In 2016, I was diagnosed with bowel cancer and hydrocephalus (fluid on the brain). I had treatments for both of these conditions; however, some aspects of the brain surgery did not go to plan and I have been left with some deficits. My deficits are mainly fatigue and balance issues but, with my coping strategies in place, I can lead a meaningful professional and personal life.
I have always been keen to improve disability inclusion. I started Eagles Wings Consultancy to bridge gaps and help foster better communication between companies and organisations with those who have neurological conditions, invisible conditions, or disabilities.
My research has shown that, although companies often have policies and procedures in place, improvements could usually be made. For example, in implementing adaptations. Not all adaptations need to be physical changes, but some could be of a more supportive nature.
What do you see as the main challenges facing your business and its continued operation or growth?
The main challenge our business, and its ongoing expansion, faces is awareness. There is still work to be around raising disability awareness and fostering a more inclusive workforce.
Some employers and organisations fail to recognise the advantages that they and their company would gain from disability awareness coaching and training. Embracing diversity is so much more than merely having a disability policy. However, we do not let this deter from what we are hoping to see in the future, and will continue to work hard to face these changes.
What can we do to encourage more disabled entrepreneurs to start businesses – what is holding them back and what can we all do to help change that?
More disabled entrepreneurs could be encouraged by:
- Raising awareness and challenging stereotypes
- More mentorship and networking opportunities
- Collaborations with disability organisations
Individuals with disabilities sometimes encounter obstacles that discourage them from venturing into entrepreneurship. By offering guidance, assistance, and advice, we can empower a greater number of people to embrace this opportunity.
What do you consider your greatest achievement or the proudest moment in your life so far?
When I was working on a Neurosurgical HDU (High Dependency Unit), I worked alongside the ward matron. I identified that the Health Care Assistants (HCAs) were being underused in their role. Together, we developed a training programme to enhance the role of the HCAs. It was found that using the new training programme made the HCAs more effective and better equipped to support the needs of the HDU.
For many reasons, both professionally and personally, I feel this is both one of my greatest achievements and my proudest moments.
If there was one thing you could change about peoples’ perception of disability, what would it be and why?
If I could change perceptions around disability, it would be to help others understand that being disabled does not mean being unable.
Who or what inspires you?
I am inspired when I see people with a disability striving to be the best version of themselves and overcoming potential barriers in life.