Bernadette Rigney - Global
Founder of Fability | Public Speaker | Businesswoman | Former Government Transformation Officer
Fability (Pty) Ltd was established by Bernadette Rigney.Making an impact on people's lives comes effortlessly to Bernadette Rigney, whose laugh is infectious and whose positive outlook on life makes you smile. Born with a rare condition called Arthrogryposis, which affects the muscles and limits the range of motion in her hands and legs. Despite her physical limitations, she has proven herself to be a giant in her field. With her extensive marketing experience from working in the USA to the Fashion and Cosmetic Industry as well as Government, she started Fability because she is in a unique position to bring attention to the challenges that Persons with Disabilities face on a daily basis, in every Sector. Since starting Fability, she has worked on global projects to share disability awareness through Media platforms over the last three years and achieved remarkable results in breaking barriers. Bernadette aims to create equal opportunities and fairness in business and social welfare for ALL. Her passion for making a difference is evident. She firmly believes in creative collaboration. Her motto: "With all eyes on us, we might as well keep it fabulous." Book Bernadette for any occasion and be motivated by her sheer determination, enthusiasm and self-belief. Public Speaking: Government and Corporate Seminars / Workshops / Training Sessions: Topics Discussed:
• Business Network Building
• Marketing Strategies
• The impact Social Media has on your Job search and/or Business
• