Disability and Deaf Arts Advisor
What makes a good leader?
For me a good leader is visionary, pioneering within their thinking or their work and seemingly, fearless. They lead by example, guide people, are trustworthy and the best leaders to me, possess humility. For this reason I still hold people like Ghandi & Martin Luther in the highest esteem.
Is leadership different for disabled people?
As a disabled person, one is unsure of one’s value; our confidence is undermined socially and ‘action’ and work is often limited.
Attitudinal issues experienced through life undermine our sense and appreciation of self. It takes much conscious work and ‘the right conditions’ for us to breakthrough in spite of all this.
When I was a child with my chest worn hearing aid and my collection of health issues and with eczema all over my face and limbs, I was misheard, misunderstood, spoke 'incorrectly' and 'got it wrong' and because of this, fear was my ruler and in a way it still is.
Though I can be stubborn, I’m an optimist and with both my parents being in the arts, it seemed entirely natural for me to find refuge there. I was fortunate.
Do disabled people experience barriers to leadership that non disabled people don't experience?
Non disabled people don’t have a layer of limitations put on them; they take for granted things that we’ve had to struggle hard for. I am sure they have their own personal uncertainties, but they don’t have this particular layer of ignorant attitude to deal with. I think they start out less fearful.
To me its clear we take it all personally with respect to physical & attitudinal barriers and it takes time to realise that we don’t need to do this, rather we need to undo the limitations some of us have grown to accept as our world.