December 3 is International Day of People with Disability. The day promotes understanding and acceptance of individuals who are living with a disability and celebrating their achievements and contributions. Medibank’s Learning & Organisational Development Business Partner, Sarah Kerr, speaks about her personal experiences and how Medibank continues to support those living with a disability.
Sarah’s 18-year-old brother Ethan is living with challenges stemming from a disability. Despite these, Sarah says it doesn’t define who he is as a person.
“When he was just three months old, we discovered that he was dealing with a few challenges. This means that he has limited speech, visual and hearing impairments as well as intellectual disabilities,” says Sarah.
“However there’s so much more to Ethan than this. When you get to know him, you’ll find that he has a wicked sense of humour, the cheekiest smile and an unconditional love for the movie High School Musical!”
Sarah with her husband and family on their wedding day.
Sarah explains that older siblings naturally feel the sense to protect their younger brothers and sisters but for her, it’s something much more.
“I feel a strong sense of responsibility to drive opportunities for him and for others with disabilities, and am determined to ensure that they not only have a voice but that they have the same opportunities as everyone else. Being a part of his life is such a privilege that allows me to continuously learn, and reminds me to put others first.”
Along with other employees from across the organisation, Sarah is part of the Medibank Accessibility Working Group. Together, they are consistently working towards ensuring Medibank is inclusive of people of all abilities.
“Our aim is to have a complete understanding of the experiences of our employees and customers with a disability. Over the past few years we’ve focussed strongly on improving our approach to workplace adjustments for employees with disabilities and enhancing our digital assets and procurement practices, guaranteeing our customers and employees have equal access to services and systems,” Sarah explains.
“We have now refocussed to raising the profile of disability at Medibank and this year, proudly launched the Medibank Accessibility and Inclusion Plan, which aims to provide employees and customers with the best possible experiences.”
Sarah (back centre) with colleagues and Paralympic gold medalist, Dylan Alcott.
Asked what strategies the working group has to help achieve the different goals within the Plan, Sarah says they have a variety, from small to a much larger scale.
“It might be simple changes such as partnering with caterers who employ people with disabilities for our events or increasing the representation of people with disabilities in our imagery. Or it could be on a much bigger scale such as increasing employment of people with a disability, and improving our offices and stores to make them more accessible,”
“Each goal has been committed to by a Senior Leader, who have then nominated individuals from their teams to take ownership and responsibility of these.”
Medibank advocates strongly for diversity and inclusivity. This is something Sarah says goes beyond people with disabilities.
“We know that welcoming diversity drives better outcomes for our employees, our shareholders, our customers, and our community. We aim for diversity across all life experiences, skills, abilities, gender, age, ethnicity, religious and cultural background, family status, and sexual orientation. There are multiple diversity and inclusion working groups across Medibank because, for us, acceptance for all is of utmost importance.”
Sarah with colleagues celebrating Wear It Purple Day.