I-C-A-N to the A-N-Z

Carla

On the 2nd of December ANZ held a conference hosted by Channel Nine news reporter Peter Hitchener, focusing on what they call the Abilities Network, whereby ANZ celebrate the abilities of those with various disabilities.

Three members of the I CAN Network attended. Paul, Business analyst and Network Leader, Ben Carbonaro, Speaker and Mentor, and myself.

The conference started with some visual engagement, featuring a promotional video for the Paralympics, and then another video containing a series of interviewees who work at ANZ, and work specifically on effective ways to make employment accessible for the differently abled.

The CEO Shayne Elliot also spoke, and highlighted an important aspect of their new movement; “embracing a workplace that encourages difference”.

There was a panel, which featured some individuals who face certain personal challenges themselves.

The two differently abled individuals were Paul Crake, who has Paraplegia and works to support those with physical disabilities, and Greg Alchin, a visually impaired Apple Accessibility Ambassador and Inclusive Design Consultant. The panel was very engaging, and proposed further change with the movement in order to include those who have particular life challenges across a wider range.

ANZ is standing strongly for the idea that it is vitally important that businesses take on a new and refreshing “access all areas” mind frame, so that everyone can have the opportunity to find equal employment, and offer the unique skills they may possess. Paul Crake believes that there needs to be an “attitudinal change towards disabilities” where the focus can be more on what people can do, rather than what they can’t do.

The event was very promising for the future. A luncheon took place afterwards where we were invited to gather with professionals of ANZ and the winners of the Star Award, to compliment the achievements and adaptive attitudes of ANZ.

Bright prospects lie ahead for those of difference, in the future.

By Carla Maree

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