Open Your Mind: Driving Disability Inclusion

Sodexo and partners hosted the Open Your Mind: Driving Disability Inclusion half day conference on Wednesday 13th February 2019.

The event brought together a diverse audience from various industries, who heard from disability experts and leading global employers on the latest trends and insights relating to disability inclusion in the workplace and beyond.

You can read the press release on the event here. Or you can read this blog about Sodexo bringing disability into the spotlight.

If you would be interested in hearing about future similar events or our upcoming research project, please email 

At Sodexo, we’re committed to providing an environment where people can bring their whole selves to work – this includes those with visible and invisible disabilities, often a source of untapped talent.

In 2015, Sodexo committed to providing 100% of its workforce with access to programs for people with disabilities by 2025. This means that in all countries where Sodexo operates, we will establish measurable initiatives to promote the recruitment, engagement and development of people with disabilities, within the parameters local laws and policies. Find out more.

Click here to read more about our recent work with people with disabilities including our partnership with Lighthouse Futures Trust and Johnson and Johnson.

In June 2016, Sodexo reinforced its commitment to the inclusion of people with disabilities by signing the ILO Global Business Disability Network Charter.

In June 2018, Sodexo UK achieved Leader status in the UK Government's Disability Confident scheme validating the work undertaken within the region. Read our news story for more information. Our work often includes partnerships with clients, this can be seen here with our work in the healthcare sector.

To keep up to date with our initiatives:

• Follow us on twitter: @SodexoDandI
• Website:
• D&I Blog:
• D&I Podcasts: and subscribe to the podcasts series in I-Tunes

Find out more about the event organisers:

Dr. Rohini AnandDr. Rohini Anand is Global Chief Diversity Officer for Sodexo, responsible for the strategic direction, implementation and alignment of Sodexo's integrated global diversity and inclusion initiatives, as well as Sodexo's corporate social responsibility and wellness strategies. Read more.

Meg Horsburgh is the head of diversity and inclusion (D&I) for Sodexo UK & Ireland. The regional strategy and structures she has developed aim to drive D&I progress across Sodexo UK & Ireland’s 36,000 employees and specifically in relation to the workplace, workforce, marketplace and in the communities Sodexo serves. Read more.


Speakers at the event

Here are some of the great speakers that featured at the event

Hector Minto

Hector Minto has worked at the cutting edge of Assistive Technology (AT) for 20 years specializing in Alternative Communication (AAC) and Home Automation (EC) for people with physical and learning disabilities, most recently driving the growth and awareness of eyegaze technology across Europe.

Hector’s role at Microsoft as an Accessibility Evangelist sees him engaging across the European workforce and stakeholders to showcase inclusive design, product accessibility, the inclusive hiring program and accessibility innovation from Microsoft Research.  A critical part of Hector’s role is to learn from Microsoft customers how we can continue to adapt to the changing needs of the diverse population we support, and to provide this feedback directly to the Microsoft product teams for ongoing improvement of the accessibility of our products, websites, and services.

Diane Lightfoot

Diane joined Business Disability Forum as Chief Executive Officer in February 2017 after moving from her former role as Director of Policy and Communications for United Response, a leading national disability charity. During her 13 years at United Response, Diane led and developed the charity’s campaigning, public affairs and lobbying activity, with a particular focus on promoting employment for disabled people. She subsequently took on the strategic leadership of the organisation’s employment services as a whole and is passionate about the role that good work has in transforming people’s lives.

Diane meets regularly with Business Disability Forum Partners and Members and also works closely with Government to help shape disability employment policy. She is a member of the Department of Work and Pensions’ Disability Confident Professional Advisers Group and the Disability Expert Advisory Panel for the Civil Service.

Previously Diane has held responsibility for marketing and membership for the National Council of Voluntary Organisations and at the Pre-School Learning Alliance, a national children’s educational charity, after starting her career in local government.

Liz Burton

Liz Burton

Liz Burton is Head of Global Inclusion and Diversity at GSK a science-led global healthcare company. The focus of her role is to define and activate GSK’s Global Inclusion and Diversity plans across the organisation and provide subject matter expertise and guidance on GSK’s Global Inclusion and Diversity priorities.

She has been at GSK for 19 years in various roles within HR covering Recruitment, University Recruitment, HR and Employee Relations. She holds a degree in Management and Textiles from UMIST, a postgraduate certificate in Personnel and a Masters in Psychology at Work from Leicester University.

Tim Harte

Tim Harte

Tim was born in Coventry in the UK in 1962 and studied history at Oxford for six years first as an undergraduate and then in a research role.

He joined Shell in 1987 and throughout has worked in Human Resources, in the Upstream and Downstream businesses, as an HR Business Partner, in Global Talent and Employee Relations roles.  He has  been variously based in London, Aberdeen, Dubai, Singapore and The Hague.

He took up the role of EVP, Talent And Development in January 2017, having previously led the HR/People activities of the integration of BG into Shell. Immediately prior to this he was HRVP for Global Trading, Supply and Shipping.

He is based in London, lives in Dorking in Surrey and has one daughter who is currently studying Psychology in Education at the University of York.

Kate Nash OBE

Kate Nash OBE

Kate Nash OBE is creator & CEO of PurpleSpace ( - the world’s only professional development membership hub for disabled employee networks. PurpleSpace delivers leadership know-how to network leaders and is becoming the go-to global community of disabled employee network leaders across all sectors.

PurpleSpace helps employers to learn directly from their own people in order to build disability confidence from the inside out. In 2017 we launched the #PurpleLightUp a global movement to encourage disability employee networks across the globe to ‘go purple’ in the run up to the UN International Day of Persons with Disability -

In April 2014 Kate’s book ‘Secrets & Big News’ was published . The book examined how hard it is for people to share personal information about their disability / health condition at work. Over 2,500 disabled employees from 55 employers took part – and the Big Ideas help employers to support their own disabled employees to unlock their potential.

In 2018 she chaired the Shaw Trust Power List power list UK which celebrates Britain’s 100 most influential persons with disability or impairment. In addition, she is independent strategic / disability advisor to BT, Post Office, & Fujitsu. She is a member of the Minister’s Disability Confidence Business Leaders’ Group.

In 2007 she was awarded an OBE for services to disabled people.
Between 2001-2007 she was Chief Executive of Radar and appointed an Ambassador for Disability Rights UK in 2007.


Stefan Tromel

Stefan Tromel

Since August 2013, Senior Disability Specialist in the International Labour Organization. Current duties include the coordination of the ILO Global Business and Disability Network.

Between 2008 and 2013, Executive Director of the International Disability Alliance, the global umbrella organization of organizations of persons with disabilities.

Between 1999 and 2004, Director of the European Disability Forum (EDF), the most representative disability organization at European Union level.

I was actively involved in the negotiation process of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2002-2006).

Madhuri Pai

Madhuri is the Global Diversity and Inclusion Director at Unilever. Gender balance in the workforce and women’s empowerment in the value chain are at the core of Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan which is the blueprint for the organisation’s sustainable growth. Currently Unilever has 47% female representation in management.  Disability inclusion is also a strategic priority and in 2018 the commitment to launch in 20 markets was made together with the goal of getting to 5% representation of disabled employees in the workforce by 2025. In terms of inclusion, Unilever’s vision is to “Unstereotype the workplace” by ending the limiting power of stereotypes that hold us back and free the potential of every single employee.