I'm Esi and the Managing Director and owner of Celebrating Disability. I have been working in and around the field of disability equality since 2004. I started as a trainer in an organisation called Disability Awareness UK. Since then, my training and advisory roles have led me to work with local authorities, schools, colleges and organisations.
Thanks to my background as an actress, I have also worked with theatre companies and ran drama workshops around similar themes. All of which ensures that my workshops are interactive, informative and most importantly, fun.
Lastly, I am a physically disabled person myself. Having lived experience of disability from both sides of the profession; i.e, receiving support and advising on the delivery of support, gives me a somewhat unique perspective.
As well as delivering the services I talk about through Celebrating Disability, I am a speaker and panelist. You can check out some of my latest appearances here.
Strategic Partnerships With Associates
Disability awareness and inclusivity is never as easy as a “one size fits all” and nor should it be. Because disabled people are unique and diverse.
Working strategically with associates ensures that every client we work with have their specific business needs met. That way our clients can ensure they meet the needs of every disabled employee and customer they interact with.
Want to talk about how Celebrating Disability can support your organisation to develop disability awareness in the workplace?
Ryan is the Director of Centre for Resolution as well as a qualified and experienced coach, mentor and mediator. Ryan also provides disability services for individuals and organisations including disability awareness training, coaching for employees who have disabilities, consultancy and dispute resolution.
Ryan is also the co-founder of the Disability Mediation Standards Committee, where he plays an instrumental role in ensuring mediation practices are inclusive and accessible for people with disabilities.
Between the ages of 6-28 Ryan had between 100-150 operations due to Glaucoma. He was registered blind at the age of 21. Ryan utilises his professional expertise in the world of equality, diversity and inclusion as well as lived experience in disability to support organisations in finding effective solutions for their employees and customers who have disabilities. Ryan is very passionate about supporting and empowering disabled people, and making sure their voices are heard.
He has also been a Samaritan since 2010, as an active listener, where he speaks with hundreds of people with a range of disabilities including mental health.
Sarah is a dynamic enthusiastic professional in the field of inclusion and diversity actively seeking opportunities to train and consult with organisations perusing positive change. She offers bespoke training on a variety of topics all designed to create a more inclusive workplace culture including: Unconscious Bias, Disability Confidence, Best Practice Training, Inclusion 101, and Enabling Social Mobility.
Sarah likes to open the forum away from judgement to enable honesty and intrigue. In consultancy, she focusses on strategy, aiming to promote diversity as a business case in itself. Like any change process it requires by-in from all parties, accountability, monitoring, upkeep and development. It is a live process and it is always evolving.
Sarah has worked with high profile clients including: BBC, DIFID, CIHT and TFL. She is a diligent networker & takes care with relationship management; including high profile figures like Lord Chris Holmes, Deputy Mayors: Val Shawcross & Matthew Ryder.
Roland Chesters was born in the north of England to an English father and French mother and has lived most of his life in London after a somewhat rocky start in Paris. He graduated from the Royal Holloway College with a degree in Modern Languages way back in the last century, and after a variety of jobs in senior management in the private sector he joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as a language-testing specialist. Following a life-changing diagnosis of HIV and AIDS in 2006, he became a campaigner for disability rights. He subsequently enjoyed a number of different roles within the FCO as Diversity & Equality Officer and later Learning & Development Adviser, where he gained his L&D qualifications. There he was also elected Chair of the Disabled Staff Network and worked with the Civil Service Disability Network. He is now a self-employed Disability Development Consultant and has his own company, Luminate.
Roland is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and of the Chartered Institute of Management as well as the Institute of Training and Occupational Learning. He is a qualified Mediator and currently sits on the Standards for Disability Mediation Working Group of the College of Mediators. He is also a Motivational Speaker and a member of the Professional Speaking Association. In 2017 he was awarded Best Personal & Professional Coaching Company - South England and Disability & Inclusion Consultant of the Year– Greater London by CV Magazine. Of the nearly 30,000 nominations in the 2019 National Diversity Awards, Roland was shortlisted as one of the eight finalists as a Role Model for Disability.
He is the author of ‘Ripples from the Edge of Life’, published in 2018. GScene said of the book “None of us know how many heartbeats we have left; facing mortality is a culturally difficult thing. Ripples gives us clear clarion voice after voice which shows us, gently but insistently, there are many ways of successfully navigating horrific times, and surviving.”
Ross Hamilton Smith
Ross Smith is the founder of RHS Consultancy. With almost two decades of experience assisting organisations in changing the way they serve those living with disabilities, Ross is passionate about promoting independence and life progression for people living with impairments.
In addition to advising numerous organisations, Ross has personally worked with countless disabled and impaired people and their families, providing transitional services, individualized budget planning and employment assistance.
Ross is a skilled and experienced disability consultant who sees a better world for people living with all types of impairments.
Ross and Esi have worked together on a number of different projects including one funded by DoE ‘Together for Disabled Children’, that sought to improve transition support for teenagers who were on that journey.
Transgender Awareness and Inclusion Specialist
Joanne Lockwood is the founder and CEO of SEE Change Happen, an Equality Diversity & Inclusion Practice specialising in providing Transgender Awareness and support to organisations and businesses all over the UK.
Joanne is the first openly transgender past National President of the 90-year-old ‘Men’s Club’, The Round Table. In 2016 she embarked on her personal rebrand, selling her successful IT services businesses that she had built up over 25 years and transitioned.
Through these experiences and others, she delivers keynote, seminars and workshops to promote and support Transgender Individuals and break down many of the myths, misunderstandings, and most importantly the fear of “getting it wrong”.
Here mantra is Smile, Engage and Educate and she passionately believes that “people are people” and, no matter who they are, deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.
Esi is a brilliant, inspiring individual and this shines through in her training session. She delivered a thought-provoking session with real wisdom and even humour! Our tutors felt able to explore difficult topics, and came away from the session with a greater sense of understanding of what we can do to remove barriers for disabled people.
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Training / Disability Audits / Disability Consulting
Interested in learning more about the ways Celebrating Disability can support you and your business?