but we're planning on having one," "No, but we have no plans to implement one," or you're not sure, you don't know. So four options there. Do you have a disability... Sorry... a diversity and inclusion policy in your business. It's either, "Yes," "No, but we're planning," "No, but we have no plans," or you don't know. I'll just give you a second to get your responses in. I can see you're all getting involved, which is fantastic. We had 93% submit. Okay, I think we'll close the poll there and I will share the results with you.

    Donna Thomson (00:12:55):

    Yeah, you can see, hopefully you can see, 78% said yes. 12%, no, but we're planning on having one. Only 1%, no, and with no plans. And 9%, not sure. Look, it's really great to see that so many of you have diversity and inclusion policies in place. When we started asking this question just a couple of years ago, the results were very different. Of course, this was before the pandemic, and if we can take any positives from the pandemic it's that many businesses have since reviewed their policies or certainly introducing new policies to allow for more flexible working practices than ever before.

    Donna Thomson (00:13:32):

    But one more poll and then we'll get stuck into Chris' presentation. It's related to the first one. Let me just launch that and you should see your screen change with the new question. There we go. Okay. So what area of diversity and inclusion are you prioritizing in your business? A couple of options here to choose from. Cultural and ethnic diversity is your first option, gender, disabilities, hidden disabilities, specifically thinking about neurodiversity, or other. So a few options to choose from there. What area of diversity and inclusion are you prioritizing in your business? Either cultural/ethnic diversity, gender, disabilities, specifically disabilities like neurodiversity, or other. It's great to see you're all getting involved in the polls. Lots of responses, so that's really good. All right, I think we'll close it there and share the results.

    Donna Thomson (00:14:36):

    We can see 33% are focused on cultural and ethnic diversity, 15% on gender, 26% on disabilities, 15 on hidden disabilities, and 11 on others. So it's quite a spread. Maybe this was a tricky question because I know that some organizations are trying not to prioritize one area over another. They're taking more of a holistic view to adopt strategies that have a more positive impact on everyone. And although this may risk spreading resources thin, this really is actually the right mindset. It has been proven time and time again that the highest performing companies look to understand the lived experiences of their employees, create an environment that nurtures differences, adds values to their employees to magnify their superpowers so they can thrive. I think this segues nicely into Chris' presentation, as he's going to share insights into PwC's approach to diversity and inclusion and talk us through their five ways to thrive. So, Chris, if you wouldn't mind switching your camera on, and you can roll with your presentation when you're ready.

    Chris Holloway (00:15:50):

    Fantastic. Really, really good polls as well. It's really interesting to see the results on that and it was nice to see them level across all the areas as well. Really good.

    Donna Thomson (00:15:58):


    Chris Holloway (00:15:59):

    Yep, so my name's Chris Holloway. I work at PwC. My role within PwC is as an assistive... Well, an accessibility manager, focusing on assistive technology. My role around that is looking after the technology that we bring into the firm, supporting those that are actually using the software, but also looking at how best we can improve things like processes going forwards and how that sort of relates back to upskilling of some of the staff around us as well. So that's kind of a little bit of an overview as to my role. It's my favorite job ever. I absolutely love my role. And I think for us, it's really good to see our team's sort of growing a little bit as well, and it's all positive for us.

    Chris Holloway (00:16:46):

    So if you could go to the next slide, Donna... Brilliant. I'm going to go through just five things. I put them as a super simple five and just goes through some of the things that we focused on over our journey over the last few years and some of the areas that I've found, if you're really focusing on these areas, that it really does help bring you forwards with your progress as well. I'm going to start with a really good number, which for us, is really promising is that over the last year, so the last 12 months, based on last year we've seen people coming forwards and asking for assistive technology jump up by 56%. That could be somebody perhaps that's already in the firm, an existing hire, but also somebody coming into the firm, as well, as a new recruitment. Okay? So for us, really, really promising. 56%, obviously that could be driven by some of the pandemic, but also just people feeling a bit more confident in coming forwards and actually asking for software. So really, really good numbers for us.

    Chris Holloway (00:17:53):

    Let's see... I'm going to cover the five steps, okay? So sponsorship technology, okay? First slide for us is just around sponsorship and how important it is within your processes. Senior and board-level sponsorship provides a stable foundation needed to support investment and inclusive technology, growth, and accountability. For us, that's having somebody that really, really believes in making sure that funding is available, budget's approved where it needs to be to perhaps bring in new technology, but also looking at things like how best we can remove barriers, perhaps whether that's in a policy, for example, or just upskilling of others around us.

    Chris Holloway (00:18:40):

    So looking at this, I always look at sponsors... They always come in all different shapes and sizes. Okay, many of them perhaps may have lived experience of disability, either themselves or perhaps it's a family member or a friend. For us, it's that passion and that commitment that comes from your sponsor that really helps make sure that you've cemented disability and inclusion within your processes, but also making sure that they have your back when you need to commit to something. So for us, sponsorship, very, very important. That's why I've got it as number one. Donna, could we go to the next slide?

    Chris Holloway (00:19:19):

    Okay. I know we've only got 10 minutes, so I'm whizzing through these a little bit. This is the area that I focus on, and that's making sure that any assistive technology that's available within the firm to people is there when they need it the most. They're not having to worry about trying to find the right process, or perhaps the software that they really want, we don't support. So for us, it's just making sure that software that they do need is available. Okay, and there's a few things that we do to help that. We use really good, stable assistive technology. There's no good having something that continually requires support or it's going to fall over every time somebody uses it and it's just going to cause a lot of problems for them.

    Chris Holloway (00:20:03):

    So we look at reputable and stable assistive technology. We also look at how best we can reduce that friction for somebody coming in and needing assistive technology. So, is it something that they can install themselves without much requirement for support around it, or perhaps if they do need more support, is it easily available to them, so not having to keep looking for it?

    Chris Holloway (00:20:26):

    Okay. And the main one I've got on here is the ongoing training. Although I specialize in assistive technology, I can promise you every single day, whether I'm looking at LinkedIn or speaking to somebody within our firm, I learn something new about assistive technology every day, and that can be on how best somebody uses it down to perhaps problems that are out there that need to be resolved that usually comes through to us.

