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Posted by Philip on 22 December 2016, 11:19 am in , ,

Looking back on 2016...without ranting

I thought I'd be a bit grown up and, rather than ending the year on a rant, celebrate what has actually been a full and rather successful year for me, Diversity New Zealand and our clients.

We began the sixth year of Be. Leadership back in March this year. A talented group of people spent a year of curiosity and inquiry into leadership, accessibility and other social issues. It's been an honour and privilege to spend another year working alongside Lesley Slade and the rest of the Be. Accessible team. I also had the rewarding challenge of working with Lesley and Megan Barclay in leading Be. Accessible while CEO Minnie Baragwanath was on extended sick leave.

We also kicked off another year of DIV:INQ (Diversity Inquiry) at Epsom Girls Grammar. This is another programme I thoroughly enjoy, now in its tenth year, particularly working with the young people and Jeannie Grant at EGGS as well as my EA/PA Sam Orchard.

Between March and May I worked with the Health Promotion agency to tell my story of anxiety and depression for the relaunch of their depression website.

In May I spoke at the 7th Multidisciplinary Sexual Dysfunction Conference, giving an address called "Sexuality and Diversity – Bending Rules and Breaking Duals". You can read what I said here

In June and July we shot, produced and launched my second music video, Who We Are, and had the joy of working again with the incredibly talented team at Borderless Productions.

Then in August we worked with the staff of Epsom Girls Grammar on understanding diversity in a more holistc way, which led to a staff DIV:INQ group starting in December.

In September I keynoted at the Practice Managers & Administrators Association of New Zealand Annual Conference — "Diversity - seeing beyond labels" — and in September the Festival for the Future invited me to join a panel on the future of equality.

I've also enjoyed my second year as social media and website advisor for the Voluntary Euthanasia Society of NZ, and addressed the Health Select Committee on medically assisted dying in October.

In November we worked with the very dynamic team at individualised funding agency Manawanui — which I helped establish in 2005. This was a great way to sit alongside the team to develop a fuller picture of the diversity of their clients and how the can grow what they offer. I've also been working with the team to develop an online portal for managing payments — a great innovation in the IF space.

Also in November, Paul Little released his new book, Love Letters to the Landscape, in which 54 New Zealanders (including me) wrote about the places in their hearts.

Finally, in December, I spoke at ANZ's Accessibility and Inclusion forum for Be.Accessible, notable in that I've never spoken to a roomful of bankers before and professed knowledge of the several billion dollar opportunity cost of unemployed access citizens, among other lofty statistics. I've also had the great pleasure of working with Uber, Auckland Museum, Progressive Enterprises and the Botanic Gardens, representing Be. Accessible this year. 

My final big gig of the year for was with ACHIEVE – The National Post-Secondary Education Disability Network Inc, for whom I ran a workshop, "Disability, diversity and tertiary education: how do we ready ourselves for the future?"

Hopefully I've not missed out anything or anyone significant. It's heartening to reflect on such a diverse and eclectic year. I want to thank the Diversity New Zealand team — Sam, Barbara and Anna — who do such a fantastic job supporting me and managing our social media channels, especially DPSN. Also, my morning crew — Lucy, Carrie and Dharmesh — who play a critical role in meeting my personal support needs and without whom I couldn't do the amazing work I feel so grateful to do.

Finally, huge appreciation to our clients, supporters, colleagues, readers and everyone else who takes an interest in our work. Without you we couldn't do what we do, which is, in essence, to keep shining a light on the wonderful diversity that exists in our world.

Go well , have fun and see you in 2017.

Ngå mihi nui.

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