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Sodexo puts disability in the spotlight

Global services firm, Sodexo, has partnered with Business Disability Forum and the Global Business and Disability Network to host its first disability themed conference, Open Your Mind: Driving Disability Inclusion.

On 13 February, the conference brought together experts from industry and the NGO community and was organised against a backdrop of Sodexo’s attainment of Leader status in the UK Government’s Disability Confident scheme and its participation in the Global Business and Disability Network and associated charter, part of the International Labour Organisation.

The conference was led by Meg Horsburgh, Sodexo UK & Ireland head of Diversity & Inclusion and global disability leader. The events keynote speaker was Kate Nash, OBE, creator and CEO of PurpleSpace, a networking and professional development hub for disabled employees.

Kate Nash OBE, creator and CEO Of PurpleSpace said: “It is important for large organisations to create change by developing a systematic approach, rather than seeing disability inclusion as a ‘project’ or ‘initiative’. Those that get it right have a clear route-map and an end in sight.”

“Learning directly from your own disabled people is the most authentic way of finding out where the challenges are, so you can develop the right priorities for your business. Sodexo focuses on improving quality of life and touches so many people’s lives. It should be applauded for organising such an important conference in this space.”

Meg Horsburgh, Sodexo UK & Ireland head of Diversity & Inclusion added: “At Sodexo, we want to learn from others, share our experiences and have honest conversations about how to provide more inclusive environments for people with disabilities. Events like this are so valuable – we’re planning to do more this year in other global locations.”

The panel discussion was facilitated by Dr Rohini Anand, Corporate Responsibility senior vice president and global chief diversity officer at Sodexo. Other event speakers were Liz Burton – Global Head, Inclusion and Diversity, GSK, Hector Minto – Accessibility Evangelist, Microsoft, Tim Harte – EVP HR Talent and Development, Shell, Madhuri Pai – Global Diversity and Inclusion Director, Unilever, Diane Lightfoot – CEO, Business Disability Forum, and Stefan Tromel – Senior Disability Specialist, International Labour Organization.

In 2015 Sodexo committed to providing 100 per cent of its workforce access to programmes for people with disabilities by 2025.

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