2024 Disability Inclusive Pathways Conference

Tuesday 6th - Wednesday 7th August

Novotel Rotorua Lakeside, Rotorua, New Zealand

The fourth New Zealand Disability Employers’ Network (NZDEN) opens in a new tab ‘Disability Inclusive Pathways’ Conference, 6th-7th August, presents an exceptional opportunity to gain insights from prominent disability in business experts, establish connections with other organisations dedicated to advancing disabled and neurodivergent career paths and outcomes, and fostering a truly disability confident and inclusive Aotearoa.

This year's conference theme, "Orchestrating a disability inclusive workplace culture"is about coordinating the elements of workplace cultures to facilitate the inclusion of disability and neurodiversity. Together we will explore the purpose of disability and neurodiversity inclusion, the opportunities that disability inclusion provides, and the success that it brings to the organisation, the disabled community, and the individual. 

The conference programme will feature a pre-conference masterclass(opens in a new tab) with our international guest Susan Scott-Parker OBE(opens in a new tab), on Monday August 5th, followed by the main conference(opens in a new tab) sessions on Tuesday August 6th, and Wednesday August 7th. A conference dinner will be held on the evening of Tuesday 6th August.

The conference forecasts hosting 150 - 180 delegates, forming a dynamic network of influential figures including business leaders,  diversity and human resources professionals, industry experts, and influential voices from a wide array of sectors, spanning public, private, and for-purpose domains.

Featuring workshops and presentations led by esteemed national and international experts, practitioners, and people with lived experience, attendees will uncover ways to create an inclusive culture that can support and empower disabled and neurodiverse New Zealanders in their employment.

A person (Paula Tesoriero) stands on stage presenting to an audience. Behind her are purple seats and a video screen that reads: Themes & Progress in Disability, Paula Tesoriero MNZM.
Paula Tesoriero MNZM from Whaikaha - Ministry of Disabled People, presenting to an engaged audience of attendees on 'Themes and Progress in Disability'
People in the room at the Disability Inclusive Pathways Conference, seated at round white tables, with their attention directed toward the stage.
Attendees with their attention directed toward the stage at the Disability Inclusive Pathways Conference 2023.

Conference sponsors

Major sponsors

Technical sponsor

Pre-conference masterclass
Persuading Disbelievers: How to build allies in your senior leaders

Monday 5th August

Novotel Rotorua Lakeside, Rotorua, New Zealand

Join us for an engaging masterclass led by our international guest Susan Scott-Parker, OBE HonD

In this transformative session, Susan will share invaluable insights on creating meaningful connections with senior leaders and effectively establishing change models within your organisation.

Don't miss this opportunity to learn from one of the foremost experts in the field and take your efforts in disability inclusion to the next level.

A woman (Susan Scott-Parker) with short strawberry-blonde wavy hair and wearing a magenta blouse, sits on a bench in front of a large tree. She smiles warmly at the camera.

Speakers, Panellists and Convenors line-up

Our line-up of presenters for 2024 showcases a diverse blend of experts from both New Zealand and abroad, disabled and neurodiverse people, and those who have excelled at implementing best practices. Including -

  • Susan Scott-Parker OBE, Founder at Business Disability International
  • Jenny Lay-Flurrie, Vice President, Chief Accessibility Officer at Microsoft
  • Caroline Casey, Co-founder The Valuable 500
  • Prudence Walker, Disability Rights Commissioner
  • Paula Tesoriero MNZM, Chief Executive at Whaikaha Ministry of Disabled People

Stay tuned for more announcements over the coming weeks!

Introducing our conference MC -
'that blind woman' Julie Woods

Known as 'that blind woman', Julie Woods is a professional speaker, author, advocate and coach.

A woman with short blonde hair (Julie), wears a magenta pink scarf, and a black tshirt with a logo in magenta across the front that reads 'that blind woman' with a bright pink flower to the left. Julie smiles warmly at the camera.

Tickets and registration

Tickets are now available through the Humanitix booking system.

