The Let's Talk Disability workshops are delivered by a diverse group of passionate and energetic individuals. Here are just some of the team:
Sarah worked for Guide Dogs NSW ACT as a public speaker and community trainer for many years, where she developed a passion for social justice and equality. Sarah has been vision impaired since birth, and with her gorgeous guide dog Angelina, Sarah loves the honest and interactive format of Let's Talk Disability. When she isn't presenting or working at her other job, Sarah loves rehabilitating StandardBred race horses after their racing career is over, and giving them a second chance as the world's best pleasure horses! When at home, Sarah loves finding a sunny patch to curl up in and read a good book, while simultaneously coming up with creative reasons for avoiding the house work.
Leigh says he was born to be a public speaker. He does a lot of work around human rights and advocacy through the NSW Disability Council, the NSW Disability Ombudsman and Community Disability Alliance Hunter. Leigh has an intellectual disability known as Down syndrome. Social change was always Leigh's passion. He wants to make positive difference everywhere, from local and state level, even the world!
Samson works as a presenter for Let’s Talk Disability, VALID, projectABLE and Zero Tolerance and he is kept busy due to his engaging and informative style. Samson is passionate about self-advocacy and the right for people with disability to live the life they choose. Samson’s hip hop music can be found on Youtube as he continues to challenge people’s perceptions of what people with disability are about.
Meaghan is nothing if not adaptable. She has work experience ranging from IT Software Support and Training for a major insurance company, to Make Up Artistry, and more recent work as a Traffic Controller.
Being a single mum, supporting and advocating for her 13 year old son with Dyslexia and Dyspraxia, was the catalyst for Meaghan’s decision to work in the disability sector.
Meaghan is passionate about creating an inclusive workplace for people with disability, and considers this inclusiveness to be a fundamental human right. She believes the workplace should be a space for open communication and empathy.
Meaghan is proud to work with Let’s Talk Disability, projectABLE and Zero Tolerance as she envisages that this work will enable her to create an inclusive workplace that her son and all other people can thrive in.
In her spare time, Meaghan loves walking her two incorrigible black pugs who she has ambitions to train as therapy dogs. She also likes keeping fit through gym sessions, journaling, meditation and watching films with her son, who is a budding pop culture commentator.
Scott is a passionate advocate for the rights of people with disabilities and has more than fifteen year of experience in live presentation behind him. Scott is always ready and willing to share his experiences of living with a disability and loves to show people that, even if he can't see the world around him, he understands it in ways that some people never thought possible. Scott always has a positive spin on the world around him and never lets his disability get in the way of enjoying life. In his spare time, Scott likes to go to the movies, spend time with his young family or share his passion for human rights with all who will listen.
Kerrie was born with a physical disability called Spina Bifida and firmly believes that having a disability should not hold a person back from living a full and active life and achieving their goals and dreams. She is passionate about disability advocacy, travel, music, singing, socialising with friends and family, going to live concerts, theatre productions, and generally making a positive difference in the lives of those around her. Kerrie is looking forward to continuing her career in disability advocacy.
Andrew brings to the program years of experience working in the disability sector; from government positions to NGO roles and running his own business around building the capacity of people with disabilities (PWD) in his local community.
As a below-knee amputee, Andrew brings a unique perspective to Let’s Talk Disability and projectABLE, having both disability sector and lived experience of disability. He is active in face-to-face and online community peer support, working with organisations such as Advocacy and Peer Support for WA Amputees and Limbs for Life.
Andrew has a passion for seeing PWD achieve their goals and dreams, however big or small. He says, “Life should revolve around opportunities. Let’s Talk Disability and projectABLE is an avenue that empowers people with disabilities to become more influential in their communities and to open up the doors. By working on the team, we are making a difference by breaking down barriers and letting people know what it is like to live with a disability and what opportunities are out there for work in our sector.”
Andrew is a trained saxophonist, an avid jazz lover and plays in two bands. He plays in 2 or More with his vocalist wife, and Café Jazz, a seven-piece ensemble.
Ming is 20 years old and legally blind, studying Economics and Finance at the University of Western Australia, and likes to think that she is more exciting than her degree sounds.
Ming has loved meeting so many different people through projectABLE and Let’s Talk Disability, spreading the word about the unique and expanding opportunities in the disability sector, and enhancing disability awareness.
Ming enjoys the opportunity to work towards social justice for everyone, and believes that a big part of this is making positive changes to the way people with disabilities are perceived in society. People with disabilities might be different, might do things a little differently - but so does everyone else. People with disabilities might need some help sometimes - but so does everyone else.
Ming would like to see the day when disabilities are regarded no more than hair colour, eye colour, shape or size - something that is what makes an individual an individual, but is not the definition of them.
Apart from working with the whacky and inspiring projectABLE and let’s Talk Disability crew and studying, Ming divides her time between being an advocate on the Youth Disability Advocacy Network, training in the little-known Paralympic sport of goalball, and finding ways to travel the world. Of course, there are also the all-time favourites - sleeping, eating and eating. Ming hopes to be seeing you at one of the projectABLE workshops!
