LESA BRADSHAW SHOOTS FROM THE HIP AT TED
Disability vs the Workplace – Which has the Disability?
A recent TED talks speaker is local entrepreneur and HR consultant, Lesa Bradshaw, a partner at Bradshaw Le Roux Consulting, recruitment and assessment specialists and disability integration consultants, who was born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a condition that causes muscular weakness in all the voluntary muscles in the body. Technically, Lesa should not be able to lead an independent life, but she has done so. She is a psychology honours graduate, a registered psychometrist, and an MBA Graduate, having completed her dissertation on strategies for integrating people with disabilities into the workplace.
She has also become a sought after motivational speaker, using her unique blend of humour, personal experience, subject expertise, confident approach and a genuine passion for empowering people with a disability – have a profound effect on her audience.
Said Lesa in her talk “We have to recognise that it is not only about the person with a disability being able to perform with our existing methods of work and structures, it is also about adapting our existing work methods and structures to accommodate the person’s specific needs.
It’s about time we recognised disability as just another form of diversity – if between 8 – 12% of the population in SA have a disability – it is actually quite normal from a demographic perspective. I just have to relate this research to my post-divorce dating life where it must be said that the pool of single men over 40 with strong backs that are able to carry me up steps in the wheelchair is noticeably small …. just saying…. there were a substantially large number that were teetering dangerously on falling into the ‘person with a disability’ category!
It’s about time we stopped thinking about disability from a charity perspective only. Start thinking about it from an empowerment perspective – … charity and disability are not synonymous. I always like to point out with a cheeky twinkle in my eye that around 70% of the working age population with a disability was not born with a disability, but acquired it at some point in their lives – and the older we get, the higher the probability. So from a risk management perspective, it makes sense to play your part in creating a disability accessible society as you never know what fate has in store.
It’s About Time … fabulous topic to apply to my area of expertise which lies in Disability Integration in the workplace – although I’d like to twist the topic a bit to have more of an exasperated, hands up …ITS ABOUT TIME!