Young Achiever

Young Achiever

Meet Carmela Chillery-Watson

We interviewed our very first Young Achiever, Carmela Chillery-Watson to find out what it was like to be nominated.

an image of carmela

You were nominated for the 2021 Disability Power 100, and are our first Young Achiever how did that make you feel?

It felt absolutely amazing and exciting to be nominated. Thank you so much.

We know you do a lot of blogs and videos motivating others to keep up with exercise and physio throughout the pandemic, what made you want to start that?

I wanted to start doing it because others didn’t get their physio appointments in the pandemic, I thought this could help me and other people. They could have an exercise a day from me and hopefully help motivate them. I did find it challenging but I got through it and enjoyed it.

We’ve seen a lot of videos, posts and news activity for your Wonder Woman relay, is it true Wonder Woman herself has been in touch with you?

That is true! I met Lilly Aspell, the young girl who plays young wonder woman, Gal Gadot has also sent me a message. It was amazing, Lilly Aspell gave me a surprise, I thought it was just a normal horse riding day and then she came around the corner and we went riding together. We are also going to be doing another Wonder Woman relay!

You’ve had lots of great achievements, including being a Finalist for NDA 2021 & UK Coaching Hero, what’s your proudest moment so far?

I think I would say, winning the Who Cares Wins Awards, Young Hero Award. I was a bit emotional when I found out, so was my mum. I like to be able to help and keep other people feeling positive and motivated.

Stefan Hoggan-Radu

Stefan Hoggan-Radu

Meet Stefan Hoggan-Radu

Feature Interview

We caught up with Disability Power 100 judge and influencer, Stefan Hoggan-Radu to find out what it was like to be on the list and now a judge.

An image of Stefan Hoggan

Not only were you on the Disability Power 100 in 2019 and 2020 but you were also a judge for this year, how have you found the two different experiences?

Being on the list in 2019 and 2020 was incredible, especially in 2019. I hadn’t actually heard of the list before, which is bad. I should have heard about the list but unfortunately I hadn’t. Since then I have been committed to sharing people’s stories. I’ve made a lot of connections, a lot of networking through the list and it was really a great experience, and in 2019 I got to come down to London, to the House of Lords and got to be part of the ceremony and I brought my grandma with me and we spent the day in London which was a brilliant.

Being on the list and a judge was a huge difference, I was honoured in 2019 and 2020 to be on the list and then when I was asked to be a judge it was fantastic. I have been around disability my entire life. I was born with my lower right arm missing and the list is something that I think is great for not only promoting people with disabilities in the work that they do, but also to engage with disabled people and hear their stories and thoughts. So actually getting to read what other people had said about these fantastic people was just an honour.

As somebody who’s on the list, you don’t get to see all the wonderful things that people have said about all these different people that have made the top 100. But as a judge, I got to read through all these brilliant stories and not only the people that made the final 100 but people that didn’t quite make it and will probably be on the list in the future and that was a real honour for me.

What do you think the importance of initiatives like the Disability Power 100 are?

I think initiatives like the Disability Power 100 are extremely important, it doesn’t discriminate, it doesn’t matter what age you are, it doesn’t matter where you’re from the only criteria is that you have some form of disability. It’s great to showcase those top 100, there are so many influential people, and I don’t think it’s just the people that make the final 100 list, it’s everybody that’s been nominated and also the people who are starting to do good things and have not yet been nominated.

I’ve heard of the fantastic work of these people and, like I said, it was an honour to be able to go through the list and to be able to see the people that are coming through and especially the young people. The amount of very young people that were nominated was fantastic and although they’ve maybe not made the list this time, they will definitely, if they continue on their current path, make the list in the future.

What have you been up to since the last time we spoke?

I think the last time we spoke was at the very beginning of this year and I was standing up to become an MSP, a Member of the Scottish Parliament for the Scottish National Party and it was a fantastic campaign. Obviously the Scottish National Party, SNP, did fantastically well.

I narrowly missed out on becoming an MSP myself but I have been working recently on a project of mine, a podcast called The Blether Cast. It’s a pro-independence news and politics podcast – all about grassroots voices and I’ve had a couple of disabled people on so far as well and I’ve tried to make it as inclusive as possible because obviously independence for Scotland is a huge part of my life.

