Panelists

Conference panelists include -

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Angela Desmarais

Research and Development Advisor, Disabled Persons Assembly (DPA) NZ

Angela Desmarais is a disabled researcher and policy advisor with a background in Linguistics working for New Zealand’s only pan-impairment Disabled People’s Organisation. Angela's work currently focuses on equity in employment, including the continued development of DPA’s disabled-led Mahi Tika – Equity in Employment programme.


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Anne Hawker ONZM

Principal Disability Adviser - Ministry of Social Development

Anne Hawker has worked in the disability for 40 years at a regional, national and international level. She is the Principal Disability Adviser at the Ministry of Social Development for the last 15 years.


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Ben Lucas

Lead Advisor - Disability, ACC New Zealand

Ben brings a wealth of experience to his role as Lead Advisor - Disability at ACC New Zealand. We look forward to hearing about Ben's journey with creating the Ability@ACC employee network.


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Dr Chandra Harrison

Managing Director, Access Advisors

Chandra’s first paying job in digital accessibility was 20 years ago and she has been working and in research, design and accessibility ever since. Chandra returned home to NZ in late 2014 after getting her PhD and 11 years travelling the world helping people understand and implement user experience and accessibility.


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Chanelle Moriah

NZ Author and Illustrator

Chanelle is an autistic author and illustrator. Their book 'I Am Autistic' published in March 2022 is an essential guide to understanding autism - for autistic people and their families, friends and workmates.

Chanelle is also an Autistic Advisor at Autism New Zealand.


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Enya van Dulm

Lead of KPMG's New Zealands' Accessibility Network

Since the beginning of her role with the KPMG's Accessibility network, Enya has guided activities at a national level, and engaged with KPMG's Global network of member firms to explore further opportunities to continue the organisations accessibility journey.

Enya is particularly passionate on the topic of hidden disabilities and intersectionality.


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Grant Cleland

Creative Solutions (Disability Consultancy) / Past CE Of Workbridge

Grant Cleland has over 30 years’ experience supporting disabled people and their whānau. He has held a range of management and other roles with services in tertiary education, employment, social work, health, contracting and auditing, at national and local levels. 

Born with a physical impairment and using a wheelchair for mobility from childhood, Grant brings both lived and professional experience.


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Jack Keeys

Founder of KPMG's Accessibility Network

Jack started KPMG's Accessibility Network (KAN) in 2020 just three months into the job.

In his 'spare time', Jack organises and completes charity challenges and recently received the New Zealand Community Impact Award.


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Jake Ryan

Member of the Halberg Youth Council

Jake Ryan lives in Taranaki with his whanau. He is a member of the Halberg youth council and is currently in mentoring role.


Kelvin Xu, an asian man wearing glasses smiles at the camera

Kelvin Xu - Panelist

Co-chair of Westpac NZ's Accessibility EAG

Kelvin is co-chair of Westpac NZ's Accessibility EAG. He is also a board member of Polyemp, an employment support and advisory to support young people with learning disabilities toward sustainable employment.


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Lara Draper - Panelist

Senior Manager for Deaf Adults and Seniors at Deaf Aotearoa

I am Lara Draper, I am Deaf and I use New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL). I am passionate about Deaf issues and advocating for Deaf people’s rights. I am the General Manager for Adult and Senior Services at Deaf Aotearoa (not for profit national organisation, DPO) and based in Christchurch. I manage Hauora and Employment services supporting the Deaf community including Deaf seniors and also lead on Adult Community Education (ACE).


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Sarah Mitchell - Panelist

Head of Employment and Youth Transition at Blind and Low Vision NZ

Sarah is a seasoned professional with more than 25 years experience in employee/employer advocacy, recruitment, diversity, inclusion, professional development, facilitation, mentoring and career development pathways. She believes every individual can reach their potential, by working from a strengths-based model, removing the barriers and by society working collaboratively.


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Sian Winmill - Panelist

Freelance Artist

Sian Winmill is a young artist from Waikato. Freelancing primarily as a Digital Illustrator and Character Designer, she is also enjoys working as a Sculptor and Special Effects Make-up Artist.


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Skye A. Rapson - Panelist

Founder, ADHD Coach, and Researcher, at Unconventional Organisation

Skye is an academic with over seven years of experience working in adult education. She has studied in various fields, including Psychology, Sociology, and Public Health, and is now a Doctoral Candidate in Population Health.


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Stew Sexton - Panelist

Owner, AbilityDis Consulting

Stew Sexton, the owner of AbilityDis Consulting, has a lifetime of experience in the disability sector which gives him first-hand knowledge of the real-world challenges that make companies inaccessible.