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Our team

Our team consists of highly experienced industry experts who, despite diverse backgrounds, share the following fundamental traits:

  • Collaborative
  • Curious
  • Practical
  • Creative
  • Considerate

Combined, the Open Inclusion team brings years of experience from many different professional perspectives. We have worked with regional, national and global organisations across financial services, retail, transport, broadcasting and communications, technology, consumer goods, health, entertainment, beauty and fashion.

Welcome to the team who live
and breathe the Open ethos.

Leadership

Christine Hemphill
Managing Director
Pronouns: she/her
United Kingdom
"At Open, the thing that excites me the most is that the market in which we operate is maturing fast There is so …”
Robert Hemphill
Client & New Proposition Director
Pronouns: he/him
United Kingdom
“At Open, I am excited by the opportunity to work with a fantastic team to develop a business that can have a positive …”
Location:

Geneva/London

Quote:

“At Open, the thing that excites me the most is that the market in which we operate is maturing fast. There is so much more awareness and understanding of the value of inclusive insight, design and innovation now, and the industry is becoming more professional and, in parts, more effectively collaborative.”

Background:

Christine founded Open in 2015 to enable the perspectives of disabled and older consumers to inform better design and innovation more easily and consistently.

She is an experienced inclusive research leader and Human Centred Designer who considers which humans are considered at the centre of design. Christine is also an innovator having created new businesses in new markets, new products, services and experiences for a number of decades in digital, physical and customer service environments. She loves supporting others innovate and has been an inclusive insight expert at a range of accelerators and intrepreneurship programmes.

Christine leads the team to ensure that the research design, analysis and delivery provides consistently professional, robust and practical insights well targeted to the objectives.

Christine often speaks at conferences and keynotes business sessions on inclusive design, innovation, research practices, CX, UX and specific emerging technologies.

She leads the Market Research Society’s Unlimited Group (disability-inclusive research), is an active member of the inclusive design workstream for XRAccess (immersive design) community and the Zero Project Network. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and in Asian Studies from the ANU, MBA from the Australian Graduate School of Management, and CPACC from the IAAP.

What I enjoy:

When not managing the growth and delivery quality of our work at Open, she can generally be found in a café with her husband, kids or friends or on a mountain cycling, running or skiing some Alpine trail.

Location:

Geneva/London

Quote:

“At Open, I am excited by the opportunity to work with a fantastic team to develop a business that can have a positive impact on people’s lives.”

Background:

Rob’s role at Open Inclusion is to lead new opportunity development, client engagement and support, organise the broader research program and support the delivery of great client projects. He also oversees Open’s operations and support teams.

Rob has over 20 years of experience leading teams to design, build and run digital products and innovative solutions. He has led teams across consulting, digital agency and the financial services industry to both improve and enable the innovation processes and culture. He also build’s and deliver new initiatives aimed at improving the customer experience and operational excellence.

Rob is passionate about the opportunity to bring more diverse perspectives to our clients to better enable ideation and improve proposition development and the value of the innovation. This will deliver better solutions to all their customers, including those with specific access needs.

What I enjoy:

When not focusing on helping to enable the growth of Open, Rob is usually spending time with his family or enjoying the great outdoors.

Josh Wintersgill
Inclusive Innovation Programme Lead
Pronouns: he/him
United Kingdom
“At Open, I get to work with our community toward accessible technological change to advance ...”
Ali Ingersoll
Global Head of Community
Pronouns: she/her
North America
"I love working at Open because of the people. We work with an incredible team who are all compassionate, insightful, ..."
Location:

London

Quote:

“At Open, I get to work with our community toward accessible technological change to advance inclusion. That is exciting!”

Background:

Josh is Open’s Inclusive Innovation Programme Lead. He is leading our work on a grassroots inclusive innovation for an exciting global initiative being launched in 2022. He also works across the broader Open team on innovation projects we are working on internally and externally.

Prior to stepping into this significant innovation role, Josh had joined Open as our Lead for the Mobility/Dexterity Community. He still ensures that we remain aware of and up to date with the community’s concerns, needs, and interests. With the other Community Leads, he continues to help co-design research to ensure that the needs of people with physical access needs are well-considered and incorporated in our work.

His background is in technology and he takes every opportunity to work in research, design, and innovation on new cutting-edge products and services that look to enhance diverse opportunities and improve inclusive design and outcomes.

What I enjoy:

Josh has a competitive nature and loves to compete. He is currently on the talent and development squad for Great Britain in Air Rifle.

Location:

North Carolina, United States

Quote:

“I love working at Open because of the people. We work with an incredible team who are all compassionate, insightful, collaborative, and share the same mission of advancing disability inclusion in our society.”

Background:

Ali leads Open Inclusion’s global community engagement and development. She is a disability strategist, advocate, and powerful, positive communicator.

Ali is based in the US and has extensive global experience having lived and worked around the world, including in China and Australia. In her role at Open, Ali helps us effectively develop valuable strong mutual relationships with individuals and community advocacy groups.

