When talking about social and economic inclusion of people with disabilities at the Inclusion Ready Summit, we have a group of experienced Panel Chairs and Representatives who will lead our sessions and provide reflections.

The Inclusion Ready Summit includes a jam-packed program with great speakers for presentations, conversations and panel sessions. Let us introduce you to the group of people with lived experience who will be leading these sessions and providing the reflections on the day.

In-conversation – Building an Inclusive Future: A real-life case study will be hosted by Colleen Papadopoulos

Colleen is a practicing Chartered (Corporate) Secretary and Independent Director with board/committee experience in a number of capacities, including Chair, Deputy Chair, Executive Director and Independent/Non-executive Director.  She holds a statutory appointment with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) Community Reference Group, and serves as Community Representative to the Prostheses Clinical Advisory Group (Orthopaedic Knees) assessing applications to list medical devises under the Private Health Insurance Act 2007 (Cth).

She is a mediator and facilitator, with experience teaching independent living skills and in assisting people with disability and disadvantage. Colleen serves as Company Secretary to Queenslanders with Disability Network.  Her governance appointments are informed by over 25 years’ experience in governance and public administration, largely devoted to understanding and addressing complex social and organisational issues in the health and community services sector (both US and Australia).

Panel – Leadership and inclusion: what can we do to lead the charge? will be co-chaired by David Conway and Cody Skinner

David is an accomplished artist, disability advocate, educator and speaker. He believes that all people regardless of backgrounds or skills have an integral part to play in the wider community. In Mackay, he holds key positions including on the Committee of Mackay Advocacy, host for Changing Lives, Changing Communities forum and as the Chair of Sporting Wheelies. He is a presenter with Spinal Life Australia’s award-winning SEAT spinal injury prevention and disability awareness in-school education program, and the internationally recognised Prevent Alcohol and Risk. He delivered a TEDx presentation in Mackay called Choosing to Evolve, speaking about his accident and his life post this event. David pursued art as a profession and has gone on to display his art in business and exhibitions across the Mackay region. He has authored a book with his art and original motivational quotes called Early Morning Inspiration.

Cody is a disability advocate who is passionate about improving the quality of life for everyone in the community. Through his own experiences, he finds positive and supportive ways to connect the deaf, Aboriginal, LGBTIQ and wider communities. He delivers tailored programs and sessions around deaf culture and learning Auslan. Cody can also be found creating connections in the digital world through Facebook with his Empowering Disability into Ability page and the Brisbane Moreton Bay Auslan Deaf Awareness group. He is a dedicated peer mentor with House with No Steps, where he recently received an award for his service. Cody also speaks to government and business about social and economic inclusion, as well as at conferences around Australia.

Panel – Inclusion makes good business and it’s happening every day will be chaired by Nigel Webb

Nigel has more than 20 years’ experience as a social justice advocate and professional. He is a trusted voice, advisor and leader across the community services industry, business and government. His extensive knowledge and experience guides state and national advisory and representatives’ groups, boards and community organisations. He provides strategic advice and direction on social and economic inclusion of people with disabilities, and a range of issues of strategic importance to the disability and carer sectors around NDIS and reforms to employment.

He is currently Co-Chair of the National Disability & Carers Advisory Council for the Department of Social Services and Chairperson of the Queenslanders with Disability Network, as well as a Consumer Technical Expert with several certification bodies. On a part-time basis, he is a Client Liaison and Support Officer with Choice, Passion, Life.

We also have our Summit Representatives who will provide reflections during the day and in the final session. Let us introduce you to this amazing team:

Peter Tully

Peter runs a successful IT business, experience he brings to the advocacy and community development work he does with his wife Linda. The busy couple have spent more than ten years building awareness about disabilities and inclusion across the West Moreton. Their aim is to engage with community, business and other organisations to create an inclusive West Moreton area that people with disability want to come to live, work, rest or play. In 2014, they were nominated for Ipswich Citizens of the Year.

Peter is a facilitator and housing champion with QDN, and through Ipswich City Council supports and chairs the monthly Ipswich Disability Interagency meeting. He is the Queensland Disability Development Officer for Able Australia, supporting people with the disabilities as the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is rolled out. He brings his leadership and a wealth of knowledge and experience to a number of committees, advisory, interagency and representative groups.

Peter and Linda supported the launch of the Blair Disability Links booklet in 2010, which contains a comprehensive list of local service providers that are updated annually. Always with their sights fixed on creating connections with communities, Peter and Linda took their community engagement to the next level by launching the Fresh Futures Market in 2013. This annual event is part of celebrations in Ipswich, Toowoomba, Brisbane and has recently expanded to the Gold Coast.

Stephanie Dower

Stephanie Dower (dowerproductions.com) is a screen producer, writer, and editor with a vision for diversity and inclusion. To date, she has worked on a range of projects including the comedic web series Gay and Loathing in Bris Vegas, My NDIS Journey for Plan Partners, and a TV commercial for the Gold Coast Film Festival 2018.  Recently, Steph has also begun working with Queenslanders with Disability Network as part of their Peer to Peer Advocacy Project where she is able to use and share her own first-hand experience of disability to help others achieve what they want in their own lives. Outside of work, Steph loves to explore new places and is constantly giving in to her wanderlust, believing that everyone should be empowered to experience as much of this world as they can. She hopes to inspire people with disabilities to travel more through the development of a documentary travel series, Carry On (www.carryondoco.com).

Sharon Boyce

Sharon Boyce is an educator, author and disability advocate. Currently, Sharon is the chair of the Queensland Disability Advisory Council and the South West Regional Disability Advisory Council. She is also a Director of Queensland Disability Network and a member of the Health Consumers Queensland Collaborative. Sharon is a part-time education academic at University of Southern Queensland (USQ) and also a consultant in disability awareness, working across Queensland.  She founded Discovering Disability and Diversity.

Sharon has also written books and resources. She designed an educational resource kit called Another Day in the life of Sharon Boyce.  Her children’s book, called Discovery at Paradise Island, deals with the issues of social justice, disability and how children react to it. This book has been chosen as part of the NSW School Syllabus.

Donna Best

Donna Best has been an active leader in Queensland’s self-advocacy movement for the last four decade, championing the rights of people with intellectual and dual disability, and supporting others to have a voice, a say and be listened to. She has had a leading role in establishing and maintaining Queenslanders with Disability Network (QDN) Hot Topics group as a welcoming meeting place, peer support and learning exchange for people with intellectual and dual disability. Donna has also held governance roles over the past decades with Queensland Advocacy Incorporated (QAI) and contributed to the formation of organisations and groups such as Speaking Up For You (SUFY).