Sarah Petherbridge


Passionate and authentic disability awareness trainer helping businesses of all sizes become more disability confident and create inclusive workplaces for people with disabilities. She was born profoundly deaf and communicates by way of hearing, lipreading, some BSL and intelligent guesswork! Sarahh draws on her experience of working as a professional with a disability in a corporate environment for several years. She rose to the challenge of becoming a very experienced senior manager with a profound deafness in a large global organisation, EY. While at EY, she helped set up an employee network called Ability EY which at the time of my departure had over 500 members. This network provides support to people working at EY with disabilities/conditions including mentoring and coaching. Sarah also provided awareness training to help EY become more inclusive for people with disabilities and collaborated with various operational strands of the business to improve accessibility. As the Co-Chair of Ability EY, Sarah took part in several public speaking engagements both internally and externally to promote disability awareness including awards events, BBC Radio 4 and BBC Bristol. Nominated and won awards for my work as Co-Chair of Ability EY. Her disability awareness training for businesses is bespoke and would complement any formal D&I training rolled out by HR managers/directors or D&I leaders as it is based on real life experience and personal stories.

I support all businesses of all sizes who are starting or continuing their journey in disability confidence and inclusion.

Keynotes and workshops
  • What we mean by the term “disability” and what lies beneath the surface for people with disabilities. The aim of this session is to broaden people’s understanding of the word “disability”, in particular around hidden disabilities, and increase awareness of what lies beneath the surface for people with disabilities, including mental health impacts.
  • Discussion around inclusion from a disability angle and what steps you can take to create a more inclusive workplace for people with disabilities – include how you can be a good ally of someone with a disability, demonstrating inclusive behaviors.
  • Unconscious bias and privilege. Recognizing these will help you become better allies and be more understanding of the barriers and hurdles faced by people with disabilities.
  • How best to mentor/counsel an employee with a disability to ensure they feel included and supported at work. This will help managers become more confident in supporting employees with disabilities and other colleagues become allies of people with disabilities.
  • What do mean by inclusive language and how best to communicate with people who have disabilities. Covers the topic of ableism as well.
  • Belonging is the desired outcome of an inclusive workplace and is critical not only for the individual but also for the performance of the team and hence the business. We will explore what we mean by belonging, why this is so important and how we can create a strong sense of belonging for all. This will be important to create a safe place where people with disabilities can share their stories and get the support they need.
  • A workshop exploring disability and mental health. People with disabilities are more likely to have mental health issues than those without, due to the barriers we face in the workplace and society. The idea behind this training is to make people aware of the mental health impacts of having a disability and therefore develop more empathy and understanding.
  • How to set up and run an employee resource group for people with disabilities at work - this draws on my experience of setting up and running Ability EY

"Thanks very much for your presentation -it was very powerful and sharing your story 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 listened 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 of living with a disability and the impact this can have on an individual and their mental health. 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. 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 plc

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