Sarah Petherbridge

Disability Awareness Trainer
Public Speaker
Advisor & Advocate

Would you like your business to be more disability confident?

I guide businesses in starting or continuing their disability and inclusion journey and help create a safe space for colleagues to ask any questions, learn about disability and be open about the topic.

By doing this 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

Awareness Training

I provide bespoke 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


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 my expertise with you as part of my 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 network called Ability EY which provided support to over 500 members working at EY with disabilities/abilities/impairments 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 our 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 and inclusion.

Diversity & Inclusion Training

Corporate & Business Training

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

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

This 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 in a meeting room to cover any specific concerns you may have such as inclusive language or how best to counsel an employee with a disability.

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 everyone in the business.

The training will be held in a way so that you can raise questions in a safe and comfortable way while helping you to become more disability confident.

Sarah Petherbridge Disability Awaness Speaker and Deaf Advocate

Talks, Webinars, panel events

Public Speaking

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


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

Sarah and I worked closely together for several years as part of the Ability network (Ability EY) leadership team at EY and it was an absolute pleasure to present her with the firm’s top award for Ability leadership at the Ability EY inaugural awards event in December 2017.

She is a D&I change-leader and takes on challenges that others shy away from. For example constructively speaking truth to power when needed (including me!), being a highly visible role-model for people with hearing loss (and other impairments), and ensuring that supportive technology actually worked for her colleagues who needed it.

In summary, Sarah is a super D&I leader and team-player who gets things done and inspires others to do the same.

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.It also provided us with enough information to ask better questions and not be afraid to do so. Fantastic”
“A very insightful and practical presentation, full of guidance and recommendations on what best practice looks like in the workplace today. Thank you”

Anonymous, Insurance group
Thanks very much for your presentation -it was very powerful and sharing your story have inspired all the participants so much that we had comments on our intranet later on. Your presentation will be available by replay and I already know a lot of people who will watch it later. We were captivated and could have listen to you all day really.

I’m sure your testimonial and experience sharing will have an impact and will change the way we include diversity in the workplace – it will certainly do that for me.

Sandrine Letellier , VP Global Marketing at Convatec Group

Sarah has delivered disability awareness training to our Divisional Boards and HR colleagues.

It was a really powerful session as Sarah shared her personal experience living with a disability and the impact this can have on an individual and their mental health.

Helen Muckley - HR Partner, Redrow

Sarah shared information on hidden disabilities, how we recognise our individual privilege, the importance of inclusivity in the workplace and what steps employers can take to create an inclusive workplace.

Sarah also discussed 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

A well received session which was engaging, insightful and raised awareness significantly on workplace inclusivity.

Following Sarah’s sessions, we received lots of positive feedback from across the business. We would highly recommend Sarah as a disability awareness trainer.

Helen Muckley - HR Partner, Redrow

This week we welcomed Sarah Petherbridge – Disability Awareness Trainer – to Chilly’s to talk to us all about ‘abilities’ not ‘disabilities’, and how important it is to embed equity and inclusivity into our culture.

It was an incredibly educational and thought-provoking session, enlightening us all to the hidden experiences of others. Thank you, Sarah!

Emma Ely-Johnston - People Director, Chilly’s

Great thought provoking disability training session today with our senior management team.

Thank you to Sarah Petherbridge for sharing your personal experiences & helping us better understand what disability means, including invisible disabilities.

Claire Jarvis - Managing Director, Redrow

It was valuable to hear about your story and how we can become better allies for those who may need it.

I am really keen to see this improve at Mulberry and I feel that you have helped me become more disability confident.

I look forward to having more conversations about this in the future. Thank you so much.

Jen Reid - Recruitment and Training Advisor, Mulberry

Read My Blog

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    A topic I often cover as part of my disability […]

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    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.

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    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.

Contact Sarah Petherbridge

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