Valuable 500 podcast with Dr. Caroline Casey

By Christine Hemphill | 29th March 2019

Welcome to our podcast series “Broader Perspectives For Better Experiences”. In this, our 1st episode for 2019, Martyn Sibley talks with Dr. Caroline Casey, the influential leader and change maker of the Valuable 500 campaign.

What is the Valuable 500?

Valuable 500 was launched in Davos this February at the World Economic Forum which is a collection of the powerful and elite from across the globe. The campaign aims to precipitate a global shift in business attitudes to inclusion of people with disabilities.  It will do this by engaging and harnessing executive business leadership, getting 500 large private-sector organisations to sign up, each committing to discussing disability at the board level as well as making a positive, defined change that can be delivered within the year.

The campaign is supported by a number of high profile businesses and business leaders, including strategic partners Omnicom and Virgin Media, and leaders such as Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Group, Paul Polman (ex Unilever), Janet Riccio of Omnicom and EY Chairman & CEO Mark Weinberger.

What does the campaign hope to achieve?

As Caroline says during this interview “It is about removing obstacles” in all aspects of life – employment, transport, leisure and purchasing and enjoying products and services for people with disabilities. One of my favourite quotes is this,

“There are more products in supermarkets for the 100,000 vegans in the UK than there are for the 13 million disabled customers” 

It wishes to do this first and foremost, by harnessing the power of senior and executive leaders, letting them generate the changes that are most appropriate and valuable to their individual businesses.

This campaign clearly resonates very deeply with Open Inclusion’s ethos which is, inclusive design is just good design that works for more people more often, and inclusive business management is just good (sustainable and valuable) business management. Therefore this is something that each Chief Executive, Chief Marketing Officer, and Chief Financial Officer should be fighting for as strongly as anyone in their business. It helps them create durable products and services that attract loyal, valuable customer bases. It also helps identify or retain the highest quality staff from the broadest talent pools.

This is why we are supporting it fully, as one of Valuable 500’s Expert Partners. Open, as one of the eight global Expert partners, will help provide signatories with a resource pack with strategic and practical ideas that will enable them to define and deliver on their commitments more fully and efficiently. We will also aid the broader campaign to be as successful as possible in achieving its goals by broadcasting its presence and signposting people to the great work and opportunities available.

In this interview

Caroline talks to Martyn about,

  • why she chose this approach targetting executive corporate leadership
  • what a “Diversish” company is and how such organisations are too often leaving people with disabilities behind
  • how her lived experience has influenced her engagement with and leadership in campaigning for the inclusion of people with disabilities
  • some fascinating statistics from an EY report released this year.
    • 56% of boards have never had the topic of disability on their board agenda.
    • 7% of C-suite leaders have direct experience of disability, but 4 out of 5 hide it
  • how the combined power of brands and leaders and platforms can accelerate the recognition of the value of the 20% of society that is living with various disabilities – both as a large consumer market and as a rich and deep talent pool.

Caroline also shares perspectives on the market for dog clothing, the magic behind Apple’s product design approach and much more! Please have a listen or watch the video and enjoy the interview. It is a really fabulous one! Caroline is a compelling leader herself with a clear vision and sharp intellect (matched by a good sense of Irish humor).

What does this mean for me and my organisation?

If you are working in a large organisation and are considering joining the Valuable 500 please contact us to discuss your interest, or go directly to the Valuable 500 site and sign up here.

If you have signed up, or are considering it, and would like some help to assess the best area/s for improving, Open can support you with an inclusive, insight-led approach. Please contact us if you would like to know more. We would be very happy to help you ourselves if it is something we specialise in, or by introducing you to one of the other expert partners both here in the UK or if you are based elsewhere, to one of the many partners around the world.

A final treat

Lastly, and as a real treat for those who have read this far, if you are interested in seeing the fabulous Diversish videos, please check them out here on the Valuable 500’s You Tube channel.