Episode 21: Tanni Grey-Thompson - Changing the world for disabled people

January 25, 2019

It’s not every day that I get to meet someone working in the House of Lords. It’s also not every day that I get to meet a famous sports person with countless Paralympic medals. And it’s really not every day that I get to meet someone who embodies both of these massive achievements.

One day last year, I found myself interviewing one of my heroes. The awesome Tanni Grey-Thompson.

Starting her athletic career with 100m wheelchair racing back in 1984, Tanni travelled to Seoul for her first international race in 1988, winning a bronze medal. She then went on to win 16 Paralympic medals – 11 golds, four silvers and a bronze. Added to that, she’s won many World Championship medals – six gold, five silver and two bronze.

Through her fantastic achievements, she’s become a role model and ambassador for many disabled people, globally.

In our interview, Tanni reveals how a career in athletics resulted in a new career in politics and, ultimately, making a difference for disabled people across the world.

Now influencing the laws made in the UK, the stakes are high for Tanni. In an ever-changing world of innovation and global community, Tanni is working tirelessly with her allies to protect those who may be left behind. I love Tanni’s passion for truth and change.

Thank you to Tanni for taking the time out for this interview. Not only did she spare time to record this, she’s also revealed her top five tips for political activism, which was aired in our exclusive DHorizons Tribe on Facebook. I can tell you now, her advice was also very insightful.

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Episode 20: AJ Leon - You are the protagonist

January 7, 2019
I knew I needed to get out. There wasn't anything dangerous going down, but I felt a pull to go and see the world. However people don't just quit their jobs. Not away from the movies anyway. So I needed a plan!
 
Its funny how a strong feeling and a vision can lead to serendipitous moments. Not long after I broadened my horizons, I met AJ and Melissa Leon.
 
I've shared a few times the impact this beautiful couple had on my life. They empowered me to create martynsibley.com, to blog, to educate, to share my vision of inclusion, and to go explore the world.
 
In this podcast episode I get to sit with AJ, pass on his powerful story to you guys, ask questions I'd never got the chance to ask, and generally enjoy this amazing guys wisdom.
 
We discuss how you should be the protagonist of your life's story (adventure is good). You'll also learn about balancing this with helping others and earning a stable income. An all important triangle. 
 
It's all gold dust. I hope you take something extremely helpful away for yourself from this interview :-)  
 
Thank you to AJ for giving up his time, and to both him and Melissa for being such powerful role models on my journey.
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Episode 19: Ajit Nawalkha - Live Big

December 7, 2018
After 18 episodes of interviewing the cream of the crop in disabled talent, I'm tweaking the shows format. There'll still be disabled guests, but not every time. 
 
You see, I want to promote inclusion. Whilst highlighting disabled influencers is a part of the mission, bringing inspirational people with world changing messages across different causes is more vital.
 
Ajit is a great guy, who empowers thousands of people to live the best life they want to live. His journey from an overcrowded house in India, to running a large education company (Mindvalley) is so insightful. 
 
In this episode you'll hear how I met Ajit, his story, his insightful wisdom, all about his brand new book 'Live Big' and so much more!
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Episode 18: Simon Minty - The Economics of Inclusion

May 16, 2018
In one of the first episodes of the Martyn Sibley show I interviewed Phil Friend. Along with his friend and business partner Simon Minty, they paved the way for inclusion of disabled consumers and employees.
 
We have a lot to thank them for!
 
So it was really nice to sit down and talk with the other member of the dynamic duo. Since revolutionising a whole set of industries, Simon has also branched out into other pursuits.
 
You will probably have heard him on the BBC Ouch podcast. He and Phil have their own podcast too. Plus Simon loves a bit of comedy. It was a really interesting and enjoyable interview to make.
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Episode 17 - Hannah Ensor: Artistic Education

May 15, 2018
They say a picture paints a thousand words. Whilst on a public transport journey and unable to communicate the situation to fellow travellers. Hannah Ensor was struggling for energy and strength. If only she had a card that could explain what was going on, everything would have been easier.
 
So Hannah went home and drew one of the first stickman crips. Using that exact same notion of how a picture tells a thousand words. The Stickmen were the perfect tool to educate people should a similar circumstance arrive again.
 