Bill works as a musician, with considerable music recording and touring experience, and is conducting doctoral research in community development at the University of Canberra.
Diagnosed in 1998 with relapsing-remitting Multiple Sclerosis, Bill is very grateful that his MS has so far not taken a progressive course. With support from neurologists, immunotherapy nurses and social networks, Bill has tried to not let MS unduly slow him down. His resilience is reflected in having received career awards including a public service Australia Day medal, academic awards for excellence and various law prizes.
Bill’s work background includes roles in social services, training and development design, delivery and management, law administration, and executive direction of business improvement in government agencies. He is also involved in Norwegian Elkhound breed rescue and welfare.
Living with MS has given Bill practical experience of adjustment strategies and new perspectives on participation, discrimination and other social justice issues. He especially enjoys encouraging students to identify exciting career possibilities.
Bill lives near Canberra with his wife, daughter, a quantity of Elkhounds, Lapphunds, cats, and an undisclosed (but all essential!) number of bass guitars and other noise-making devices. He doesn’t expect to feel bored any time soon.
Mel has worked in various advocacy roles for the past six years, and has both lived and professional experience of disability.
Most recently, she has worked as a Get More Skills capacity building facilitator in the NDIS readiness workshops and a senior presenter for projectABLE.
Mel has also been a community connector for the physical disability council of NSW, where she has facilitated peer groups for people with a disability to build their social confidence and feel more connected to their community. Mel has a passion for social justice and helping others with disability explore life possibilities.
In her spare time, Mel enjoys travelling both locally and internationally. Most recently, she travelled to Japan for a holiday.
Mel acknowledges that having a disability brings with it challenges, but she believes this should not be a reason to pass up life’s opportunities.
"A dream without a plan is just a wish." - Katherine Paterson
Terri is a mental health educator and a lived experience advocate who works with several local community organisations, delivering presentations and training sessions on a variety of topics related to mental health and disability. She is also studying for her Masters at the Australian National University.
Terri has a neurological condition and a mental health diagnosis that have resulted in her needing support in some areas of her life. Some of these supports are accessed through the NDIS.
As a service user and as a systemic advocate, Terri believes that decisions that affect people’s lives should never be made without them - whether they are decisions about individual supports for a person with disability, or a decision about government policy.
What Terri loves about projectABLE is that it introduces person-centeredness and inclusion to young people who can then use those concepts to help bring about positive change, whether in a career in the disability workforce, or as a member of the wider community.
Terri lives in Canberra with her miniature dachshund, whose level of enlightenment and understanding about the world and his place in it she hopes one day to attain herself.
Leeanne a person with Autism who has a strong interest in disability advocacy and theatre. She has performed in ‘Chase The Feeling’ for two seasons in 2016 and 2015 as well as ‘History Of Autism’ for three seasons in 2015, 2014 and 2013. Her interest in advocacy has led her to deliver frequent guest presentations on the topic of autism at TAFE SA. She has also presented at conferences, schools and parent groups.
Leeanne has a Graduate Certificate in Disability Studies, a Master of Teaching and a Bachelor of Arts. She is currently working on a Master of Disability Policy and Practice degree. Outside of work, advocacy and university, Leeanne has enjoyed playing Yu-Gi-Oh! (Trading Card Game) and Laser-Tag. She has represented Adelaide for these activities at national events. Leeanne is also an Adelaide Crows supporter and sits in the Crows cheer squad at home games. Currently in her leisure time, she is enjoying playing Artemis, serving as a starship Communications Officer.
Paul has had many varied careers from retail assistant, heavy diesel mechanic, workshop supervisor, Hyperbaric Clinic Coordinator and support worker to currently running his own business. Outside of this Paul likes to play the drums, enjoys live music, travel and just sitting down with people for a chat over a coffee or two.
In 1995 Paul was diagnosed with a severe Cardio-Vascular condition that eventually required him to undergo heart and double lung transplant in 2008 which thankfully was successful. However, one of the ongoing affects is that Paul now has Macular Degeneration which is a bit of an inconvenience as it has stopped him from driving since 2003. This has not prevented him from travelling overseas or being able to do many of the things he wishes to accomplish.
Having lived with these challenges Paul has developed a deep appreciation of the hurdles and at times frustrations facing many people with a disability. Being part of the Let’s Talk Disability and projectABLE team provides a platform where Paul can draw from his own experiences.
Paul enjoys living in Canberra with his wife enjoying the multi-cultural influences as well as experiencing four distinct seasons each year. He has four children and six grandchildren living in Queensland and New Zealand and enjoys every chance he has spending time with them.
Our half-day workshops are led by a team of vibrant and engaging presenters, all of whom have lived experience of disability. For those attending, it’s an immersive, entertaining and enlightening experience.Contact us