Date posted: 09/06/2022 5 min read

Daniella Biagi CA: How inclusivity defeats disability

BDO’s Daniella Biagi CA chaired a CA ANZ Diversity & Inclusion Panel and wants to change the definition of disability.

In Brief

  • Daniella Biagi CA says dealing with biases about disabilities can be a bigger challenge than a disability itself.
  • She believes most biases and prejudices could be avoided through better education about inclusivity.
  • Biagi says it’s OK for employers to ask candidates with a disability about any modifications they may need to do the job.
As told to Hannah Tattersall
Photo David Mariuz

Daniella Biagi CA is an associate director in Business Services at BDO in Adelaide and former chair of CA ANZ’s SA/NT Diversity & Inclusion Panel. She wants to change the definition of disability in society’s mind.

What is it that you really enjoy about being a CA?

Every day, I work within a team of incredibly talented individuals at BDO. I pride myself on advising clients of all sizes throughout their entire business journey – from startup to supporting their growth and/or exit and beyond.

I completed my CA in 2016 and find it great aligning myself with a world-class professional body that strives to educate and support businesses and communities.

I was able to develop a significant aspect of my professional and personal identity through the CA networks. Through my involvement with the CA ANZ Diversity & Inclusion Panel, I was able to raise the profile and awareness of diversity and inclusion in the industry and greater community.

Daniella Biagi CAPictured: Daniella Biagi CA

“Through my involvement with the CA ANZ Diversity & Inclusion Panel, I was able to raise the profile and awareness of diversity and inclusion in the industry and greater community.”
Daniella Biagi CA

Have you encountered problems based on your own disability?

Ironically, the physical aspect has been the lesser of the challenges when living life with a “disability”. The most challenging and trying aspect, in my experience, is overcoming society’s disability to truly respect and embrace the differences in others.

A big part of me advocating for more education about inclusivity relates to what I’ve experienced and overcome in my day-to-day life. I think, for the most part, that biases and prejudices can be avoided through that sort of education.

I want to use my journey as a catalyst for change to help educate society’s perception around disability. I want to remove the barriers that people living with a disability face every day in achieving greater inclusion, equality and quality of life. In this lifetime, I not only want to see the dictionary definition of disability changed but also the definition in society’s mind.

What advice do you have for employers who have questions about hiring someone with a disability?

Please be open-minded and genuine. Inclusive principles should be embedded at every level of an organisation and its culture, including brand, strategy and messaging.

During recruitment, it’s acceptable to frame a conversation in a way that opens up a discussion about a candidate’s perceived strengths or weaknesses. It could be as simple as asking, “Are there any adjustments that we can make to bring your best self to work?” or “Do you have any questions and/or would you like to discuss anything further with us?”

What resources are available to assist employers to adapt?

Training and support can be provided by Fair Work Australia and local industry experts. There are diversity and inclusion consultants that can also provide tailored services.

I sit on the board of JFA Purple Orange in Adelaide, a disability social profit organisation that is steering a three-year “Road to Employment” project to address the barriers to employment for people living with a disability. The project was initiated to assist businesses develop industry-specific knowledge, confidence and a commitment to diversity and inclusion.

We have collaborated with businesses, government and other bodies to develop a recruitment and employment resource toolkit.

Read more:

Explore the Purple Orange business toolkit

Use the resources of this Toolkit to build your understanding of disability and create a more inclusive workplace.

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