This generates opportunities for those with valuable lived experiences to work, get involved in inclusive innovation initiatives, and engage in paid research opportunities. These support the community and help businesses better serve customers with disabilities and grow the inclusive capability of their organizations.

Ali holds a Bachelor of Business Administration specialising in entrepreneurship from the Herbert Business School at the University of Miami.

What I enjoy:

Ali enjoys swimming as a C6 quadriplegic, traveling, and outdoor accessible adventures.

Cathy Rundle
Research Director - Inclusive Design
Pronouns: she/her
United Kingdom
“At Open, I'm most proud of the variety of work we do and the range of people we work with.”
Kate Mesh
Research Director - Innovation
Pronouns: she/they
United Kingdom
“At Open, I get to explore how communication needs shift and different spaces. I'm excited anytime I can get …"
Location:

London

Background:

Cathy has over 2 decades of experience in the field of inclusive user research, design and innovation. As Open’s Inclusive Research Manager, Cathy believes in making products and services inclusive to enable everyone to participate to the level they wish to in society.

Cathy understands the importance of not just technical accessibility, but also inclusive usability. She has managed combined teams and worked extensively with many businesses to help improve the accessibility and usability of their products, websites and apps.

Before joining Open she was working for many years at Royal National Institute of Blind People, leading their user research team and as a freelance consultant on several European-funded projects looking at new technology and how this can help people with disabilities.

What I enjoy:

When not at work Cathy likes walking – particularly if it ends at a café – and she enjoys knitting and yoga.

Location:

London

Quote:

“At Open, I get to explore how communication needs shift in different spaces. I’m excited anytime I can get my hands on a design that might make communication clearer, easier, more satisfying for more people.”

Background:

Kate is an Inclusive Researcher Manager at Open.  She has over 15 years of experience as a communication researcher, studying how people with disabilities, especially people with deafness and hearing loss, understand and create rich, multi-layered messages using their hands, bodies, and voices.

Before joining Open, Kate researched sign languages and signing communities in the United States, Mexico, Israel, and Sweden.

With a background in experimental design, Kate brings a knowledge of how and why to combine qualitative research methods with quantitative methods to meet specific research needs. She is in her element when adapting research approaches for real-world settings, from the family kitchen to the art gallery.

What I enjoy:

When Kate isn’t working you’ll likely find her hiking a trail outside of the city, or snacking next to one.

Naomi Boal
Research Director, Inclusive Delivery
Pronouns: she/her
United Kingdom
“I'm delighted to be part of open, where our research inspires change and delivers better customer experiences …"
Location:

London

Quote:

“I’m delighted to be part of Open, where our research inspires change and delivers better customer experiences for all.  Positive impact doesn’t happen by magic but there is something magical when you see it happen!”

Background:

Naomi has over eight years experience in qualitative research and public engagement.  She has a deep understanding of the travel and transport sector and prior to Open, she led a mixed-method team of qualitative and quantitative researchers specialising in transport research.

She was strategic research partner to Transport for London and over the course of her research career she has worked closely with customer insight, marketing and UX design teams across the private and public sector (Ordnance Survey, Welcome Trust, Honda R&D).

Her dream world is one where every product, service or policy is designed with the people it affects.  Her reality is a close-second, supporting clients each day to do this through high quality research and engagement.

What I enjoy:

Outside work Naomi is usually drawing, walking or talking to friends and family.  Sometimes all three.

Operations

Sarah Bunnell
Pronouns: she/her
Client Management & Operations
North America
“I love working with people every day at Open, making the world a better place one project at a time.”
Michael Nique
Inclusive Technology Development
Pronouns: he/him
United Kingdom
“At Open, the thing that excites me the most is the purpose of this work, how adopting an inclusion first perspective ...”
Location:

Georgia, United States

Background:

Sarah has been with the Open Inclusion team almost from the beginning, helping in client and team management. She improves our delivery quality and clients’ experience as they engage with us for inclusive research or design solutions. Sarah brings a wealth of experience in business communication and systems management.

With a global background and degrees in business and technology, she has successfully worked in the third sector, finance and banking technologies, digital user experience, project management, and start-ups. Sarah ensures our clients and their projects are well managed from start to finish at Open.

Having lived in Europe for two decades and recently moved from London, Sarah is now US based and facilitates Open’s growing global footprint.

What I enjoy:

She is an accomplished pianist, a travel enthusiast and a busy mother of three. In her spare time she loves to paint, ski, and play anything from Tchaikovsky.

Location:

London

Quote:

“At Open, the thing that excites me the most is the purpose of this work, how adopting an inclusion first perspective will create great design and a more accessible world for all.”

Background:

Michael Nique is a technology expert with 12+ years of experience in international development, specializing in the digital inclusion of persons with disabilities & digital accessibility with us at Open.