    Chris Holloway (00:20:51):

    Okay. And I think probably a main thing for us is, not everything has to be high tech. You'd be amazed at how much you can over-complicate some of your assistive technology by pilot, different softwares on top of each other, when actually just look at the main thing. It doesn't need to be high tech. Okay, so I'll put that in there. And a lot of those things, perhaps may be built-in. So like, Windows 10 for example, as built-in software or built-in assistive technology, the same with Apple and Google. Okay. So really, really useful. And I've mentioned it before, is just reaching out to your networks and understanding what forums are coming up. So, actually speaking to people that are using this assistive technology really makes a huge difference as well.

    Chris Holloway (00:21:34):

    And obviously, that disclosure barrier, it's something that is very prevalent at the moment around not having to disclose a disability to have access to software and that's something that we are really focusing on. Just to make sure that that software is available and you don't have to disclose for it to that level, but also if you do want to disclose, that there's going to be that solid support around you as well. So for us, they're the kind of areas that we really focus on and just providing really up to date software is going to make a lot of difference.

    Chris Holloway (00:22:07):

    Can I have the next slide, Donna? Fantastic. Relationships, that's one of the ones that for us, we've all had to work a hell a lot on over the pandemic and reshaping the way that we speak with people. So me, ensuring that there's dedicated roles and to teams that continually review technology on offer. So that is our team, okay. So, the PWC assistive technology team, we look after that technology, we're continually reviewing it. We look at how we can make sure that the software that we are providing actually is the software that our customers and our staff actually really need. So, having that really strong relationship with your customer and staff is really important.

    Chris Holloway (00:22:53):

    But also understanding how somebody's using the technology makes a lot of difference to what technology you offer. So for us, it's just having those principle discussions around, "What barriers somebody's facing? Does the software that we've got actually work for them or perhaps do we need to go find something else that's more beneficial to them?" But continuing that up-skilling and making that if somebody comes into perhaps one of the PWC tech lounges for technical support that we've actually got people there that can meet and they understand what the technology is. So we are spending a lot of time in up-skilling, especially around assistive technology and those focused training sessions for our staff as well. So for us that's really, really key.

    Chris Holloway (00:23:41):

    And one of the things that I'm leading at the moment is around accessibility champions and advocate network internally. So we have people that can get involved, perhaps it's not their main role, perhaps they just want to get involved with some of the assistive technology that we're dealing with and actually have an understanding and be able to widen that support. So we are growing an accessibility advocate network within our tech lounges as well.

    Chris Holloway (00:24:10):

    And so, can I have next slide, Donna? I know this is a whistle stop tour. Next slide is obviously just around inclusive processes. So we're all really good at creating processes, but actually are we good at going back and reviewing them and making sure that people can actually use them? So for example here, having multiple points where somebody could come in for help, maybe a benefit, it may be a good thing but also it can also lead to confusion if you've got somebody coming in and perhaps they are using a screen reader and the process that they need to start on is to fill a form in that actually is inaccessible to start with. So, it's making sure that you really understand that your process that sits around requesting assistive technology or requesting help is actually inclusive itself.

    Chris Holloway (00:25:01):

    So things like having alternative contact methods, don't just pin something down to having email alone or relying on somebody just to use a phone. So for us, we've got email, we've got a phone, we have in person if you need to go speak to somebody directly. But also things like bots, we have them come in and live chat at as well. So there's a variety of different ways that somebody would be able to reach out for help. And I think that's really important. And for us, it's never stopped reviewing those processes, just because you've put something in and it may work for that moment, it's a good time to come back and really look at how you can improve that.

    Chris Holloway (00:25:41):

    Okay. And we've got the fifth slide. Next slide. Donna, I think I've got a minute left, haven't I for this one? Brilliant. So for us, people. Remember, people are just people at the end of the day. So, making sure you involve people throughout the use of assistive technology and what you actually do with it is really important. And also, going back to newer technology, it isn't always the best option, so looking back at what you have is always useful. And for us, I think probably the last thing I'm going to say Donna is, at the moment we've got a growing user base of text help users and we do like the software. And for us, we will be looking, for ourselves as well around beginning of summer, we're actually going to make text help available to all of our staff. So that's available without, obviously main disclosure. So for us, it's a world first, it's the first time we've talked about it externally. We're really, really excited to have that going. Obviously for us, it's a big move as well around disclosure. And that's it from me.

    Donna Thomson (00:26:52):

    Brilliant. That's great. Listen, thank you so much, Chris. I really enjoyed your presentation and it's great to hear you're rolling out Read&Write across the whole of Look, I'm a big fan of breaking projects down into smaller chunks like what you did in your presentation there. And I think what your five steps clearly outline, is that the responsibility for inclusion can't possibly lie with one person or even one team, it has to be that whole company-wide approach, to get the buy-in from the top and really allow those processes to be put in place, create those safe spaces and open up the conversation to support the needs of all of our staff. So look, that's a great presentation, Chris. Thank you so much.

    Donna Thomson (00:27:34):

    Folks, don't forget to add your questions for Chris into the chat box and we'll try and get you as many of them as we can at the end in the Q&A. And also let us know how your colleagues get support if they need it in your organization. Did anything in Chris's presentations spark an idea that would improve the way you do things, or if you have a winning formula that you'd like to share with your peers today, let us know in the chat and we'll share all the comments with everyone after the session. So next up, we have Alix Horton who is going to tell us about the disability employee network group that she pioneered at IBM. Hi, Alix. Thank you. Over to you when you're ready. Thanks.

    Alixandra Horton (00:28:14):

    Thank you. So, hi everyone. I'm here today to tell you about my experience as an employee with a disability. And I hope that by sharing my experiences today will equip you with some takeaways that you can then apply within your own organizations to improve disability inclusion.