Over time Hannah saw the need for other cards in her daily life. Then other disabled people explained the kind of messages they always have to explain to people. So Hannah drew stickmen for others too.
 
Now you can go on the website and buy a whole range of cards. It may not yet cover every single disability or societal barrier. But it certainly is getting close.
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Episode 16 - Samanta Bullock: That Happy Buzzing Feeling

May 14, 2018
A big reason for my more balanced view on this topic, came from meeting Samanta Bullock. Through a very difficult event that put her in a wheelchair, Sam never gave up on her dreams. Both as a tennis champion and a fashion model.
 
It would have been understandable for her to give up on both of these dreams. Furthermore they clearly don't lend themselves to wheelchair users to thrive in. Forget the accessibility barriers, particularly the fashion world is known for ignoring disability.
 
Sam is one of those people that lights up a room with her smile. She's proud of her wheelchair tennis accomplishments, and is now banging the drum for inclusive fashion. To follow her on social media makes you wonder where she finds the time for everything.
 
Most of all, her photos and general message are what the world needs. That disabled or not, beauty is everywhere. Even more strongly than that slightly cliche comment, is that beauty comes from diversity...
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Episode 15 - Blaine Harrison: Creative Forever

May 14, 2018
Someone who found their creative self much earlier, and has enjoyed a great career from it, is Blaine Harrison. As lead singer of the Mystery Jets he's created many albums and toured all over the world.
 
It's always too easy to home in on my guests disability and how they overcame their particular barriers. Naturally having spina bifida Blaine has had to navigate specific challenges through his touring adventures. But I'm starting to see that by only focusing on people's impairments, we can shy away from the many other interesting parts of their story.
 
Not only have I seen this interview from a newer perspective, I have to admit it's the first time I really fought against being starstruck. You see, when I was at university I listened to the Mystery Jets many times. They saw me through my home sick days, and my getting ready to go and party nights.
 
They stand for real nostalgic sentiment in my life. So to interview the lead singer was a very cool moment for me!
 
I hope you enjoy hearing this interview. Beyond his creativity, Blaine has been doing lots for inclusive music and accessible concert venues. His work with Attitude is Everything, who you will remember Suzanne from a previous episode, is very progressive.
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Episode 14 - Geoff Holt: Sailing Extravaganza

April 18, 2018
Of course my achievement was not unique. There are many people who have pushed their limits in pursuit of some adrenaline and societal change messaging. Many of whom have a disability. Nonetheless, it's always great to meet people who have interesting stories to tell. Particularly those who really really went the extra mile!
 
Geoff Holt is certainly one of those people. As you will hear in our interview, this guy has really exceeded his own expectations from his individual sailing and life challenges.
 
In this episode of the Martyn Sibley show he shares his background, his career, and how he went on to achieve some of the most amazing sailing achievements ever known to man. 
 
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Episode 13 - Robin Hindle Fisher: Extra costs of disability

April 18, 2018
After seeing the great research and work that Scope did on this topic, I reached out to them for someone to interview. The obvious person was Robin Hindle Fisher. Not only is he from an economic background, and trustee of the charity, he was heavily involved in the project.
 
This project being the extra costs commission. In this episode of the Martyn Sibley show Robin and I get to the bottom of these extra costs. You will hear from Robin what Scope found in their research. And what you can do to support this difficult situation. 
 
Hint: there is plenty we can all do to help.
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Episode 12 - Carrie-Ann: A Kindred Spirit

April 18, 2018
Its not unusual to find other people who like travelling. In my line of work I also know many disabled people. However it is not so usual to meet a real kindred spirit for accessible tourism. Luckily a few years ago I met Carrie-Anne from Tourism for All. Not only does she love travelling, but she's also a blogger. It's honestly hard to get a word in edgeways between the two of us when we get together :-)
 
Carrie-Anne runs the information service for the UKs accessible tourism charity. This involves supporting disabled people and their families with the right information for their travels. It also involves supporting businesses on how to be open and accessible for disabled travellers.
 
In her spare time she is with her husband Darren and her beautiful dog traversing the sights of Cumbria. Somehow she still finds time to go abroad for blogging trips. Just like the one we recently both attended in Madrid, Spain.
 
Carrie-Ann really enjoys documenting both her experiences and the general information that helps others. Plus she throws in some really cool photos and videos to enhance her blogging content.
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