Building Rapport with Diverse Stakeholders (Disability Focus)

This session begins by identifying and addressing the impact our own actions and decisions have in fostering a welcoming organisation. Learning to overcome and mitigate our own bias and negative stereotypes in regards to disability, is essential to building rapport with diverse stakeholders in order to curate authentic and meaningful participation for each potential stakeholder group (client, board member, or employee).

An overview of terminology, as well as unpacking the potential challenges and opportunities when working and interacting with people who experience disability, with a focus on providing accessible and concrete strategies to create and foster rapport will leave participants empowered, and ready to embrace a more inclusive and diverse approach moving forward.

The Context

People with disabilities represent the largest minority group in today’s society. The World Health Organization defines disability as “An umbrella term that encompasses impairments, activity limitations and participation restrictions… Disability is thus not just a health problem. It is a complex phenomenon, reflecting the interaction between the features of a person’s body and features of the society in which he or she lives.”

Disability is a naturally occurring variance to the human condition and the reality is most of us will experience disability first hand at some point in our lifetime. As new categories such as neurodiversity, psychiatric disabilities, disabilities related to aging, learning disabilities and genetic variances emerge and grow, so does the imperative as a society to respond and evolve to ensure inclusion, participation, and meaningful contribution are a reality for everyone.