Have you joined the @ValuableTribe?
Caroline Casey didn’t know she had been born legally blind until she was 17. It seems remarkable, but she insists she had no idea that other people could see better than she could – no further than a blurry three feet in front of her. She found out on her 17th birthday, after telling an optometrist that she was going to learn how to drive. He turned to her mother and said incredulously: “You haven’t told her”.
Caroline is the founder of business inclusion company, Binc, and is demonstrably passionate about the need to put disability on the global business agenda. As an adult, she kept her disability hidden for 11 years, jumping from careers in archeology, to restaurants, to being a masseuse, to a landscape gardener. She went to business school and worked as a management consultant with Accenture, but eventually her eyesight declined to such as degree that she had to admit she needed help.
Casey is about to embark on a 1,000km horse ride through Colombia to launch her global business campaign on disability, #valuable. It’s not her first extreme adventure – she trekked 1,000km through India on an elephant in 2001 after leaving Accenture, and took part in Around the World in 80 Ways with double amputee Mike McKenzie and blind adventurer Miles Hilton-Barber in 2002. However, she is keen to emphasise that “this is not a blind endurance story”, but rather the first spark of a conversation.
“There are a billion people in the world that experience disability. If businesses could see the value of those people as consumers, as suppliers and as talent in the community … I think we could go a very long way in eradicating exclusion. Because the issue of disability [in the world] is not improving, not really.”
As part of the campaign, Casey is asking 500 businesses to put disability on their boardroom agendas at least once before the end of 2018. She’s also looking for “the Sheryl Sandberg, or Bono, or Al Gore of disability” – someone outside the community who will champion the cause. “We can find people to stand for water. And we can find people to stand for gender. And we can find people to stand for race. Why not us?” We can find high profile people to stand for water, gender and race. Why not disability?