One of the reasons why I made it onto the list was my activism and politics as well as my sporting achievements and it’s something that is really driving me forward. So probably the biggest thing that has changed is the fact that I’ve launched a podcast called The Blether Cast, which you can find on all the normal podcasting places and I’ve really been focusing on trying to hear people’s voices, not just about independence, but also about what they’re doing with their life. I’ve had TikTokers on, I’ve had politicians on and it has been quite successful so far.

What has been your highlight of 2021 and what are your plans for 2022?

The highlights for 2021 for me were firstly being able to give my opinions on The Disability Power 100. I think I found out the tail end of 2020 that I had been asked to be a judge and then things really kicked off in the beginning of 2021, so that was brilliant, and obviously the Scottish parliamentary election which was a huge highlight for me. The SNP winning the election by a landslide and then being able to focus my energies on the podcast. I would probably say those three things would be my highlights of the year so far.

With regards to 2022, I’ve just started or I’m just about to start a new job. I can’t say who with yet because it’s not been confirmed but it’s in the third sector and I’m really, really excited about it. I hopefully will be able to pursue that through 2022 and further. For 2022, I do plan to stand in the Scottish Council Election. So, that would be something that I’m looking forward to as well.

Pareisse Wilson

Pareisse Wilson

Meet Pareisse Wilson

We caught up with Disability Power 100 nominee Pareisse to find out more about her work in the STEM field and announce our new 2022 STEM category.

An image of Pariesse WIlson

Congratulations on being nominated for the Disability Power 100 this year, how did it feel when you found out?

I was quite overwhelmed to be honest, I wasn’t expecting it in the slightest! The lady who nominated me, Jenny, she just dropped it into general chit-chat that she had put me forward for this nomination – I’m truly humbled and privileged to have been nominated so I was delighted.

Up until now we haven’t had a STEM category, but we know there are many individuals like yourself doing fantastic work in the sector who deserve recognition. Therefore, to ensure that the Disability Power 100 list is up to date and relevant, we’re excited to say that there will be a STEM category in 2022! Can you tell us a little more about the work you do?

That is so exciting, just great to hear about the new STEM category! Interestingly I didn’t read any STEM subjects at university; my background is in human rights and justice law and politics and international relations. I stumbled into the engineering, built and natural environment sector and what’s great about STEM is that there are so many ways to be a part of the STEM movement without being a specialist!

I’m an inclusive design consultant, I provide advice and insights on inclusive design and accessibility internally and to clients. I think strategically about how to embed inclusive design into programme and projects, conduct accessibility audits and design appraisals of buildings through to the public realm, through to running inclusive design and accessibility training sessions – my job is super varied!

I’m really passionate about inclusion in design as a believe design of the built, natural, and digital environment can either connects people and fosters a spirit of belonging or restrict people with design failures that create boundaries and increase feelings of insecurity. I believe we play a dutiful role in designing products, spaces and places that are accessible to all; this means going beyond disability to consider all human characteristics in design such as age, height, culture, gender identity and much more.

This additional category will open opportunities for so many talented people working in STEM disciplines to be recognised for their contribution to breaking down barriers to enable social mobility.

What advice would you give to a young person with a disability?

Disability doesn’t define you – challenge any barriers that are preventing you from being able to excel, it’s your right! Keep championing your passion and if one door doesn’t open, try other doors – one of them will open for you to thrive. Your conditions allow you to see the world with new and different perspectives, your unique perspectives, like anyone else, are actually your superpowers; identify and understand those strengths and leverage them because you have a place at the table, and we need your contribution as much as everyone else’s.

What has been your highlight of 2021 and what are your plans for 2022?

My highlights for 2021 include passing my National Register of Access Consultants (NRAC) stage one and being appointed as a member to join the British Standards Institute B/559 Design of an Accessible and Inclusive Environment Committee. In 2022, I hope to pass my stage two NRAC to become an accredited accessibility consultant and continue to influence and contribute to industry change initiatives related to inclusion in design.