What people have said about past Disability Inclusive Pathways conferences

  • "An incredible experience to be surrounded by so many people willing to work together to create a more accessible Aotearoa!"
  • "Thanks to you and the team, I for one, (and am sure many others) now have a tank filled to over-flowing with hope, new ideas and "why not" actions to do!"
  • "Congratulations on a very successful event. Amazing speakers and like-minded individuals who truly are ‘Collectively Stronger'."
  • "It was my first time attending and I learnt so much and met so many exceptional people. I gained a lot from each and every person that shared. I walk away with actions to contribute to an inclusive world for those with disabilities. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!"
  • "Terrific conference - thank you so much New Zealand Disability Employers' Network. Awesome atmosphere of inclusion and possibility."
  • "Unequivocally the most accessible conference I’ve attended. Hats off to you and the team."
  • "First time attendee... wow... I cannot thank you enough for all of your hard work and effort to bring together an amazing conference with relevant content, awesome panels, thought-provoking discussions and superb humans."
  • "This morning I have met with my General Manager and given her advise on immediate actions we should be taking to make progress in our recruitment spaces."
  • "So many people in one space, all with the same passions and goals... Being allowed the time to connect, talk, be inspired, gain ideas and to gain hope and to know that they are not lone soldiers (as at times it feels)."
  •  "Fantastic conference! So well organised. I especially loved the enthusiasm, energy, and of course, the down-to-earth lived experiences that came from the heart!"
  • "Was such a great conference! Thank you for all the effort put in to make it happen. Action plans in progress!"

Photo highlights from our 2023 conference

A person (Paula Tesoriero) stands on stage presenting to an audience. Behind her are purple seats and a video screen that reads: Themes & Progress in Disability, Paula Tesoriero MNZM.
Paula Tesoriero MNZM from Whaikaha - Ministry of Disabled People, presenting to an engaged audience of attendees on 'Themes and Progress in Disability'
A woman (Natasha Colette) standing on stage presenting to the audience at the Disability Inclusive Pathways Conference. She has blonde hair, and wears glasses. She is signing in NZ Sign Language. Two NZ Sign Language interpreters sit in the front row of the audience, one with a microphone.
Natasha Colette (Deaf Aotearoa) takes the stage, signing in NZ Sign Language at the Disability Inclusive Pathways Conference. The front-row interpreters amplify inclusivity, bridging the gap with their dedication.
Two people seated on stage, during a panel discussion. They are Joanie Sims and Kirsten Paterson.
Insights on Senior Leadership: Joanie Sims and Kirsten Paterson engage in a thought-provoking panel discussion. Their expertise shines as they unravel strategies for fostering Senior Leadership support for Disability Inclusion in organisations.
Two woman, Shannon and Amy sitting side-by-side on chairs, watching toward the stage. Shannon wears a microphone headset and is interpreting a presentation being given in NZ Sign Language.
Shannon McKenzie and Amy Nash from Wordsworth Interpreting during a presentation at the Disability Inclusive Pathways Conference 2023.
A Māori man (Jonathan Tautari) standing at a lectern on stage, presenting at the Disability Inclusive Pathways Conference. Behind him are two large video screens with a presentation slide that reads: Raranga. The traditional art of weaving, a Metaphor for partnership and transformation.
Jonathan Tautari takes the stage at the Disability Inclusive Pathways Conference, delving into the world of Raranga – the traditional art of weaving, a metaphor for partnership.
A man (Johnathan Darby) in a wheelchair on stage, speaking to an engaged audience.
Johnathan Darby on stage, offers his valuable personal perspectives on his employment journey as a disabled person.
Four people seated on stage at the Disability Inclusive Pathways Conference. Left to right they are, Julie Woods who is wearing a bright pink wig, Loren Savage and Geoff Trappett (holding a microphone) and Angela Desmarais. Geoff is speaking into the microphone, and Loren is laughing warmly in response.
Capturing the vibrant spirit of the people at the Disability Inclusive Pathways Conference, Disabled Peoples Panel. Left to right: Julie Woods, Loren Savage, Geoff Trappett, Angela Desmarais.
Young people seated on stage. They are the Young Neurodiversity Champions Panel at the Disability Inclusive Pathways Conference. One person with long dark hair (Jas McIntosh) speaking into a hand-held microphone.
Empowering Voices: The Young Neurodiversity Champions Panel takes centre stage at the 2023 Disability Inclusive Pathways Conference, sharing their raw and honest perspectives on transitioning into the workforce as neurodiverse university graduates.
In the background is a wall with many brightly coloured pieces of paper with post-it-notes attached to them. In the foreground, attendees of the Disability Inclusive Pathways Conference with their attention toward the front of the room.
A myriad of post-it-notes line the walls of the Disability Inclusive Pathways Conference room. The notes containing outcomes from an interactive workshop session.