Prior to joining Open, Michael was Senior Director for the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office-funded GSMA Innovation Fund for Assistive Tech, working with the mobile industry and key stakeholders to address the digital inclusion gap of persons with disabilities, and identify mobile innovation opportunities for Assistive Technology.

Michael holds a Master of Science degree in Microelectronics from University Joseph Fourier, Grenoble (France).

What I enjoy:

Now based in London, Michael still loves the mountains, and regularly travels around the UK or heads back to France to climb, ski, or cycle with friends.

Jaine Wills
Finance Manager
Pronouns: she/her
United Kingdom
"This is such an incredibly exciting time to be working with Open. I'm thrilled to be part of it."
Bronte
Mental Health and Wellbeing Officer
Pronouns: she/dog
Europe
“I love working at Open as I get plenty of hours supporting the people I care about I get to meet with many diverse ..."
Location:

London

Quote:

This is such an incredibly exciting time to be working with Open. I’m thrilled to be part of it.

Background:
From a finance perspective, Jaine is responsible for keeping everything up to date and in good shape at Open Inclusion. She works with the Managing Director and Operations team to ensure that Open Inclusion is running smoothly as a business. With a strong and varied background in finance, Jaine is passionate about her business and customers. She has been a Business Adviser for the Young Enterprise Company Challenge and successfully coached her team representing Wales in the UK final in 2015.  She has written for various curriculums on finance and accounting and has marked external exams for the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT).

 

Jaine sees the bigger picture and the detail, a critical capability for business management. She also has a knack for finding the best and often simplest option for any issue. She is passionate about business and loves what she does, particularly due to the nature of Open’s business. Jaine supports a partner with a neurological disorder, so she has personal insight into the importance of inclusive environments, services, and products.

 

When she needs to keep track of everything financial, she loves learning new stuff. Just now, she is learning DIY as she is currently renovating her home. She makes jam, sloe gin, and vodka and has the most adorable chocolate miniature poodle, Dylan Thomas Wills.

 

Location:

Europe

Quote:

“I love working at Open as I get plenty of hours supporting the people I care about. I get to meet with many diverse individuals on Zoom, Meet or Teams and sometimes pop into meetings to say hello. I prefer in person meetings as treats and pats can be exchanged openly.”

Background:

Bronte has been part of Open Inclusion since its inception. She was an experienced hire having already been involved in a similar role in a previous successful start-up. She mainly supports Christine and Robert but is on hand for virtual meetings with any of the team as and when required.

What I enjoy:

Pats, sleeping in the office while work is being done (I enjoy the variety of voices), walks and treats.

Location:

London

Quote:

This is such an incredibly exciting time to be working with Open. I’m thrilled to be part of it.

Background:
From a finance perspective, Jaine is responsible for keeping everything up to date and in good shape at Open Inclusion. She works with the Managing Director and Operations team to ensure that Open Inclusion is running smoothly as a business. With a strong and varied background in finance, Jaine is passionate about her business and customers. She has been a Business Adviser for the Young Enterprise Company Challenge and successfully coached her team representing Wales in the UK final in 2015.  She has written for various curriculums on finance and accounting and has marked external exams for the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT).

 

Jaine sees the bigger picture and the detail, a critical capability for business management. She also has a knack for finding the best and often simplest option for any issue. She is passionate about business and loves what she does, particularly due to the nature of Open’s business. Jaine supports a partner with a neurological disorder, so she has personal insight into the importance of inclusive environments, services, and products.

 

When she needs to keep track of everything financial, she loves learning new stuff. Just now, she is learning DIY as she is currently renovating her home. She makes jam, sloe gin, and vodka and has the most adorable chocolate miniature poodle, Dylan Thomas Wills.

 

Research, Design and Innovation

Karen Cutts
Inclusive Research Manager
Pronouns: she/her
United Kingdom
“At Open, we can generate change - our research can feed into better solutions for all to engage with and enjoy.”
Dana Dzamic
Senior Inclusive Researcher
Pronouns: she/her
United Kingdom
“At Open, I am part of a wonderful team that creates opportunities for people with disabilities and ...”
Location:

London

Background:

Karen is an inclusive research consultant for Open Inclusion. She has almost 30 years experience in research and insights roles. She has an excellent track record of applied research across a range of qualitative and quantitative methodologies, which she incorporates into all of our inclusive research at Open.

Over the last several years Karen has been solely focused on disability inclusion. She has worked on research projects to deliver insights to business audiences on how they can further develop, and effectively expand their engagement with disability inclusion amongst their workforce and their customers or products or service users.

Her passion for research, her natural curiosity and her experience over the years has led to intuitive skills in reporting, and honing in on the key themes, emerging stories from data, and insights.

What I enjoy:

When not working Karen enjoys walks with her dog, artistic pursuits and planning her next travel adventures.

Location:

London

Quote:

“At Open, I am part of a wonderful team that creates opportunities for people with disabilities and always looks for new insightful ways to improve the experiences and the quality of life.”

