For International Women's Day this year, we asked the Dolphin Team to nominate women they find influential, interesting and admirable for their work in the fields of Assistive Technology, Visual Impairment and Neurodiversity.
After an overwhelmingly positive response, we have compiled this list of women we admire, whose work we love and who we think you’ll find interesting, too! We've included links to their websites or Linked In profiles, so go ahead and find them online, connect with them and listen to what they have to say – it’ll improve your life and your business!
Influential and interesting women we admire for their work in the fields of Assistive Technology, Visual Impairment and Neurodiversity
Melanie Francis is a neurodiversity champion, trainer and speaker. With a background of over 25 years in HR, Melanie has more recently increased her knowledge of neurodiverse conditions and works to increase awareness, understanding and appreciation of the benefits of a neurodiverse workplace and of the benefits of hiring neurodivergent talent.
Melanie Francis was nominated by Kim Piff, Dolphin Communications Manager, who says:
“Mel’s adapted her career so successfully to reflect her passion for the benefits of a neurodiverse workplace. Her understanding and ability to positively promote inclusion - to the benefit of all business - inspires me, as does her tireless quest to know more and share what she finds out. I’ve learned so much from Melanie.”
Philippa Wisbey is the founding owner of Professional Vision Services, a trailblazing company in the field of assistive tech for vision impairments in the UK. Under her management, Professional Vision Services designs and manufactures products for people with visual impairments.
Philippa Wisbey was nominated by Rob Aulsford, Sales Advisor at Dolphin.
Elizabeth Capener is a soprano, the first blind female TV judge on BBC1’s All Together Now, and a VI cricketer for Surrey. Elizabeth has also run music workshops for RNIB with visually impaired children, raised funds for the RNIB by donating the profits of her album and presents ‘Vibrant Vocals’ show on RNIB Connect Radio.
Lizzie Capener was nominated by Neil Fortin, Web Developer at Dolphin.
Debbie Forster MBE is the CEO of Tech Talent Charter. She is an award-winning leader, recognised for her work in the areas of diversity, technology, innovation and education. As co-founder and CEO of the Tech Talent Charter she helps bring together people in the tech industry, with an aim to deliver greater inclusion and diversity in the UK tech workforce. Debbie was awarded an MBE for “Services to Digital Technology and Tech Development”.
Debbie Forster was nominated by Rachel Willetts, HR Manager at Dolphin.
Dee Caunt is the Chief Executive at the Dyslexia Association. She works to raise awareness of dyslexia in schools in the UK, to improve the educational experiences of children, young people and their educators.
The work she does with the Dyslexia Association enriches the lives of people who have dyslexia. It enables dyslexic children and adults to live happy, productive lives and reach their full potential.
Dee Caunt was nominated by Rachel Willetts, HR Manager at Dolphin.
Sheri Byrne-Haber is an expert in the fields of accessibility and disability. She has launched digital accessibility programmes for global businesses and is the Head of Accessibility at VMware. In addition, she is a consultant on government accessibility, an award-winning blogger and a speaker at accessibility-related conferences. Sheri is also the author of 'Giving a Damn about Accessibility' a free handbook for designers.
Sheri Byne-Haber was nominated by Jane Brassingson, Overseas Sales Manager at Dolphin.
Karen Erickson is the head of the Center for Literacy and Disability Studies at the University of North Carolina. She is pretty much the founder of the idea that any child, regardless of their physical abilities or disabilities can achieve some level of literacy.
KAren is the author of countless studies, was one of the first people to take 'regular books' and create different literacy levels (Hi/Lo books), has created an entirely free repository of literacy resources for teachers and so much more - she testifies and lobbies in front of congress and along with a myriad of other projects.
Karen Erickson was nominated by Mary Jo Barry, US Sales Manager at Dolphin. MJ says about Karen:
"Every person who does anything with literacy and Assistive Technology knows her name. She's the Godmother of literacy and AT!”
A bit closer to home, we have collectively nominated our colleague Jane Brassington as the colleague we admire most. Jane is the Overseas Sales Manager at Dolphin and has worked in the assistive technology industry, and at Dolphin, for over 25 years.
Jane works with an international network of assistive technology distributors, to bring Dolphin tech to blind and partially sighted people all over the world.
Jane is so positive about the impact that assistive technology has on its users, and we all value the experience and expertise she shares with her colleagues in the assistive technology industry. Her knowledge of the uses of assistive tech for a wide range of different sectors is something her colleagues here at Dolphin - and its distributors around the world - admire, celebrate and respect.
We should also mention she’s really cool, dances the lindy-hop and sings in a band!
About International Women's Day
International Women's Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women's equality.
IWD has occurred for well over a century, with the first IWD gathering in 1911 supported by over a million people. Today, IWD belongs to all groups collectively everywhere.