Life, Health and Leadership – Building a better, healthier NHS with Leaders with Disabilities.

Posted by: Ellie Ward - Posted on:

Date: Monday 7th December 2020, via Zoom 

Session Time: 14:00 – 15:30 

An event targeted at people living with long term health conditions, mental health issues and disabilities* and are considering or already undertaking leadership roles. Influenced by Disability History Month (18 November to 18 December) we want to help you think about your own history and what this means for your leadership future. 

This event will consider our culture of ableism and how we as individuals and collectively can help unpick it. We will consider some of the evidence, national strategies and our personal stories to start a conversation around how we create a healthier NHS. 

* Are you wondering if your health conditions fit the inclusion criteria for this event? If it impacts the way you live and work, yes it does. 

About this Session 

Have you wanted to take a leadership role but wondered how your health would cope with the demands? Are you currently in a leadership role managing your own boundaries to keep your health conditions at bay and wondering how this will impact your career? Would you like to spend some time reflecting on how your personal lived experience gives you the tools to help us build a culture of inclusion? If you answered yes to any of these questions this event is for you.  

Join us for this inspiring and empowering event for: 

  • Aspiring and established leaders with long term conditions disabilities 
  • Disability network chairs and committee members 
  • Workforce Disability Equality Standard reps, allies and EDI leads 

Help us explore the path to equality, career progression and leadership attainment for staff with disabilities and living with long-term physical and mental health conditions. 

This special interactive event will provide an energising and supportive safe space to discuss your aspirations, experiences and ideas. It will also help us share, learn and celebrate the role that leaders with long term conditions and disabilities can and do bring to enrich the world of work for all staff, services and service use.  

Benefits of Attending / You will leave this event: 

  • Inspired – by your story and gifts and those your peers  
  • Re-energised – about the possibility for affecting change and greater equality 
  • Empowered – through top tips, sharing and learning  
  • Connected – meet other aspiring and established leaders on similar journeys 

Join Us 

This interactive event will be held on Monday 7th December 2020 commencing at 14:00 and finishing at 15:30 via Zoom. 

We welcome people at all bands and from all professions, clinical and non-clinical. 
To book your place on the event, please complete the online form here:

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If you are not able to attend this event, or would like to watch again, we will be recording the main group session (but not the group discussions) and these will be available on the South East Leadership Academy Website: and our YouTube Channel: for you to view at your own convenience.  

About the facilitators 

Dr Christine Rivers – Co-Host is the Head of Workforce Disability Equality Standard (WDES) at NHS England/Improvement and has worked as a lecturer in sociology/social theory, a mental health social worker and team manager, an equality and human rights lead for a Mental Health and Community Health NHS Trust, and is currently working for NHS England/Improvement as the Head of the Workforce Disability Equality Standard (WDES). Christine has led the Workforce Disability Equality Standard (WDES) since its launch last year.  

Christine has extensive knowledge and expertise in the field of equality, with specialist expertise in disability, mental health and sexual orientation. Christine completed her PhD in 2006; her PhD focussed on sexual identities and LGBT people’s experiences of mental health services. Whilst an equality lead, Christine led on a series of projects, including setting up a network for staff with lived experience of mental ill health, reaching position 32 in the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index and leading on the trust’s Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) and action planning. In 2016, Christine received an Embrace award for her equality work from the National Health and Social Care BME network.  

Christine is passionate about, and committed to making positive change in the NHS, and finding and using levers to effect change. 

Rasheed Ogunlaru – Co-Host is a leading UK-based life coach, motivational speaker business and leadership coach. His clients include entertainers, entrepreneurs, Chief Executives, professionals, healers, organisations and the public. His career spans 18 years in coaching, training, media, organisational strategy – and as a singer songwriter. He often appears in the media on life, work, relationship and business issues – including appearances on BBC News and ITV News, He is author of Soul Trader – Putting the Heart Back into Your Business and The Gift of Inner Success and is the life & business coach partner of the British Library.  

Rasheed’s early career included being a Media Trainer; Communications Manager; Co-Director of Samaritans (Central London) and a singer-songwriter.  Today his unique ‘become who you are’ approach enables people of all backgrounds to achieve greater success and happiness – from within. He is widely considered one of the UK’s leading specialists on inner fulfilment and the human condition.   

Fiona Rodden – Speaker, Head of Talent, South East at NHS Improvement and NHS England. 

Fiona is a leader and executive coach working to improve diversity at board levels across the NHS in the South East. She has worked across private services, NHS providers, commissioners and strategic healthcare organisations; as a clinician, GMTS trainee and senior manager. She also has list of long-term health conditions, is neurodivergent and knows what it feels like to question whether you can lead while managing your disabilities. She will share her personal story and how it influences her drive to support people to lead and progress to create a more diverse and inclusive NHS.