Background:

Dana is an experienced researcher at Open with a deep expertise in Neurodiversity community. Dana’s passion is working on quantitative and qualitative projects to support individuals with disabilities at Open to improve their independence and quality of lif.

She has consulted in many areas as an autism expert, including communication for young children, challenging behaviour, social skills, living with support, sensory issues, as well as school and workplace inclusion. Through this work she collaborated closely with different experts such as speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, and psychiatrists.

Dana holds a Masters Degree in Autism from the Kent University.

What I enjoy:

When not working, Dana loves cooking for family and friends, walking, yoga and trying to finish one of many started books.

Millie Potts
Community Engagement and Communication Specialist
Pronouns: she/her
United Kingdom
“I am beyond excited to start my working career with such a wonderful and ..."
Tom Richer
Inclusive Researcher and Community Manager
Pronouns: he/him
United Kingdom
“At Open, what excites me the most is to work with the best brands of the 21st ...”
Location:

London

Quote:

“I am beyond excited to start my working career with such a wonderful and inclusive team. I feel proud of the work we are doing and inspired by the people I am working with.”

Background:

As the newest member of the team Millie is just beginning her journey at Open Inclusion after graduating with a degree in Media, Communications and Cultural Studies. Her role spreads across the business, supporting research projects and leading the engagement and communications with the Open Inclusion research panel community. With a background in media, she will also be helping to develop the design and execution of Open Inclusion’s social media platforms.

Her passion and interest in people, and skills in communication have driven her into this role where she strives to amplify the voices of the community to help generate authentic change.

What I enjoy:

Outside of work Millie loves reading, spending time with friends and family, travelling and the sunshine.

Location:

United Kingdom

Quote:

At Open, what excites me the most is to work with the best brands of the 21st Century to develop and share insights to benefit the disability and age-inclusive community.

Background:

Tom is a creative researcher at Open with a strong drive for community and inclusive research. Tom has been recognised for his research around neurodiversity and was awarded finalist for MRS Young Researcher of the Year 2023 and finalist for the MRS ED&I Changemaker Award 2023.

His professional experience to date is within marketing, research, advertising, health communications, and fashion. Within all of his experience in and outside of work, research plays a part in his life to discover, create, and share insights in creative ways.

Tom chose to focus his professional energies into disability and age-inclusive research as a result of his personal and professional experience. Through his initiative, The Bridge Between, he has developed a carer community and he brings in his personal experience as a carer of a disabled family member to Open Inclusion.

What I enjoy:

My idea of fun is skating with my friends on the weekends and playing gigs with my band. Being part of lots of communities brings a lot of fun to my life in and outside of work.

Community leadership

Juliette Burton
Mental Health/Illness
Pronouns: she/her
United Kingdom
“At Open, I am part of a collective and inclusive community. Mental Illness can be so isolating even with public ...”
Jonathan Marriott
Mental Health/Neurodiversity
Pronouns: he/him
North America
“At Open I get to be my authentic self and provide feedback in a supportive and non-judgmental environment.”
Location:

London

Quote:

At Open, I am part of a collective and inclusive community. Mental Illness can be so isolating even with public engagements and campaigning and advocacy. Being a part of a collective community all learning from each other and wanting to make the world a better place is meaning.

Background:

Juliette leads the mental health community at Open Inclusion in the United Kingdom.

She is also an ambassador for Rethink Mental Illness and runs training and consultancy on mental illness and disability.

She is best known as a comedian and actress, using her talent for writing and performing comedy to bring this stigmatised area of disability to people’s awareness and help us think about it differently while being entertained.

What I enjoy:

She has performed sold-out one-woman shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for over 5 years and has won many awards for her performances. Juliette has also written on mental illness, health and disability for The Independent, Huffington Post, BBC News, Cosmopolitan and Metro Online.

Location:

Toronto, Canada

Background:

Jonathan Leads the neurodiversity and mental health community at Open Inclusion in North America.

Jonathan is neurodiverse and an advocate for people with disabilities.  He is passionate about ensuring people can independently access and engage within and across the community as they need and wish to, by adopting a holistic approach toward meaningful inclusion.

Jonathan works as a Director for an Accessibility Advisory Service Social enterprise. He has a wealth of international experience in the accessibility of the built environment, accessible transportation, and creating accessible policies and guidelines for the workplace.

Jonathan has a Masters in Business Management and is a Professional Member of the International Association of Accessibility Professionals. He also serves as the Chair of the Advisory Committee on Accessible Transit for the Toronto Transit Commission.

What I enjoy:

I love to travel, and have been to 54 countries so far.  I enjoy keeping active, working out, going to yoga and also Spin class.

Anna Landre
Mobility & Dexterity
Pronouns: she/her
United Kingdom
“I've most enjoyed the rich variety of subjects related to disability that we engage with here at Open. Disability is ...”
Alesha Savannah
Mobility/Dexterity
Pronouns: she/her
North America
“At Open, I love the online community.”
Location:

London

Quote:

“I’ve most enjoyed the rich variety of subjects related to disability that we engage with here at Open. Disability is a cross-cutting issue that should be integrated into all sectors and fields.”