    Alixandra Horton (00:28:36):

    Next slide please, Donna. So I won't delve too much into the why for disability inclusion as my fellow presenters will go into that more in our session today. But I would like to pull out these two statistics, because I think they're very powerful when we consider workplace inclusion, but also because they relate for me. So I'm one in five, I have a neurological condition called, dystonia. I'm also part of that 80% who developed their disability later in life.

    Alixandra Horton (00:29:11):

    So skipping to the next slide. You'll be able to see, in my early life, my younger years I was very ambitious. I was a dancer, did a lot of ballet, I did chemistry at university. And I had this clear vision of what I wanted to be when I grew up and at no point was disability part of that vision. So when I became ill, it really was life changing for me. I would always compare what I thought I couldn't do now to what I used to be able to do pre-diagnosis. And for me, dystonia was the end. I would only focus on what it took from me rather than what it gave me. And just to share a little story. The consultant I had at the time when I got my diagnosis, she said to me, "Don't say disabled, you don't want the label." And it's just always stuck with me, and it really affected me, and it just reinforced this negative perception I had in myself about my condition. And so, when I started my early professional career, I took this negative perception with me and I didn't tell anyone about my condition because I was too scared. I couldn't understand how anyone let alone an employer would view my dystonia any differently to how I did. And so I struggled an awful lot. I covered a lot and I eventually went on long term sick and was back in hospital, had to move back home with my parents who I was dependent on for everything. So, feeding me, bathing me, which is not what you want when you're in your late twenties. And then, it really was rock bottom for me then.

    Alixandra Horton (00:31:14):

    So, when I returned to work I knew something had to change. I'd spent far too much time feeling alone and unsupported in my experiences, I was struggling needlessly and I did not have a view for myself, I was completely hopeless in my vision for my future.

    Alixandra Horton (00:31:34):

    So next slide please, Donna. I knew I had to be around people who understood my experiences and I didn't want anyone to feel the same way that I did. And that's how I then started the disability network group at IBM UK. And I worked with some fantastic volunteers in this space and we really focus on four key building blocks to address those challenges, so very similar to what I was facing. So community, making sure no one feels alone like I did. Education, so teams and managers are equipped to support their employees. Accommodations, so no one has to struggle needlessly. And representation, so everyone can feel hopeful about their future.

    Alixandra Horton (00:32:34):

    And it's probably worth just taking a minute to say, I don't feel the same way I used to about my condition anymore. If anything, I am incredibly proud to be part of this community and on a daily basis, I am just so privileged to be around people that I think are so innovative, so strong and show such great potential.

    Alixandra Horton (00:32:57):

    Next slide please, Donna. So what do we do in the network group to help change other people's perceptions like we did for me? So community is really focused around creating that safe space, what can we provide so people can connect and talk to one another? But it's also around that point of pride. So, making people know that their disability is not a bad thing. I'm a big believer in that because I have dystonia, it equips me with skills that I can bring to my job. So, I involuntarily hone my organizational skills, my risk mitigation skills on a daily basis to ensure that I can manage living with my condition and I'm able to bring those skills to my job.

    Alixandra Horton (00:33:45):

    Education, so sharing personal stories which is so incredibly powerful and demonstrates the great work this community does. And also working with other network groups as well to support and champion one another.

    Alixandra Horton (00:33:59):

    Accommodations, so that's really focused on accessibility. So accessibility in a hybrid working model. So, now that most of us have been working from home, are our comms accessible, is our video composing accessible? But there's also the physical location as well. So we went out to our community and we asked them about what they wanted, a list of requirements that they wanted to see in our offices, our physical work locations. And we really took advantage of the fact that we haven't been in the office for the past two years to make sure that they got installed and we are continuing to manage this in the future.

    Alixandra Horton (00:34:38):

    And finally, representation. And I think this is such an important building block, because it ensures that disabled voices are heard from the bottom to the top of our organization, and that the top are then held accountable for any actions. So we sit on a number of people boards across the organization and we ensure that we're interlocked with key teams like HR and D&I to ensure that any new strategies are representative and inclusive for our community.

    Alixandra Horton (00:35:08):

    Next slide please, Donna. So these are some key achievements, particularly from the last year. And it was a great year last year. So, some of the things that we've done, so we've adopted the Sunflower Lanyard Scheme for hidden disabilities. So you can go to any reception desk at any IBM location and ask for a lanyard and you'll get one. And the team also created some virtual lanyards that you could add to your profile pictures while we've been working from home, to keep that support going. We've connected with many external support groups like, PurpleSpace and AbilityNet, which were fantastic for us to enable us to connect with other organizations and learn from them. And we've taking part in a number of external event like, PurpleLightUp for the first time last year, which was great. But what I think, and I'm quite proud of, of our key achievement last year, was that IBM UK gained Disability Confident status. For those of you that might not know, Disability Confident is a government scheme to help organizations improve their disability inclusion. And you have to apply for the status and there are three progressive levels. But it really opens some doors for us, because what it shows is, IBM is committed to disability inclusion and we are on a path to increase that.

    Alixandra Horton (00:36:38):

    From a talent perspective, in my experience I find that a lot of disabled talent will go to the Disability Confident list, see the organizations on there and that'll be their first point of call for looking for new opportunities. But it's also actually really helped us commercially. So we've been seeing an increased number of clients as part of bids and RFP processes, asking us if we are Disability Confident. And so we can finally say, "Yes.", which secures IBM a seat at the table to have those conversations with clients.

    Alixandra Horton (00:37:13):

    We're moving on please, Donna. I won't spend too much time on this slide, but everything I've said today has been at a market level. We're very lucky at IBM to be part of what a global D&I strategy that is focused on disability inclusion. And we have done many things, such as change our terminology from people with disabilities to people with diverse abilities, because we feel it's more inclusive and more welcoming to those that maybe don't want to associate themselves with work a disabled just yet.

