Managing Director, Salon
What makes a good leader?
A good leader would be someone who is able to articulate a vision and how it could be achieved. S/he would be strong, focused and inspirational - this person would have to be true to him/herself so to identify their strengths and how to capitalise on them for the good of others. Crucially, s/he would also have a heightened awareness of his/her fallibility so to safeguard credibility.
Is leadership different for disabled people?
Someone once said that I project my deaf identity, which is why people react more strongly towards me than they would ordinarily. But I’ve had to work for this identity because I know that it empowers me and enables me to address issues positively and with clarity of vision. Only hard-won experience, after all, can help you formulate your message as a prospective leader. So if people react, good! You know where you stand and where to go from there.
Do you think there are barriers to leadership for disabled people that non-disabled people don’t face?
I am not sure if barriers to leadership really exist when history proves that leaders tend to be driven by some form of personal struggle. Race, gender, poverty, disability, religion, xenophobia, sexual preference... whatever the issue, it's almost certain that a leader emerged because of it. I fervently believe that, if you have an issue that you want to address, and you have an idea of how to do it - and are not afraid to try - then you already have potential to be a leader, and no-one can stand in your way.