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Advertorial: Walk the talk – Accessibility & inclusion at Telstra

Telstra Youth Ambassador Curtis McGrath

When Telstra Youth Ambassador Curtis McGrath powered home to win the inaugural KL2 canoeing event at the Rio Paralympics, he proved to himself, his friends, his former army colleagues, and thousands of Australians with disabilities, that nothing – if you really believe it – is impossible. 

It’s a message and a spirit that drives Curtis in the daily charity work to which he has committed his life. And it’s a message that is now making real waves at Telstra.

Less than five years after losing his legs to a landmine in Afghanistan, this dignified 28-year-old has risen from the depths of personal tragedy to become a model of hope, courage and determination for millions of Australians.

“There’s no one better than Curtis to make the words ‘accessibility’ and ‘inclusion’ really mean something across our business,” says Duncan Armstrong, an Olympic swimming champion himself and Telstra Community Engagement Specialist. “As the company focuses on greater opportunities for people with disabilities, there’s no better advocate than this young man who has bounced back from adversity to become one of our greatest Paralympians.”

With his rigorous Rio schedule, Curtis’s work for Telstra has been largely focused on social media advocacy. But he’s now setting his sights on a busy few years ahead: attending product launches and store openings, mentoring young people, and addressing community events. While continuing to represent the Mates4Mates and Legacy charities, Curtis sees Telstra as his foremost ally in promoting his personal passion for inclusion.

“Telstra has a special role to play in providing life-changing opportunities for people with disabilities, both through technology and employment,” he says. “Everyone needs to communicate and connect with other people, and as our largest communications provider Telstra is in a unique position to walk this talk.”

In 1996, Telstra was one of the first large corporates in Australia to introduce a Disability Action Plan. Now, after six Disability Action Plans, Telstra has launched its first Accessibility and Inclusion Plan. Accessibility is about opportunity. It is about creating an inclusive society where the barriers to equal participation are removed. It is about everyone having equal access – to all elements of the physical and digital world. Accessibility is a theme at the core of Telstra’s stated mission – a brilliant connected future for everyone. And it is those last two words, “for everyone”, that lies at the heart of the commitment to helping people stay connected. View the new plan at telstra.com/disability