    Alixandra Horton (00:37:46):

    So final slide please, Donna. So just to kind of recap and close here, one in five of our colleagues have a disability. So to put that into context, next time you are on a call, if there's more than five people, odds are someone has a disability. And if we think back to that 80%, as we all get older in our working life, our bodies require more care. So, it is our organization's duty to ensure our protection and a duty of care for their employees. Disability inclusion can be driven through community, education, accommodations and representation, and a disability network group is a great way to achieve this. Not saying it's silver bullet, but it is a great way.

    Alixandra Horton (00:38:33):

    And finally, we are all part of this, we all need to work together, members and allies alike to ensure a more equitable working future. And I have included my contact details in there in the spirit of that. So please, if you ever want to reach out to discuss anything further, my door's always open. Thank you.

    Donna Thomson (00:38:52):

    Lovely Alix, thank you so much for your presentation. And look, thank you for sharing your own personal experiences living with a disability. It really must have been very isolating when you first discovered your condition, how do you tell your friends, your family, your work colleagues, the stigma is real? Even when you got your diagnosis that you talked about, but it's great to hear about the network that you've set up at IBM, the more awareness we can create, the greater the understanding and more inclusive our workplaces will become. So listen, thank you again.

    Donna Thomson (00:39:21):

    I've just noticed, I haven't picked up on all the chat, but somebody said, "Alix, you're my favorite person.", a lady called Maria on the chat. So, you definitely have resonated well with everybody. So thank you so much. And listen, don't forget, you can add your questions for Alix into the chat box and we will try to get to them during the Q&A at the end. But also let us know about your staff networks, do you have any, are you planning on setting any up? Because we'd love to hear how your networks were created and how they're managed day to day and we'll share all your comments like I mentioned before, with your peers at the end of the session so that we can all learn from each other. But next up we have my good friend and colleague, Claire McGinley from Texthelp.

    Donna Thomson (00:40:03):

    And Claire is going to share insights into some of the great work that our customers have been doing and the impact that our tools have been having on their staff all over the world. So Claire, I can see you there. You can take it away when you're ready.

    Claire McGinley (00:40:13):

    Yeah. Thanks for the introduction, Donna. And thanks for asking me to join the conversation today. I think we'll all agree, we've learned so much already from Chris and Alex's presentation. I almost forgot I was up next, so thanks for the reminder. Chris, it's wonderful to hear that you're rolling out our software to everyone in your organization. That is a truly inclusive way to work. And it removes those barriers that prevents some of our colleagues asking for the support. We should catch up after the session, because I have a ton of resources I can share with you. And that's really my message for you all today because most of you are already using your tools in your business. So whether it's one or two individuals following a workplace assessment, or a bunch of people accessing it on your network, I want you to get the most out of your investment that you've already made. Because we know that so any more of your staff can benefit from the interest of tools and they don't need to have been diagnosed with a condition or even have disclosed a disability.

    Claire McGinley (00:41:10):

    And to touch on Alex's very powerful presentation there, we will acquire maybe different disabilities or illnesses during our working life. So at some point, I'm sure we could all do with some support. I know Chris mentioned Read&Write earlier, but Donna's going to run a short poll. We would like to know, have you heard of Read&Write before today's session? Over to you Donna.

    Donna Thomson (00:41:33):

    Yeah, no worries. I'm just launching the call. So hopefully you should see the question on your screen very soon. It's a nice, easy one I think. This time it's one question and two options to choose from. So have you heard of Read&Write before today's session? Just two options. It's either a yes or a no. So I'll give you a second or two to get your responses in and then I can pass back to Claire. It's always great to see so many people getting involved in the polls. Brilliant. Okay. Well listen, I'll close it there and just share the results so that can continue with your presentation Claire. But it's kind of 50 50. We've got 43% of our listeners have heard of it, 57 have not. But I'll pass back to you and you can continue from there. Claire.

    Claire McGinley (00:42:23):

    Yeah. Okay. Thanks again. And thanks for taking part as Donna said. So yeah, very interesting and pleased that many of you have in fact heard of Read&Write before the session today. But as you see, there's still quite a significant number have not. And this leads me to wonder, how many more of your colleagues are also in the dark? With one in seven of your staff identifying as neuro divergent and many more here undiagnosed, we'd like to get our tools to the hands of those who need it most and really break down the communication buyers and stigma that may exist. So to give you a feel for the sort of impact our tools are having in staff, I'd like to play a short video from one of our regular users, Taljinder. And Taljinder has dyslexia and dyspraxia. And in the clip, she's going to talk about how Read&Write has changed her life. So I'll let you hear it from her.

    [Video plays]

    When I was introduced to Read&Write you know I had to play around with the tools and uh you know I customized it to make it work for me. But I have to say it's very user-friendly and it literally changed my working life for the better! My Line Manager noticed that my productivity went through the roof and you know I just felt less stressed, this huge sight of relief that um it just gave me confidence that I can do my job you know, and I deserved to be in this position, you know.

    [Video ends]

    So what a powerful video, and getting feedback from our end users tells us that we're on the right track. And we're making a difference in people's lives, helping our users to communicate with confidence and reaching their full potential at work. But as Martin mentioned earlier, we can always do more, and we can't do it alone. And we need your help to make our workplaces more inclusive for people with disabilities and literacy challenges, and to help everyone work smarter. So here's a sample of some of the organizations we're already working with, and many of whom are part of the valuable 500 membership as well.

    Claire McGinley (00:44:43):

    So I don't have time to chat through all the great things we're achieving together. So I've chosen to showcase one organization and that is Network Rail. So for those who don't know, Network Rail is the owner and infrastructure manager of most of the real way network in Great Britain. And they employ over 38,000 staff. And their employees come from different walks of life. They include a mix of genders, ethnicities, capabilities, and people who are disabled, and non disabled. So Network Rail started by offering copies of Read&Write to individual staff members who requested additional support. And this was often following a diagnosis of a condition such as dyslexia, and a recommendation from An Access to Work or Workplace assessment. But over time, more and more staff members started to request the software, even if they hadn't had a diagnosis. So through word of mouth, you started to spread internally about how Read&Write supports everyday tasks for everyone, even those who don't identify as having a disability.

