Be Update Nov 2017 NZSL

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News from the Land of Be…

November Newsletter

Here at Be. Accessible, we have been transitioning into a new phase over the past few months. This phase is all about innovation, creativity, and what we can all achieve together when we view the world from a lens of possibility.

This month we had our annual Be. Leadership Graduation, generously hosted by AUT. Their team did a wonderful job at making the event fully accessible, with clear access pathways, NZSL interpreters, and large font on menus and table numbers. 2017 was an especially special event as we now have 107 leaders graduated from our programme, all contributing towards social change in their own spheres of influence.

In the last few months, it has been so exciting to see our partners and friends come on this journey with us by thinking creatively and being ambitious within their own spheres of influence.

In this edition, we talk about our wonderful experiences at the Social Enterprise World Forum, the innovation and success of alumni Cate Grace, and the amazing creativity at Sudima Auckland Airport with their new K9 packs!


Article 1: Be. partners with the Social Enterprise World Forum

How exciting that one of the world’s biggest innovation forums graced our shores earlier in the year?! Be. had the absolute pleasure of partnering with Akina at the Social Enterprise World Forum in Christchurch, where Minnie was part of a number of robust discussions. Read more about it here…


In September, our CEO Minnie Baragwanath and four people from our wonderful Be. Team had the opportunity to be part of the 2017 Social Enterprise World Forum. The 3-day forum was filled with thought-provoking conversation, and learning from social enterprise leaders from all over the globe.

The event was organised by Fab50 member Alex Hannant and his team at the Akina Foundation, where Minnie spoke on two panel discussions about her journey towards social enterprise, innovation, and accessibility.

Her first discussion was a public talk (link) on Women in Social Enterprise, along with three other incredible women from around Aotearoa. The discussion brought to light some wins, fails, and the wonderful potential of women making social change in all aspects of life and society. The conversation was a great example of the value of discussion, and with budding social entrepreneurs in the room, a change to pass on learnings and experiences to the future leaders of New Zealand and beyond.

The second discussion was about how social enterprise can promote inclusivity and equality, with homegrown and international social entrepreneurs talking about their learnings and insights. The sectors they came from ranged from criminal justice to accessibility, showing the wide range of opportunities available in the social enterprise space.

What was most impressive though, were the huge efforts made by Alex and Akina to make such a large-scale event accessible. Be. had been working with Akina for 18-months leading up to the event as their accessibility partner. Being the largest event held in Christchurch since the 2011 earthquake – with more than 1,600 delegates attending from 28 different countries – hosting an accessible city-wide event was no small task.

But the organisers proved up for the challenge and made steps to make it as accessible as possible. Their website was compatible for screen reader technology, the registration process asked attendees to disclose any access requirements, a map was provided to highlight the accessible route between venues, and captioning was provided on all videos.

The event was a beautiful showcase of all the innovative ways we are moving towards a more fair and accessible world, in every definition of the word. With so many creative minds coming together with similar visions in mind, it is wonderful to see how we can make the world a better place by encouraging creativity and sharing ideas with one another.


Article 2 : Cate Grace interview

Canterbury based Be. Leadership alumni Cate Grace has been taking innovative initiatives to make health and wellness accessible to everyone. Her navigation approach to health has been key to her success in Christchurch, which has changed the lives of so many. Latifa Daud spoke with Cate.


For Cate Grace, the personal training industry may seem like an unlikely one by some, but the numerous awards and accolades show this is exactly the place for her. This sense of courage was strengthened by her participation in the Be. Leadership programme in 2014.

Following the 2010 Christchurch earthquake, Cate founded Grace Training Ltd (formally RCG Group), a multifaceted social enterprise that works with people who struggle to access the health and wellness industry and support them in a holistic and collaborative approach.

Grace Training takes an individualised ‘navigation’ approach to health and wellbeing, by firstly fully taking time to understand the person and then designing a wellness plan based on their dreams, goals and lifestyle. “We support people to make better choices in their life. We do that to help them discover and share their good news.”

Cate told the story of an older gentleman for whom English was a second language and had never moved before. From the skills she learnt from Be, she navigated her approach by understanding his needs. “What I learnt from him is that everyone has a story and now he’s fit and healthy”.

Be’s approach to accessibility drew her to apply for the leadership programme. She felt it would be a great space to be around like-minds while also being pushed out of her comfort zone.

“I am predominantly on crutches and a curvy size 16, so it is a pretty unlikely industry to fall into … Because I was in such an unlikely industry and facing a lot of adversity, I was really drawn to what Be had done in 2011 around removing the barriers for the Rugby World Cup”.

“It was everything I didn’t need when I needed it. It was confronting and uncomfortable, and these are both now terms that I embrace and pass on to my staff and people that we work with”.

Cate’s journey was about self-discovery and becoming rounded, authentic and less stressed about being a leader. “I wasn’t at peace with who I was. This changed”.


Article 3: K9 packs for our canine friends

 We are so excited about Sudima Auckland’s new innovation! Their K9 packs have shown how empathy and understanding go a long way in ensuring customer care and service. Latifa Daud spoke with Hotel Manager Riza Suryo to talk about what this has meant for the hotel.


Earlier this year, the wonderful Sudima Auckland, owned by Fab50 member Sudesh Jhunjhnuwala rolled out an incredibly creative, innovative and useful initiative: K9 Packs! These packs are designed specifically for our furry friends accompanying guests to the hotel.

Sudima Auckland Airport’s Hotel Manager Riza Suryo says the idea came from his team after thinking about how to better understand the needs and wants of the guests. This also includes the needs and wants of the dogs – they are guests too after all! It helps that his team is full of animal lovers, and keen to look deeper into the accessibility requirements of their guests.

An important part of the hotel’s philosophy for access customers with assistance dogs is to understand the relationship between the guest and the dog. Riza says that it is incredibly important for the team at his hotel to take care of that relationship and to deliver above expectation. When an access customer discloses that they will be accompanied by a dog, the team will prepare a pack for the guest, which includes a little bed, a bowl and some treats.

In the few months that the initiative has been rolled out, the response has been very positive, and creates that ‘wow factor’ when guests are given the packs.

Sudima Auckland has also implemented access innovations in other ways to better serve the needs of access customers. The hotel also has gadgets that go under pillows and vibrate in the event of a fire alarm. This is an excellent piece of equipment for the safety of people with hearing impairments.

These new initiatives show excellent creativity in honouring the incredibly important relationship between guests and their assistance dogs. 

Public Information in NZSL

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