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Tube strike no barrier for disabled leaders

Abdi Gas & Simon Woolley

While London ground to a halt on Tuesday 7th September 2010, aspiring disabled leaders from all over London gathered together in Islington for a City Bridge funded leadership event, hosted by RADAR. People used to overcoming obstacles in every day life planned alternative routes by bus, train, car and bicycle to get to the event.

Abdi Gas, a graduate of a previous RADAR leadership programme, led the day with its focus on Young BME people with Ill-health, injury or disability. Vidar Hjardeng, head of diversity for ITV News and RADAR trustee spoke of his own leadership journey and what could be expected from the event. Then a packed room listened in awe to the inspirational words of Operation Black Vote leader Simon Woolley, who set the tone for the day, instilling in them that there was nothing they couldn’t achieve. To a then buzzing room Shaama Saggar-Malik spoke about the coaching expectations for the programme, a key component of the event.

Finally Mahtab Khan did a presentation on CV writing, imparting lots of useful advice and tips for a show stopping CV.

The rest of the day was set aside for coaching and market place stalls from Operation Black Vote, Shaw Trust, Shape and RACE Equality in Mental Health. It was a vibrant atmosphere, with plenty of networking amongst peers.

The feedback from the coaching, both by the coaches and aspiring disabled leaders, was extremely positive.

Andy Hilton, one of the coaches said:

“I was impressed by the high calibre of the leadership candidates and their enthusiasm”.

Simon Woolley summed up the feelings of all involved, saying;

“What a great event! A leadership event of this nature clearly demonstrates the fortitude and spirit to succeed against the odds. I have no doubt the passion and skills that I witnessed within delegates will go on to hold positions of power both publicly and privately. Their success will be a success for everyone.”

David Stocks, Head of Leadership and Empowerment at RADAR said;

“The high turnout on a day of tube strikes shows the dedication and commitment shown by the group here today. I am expecting to hear some real success stories as a result of this day.

The hard work by Carina Schmoldt and Abdi Gas in putting this day together has really paid off.”

The day will be followed by further telephone or internet coaching sessions. For future leaders, watch this space!

By Abdi Gas

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