Background:

Anna leads the Mobility & Dexterity community at Open Inclusion in the UK.

She is a wheelchair-using activist & researcher whose work spans the disciplines of disability studies, humanitarianism, international development, urban planning, human-computer interaction, community activism, and social care policy. Within these, she focuses on the disability law “implementation gap”, in which progressive legal standards often fail to improve disabled people’s lives in practice. Her PhD at the Global Disability Innovation (GDI) Hub at UCL consists of a project to study and map disabled people’s organizations (DPOs) globally.

Anna also works the Global Research & Response Lead at The Partnership for Disaster Strategies, a US-based disability-led organization. There, she continues to support disabled people in crises across the world. Before this, Anna served the Washington, DC, government as a twice-elected Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner. She was recently ranked fourth on the Shaw Trust’s Disability Power 100, a list of the 100 most influential disabled people in the UK. Anna grew up in Howell, NJ, USA.

What I enjoy:

In her free time, you can find Anna visiting art museums and (weather permitting) reading in parks around London. She also enjoys making good trouble, and her advocacy efforts have been featured in outlets including The New York Times, Washington Post, Forbes, Vogue, and others.

Location:

Georgia, United States

Background:

Alesha leads the mobility and dexterity community at Open Inclusion in the North America.

Alesha, injured in an automobile accident leaving her a T 10-11 wheelchair user from a spinal cord injury, she believes in and paying it forward and helping others to live their best lives in her community and with us at Open.  Alesha notes that becoming disabled, not only saved her life, but changed her life to make a positive impact for people with disabilities in improving their quality of life.

She encourages people within her community to create a more inclusive society through collaborative partnerships.

What I enjoy:

Alesha loves to travel, try new things, try new adaptive sports, and empower people. In 2022, she was crowned Ms. Wheelchair Georgia and dived head first into the community and advocacy!

Lynn Cox
Vision Impairment
Pronouns: she/her
United Kingdom
“At Open, the thing that excites me most is helping the next generation of technology to ensure it can be ..."
David D'Arcangelo
Vision Impairments
Pronouns: he/him
North America
"At Open, the thing that excites me most is working with wonderful people who are committed to providing opportunities ...”
Location:

London

Quote:

“At Open, the thing that excites me most is helping with the next generation of technology and ensuring it can be as accessible to as many people as possible, so visually impaired people don’t get technologically left behind.  Having the chance to inform design principles from scratch is exciting.”

Background:

Lynn leads the vision impairment community at Open Inclusion in the United Kingdom.

She has firsthand experience of disability through her own visual impairment. She is also experienced in other impairment perspectives, issues, technical and personal solutions through her integration with the other panel leads.

Her passion is effective interaction and inclusion for disabled people through increased business and community awareness, skills, and confidence.

Lynn is an experienced Disability and Visual Equality Trainer. She has has been working for nearly two decades with commercial, public and third sector organisations. With a wonderfully combined creative and technical background, she has worked with major disability and arts organizations. She is also an established artist, creating sculptures and mixed-media works that have been exhibited in a range of galleries.

Lynn holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Fine Art as well as Mathematics and Computing.

What I enjoy:

She has served for some time as trustee and then Chair of Extant and Vice-Chair of The Audio Description Association and Director of Disability and Inclusion for MAMOMI Initiative (an organization to enhance the experiences and expand the possibilities available to the visually impaired, deaf-blind, and those at risk of exclusion).

Location:

Massachusetts, United States

Quote:

“At Open, the thing that excites me most is working with wonderful people who are committed to providing opportunities for people of all abilities in all aspects of life.”

Background:

David leads the sight loss community at Open Inclusion in North America.

Legally blind from a young age, David is a passionate leader and advocate for people with disabilities and under-served populations.  He has built successful and meaningful careers in both the public and private sectors.

David’s distinguished career includes serving as Commissioner of the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind (MCB,) Council Member of the National Council on Disability (NCD), Director of the Massachusetts Office on Disability (MOD,) a Director for the Board of the National Industries for the Blind (NIB) and being elected three times as a City Councilor At-Large.  David currently operates Arc Angel Communications LLC where he works with businesses on Disability Inclusion.

What I enjoy:

David enjoys identifying complex challenges and then creating solutions leading to simplified opportunities.

Joanne Kibbey
Fluctuating/Chronic Conditions
Pronouns: she/her
United Kingdom
“At Open, I get involved with interesting discussions and projects and have had the pleasure of meeting some great ...”
Shannon McLain
Fluctuating/Chronic Conditions
Pronouns: she/her
North America
“At Open, the thing that excites me most is their understanding of the need for empathy in research and design ...”
Location:

London

Quote:

“At Open I get involved with interesting discussions and projects and have had the pleasure of meeting some great people with a variety of lived experiences.”

Background:

Joanne leads the fluctuating and chronic conditions at Open inclusion in the United Kingdom.

