A desire for change
By Sarah Wallington, ANZ District Manager
I was shocked to learn one in five Australians have a disability, many of whom have invisible disabilities. I was even more shocked to learn how many of these people live below the poverty line (45 per cent) and that Australia is one of the worst performing countries across all OECD countries for employment rates of people with disabilities.
From October 2015 to April 2016, I was fortunate to complete a six month secondment with Attitude Foundation. I was excited about the prospect of expanding my learning to help make ANZ and our broader community more knowledgeable about people with disabilities and their valuable contributions.
I saw it as a personal growth opportunity to understand more about not-for-profit organisations but more importantly, it was an avenue for me to give back to our community in a very different way from my typical day job.
Being only the second ANZ secondee to work with Attitude Foundation at a time when the partnership with ANZ was still in its infancy meant I was pushed out of my comfort zone. Although I found it quite difficult to start with due the autonomous nature of the role, it was the best thing that could have happened.
I learnt an enormous amount and met and worked with many people I would otherwise have never have had the chance to meet. So many of them are experts in their field who generously gave me so much time to share their knowledge, including Graeme Innes (Australia’s Disability Discrimination Commissioner from 2005-2014), Catia Malaquias (human rights advocate), Lesley Branagan (documentary maker) and Professor Anne Kavanagh (Academic Director at Melbourne Disability Institute, University of Melbourne).
It also allowed me to meet many other people within ANZ who had a desire to make change for people with disabilities, and influence the various forums across ANZ to promote people with disabilities.
I have learnt people with disabilities want to participate and contribute but are regularly restricted from employment in Australia. It is something we must change, and changing people’s attitudes is the first step in bringing about positive change.
One of the key deliverables during my time at Attitude Foundation was to complete a business case with the purpose of engaging and securing potential financial (and non-financial) sponsors to enable the delivery of a television series to air on free to air TV in Australia, telling the stories of Australians with disabilities and their participation in our community.
I am so proud to see Perspective Shift come to life, and hope it contributes to changing people’s attitudes and encouraging a positive change.
Sarah Wallington is a District Manager at ANZ. She has worked at ANZ for 13 years in a variety of roles across finance, retail, business management and finance operations. Outside of work, she is busy running around after her two children and their many sporting commitments, occasionally squeezing in book (aka wine) club with old friends.