Judy Small has been on the Blind Foundation Board since November 2013, and a client of the Foundation since she was four years old. She is also employed as the Disability Advisor to the Hamilton City Council and last week presented a paper at the Disability Matters conference in Dunedin, sharing how the Council uses engagement processes to ensure the needs of the disability community are represented in their work.

As part of her presentation, she played a video that was produced by the Hamilton City Council. This video stars Judy and shares how the Council engages with the disabled community and works with stakeholders to meet the needs of people with impairments.
Watch it here:

We wanted to find out some more about Judy, so we asked her a few questions…

Can you tell us a bit about your career to date and your role at the Hamilton City Council?

I studied at Waikato University as an adult student gaining a Masters degree in Sociology in 1999. Following 12 years as a Policy Analyst in the Office for Disability Issues, today I am Disability Advisor to the Hamilton City Council where I have worked for nearly four years.

I have worked for the Council for nearly four years now. My role is to implement the Disability Policy and Action Plan by monitoring progress against and annually reporting on the Disability Action Plan. I am a conduit between the disability community and disability organisations in Hamilton and the Council’s staff and elected members of Council. In addition to providing advice, the Council promotes its disability and access-related activities highlighting access issues, inclusive communities and engagement methods, outcomes and practices.

What types of access or enablers have been most important to you personally in helping you to do the things you want to do in life?

Braille has enhanced my life by opening the door to many forms of literacy throughout my entire life.  Computers and screen reading software, and more latterly phones, are the key enablers in my professional life. My children and my blind parents and people I work with in the disability sector strengthen my conviction that the more we invest in life the more we get out of it. Making a small difference for someone now may make a huge difference for another person in the future.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

I enjoy listening to good music, taking walks and shopping with my guide dog, knitting and reading and being with my grandchildren.