    Claire McGinley (00:45:45):

    So for example, Read&Write is a host of inclusive tools that help everyone work at a faster and more accurate rate. So whether you're proofreading over emails, or reading a lengthy report, or carrying out some desk research, there are tools to support everyone's needs. Such as an advanced dyslexia friendly spell checker, a text to audio converter and a highlighter tool that auto corrects your source alongside any clippings and many more.

    Claire McGinley (00:46:11):

    But getting back to Network Rail. After some thought leadership of how providing this universal tool could benefit everyone. They actually figured it would be more cost effective, easier to manage and more inclusive to add Read&Write to their network for all staff. They were keen to empower their staff to self-serve without any stigma or need for disclosure. But what they didn't realize is just how popular the tools would turn out there be. So pretty much as soon as it was made available to all staff, it was downloaded by almost a thousand employees who had not declared a disability. And this number has steadily grown since the launch. So again, don't hear it from me. We'll let Network Rail tell you on a short video.

    [Video plays]

    From the very first time that we were aware of Read&Write, its capabilities and its way it could support colleagues, it became evident that we needed to deploy an enterprise wide solution. Immediately we thought ‘this needs to be available to everyone in Network Rail’. Some colleagues, for whatever personal reason, wouldn’t like either their direct colleagues, or their line manager to know about any sort of disability so it was critical within our first steps of designing the way we provision this solution is that it is done on a self service platform without any, direct, line manager approval. Within our software catalogue, a couple of clicks, you provide the asset number of your device so the system knows where to deploy the software and literally within a couple of hours you’ve got Read&Write. The way we try to promote it is it’s for everyone. You don’t have to be dyslexic to use Read&Write you could be just anyone looking at a screen for 8 hours a day and screen masking helps your eyes. So that doesn’t relate to any disability it’s just a normal working life I think it’s an amazing tool. It helps people everyday. It helps them be more effective. It helps people improve their working environment and in fact it also helps people improve themselves.

    [Video ends]

    Okay. Thanks again, Donna. So we work closely with Network Rail and many of our customers to continually create that awareness of Read&Write. To new starts and to share knowledge and tips with existing staff to support usage. And we also have a great feedback clip, so we can continue to build tools that are both used and useful. So, we're better together. We'd love for you and your staff to have a voice and to get involved in helping us to shape our products. But before we get to that stage, we need to create awareness in your organization that these tools exist and make it the norm. Make sure everyone has access. And if we can go that extra mile, like Network Rail and make it available to all staff. Well then we're on our way to building a much more inclusive environment for all our staff, regardless of ability or diagnosis.

    Claire McGinley (00:49:55):

    And that's my message today, to tell you that you don't have to do this alone. I have a whole team of very talented customer support advisors and inclusive technology specialists who are dedicated to helping businesses like yours get the most of our tools. And as I said to Chris earlier, we have tons of great resources to support your every step. So whether you're a customer of ours or not, I'd like to learn more about how we can better support you. And for you to get your hands on these great resources I keep talking about. If you want to drop, "Let's chat" into the chat box, then we can arrange a one- on-one that you can have a deeper dive into Read&Write as well. And in these days of virtual, I will not be jumping on a plane or a train to visit you, unfortunately, but have a coffee on us during that chat. We'll send you a Just Eat voucher. So that's all for me now, folks. Thanks so much for listening. I look forward to any of your questions. And Donna, back to you.

    Donna Thomson (00:50:54):

    Lovely. Thank you so much, Claire. And listen, thanks for sharing the video clip from Taljinder. It is always a lovely reminder that the smallest adjustments really can make the biggest difference to people's lives. So I know Crosby from the valuable 500 who's up next will have more to say about the huge difference that we can make as a collective group. But before I pass over the presenter reins one last time, I just want to remind you to drop your questions into the chat box because we'll go straight to the Q and A following Crosby's presentation.

    Donna Thomson (00:51:24):

    So Crosby, thanks so much for waiting. I hope you've enjoyed listening to the presentations that we've had so far. But look, we're all set and excited to hear from you.

    Crosby Cromwell (00:51:33):

    No good day, everyone. I am thrilled and excited to be here for this important conversation. To follow Chris, Alex, Claire, the stories that they told, the work that they're doing within their businesses. Part of why I'm here today is to tell you a little bit about The Valuable 500. But more importantly, it is encourage you in this work of disability inclusion. It is to make you feel connected into what truly is a global growing movement. It is to help you understand that we are all moving along this journey together.

    Crosby Cromwell (00:52:08):

    Companies are getting better. Companies are doing phenomenal things. Companies are stepping outside of fear and setting big goals, to try to change not only their business, but the global lens for the 1.3 billion people living with disabilities, of which Alex told her story about her being one. I joined her in that with anxiety disorder and cyclical depression. I'm not someone who along the early part of my career was raising my hand, but disability is why I get up every morning. It's why I turn my laptop on. It's why I'm a part of the organization that Caroline Casey began, The Valuable 500.

    Crosby Cromwell (00:52:48):

    So who are we? And what are we doing? And what is the lens of this global disability inclusion? The Valuable 500 began in 2019 with a long backstory before that. Launched at Davos, really with the idea... And Donna, we can go to the next slide. With the idea that disability inclusion had moved too slow for too long because the highest levels of leadership were not at the helm of this conversation. So, we truly are a CEO led movement. We are 500 companies of which I'll show you in a moment. But 500 CEOs have stepped forward to say that disability inclusion matters in their business. Around the whole value chain, which is what we are working on as we work with our companies as they move their commitments forward.

    Crosby Cromwell (00:53:34):

    So if we'll go to the next slide. We want disability to look different. We want disability to look how we know it is when you're working in this space, that it is intelligent and powerful and fun. And there's wealth and a market value inside of disability as a consumer base. So you'll see the image in front of you of a model with alopecia. This was a part of a campaign that we did to refresh our brand last year as we move forward with our company. So I would encourage you to take a moment to look at the new valuable website, read our manifesto, understand what we are doing alongside as a supporter and a convener of the 500 companies who are part of this movement.