She is a well-connected and active member of a number of disability community associations and an active research co-creator and advocate for inclusive research and solutions here at Open Inclusion.

She has lived experience of a fluctuating condition having lived with Relapsing-remitting Multiple Sclerosis for some time.  Joanne is also a research professional with decades working in market research roles such as at Kantar, both in the UK and in Asia.

She is a member of the UK Market Research Society.

What I enjoy:

When not working or volunteering Jo enjoys time with her friends & family, especially going to live events (outside of COVID times!)

Location:

Pennsylvania, United States

Quote:

“At Open, the thing that excites me most is their understanding of the need for empathy in research and design …”

Background:

Shannon leads the  fluctuating  and chronic conditions community at Open Inclusion in North America.

Shannon lives with Chronic Headaches, Fibromyalgia, POTS and Endometriosis.

Shannon is fascinated by the impact on well-being in all scales of design, and believes that the relationship between design and quality of everyday life is important to examine through the lens of empathy and collaborative processes.

She explores these ideas in her work as an Architectural Designer, in her collaborative research, and as a professor at Thomas Jefferson University.

 

What I enjoy:

In Shannon’s free time, she likes to work in her garden, restore her 1865 home, and make art

Samantha Fletcher
Neurodiversity
Pronouns: she/her
United Kingdom
“I love working at Open because everyone I work with is passionate about developing products and services so ...”
Celia Chartes-Aris
Fluctuating/Chronic Conditions
Pronouns: she/her
United Kingdom
“At Open the thing that excites me the most is collaboration and community, being part of a collective ...”
Location:

London

Quote:

“I love working at Open because everyone I work with is passionate about developing products and services so they are better for everyone.”

Background:

Samantha leads the neurodiversity community at Open Inclusion in the United Kingdom.  Samantha supports Open with research and the community by building people up. she helps to make research as inclusive and exciting as possible.  She offers advice for individuals with different access needs with dyslexia and dyspraxia as well as those on the autism spectrum and with other learning, and cognitive needs.

Samantha has dyslexia, dyspraxia and ADD herself after being diagnosed at 16 years old. She keeps our team and community leads up-to-date with relevant and interesting news, new policies in the disability community as well as bringing insights into new research, new assistive technology, and other adaptive tools.

Samantha currently works full-time for Equity as Head of Fellowship Services for the British Dyslexia Association. Samantha has a Master’s degree in disability studies.

What I enjoy:

When Samantha is not working, she normally is listening to Rod Stewart, (the love of her life) or watching F1 while knitting or sewing. In addition to these hobbies Samantha loves holidaying with her dyslexic partner, particularly to South East Asia.

Location:

United Kingdom

Quote:

“At Open the thing that excites me the most is collaboration and community, being part of a collective, intersectional representative voice for the under-represented in a safe and honest space.”

Background:

Celia Chartres-Aris is a multi-award winning Disabled Government special advisor, campaigner and lobbyist, researcher, policy and legal expert, founder and investor advocating for the improvement of Disability equity and accessibility inclusivity. As a SPAD (Government Special Adviser for Disability and health), Celia works around the world with governments in policy, research and strategy development, legislative design and performance, lobbying, unit management and implementing international Disability law.

Celia has received multiple awards recognising her work including being named on The Global Diversity Leaders list and named as the 3rd most influential Disabled person in the UK, changing law and policy. Celia was born with multiple disabilities as a result of a rare and terminal genetic condition; Loeys-Dietz Syndrome.

Celia lives everyday with multiple organ failure, she has never known her life without her Disability, and takes pride in her Disabled identity, working hard to break down systematic ableism, discrimination, and archaic stereotypes about the talents, potential, and ability of Disabled people.

What I enjoy:

Anything arty or with my animals

Sarah Tuberty
Mobility/Dexterity
Pronouns: She/her
North America
“At Open I get to witness the voices, opinions, and perspectives of the Disability Community to create ...”
Andrew Warren
Deaf/Hard of Hearing & ASL users
Pronouns: He/Him
North America
“At Open, I am thrilled to work alongside the incredible team, as we share a common goal of enhancing ..."
Location:

Philadelphia, PA, United States

Quote:

“At open I get to witness the voices, opinions, and perspectives of the Disability Community create real and impactful change for increased accessibility in our communities.”

Background:

Sarah’s experience of congenital upper limb difference combined with her educational training in occupational therapy made her a fierce collaborative and interdisciplinary advocate for reducing stigma on the disability community.

She co-founded and co-hosts the Disarming Disability Podcast and is the co-author of The Hand Book: An Informational Guide for Parents of Children with Congenital Hand Differences.

She loves this work so much, she is currently in a PhD program for Occupational Therapy at Texas Woman’s University.

What I enjoy:

Sarah loves to dance and sing wildly off-key at music festivals, she loves to wander around night markets in far off lands, and she loves caring for her tiny jungle of house plants.

