Elvis Presley said it best: “A little less conversation, a little more action, please.” That’s the message driving Valuable 500—a global movement aiming to put disability on the agenda of business leaders around the world.
Caroline Casey is the brain behind this new campaign:
“The 1 billion people globally who are disabled and can’t find work, need top leaders to take action—now,” says Casey. Legally blind herself, Casey is a social entrepreneur who has been pushing boundaries and reframing what people think about disability her entire life.
Are you “DIVERSish”?
Valuable 500 is asking an interesting question to get companies thinking about their inclusion practices: “are you diversish?” (i.e. are you including some groups in your diversity strategies and leaving others out?)
They’ve just launched a series of humorous “DIVERSish” videos that poke fun at how often disability is excluded from conversations about diversity (and how too often that one disabled employee becomes the “poster child” for an entire company):
The campaign highlights both the social and economic benefits of disability inclusion–for people with disabilities and for the organizations who hire them:
“I urge businesses to join The Valuable 500 movement to take a stand against being diversish–and instead be the tipping-point for change, and unlock the business, social and economic value of disabled people across the world,” says Casey. “Because the potential of 1.3 billion should not be ignored.” (Source: The Valuable 500 website)
Their immediate goal is to get 500 corporate leaders to:
- Commit: Table disability on your board agenda from 2019
- Act: Make one firm commitment to action in 2019
- Amplify: Share your commitment to The Valuable 500 internally and externally
Showing he’s a man of action (we already knew that!), business leader and tireless dyslexia advocate Sir Richard Branson has already signed on to the cause.
Canadian business leaders: Here’s your chance!
Here in Canada, we know that 23 million people — that’s one in five — aged 15 years and over have a disability and experience higher rates of unemployment and poverty than those without disabilities. The same survey showed that youth with mental health issues and learning disabilities have higher rates of unemployment than their non-disabled peers.
Canadian companies are talking more about diversity and inclusion of people with disabilities, but we still need to see real changes in our corporate culture. I would love to see some Canadian business leaders put their hand up to be leaders in inclusion. Any takers? Sign up now!
Caroline Casey is the founder of the company #valuable, a campaign working to ensure businesses globally recognize the value of the one billion people around the world living with a disability.
Casey launched Valuable 500 at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland in January 2019, where she moderated a panel of leaders discussing disability inclusion in the workplace (video). She was featured in Forbes: This Woman Is Making Disability Inclusion A Leadership Issue.
In 2010, she gave a TEDTalk called “Looking past limits”:
“Being absolutely true to yourself is freedom. And I never needed eyes to see — never. I simply needed vision and belief. And if you truly believe — and I mean believe from the bottom of your heart — you can make change happen. And we need to make it happen, because every single one of us — woman, man, gay, straight, disabled, perfect, normal, whatever — everyone of us must be the very best of ourselves. I no longer want anybody to be invisible. We all have to be included. And stop with the labels, the limiting. Losing of labels, because we are not jam jars. We are extraordinary, different, wonderful people.” Caroline Casey (TEDTalk, 2010)