Embedding inclusion and accessibility into your organisation is easier than you think

The presentation will feature Australian Network on Disability CEO Corene Strauss, and Debbie Heron, Regional Manager for QLD/NT at Ability First Australia

Corene and Debbie will discuss the main barriers to implementing employment initiatives for people with disability and how to best overcome these impediments. The discussion will present the viewpoints and experiences of Australian Network on Disability which is the peak body for disability employment in Australia and Debbie Herron who lives with disability and is a senior manager at Ability First Australia.

A series of surveys into disability employment at 400 Australian organisations – conducted by Australian Network on Disability in 2022 – found many organisations want to be more inclusive however employers are concerned about the perceived cost and resources required to introduce workplace adjustments or inclusive recruitment practices. Many do not feel confident when managing people with disability or they simply don’t know where to start their journey towards accessibility.

Australian Network on Disability began 22 years ago with only two member organisations who employed 40 staff. It now has 441 member organisations with a combined workforce of more than 2.2 million people representing 18% of Australia’s workforce.

The presentation will provide practical advice and tips to help organisations introduce inclusive practices and workplace adjustments for people with disability in their workplaces, based on AND’s work with its member organisations. Debbie will also provide first-hand experience and advice on strategies and practices employers can introduce to improve employment participation.


Ms Corene Strauss Chief Executive Officer, Australian Network on Disability, Australia

Corene Strauss is a cause-related CEO, leading the Australian Network on Disability since July 2021. Passionate about improving the lives of others and building communities for good, Corene has led the transformation of multiple organisations. She was CEO of Special Olympics Australia, part of the world’s largest disability sports organisation and prior to that she was the first female CEO of the NRL’s Men of League Foundation, responsible for the welfare of the rugby league community. Prior to that she was the inaugural National Marketing Manager for Legacy Australia, caring for the families of the fallen and ill Defence force Veterans. Corene is dedicated to a life of purpose which drives change, equality, and inclusion for those who have previously struggled to find a place in everyday society.

Ms Debbie Heron Regional Manager Qld/NT, Ability First Australia, Australia but currently in California

Debbie Heron was born with cerebral palsy at 24 weeks premature. She is a lawyer, NDIS participant and a Mum of three young boys. She is currently the Regional Manager for QLD/NT at Ability First Australia Younger People in Residential Aged Care program. She has worked at the National Disability Insurance Agency and the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation into People with Disability and is currently studying at Stanford University Graduate Business School undertaking an Executive Leadership course for NFP in California.