 

Location:

New York, United States

Quote:

“At Open, I am thrilled to work alongside the incredible team as we share a common goal of enhancing accessibility and fostering inclusion for individuals with disabilities. It is important to me that everyone, regardless of ability, feels empowered and equal among their peers. At Open, my voice is heard just as clearly as anyone else’s.”

Background:

Andrew “Drew” leads the Deaf/Hard of Hearing & ASL users community at Open Inclusion in North America.

Andrew was born deaf and grew up using both oral and sign language. He is deeply involved in the ASL Deaf/Hard of Hearing communities in Austin, TX and Rochester, NY. In his commitment to bridging the gap between signing and hearing communities, Andrew organizes ASL happy hours at various breweries to nurture relationships and foster a sense of unity.

Andrew’s passions lie in advocating for accessibility and inclusion within the signing community. He also actively supports his partner’s academic research on language acquisition, particularly for deaf individuals. In the future, Andrew and his partner aspire to contribute to policy-making initiatives aimed at enhancing education for the deaf community.

What I enjoy:

Andrew enjoys traveling, exploring breweries, playing Hockey and Box Lacrosse, and spending quality time with his partner and their three dogs.

Collaborative partners and consultants

Charley Pothecary
Senior Service Design & User Research
Pronouns: she/her
United Kingdom
“Accessibility is an endurance sport! We need to pace ourselves to be here for long term, making change as ...”
Martin McConaghy
Built Environment Access Consultant
Pronouns: he/him
United Kingdom
“At Open I get to the to work with Opens panel and user community. They help bring the user experience to life and ...”
Location:

London

Quote:

“Accessibility is an endurance sport! We need to pace ourselves to be here for long term, making change as fast as we sustainably can.”

Background:

Charley is a freelance Senior Inclusive Service Designer and User Researcher currently working with Open. Charley has experience working across a wide variety of public, private, and third-sector organisations to help redesign and develop inclusive services and products to improve lives.

Charley enjoys building inclusive design capability within teams and supporting organisations to understand their user’s needs. In particular, Charley has often worked on projects across healthcare, housing, and policy spaces to create enjoyable inclusive experiences and services.

With a background in Graphic Design, Charley is able to visualise complex problems, ecosystems and service experiences to then best enable teams to identify improvements to create further inclusive and accessible services/products.

What I enjoy:

When Charley isn’t working, you’ll likely find her gardening or out and about on her bike. Often Charley has multiple arts and craft projects on the go – the latest is crocheting plant pots!

Location:

London

Quote:

“At Open I get to the to work with Opens panel and user community. They help bring the user experience to life and move the dialogue from theory into reality. It makes our work more actionable for clients.”

Background:

Martin has been making the built environment more inclusive since 2001 and consults with Open on inclusion standards with our team.

Martin has core expertise in the details of the British Standards, Building Regulations and the Equality Act 2010. Driving forward the inclusive environment agenda with estates managers, architects and other property professionals is where he is happiest.

He has provided expert advisory services for disputes under the Equality Act and contractual disputes regarding accessibility.

Martin is a member of the National Register of Access Consultants (NRAC) he is an active member of several organisations including the British Standards committee, the RICS (working group on inclusive environments and the Access Association).

Martin holds a Master’s Degree in Accessibility and Inclusive Design.

What I enjoy:

Outside of his professional work, he loves nothing more than a night under canvas, preferably at a music festival. That is if he can persuade his wife and children that it really is warm enough!

Graeme Whippy
Workplace Inclusion Specialist
Pronouns: he/him
United Kingdom
“At Open, I get to work with kindred spirits who want a world without barriers for disabled people, and have an ...”
Geoff Cook
Community Content Creator
Pronouns: He/Him
North America
“I love working at Open because it gives me a chance to learn from other people's experiences while providing me ..."
Location:

London

Quote:

“At Open, I get to work with kindred spirits who want a world without barriers for disabled people, and have an enormous breadth and depth of experience and skills to make this happen.”

Background:

Graeme is a recognised accessibility advocate and expert in workplace and digital accessibility consulting with us at Open. He has also been a contributing author of the British digital accessibility standard and the Business Disability Forum’s Accessibility Maturity Model and their Accessible Technology Charter.

Graeme started out as a developer, who by the early 2000’s was pioneering digital accessibility by adapting existing standards into non-technical “business-friendly” formats for practical use.

Using hands-on skills he demonstrates that accessibility, functionality and aesthetic design are not mutually incompatible. Later, armed with a better understanding of access needs and appropriate, efficient adjustments for people with disabilities, his focus broadened to inclusion in the workplace.

What I enjoy:

Outside work Graeme is a self-taught guitarist who first picked up a guitar at the age of 45. More recently, as if his wife hadn’t suffered enough, he decided to learn the piano as well. He has documented his journey via monthly videos uploaded to his YouTube channel that hopefully show that being middle-aged is no barrier to learning to play music.

