Being actively involved in an experiential journey with many others at once, 82 award winners in one session simultaneously and two premieres. These were the highlights of day 2:
“A warm welcome from snowy Vienna“ – Seema Mundackal from Zero Project summed it up well in her welcome speech. While outside the Bank Austria studio at Kaiserwasser in Vienna, icy temperatures and snowfall prevailed, more than 3,000 participants from all over the world and across all time zones had gathered online in front of their screens or devices to take part in this meeting dedicated to a world with Zero Barriers. Also, on the second day, an in-depth program was offered on three channels in parallel.
Truly inclusive leaders in CEO hour
Caroline Casey kicked things off on Channel 1 with her CEO Hour. Without her distinctive glasses, but just like the day before, she remotely checked in with: “I am still beside my washing machine here in Dublin.” According to her, inclusive employment cannot happen without inclusive business cultures. Casey: “And how do we create inclusive business cultures? We need inclusive leaders!“
So the founder of The Valuable 500 had invited two such inclusive leaders to join her. Steve Inghalm the Group CEO of Pagegroup – a recruitment service company and aka Michael Page – and Robert James, who was CIO of Adecco, a leading Human Resources provider until the end of 2019. Both are wheelchair users, due to sports accidents. Their own experience with disability has changed their approach to inclusion and made them strong advocates for the employment of people with disabilities.
Going beyond the limitations of the web
The possibilities in times of social distancing was demonstrated by Michal Rimon, CEO of Access Israel, with the “experiential session“ she organized. Those who dialed in via Zoom were not only able to interact with her, but also actively took part in the assigned tasks. For example, they were able to experience the barriers people with visual impairments face in an open-plan office. Online participants had to find their desk with their small coffee cup in various visual simulations. Those who managed to do so reported back via chat. Or as Michal summed it up: “in our session we want to go beyond talking, we want to create something.“
A kind of Zero-vision Inclusion Contest
Anna Königseder and Wilfried Kainz from Zero Project also wanted to explore the possible frontiers of the Internet. At 13.00 CET they invited ALL Zero Project Awardees to a joint meeting; and that was a total (an accumulation) of 82 Awardees from 49 countries around the globe. Ok, not everything worked out initially, but it was, as Wilfried put it: “a big hour of celebration!“ And when Anna called out: “Helsinki, please” or when from the other side of the world we could hear: “hola from Mexico”, it felt like being at a Eurovision Song Contest broadcast, but on a global scale. So to speak a Zerovision Inclusion Contest …
Did you miss it? No problem: “Live on screen: All the Zero Project Awardees 2021,“ and all of the other sessions will be available on-demand 15 minutes after airing. Just click here. And at zeroproject.org you can find and download detailed factsheets for all of the Awarded Innovative Practices and Policies from this year. Click here for the PRACTICES. Click here for the POLICIES.
Premiere for Enable Me and Seeing AI
On the 2nd day of #ZeroCon21 there were also two firsts. In the midday session, myHandicap from Switzerland presented the first online mentoring program for people with disabilities: EnableMe. The goal of the program is to build a bridge between employees and companies by supporting people who are preparing to enter or re-enter the workforce with mentors from companies. The session also featured a pre-recorded interview with Joachim Schoss, impact investor and founder of myHandicap.
And as a final highlight of day 2, there was a real film premier. The TV documentary “Seeing AI”, featuring Amy Dixon. She is a blind Paralympic athlete who is testing and using Seeing AI, a free app that recognizes the environment and describes it in words. The documentary was produced by TFA Group and the Zero Project. After the documentary’s first airing, Jeremy Snyder, CEO of TFA Group, and Amy Dixon joined studio host Michael Fembek for a discussion.