    Crosby Cromwell (00:54:19):

    So if we'll go to the next slide here is who we are. The Valuable 500, we are 500 global companies with our brands and our 500 CEOs, representing more than 22 million employees across 64 sectors and 41 countries. Each of our companies came on board with three things, their CEO signing that their company was committed to disability inclusion. That they would shout from the rooftops that this matters both internally and externally. So I want to give a nod in a moment to both PWC and IBM who are valuable 500 companies. And you can see the proof is in the pudding, when they talk about what they are doing to expand disability internally, within their cultures, within their value chain, let alone what they're working to do externally with their customer base. And each company came on with a commitment statement that they are driving forward individually to change their own world, as well as collaborating together.

    Crosby Cromwell (00:55:17):

    So if we'll go to the next slide. Here is an example of what it looks like to be leadership led. So I know a part of today's conversation was about if you're looking to set disability inclusion strategies, what do you do? And it was phenomenal to see that early poll that I think 79, 80% of you already have those. But what we encourage individuals to do when you're looking at your disability inclusion strategies, is listen to your people to align it to your business. And third, and sometimes, what we think is most importantly because we are a CEO led movement, is to ensure that in any of your strategies are leadership led. That the highest levels of your companies, your C Suite leaders, your CEOs are leading. And we saw a beautiful example of that today with Martin, from Texthelp opening us up, with why his company is doing this. His own personal story, why he's committed. And we truly believe that that level of leadership is needed to move the needle.

    Crosby Cromwell (00:56:14):

    So you'll see three images of leaders who stood up as a part of the valuable 500 in the early days, and still stand up for us. Richard Branson, of course, with Virgin Group. Julie Sweet, the CEO of Accenture. And Paul Pullman, who was the former CEO of Unilever, who is now also our board chair. Who raised their hands to say this work matters.

    Crosby Cromwell (00:56:34):

    So if we'll go to the next slide. So what are we doing and why? And really, again, it is about our 500 companies. We are solely the vehicle to help our companies connect, to have these important conversations. Again, to encourage collaboration that the impact together will be stronger. So we truly are working in some ways as an incubator, watching our companies across the course of the next few years, as they advance their commitment statements. As we help to provide the resources to do so, as we work along our transformation program, which we'll look at in a minute. But it's about taking those words that can sit on paper inside policies and turning into actual practices. So that we're living out the words that we know will change what disability inclusion looks like across the value chain.

    Crosby Cromwell (00:57:25):

    So if we'll move to the next slide. 14 of our companies out of the 500 have come on board for what we call our Iconics. They are sitting behind the scenes and you'll see some huge global brands represented here; in the London Stock Exchange Group, Sony, EY, Salesforce, P&G, Mahindra, Allianz, BBC, Apple, Deloitte, Verizon, Sky, Omnicom Group, and Google. Sitting behind the scenes, working on what we call our transformation program, which we'll look at in just a second. Building tools that matter to our companies, that truly are across what we understand will advance disability inclusion. Looking at the sectors that need special attention, that need the tools to bring it along. So along with what Texthelp is doing.

    Crosby Cromwell (00:58:16):

    Here, let's go to the next slide. So our transformation program is where we really are digging in as an organization alongside what our companies are doing with their own commitment statements. So C Suite is exactly what you would think an organization led by CEOs is doing. It's digging into our CEO stories. It's making sure that everything that we do is leadership led. It's making sure that our CEOs and our C Suite are involved in the change that companies are driving.

    Crosby Cromwell (00:58:47):

    And just like Alex told her stories so beautifully, we need our CEOs a step forward to illuminate their own personal stories. If one in five individuals globally have a disability and we have 500 companies, let's do the math on that. We need to encourage our CEOs to come forward with not only the stories they may have personally, but the ways in which they are connected to disability and why this work matters to them. Culture is everything workplace and workforce. So if you think about, again, like I said all the policies and practices that sit on paper. If you think about self-ID and the tools needed for individuals with disabilities to raise their hands within their companies. Customer is both B2B and B2C. What are we to highlight and illuminate the market of global consumers with disabilities?

    Crosby Cromwell (00:59:39):

    Reporting and research, go hand in hand and link back to culture. What do you do when you understand your self ID numbers? When you understand your employee base and how many folks with disabilities you have. What are you putting out into the ecosphere? Are you that into your annual reports? Are you talking about it externally? Are you letting your own employee base understand why you're asking those questions? And what you're doing with that data.

    Crosby Cromwell (01:00:03):

    We're learning remarkable things inside the collaboration that's going on within our companies. For example, Barclays is doing some extraordinary work with 14% of their culture, identifying, self-identifying as disabled. Autotrader with 13% of their culture, self identifying as disabled. And that takes a lot of work. That takes communication, it takes time, it takes investment, but all things that are critical to advance this work. And representation goes back to that image that I showed you earlier, in the presentation of the beautiful model with alopecia. How do we change the way that disability looks, sounds and reacts in our global markets? So are you seeing disability in your marketing campaigns? Are you seeing it in your hiring materials? Are they included in executive talking points? Representation matters.

    Crosby Cromwell (01:01:03):

    It shows that disability is a part of our world's population. We need to see it more from our companies and ads and campaigns. And we saw beautiful advancements last year as we looked at what our companies were doing. For example, Unilever who removed the word normal from any of their campaigns, because what does the word normal even mean? We saw things happen like Sephora, who listened to their own ERG, their own Employee Resource Group, talking about shoppers experience for the neurodiverse audience. So one basket would be red if you didn't want to be approached in a store and one basket would be black if you wanted to be approached in. And that went across their brand. So really utilizing the talent, the strengths and the voice of your disabled employees to benefit your products and your services. So that's the transformation program that we are working on with our companies.

    Crosby Cromwell (01:01:56):

    And if we'll go to the next slide. We just want to say that we are here. I appreciated how Martin opened it up with where The Valuable 500 has been, why we exist and where we're going. But we also want to challenge you to step forward with your own stretch goals. We want you to know that you're not alone, that there are companies who are growing and learning in this space. Who are being honest. That there is fear and unknown and trepidation, but that there is a global support movement. I have been in this space for 20 years and have never been more encouraged by what I see happening at this point in time. It is a moment and you are part of a moment and a part of a movement. So we're glad to be here. I'm excited to move into conversation. But Donna, I'll turn it back over to you.

