Having spent more than a decade working in the Australian Disability Employment Services sector. Wayne Herbert is on a mission to change the conversation around disability from “what can’t you do?” to “what are you amazing at?”
Wayne is an outspoken international public speaker, comedian, and advocate for the rights of and opportunities for people with disability and the LGBTIQ community.
His highly successful book, Anecdotes of a Disabled Gay challenges the way people think about inclusion, diversity, disability and sexuality. Wayne was featured in TEDx Canberra 2017 and now has several thousand views.
In 2017, Wayne was awarded the ACT Chief Minister’s inclusion award for Making Inclusion Happen. His work continues to support government and organisations to build their disability confidence. For his extensive work on diversity and inclusion, Wayne was a nominee for the 2017 ACT Australian of the Year award. Wayne was a finalist for the ACT Chief Ministers awards again in 2018.
Wayne has worked with a range of federal government agencies including as a previous member of a Disability Working Group chaired by the Australian Public Service Commission advising on all aspects of HR and raising the profile of the importance of inclusion and diversity in all areas of employment across the federal government. Wayne is a current member, and has previously served as deputy chairperson of the ACT Government’s LGBTIQ ministerial advisory council reporting directly to the Chief Minister, he has held positions on the ACT government Disability Reference Group and currently is a board of the ACT AIDS Action Council.
Wayne has a unique, humorous, thought-provoking, and challenging insight into the issues facing people with disability and the LQBTIQ community. Following his first speaking tour of Canada in 2018 where he presented keynote addresses to several government departments, including engagements with the Canadian Public Service Commission where he was presented with a commemorative coin to recognise significant services to the government of Canada. Wayne also hosted an international roundtable with Australia’s High Commissioner to Canada in 2018 and again this year. Wayne is excited to have recently returned from Canada where he continued across government on the importance of diversity and inclusion.
Wayne has this amazing talent to connect with the subject matter, and bring a sense of lightness, humour and fabulous dress sense to what can be a heavy day full of discussions around traumatic topics and frustration. He has an ability to lift the room, lift the mood and delegates walked out smiling, and feeling hope. He was a huge part in the success of our conference, and I would not hesitate to work with him again. Thanks Wayne, you are the best!
Disability Advocacy Resource Unit
The Public Service Commission of Canada was very pleased to welcome Wayne to our organization for the second year in a row. Our employees appreciated his valuable and thought-provoking insights on diversity and inclusion and the LGBTQ2+ community in the workplace. Wayne engaged our employees in a dialogue around the issues and barriers facing employees with disabilities, and presented ways to raise awareness and dismantle these obstacles. His talk was both inspiring and entertaining, and highlighted the importance of diversity in building a stronger workforce. Thank you, Wayne, for coming to Canada and sharing your own personal experiences with our employees.
Public Service Commission of Canada
Wayne was very engaging, shared great insights and was a great panellist.
Department of Jobs and Small Business; Indigenous and Diversity Group
Wayne was well-prepared and aware of the corporate context in which he was speaking.
Thank you once again for presenting at The PSC Exchange, where we had the opportunity to reach out to HR officials and hiring managers from nearly 60 Canadian Federal Public Service organizations. Your presentation on diversity and inclusion was inspiring and very well received by participants. It was the perfect addition to our program and a timely spark to encourage the ever important discussion on how we can further remove barriers and inspire more inclusive recruitment strategies, as we continue on our journey to modernize staffing towards a more diverse and inclusive Public Service.
Public Service Commission, Canada
Wayne was a very entertaining speaker – funny and sincere. I was grateful and impressed that he took the time to mingle with guests after his speech. I received lots of positive feedback from attendees too. I would happily recommend him as a guest speaker.
Department of Attorney General
I highly recommend Wayne as a speaker and motivator. He provided a funny, warm, confronting keynote address for the launch of our social enterprise accelerator. He challenged my audience (and me!) to think about the barriers that we unwittingly create that excludes others. I think Wayne would be perfect for any organisation that wants to move beyond the mundane discussions of accessibility and accommodation to genuine cultural change.
Social Impact Strategist
University of Canberra
On Monday, the Disability Employee Network marked International Day of People with Disability with a great event. Guest speakers Wayne Herbert and Jessica May were brave and generous in sharing their stories, offering humorous and thought-provoking insight into issues faced by people with disability.
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
Social Futures wish to express our sincere gratitude for the insightful and entertaining speech you gave at our annual Social Futures Staff Dinner Event on Tuesday, 24 October 2017 in Lismore, NSW. Your insights into living with a disability resonated with our staff and we had a lot of positive feedback about not just your witty and engaging speech, but also what pleasure staff found in talking informally with you afterwards, in addition to very positive feedback about your book Anecdotes of a Disabled Gay.
Staff comments from the evening include:
• 'I adored the way Wayne added so much humour to his speech, which made for a really enjoyable evening'
• 'He has inspired me to be open about who I am'
• 'I wish he had talked for longer, I loved what Wayne was saying and the way he views life so positively'
• 'Wayne is a wonderful powerful role model for all people'
Prior to the event you consulted with our leadership team, fine-tuning your speech to sit effectively with our organisation's activities and values. We appreciated your professionalism and would recommend you to any other organisation wanting an inspiring guest speaker with a great depth of knowledge and wisdom.
Executive Manager, People and Quality