Dr Caroline Casey has dedicated the past decade of her life to changing how global society views people with disabilities. In 2000, she rode 1,000 kilometers across India on an elephant to raise funds for Sight Savers. Then, as founding CEO of Kanchi in Dublin, she developed a set of best practices (based on ISO 9000 quality standards) for businesses, to help them see ‘disabled’ workers as an asset as opposed to a liability. Hundreds of companies have adopted the standards, changing their policies and attitudes.
In 2004, Casey started the O2 Ability Awards to recognize Irish businesses for their inclusion of people with disabilities, both as employees and customers. The Ability Awards included the development of a unique assessment tool and intensive communications campaign. Establishing a business standard; they are also pioneering an achievable vision for leadership engagement whilst constructively challenging the relationship between business and people with disabilities.
International interest in the awards has created the opportunity to replicate them outside of Ireland and through O2’s parent company, Telefonica, the O2 Ability Awards were also brought to Spain.
For over a decade, Caroline has brought a unique blend of leadership and vision to the business and political world in relation to promoting the abilities of those with disabilities on a national and international level. She has received several high profile awards in recognition of her work worldwide.
She became the first Irish person to be appointed a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum in 2006. In the same year, Caroline was awarded an honorary doctorate from NUIG Ireland, became the first Ashoka fellow from Ireland and the UK and received the Eisenhower Fellowship in 2007. Caroline is regularly invited back to the World Economic Forum in Davos, where she presents on a variety of issues relating to the area of disability and diversity.
Kanchi, stems from Caroline’s trip to India in 2001, when she trained to become an elephant handler with an elephant called Kanchi. Caroline is also involved with many projects and is a founding trustee of elephant family in the UK, a board member of the Jack and Jill Foundation, Sightsavers International, the Irish Charity Tax Reform Group and 98FM.
A former management consultant with Accenture, Caroline is visually impaired to the degree that she is registered as legally blind. Her objective remains focussed on changing the way people think about disability.
Caroline address audiences on the following subjects: business, culture, entrepreneurship, social innovation, diversity in business, health & wellbeing, innovation & creativity, leadership, marketing, and social responsibility. Her style has been described as being full of honesty, energy, and passion with unique experience as a social entrepreneur, business woman, adventurer, visionary, game changer, campaigner, collaborator, risk taker, and an expert on authentic leadership.
“She is one of those people who, instead of just talking about changing the world, gets up and actually does it however tough the doing of it turns out to be. ” — The Irish Times
'Caroline was fantastic and her talk was way above anything else as the highlight of the day. Everyone I spoke to thought that her talk was inspirational as well as highly informative and charming'.
'Caroline is a breath of fresh air. She gave us insight into what is achievable once you are honest with yourself about what you want to do, and passionate about achieving it. She has a wonderful communication style that is warm, engaging, and funny while delivering an impactful message. Truly uplifting!'