Location:

North Carolina, United States

Quote:

“I love working at Open because it gives me a chance to learn from other people’s experiences while providing me a place to use my skills to help further conversations about living with a disability.”

Background:

I was born 31/2 months early in week 2.2 pounds.  I was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at age 3. Geoff was a star in collegiate athletics working in media relations for the University of Texas and Austin.  He continued to work in media relations for a major-league baseball network and most recently was the Marketing Director for a research firm in Washington DC.  He also freelances for Chelsea FC as an accessibility partner. Geoff considers himself a builder of brands

What I enjoy:

Geoff enjoys playing video games, reading about the Kings and Queens of Europe throughout history and is currently studying German.

Mike Stonelake
Illustrator
Pronouns: he/him
United Kingdom
"I love working with Open because they are a great team to collaborate with. Their knowledge of the sector is second to none and I love the way we can bounce ideas of each other and develop and concept together."
Breandan Ward
Disability Inclusion Training and Development
Pronouns: he/him
United Kingdom
"I love working at Open because we're not interested in telling our clients what they need to change. We help them to DO the change, and BECOME the change - building a more inclusive world one product, one service, one experience at a time."
Location:

United Kingdom

Quote:

“I love working with Open because they are a great team to collaborate with. Their knowledge of the sector is second to none and I love the way we can bounce ideas of each other and develop and concept together.”

Background:

ike Stonelake is Open’ Inclusion’s fabulous illustrator. He brings ideas to life powerfully visually, through bespoke art. These make our deliverables engaging and easier to convey rich emotional, attitudinal and conceptual information. Mike is an art director and graphic artist. After studying a degree in Fine Art he moved into the design and communications industry. He has worked with us on many disability-inclusive projects previously including for Spotify, Voi Technologies, Colgate-Palmolive, Miro, and our own website, community platform and communications. Mike has a great sense of the breadth of the disability community, having worked for many years representing disability-informed experiences visually. We work highly collaboratively with him, with the research team usually iterating throughout, from early sketches to final illustration, to ensure the final image accurately captures the concept or idea functionally and emotionally in line with the participants’ experience.

Location:

United Kingdom

Quote:

“I love working at Open because we’re not interested in telling our clients what they need to change. We help them to DO the change, and BECOME the change – building a more inclusive world one product, one service, one experience at a time.”

Background:

Breandan is a disability strategist, educator and leadership coach with a deeply informed and experienced academic and business background. When not working on projects with Open, Breandan works as an Adjunct Professor at New York University teaching disability-inclusive organisational strategy to graduate students. Previously he spent over 15 years in investment banking in London and New York rising to global leadership roles during a period of progressive sight loss due to an inherited retinal disease. He is a recognised global leader within the disability community and works with organisations like Dialogue in the Dark actively addressing disability-related stigma and progressing social awareness and attitudes. He is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and holds an Exec. Masters in Public Administration from NYU and an undergraduate degree in Commerce and French from UC Dublin. Breandan is an avid runner and loves music, travel and languages.

Daniel Baldwin
Videographer
Pronouns: He/Him
United Kingdom
Daniel is a filmmaker who works as a consultant for a small group of award-winning agencies.
Aga Bialek
Inclusive Research Associate
Pronouns: she/her
United Kingdom
“I love working at Open because we have a wonderful and inclusive team. It is a great feeling knowing that the work ...”
Location:

United Kingdom

Quote:

“I love working with Open because their work matters and they are thought leaders. It is as simple as that.”

Background:

Daniel is a filmmaker who works as a consultant for a small group of award-winning agencies. Uniquely placed because of prior experience as a qualitative researcher, he is experienced and highly skilled at maximising engagement and output from user generated film approaches as well as observing, filming and documenting the lived experience of individuals and community groups in the field. All of this geared toward bringing to life research insight by merging documentary and ethnographic film techniques with more traditional qualitative methods. He has a specific interest in under-represented audiences and social impact initiatives. Something that he explores through commercial research projects as well as through his collective We Dream Films, where he has won multiple awards for short documentary and fiction films made with marginalised communities on issues including age discrimination, the climate crisis, disability, loneliness, problem debt, child labour, and refugee experiences. His work is carefully observed with a softly emotional human touch and rooted in a desire to celebrate life and bring people closer together.

Location:

London

Quote:

“I love working at Open because we have a wonderful and inclusive team.  It is a great feeling knowing that the work we do makes a difference to people.”

Background:

Aga is a junior user researcher and UX designer. Aga supports Open’s research design and delivery on all of our inclusive research.  She works across the business helping the research team with quantitative and qualitative research planning, and analysis.

She is curious and passionate about how people differ in terms of access needs, cultures, preferences and behaviours.

Previously, she worked with the Polish University Foundation for Autism, assisting in the development and assessment of group activities.  This helped her to develop two very important traits: to be observant and adaptable.

Aga has a background in psychology, customer service, and operations.

What I enjoy:

Outside of work, Aga loves to travel. At home she enjoys cooking plant-based meals, practicing yoga and listening to podcasts.

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