    Donna Thomson (01:02:45):

    Fantastic, Crosby. But thank you so much. You're right. Really strong images in your presentation there. And I've got to say, your website is exactly the same. So folks check it out if you haven't done that yet. But of course, like we're absolutely thrilled to hear about the great work that The Valuable 500 has already achieved. And I can't wait to learn more about the transformation program that's already underway. And of course, continue to work with you to shine this light on disability inclusion and encourage more and more organizations to take action. So listen, thank you so much for joining us today. I can't believe we're at the end of the presentations already, but I think we've got plenty of time to drop into the Q and A and see how many questions we can answer right at the end. So if I can ask the other speaker to switch their cameras on and their mics back on and we can all get involved in the questions.

    Donna Thomson (01:03:35):

    All right. We have lots of questions, as you can imagine. I think we've tried to categorize them in the background as much as we can so that we have a couple of questions for each of you and we'll just, I'll work my way through them. Okay. So Chris, you're at the top of the list. You're at top of the bill. So we have a question from Martin. So how much do you think the increase in percentage of people asking for assistive technology over the last 12 months has been impacted by COVID? He also says there are lots of companies seem to have accidentally made their sites more accessible because they've had to implement remote working, which requires an upgrade.

    Chris Holloway (01:04:12):

    That's a really good question. I think probably the first thing I says, number wise, we weren't tracking it. We've not tracked it all the way through. We don't feel that we need to track whether somebody uses assisted technology or not. It's more for us to look at making sure that we've got licenses available, so we're not holding people back. So I think from our perspective, yeah, we've never looked at it to that granular level. But I do think the pandemic has helped that because obviously you've got more people that are working remotely. They perhaps haven't got the same amount of support around them to do things like proofread or spell checking and maybe just answering that question around organization.

    Chris Holloway (01:04:53):

    So I do think pandemic's definitely had an impact on it, but I also think that without forgetting that we've got more talk around diversity inclusion more than we've ever had at PwC to the point where people feel more confident in disclosing. So I think it's a combination of things. And I also think the really, really good point for us is, we're getting people that have been in the firm for quite a while coming forward saying, Actually, you know I didn't know this was here, now I do. Can I have some help? So getting to that point where people feel more confident can only be a good thing.

    Donna Thomson (01:05:31):

    Absolutely. And they're not having to depend on the coping mechanisms that they've been employing for many years because they've been trying to hide, I guess their disability. All right, I'm going to stick with you, Chris. Then I ask another question and I'll move on. I'll do two probably for each and see how we get on. So one from Colette, we'd like to know how and why you'll be rolling our Texthelp to all of your staff. It seems a great inclusive move to normalize assistive technology for everyone and make it accessible for everyone, is my question.

    Chris Holloway (01:06:00):

    Another good question. I think for us, if you don't know about assistive tech, it's usually because it's very specific. It's very bespoke to an area. It's usually bespoke to disability. We're always talking about dyslexia. I have dyslexia myself. If you're outside of that bubble, it's very difficult to hear about some of the technologies actually would benefit everybody. I feel that Texthelp, really good product for us, it benefits everybody from a couple of different areas. And I think for us rolling that out, we've heard... I think for us, it's listening to what people are actually asking for. And we've seen again, going back to pandemic more people with screen time wanting to have things read back to them. Perhaps they're not dyslexic themselves or they just need a little bit of help with reading. So for us, some of the features that we did find just benefited everybody and we felt it was the right time now to look at rolling that out and remove that disclosure.

    Donna Thomson (01:07:02):

    Brilliant. Thank you, Chris. Yes. There's definitely productivity tools in there as well. You don't necessarily have to have a condition to benefit from using the tools. But I'll move on to Alix next and going through people as they appeared on the bill. So we've got a question from Hend. I hope I'm pronouncing that properly. So we are a fast based sales business. We have difficulty in getting volunteers to join our ERGs with no financial gain or appraisal credit for D&I activities. How can we recruit more people to join our D&I champions?

    Alixandra Horton (01:07:33):

    Yeah, so I completely feel that as well. The work that I do on our colleagues do with our network group is completely voluntary. People do it because they love it and they have a passion for it. And it is an ongoing challenge to bring people into your team, into the network group. And I'm always very conscious leading our team calls. People are doing this in their own time and they're giving up their own time. And the day job does have to take a first priority. But I think the way to attract people in, so into the team to do stuff, into the network group, just to be a part of it and get involved. A big part is know what you are, know what your message is, know what you're here to stand for. And those challenges that you all want to address to be really clear about that from the off go.

    Alixandra Horton (01:08:34):

    And then get on as many promotions as you can within your organization. Do you do house calls, do you have internal sites. Get your face out there if you like and just be consistent in your aims, what you want to achieve in your mission and try and promote as much as you can.

    Donna Thomson (01:08:59):

    Brilliant. That's great, Alix. Thank you so much. I'm going to ask you another question and this one is from Elli. So thanks so much for your presentation. Amazing, she says. If you could recommend just one thing people should do to make their recruitment and selection more inclusive, what would it be? On the spot question.

    Alixandra Horton (01:09:16):

    That's a big question. There's many small things you can do, there's many big things you can do, but just to kind of echo the presentation, let's say is look at becoming disability confidence because there will be support in that. There will be guidance in that to tell you what you need to achieve, what standards you need to be showing to achieve that status. And then when you're in that circle of a common disability confident, it opens up this whole scope of other organizations that you can go and talk to and ask, what are you doing? What's some lessons that we can learn? It's never a competition. I think we talk to other organizations about increasing diversity and inclusion. People want to talk about it because they want the workforce to be better. So look at joining the scheme like that, that will help you guide through that process and then to your organization to really foster and support what you're doing.

