Sarah Petherbridge

Disability Awareness Trainer
Public Speaker
Advisor & Advocate

Would you like your business to be more inclusive and disability confident?

I help businesses in starting or continuing their disability and inclusion journey by way of bespoke disability awareness training. I create a safe space for people to ask any questions, learn about disability and inclusion, while becoming more disability confident.

By doing this training I can help create a better and inclusive workplace showing the value of employing people with disabilities. My own experiences are used to show people what it means to live and work with a disability and how awareness can help create empathy, support and acceptance.

Services I offer

Disability Awareness Training

I provide bespoke disability awareness training such as:

  • Lunch and learn sessions to raise disability awareness
  • Panel events to share stories and create safe spaces for questions
  • Help in formulating a D&I strategy
  • Advice on setting up and running a disability network
  • Workshops to cover specific concerns e.g. inclusive language

Public Speaking on Disability Awareness

I am a public speaker covering subjects such as disability and inclusion as well as mental health, sharing my own personal story.

I can be hired out for speaking on webinars and panel events as well as for conferences.

Advisory & Advocacy

I provide advisory services to non profit disability organisations and I am also an active advocate, challenging businesses and public spaces to be more inclusive and accessible.

I am passionate about improving equality and accessibility for everyone, always striving for greater inclusivity.

About Sarah Petherbridge

A passionate and authentic disability trainer and speaker

I was born profoundly deaf and worked in the corporate sector as a professional for 30 years while running a disability network for employees with disabilities and long term health conditions.

I draw on my lived experiences to share my personal story and expertise with you as part of my disability awareness training. I have a mission to improve accessibility and inclusion for all people with disabilities. I communicate by way of lipreading, a little bit of hearing, some British Sign Language (BSL) and intelligent guesswork!

I qualified as a chartered accountant and chartered tax advisor and rose to the challenge of becoming a very experienced senior manager in a large global organisation, EY as my last job. While I was at EY, I helped to set up an employee disability network called Ability EY which provided support to over 500 members working at EY with disabilities and long term health conditions. We also provided awareness training to the firm to help EY become more inclusive for people with disabilities and collaborated with various operational strands of the business to ensure that all processes such as recruitment were inclusive and accessible as possible.

As the Co-Chair of Ability EY, I also took part in several public speaking engagements both internally and externally to promote disability awareness and inclusion. I have been nominated for and won awards for my work as Co-Chair of Ability EY.

Since I left EY in 2021 I am now working as a freelance disability awareness trainer and public speaker on disability, inclusion and mental health. I also provide consultancy services for non-profit organisations e.g. RNID and SignHealth.

Diversity & Inclusion Training

Disability Awareness Training

I provide bespoke disability awareness training to businesses to help them become more disability confident and inclusive for people with disabilities.

This training is based on my personal lived experience of working as a professional with a disability and running an employee disability network, both in the corporate environment.

This disability awareness training would be tailored to each company’s requirements or pain points and can complement any formal D&I training rolled out by your business.

It can include the following options:

  • lunch and learn sessions on disability awareness
  • sharing my own personal story with you
  • help in formulating your D&I strategy and objectives
  • workshops to cover any specific concerns e.g. 
    • inclusive language
    • understanding ableism
    • belonging & inclusive behaviours
    • understanding your privilege
    • allyship
    • counselling an employee with a disability
    • deaf awareness and how to work with a deaf employee

The length of the training can be decided by you and the training can be offered to a wide range of people within the business, from your HR team to all your employees.

The training will be both authentic and practical as it is based on my lived experiences and expertise. It will be held in a way so that you can raise questions in a safe and comfortable way while helping you become more disability confident.

The cost of the training will be decided as we tailor the training for your requirements.

Sarah Petherbridge Disability Awaness Speaker and Deaf Advocate

Talks, Webinars, panel events

Public Speaking on Disability Awareness

I am a member of three speakers organisations – The Speakers Collective, Nota Inclusion  and This Can Happen.Through them I can be hired out for speaking on webinars and panel events as well as for conferences, covering subjects such as mental health and disability as well as creating inclusive workplaces for people with disabilities.

I have participated in several public speaking engagements to promote disability awareness and collaborated with other strands of Diversity and Inclusion such as race and gender to cover intersectionality.

Meaningful Conversation on SC podcast.


Click on the arrow > to listen to the podcast.

This is from the Speakers Collective website. Podcast is called Simply Us, Disability7 Not Just Another Tick Box – Meaningful Conversation

photo of an event I attended last year – This Can Happen – (Dis)ability and mental health. This was a global online mental health conference that took place in November last year.

Above is a photo of an event I attended last year – This Can Happen – (Dis)ability and mental health. This was a global online mental health conference that took place in November last year.

Advisory & Advocacy

On your behalf

I am an active disability advocate challenging organisations, public spaces and companies to be as accessible as possible for people with hearing loss. I do this as I am passionate about improving equality and accessibility for everyone, always striving for greater inclusivity.

Examples of changes that have taken place as a result include more captioned performances at local cinemas and theatres and also challenging HM Courts and Tribunals Service to make the jury process more accessible for deaf people who do not sign.

I also provide advisory services to non profit organisations such as Sign Health  and RNID. I am a member of the Disability Connect Mentoring Scheme providing reverse diversity mentoring to businesses to help increase awareness and disability confidence.

I am also an active disability advocate

Clients I have worked with include:

Education – Challenge – Advocacy

Testimonials

Sarah is an extraordinary woman who has done so much to build the ERG networks at EY – she is fearless, imaginative and a wonderful collaborator.
Kate Nash OBE, CEO PurpleSpace, creator of #PurpleLightUp movement

She is a D&I change-leader and takes on challenges that others shy away from…and inspires others…
Iain Wilkie, Executive Coach for Quiet Leaders & Founder 50 Million Voices, TEDX speaker
“The training really re-emphasized the importance of asking others how we can help as allies rather than make assumptions…Fantastic”
EY
“A very insightful and practical presentation, full of guidance and recommendations on what best practice looks like …”
Anonymous, Insurance group
…very powerful …inspired… We were captivated and could have listen to you all day really.

Sandrine Letellier , VP Global Marketing at Convatec Group
… the importance of inclusivity in the workplace…changing our mindsets to ability rather than disability, focussing on what individuals can do rather than what they can’t do…
Helen Muckley - HR Partner, Redrow

Read My Blog

  • 1091 words5.5 min read

    Privilege can be an emotive word but in the context of disability, it simply means advantages granted to abled people because they don’t have to think about or address barriers that people with disabilities have to deal with on a daily basis. By understanding these barriers, you can better understand as abled people your privileges and help remove some of these barriers

  • 1286 words6.4 min read

    Masking can be used by people with disabilities as a coping mechanism to meet societal pressures. But there are hidden dangers of masking including mental health impacts. Businesses can help to mitigate this by creating an inclusive workplace where everyone belongs and can be their authentic self.

  • 1107 words5.5 min read

    Belonging in the workplace is incredibly important for people with disabilities. To achieve that sense of belonging, the workplace needs to be diverse, supportive and inclusive – a psychological safe space where people are demonstrating inclusive behaviours every day.

Awards & Affiliations

  • Shortlisted at the Business Disability Forum Disability-Smart Awards for Positive Cultural Change of the Year.
  • Winner of the EY Arthur Young Leadership Award in 2018 for my work in setting up and running Ability EY.
  • I am part of the Campaigns Advisory Group for SignHealth campaigns.
Disability Smart Awards

Contact Sarah Petherbridge

Get in touch today & Let me know how I can help you

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