Natasha Price, elite wheelchair athlete and entrepreneur, saw an immediate need for services that helped empower people with disabilities and also equipped businesses with the tools and knowledge needed to build inclusive workplaces. In this interview, she outlines why she launched InvincAble and what makes their approach to diversity and inclusion effective.
- Why did you start InvincAble?
InvincAble was born out of a need for those with lived experience of disability to empower others living with disability or long term health conditions and make a tangible and meaningful impact on their day to day lives. We do this via offering a unique business model that includes numerous services such as diversity and inclusion training, accessibility consulting, disability education, advocacy, workshops, motivational speaking, product development and disability awareness programs.
At InvincAble we use our distinctive brand of humour and decades of life experience to appeal to the hearts and minds of the wider community so that they feel inclusion and accessibility is an absolute necessity for society as a whole. We encourage adaptability whilst pursuing equity for all, and strive to demonstrate this to both the abled bodied and disabled community.
- What was missing from the market that gave you confidence your organisation was needed?
We felt that many organisations put inclusion and accessibility into the “too hard” basket or are scared off by the huge task ahead of them in an area they often do not have personal experience in. Often, organisations have rules, regulations and high costs militantly spouted at them, without being given the opportunity to empathise and connect with the people that these issues affect most.
At InvincAble we believe in tackling these problems head on but in a positive manner, whilst tackling the small steps that can be taken to make people more inclusive and accessible in their thinking. We hope that by showing the highs and lows of living with disability, we can make everybody realise the benefits of being more aware of the needs of those living with one.
- Diversity and inclusion training has recently been getting mixed responses from experts and professionals regarding its effectiveness. What’s your view on this?
We believe that it entirely depends on the approach of the organisation providing the training. If the training is sterile, not interactive, does not truly demonstrate the realities of living with disability and the ramifications of not becoming more inclusive of all abilities, then it is unlikely to be impactful.
If somebody has never been touched by disability it is extremely hard for them to visualise and understand how important inclusion and accessibility is. More often than not, this is not due to a person’s unwillingness to embrace these concepts, and often they may feel they already do, but more due to deep seated unconscious biases or a lack of awareness, plus a belief that following the rules and regulations will be enough; sadly it generally is not.
In our experience, if you capture people’s hearts and minds, they become more invested in your cause, and are more willing to make tangible change.
- Through your accessibility consulting work, what is the biggest challenge you’re seeing organisations facing? What do you believe are the root causes of this challenge?
When it comes down to it, the major challenge faced by organisations is awareness. Often organisations are unaware that they even need to make changes, and may feel that they are built to code, so they have sufficiently made provisions to provide access. Sadly, code provides basic means, however, still is not gold standard and does not provide access to many in the community.
There is also often a lack of awareness of the funding that is available in order to make business accessible which could seem daunting, especially to a small business owner.
Also, by making premises more accessible, this would open up any organisation to a large new number customer base/audience (4.3 million people in Australia alone live with a disability).
Finally, many organisations are unaware how to even just get started with providing better access, this is often due to government’s lack of prioritising and promoting access and inclusion to the business community.
About the expert
Natasha Price is an elite wheelchair athlete, entrepreneur, speaker, blogger, published author, Queensland State Champion, international marathon winner and Gold Coast Women of the Year finalist from the Gold Coast, Australia. She is the founder of InvincAble, a products based business that exists to empower those living with disability and long term health conditions to live fun, fulfilling and active lives.
Image description: On the left, a man is sitting in a wheelchair looking to the woman (Natasha) to his side. He wears a grey polo shirt and is smiling. On the right, Natasha is sitting in a wheelchair in a white polo shirt and grey pants. In the background is a pond surrounded by greenery and trees.