    Donna Thomson (01:10:24):

    Brilliant. Yes. There's support out there and we're not alone. I think that's the message that we've been trying to kind of really drive home today, all of us. That we don't have to face any of these things ourselves. Together we can achieve so many more things. So awesome. That's great. Okay. well I'm now going to skip forward and we've got Crosby. And next, sorry, Claire, skipped past you, but you'll come after this, I'm sure. So Crosby, I'll start with one from Smitta, and I hope I'm pronouncing that properly. But how do we get more leaders into the board room who have experienced and have knowledge on disability?

    Crosby Cromwell (01:10:58):

    It's a great question. And it's something, of course that is a priority for us. I think part of it is what we talked about in the presentation. And part of it is what we talked about and what we're trying to do with C Suite and changing cultures. We have to have more leaders who are willing to stand up and tell their story and their connections to disability. I mean, I think, Alix, to your point, I think one of the strongest things you can do to start to change hearts and minds, as well as the business ecosystem is really powerful storytelling. And we need our leaders to lead in that. So I think as our CEOs begin to stand up and tell their own stories, as they begin to drive disability inclusion, that will have an impact on the boardroom as well.

    Crosby Cromwell (01:11:40):

    We do need and just, statistics alone. I mean, if we flashback to Alix's side of one in five. Statistics alone, disability already lives inside our boardrooms around the world. We just need more folks to begin to come forward with their stories. We need to begin to push in a different way that allows them to come forward and explain the why of all this and organizations like The Valuable 500 and others, need to force the conversation in the boardroom at points. We need to make sure that that is on the leadership agenda. It's a part of why The Valuable 500 exists to make sure that those conversations are happening in those places.

    Donna Thomson (01:12:18):

    Brilliant. Yeah, I think you're absolutely right. When we get our leaders at the top, talking about their own experiences, it opens up the conversation for everyone else. It's a shared inclusive space for everyone to talk about their own experiences. Great. Okay. I'll-

    Crosby Cromwell (01:12:33):

    Donna, I'm sorry. I don't think it's outlandish for ERGs, for employee resource groups to go to their leadership and ask for that conversation to be on a board and agenda once a year, as a starting point. To have a conversation about their employee base. Look at your own numbers, do it at the time of an employee engagement survey and bring disability into that conversation. But I want employees to feel empowered, especially those that are working in collaboration together.

    Donna Thomson (01:13:01):

    Brilliant. Yeah. Great advice. Absolutely. How to get the ball rolling and start to take action. I have a question Crosby from Holly, is it possible to become a member of The Valuable 500?

    Crosby Cromwell (01:13:12):

    We did announce our 500 companies in May 18th of last year. But Donna, if they want to reach out to me, we've had some brands that have rolled up into parents. We've had some mergers. All of that to say that we have some spaces, so we'd welcome conversations.

    Donna Thomson (01:13:28):

    Brilliant. That's great. We can share all the details with you afterwards. That's not a problem. I'm just conscious of the time. But Claire, I will fire a couple of to you before we end. So we've got one here from Jashimia, is Read&Write available to companies in Canada?

    Claire McGinley (01:13:43):

    Short answer, Donna. Yes, absolutely. Though Martin sort of gave the geographical layout of our offices. That doesn't mean to say we're just in those countries. We're worldwide now, which is fantastic.

    Donna Thomson (01:13:55):

    Perfect. I like it. I'll throw another one at you since you answered that one so shortly. Angela is asking, does Read&Write work on all Microsoft applications. So she's named Word, Outlook, Teams, PowerPoint and Excel.

    Claire McGinley (01:14:07):

    Yeah. And that's one of the beauties about Read&Write is it's not just defined to Microsoft. We work across all major platforms. So yes, what you've mentioned there and we are compatible with. Our software even works in non-accessible documents like PDFs as well. So we can convert those to audio for people that need to use text to speech. So another short answer, Donna.

    Donna Thomson (01:14:29):

    I like it. I like it. You're able to squeeze a couple in there, which is great. But I think we're going to have to close the questions there. I'm just really conscious of the time. And I don't want to keep anybody any longer than we promised. But look, I think that's a wrap. What a great session. A really huge thank you to all of our great speakers today. Crosby, Alix, Chris, Claire, I really do appreciate you taking your time out to share your expertise and advice with everybody listening. And of course, to our listeners, thanks so much for tuning in. I do hope that we've helped you even in a small way to better understand and support your disabled workforce and all the best of luck in the book raffle we will, as I said earlier, we will announce the lucky winners later today.

    Donna Thomson (01:15:09):

    I guess one last thing really to mention before we go. We are hosting a short 30 minute webinar in just a few weeks where we'll delve a little bit deeper into how inclusive tools, specifically can help to support your staff with disabilities and neuro differences. And you're all very welcome to join us. You can register using the link on the slide there. It's text. help/Inclusive-Tools. And of course, if you like could speak to us before that, you can drop by let's chat into the chat box. It's not too late, you've got another 30 seconds maybe. But there will be an attendee survey that you'll see after we close the session and you can make a selection there too, of course. And don't forget, we're throwing in a free lunch voucher to the first 100 request, it is. So if this is off interest, don't wait too long to let us know. But look, that really is all from us today. Thanks again for tuning in and enjoy the rest of your day. Bye for now.

    Chris Holloway (01:16:07):

    Thank you.

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Inclusive Tools to Support Disabilities and Neurodifferences

Around 20% of the global population lives with a disability, and when you include family and friends this represents 70% of the global economy according to the Valuable 500.

Register to watch our 30 minute webinar on demand to hear from Texthelp’s inclusive technology specialist, Claire McGinley, on the role of technology in supporting DE&I efforts. 

Or, book a 1-2-1 chat with our inclusive technology specialist, Claire McGinley

Book a quick 20 minute chat with our inclusive technology expert, Claire McGinley, to get some advice and hear how businesses such as Network Rail, Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Sainsbury's are supporting their teams.

Take a peek at our inclusive tools by downloading our handy Read&Write for Work Quick Reference Guide.

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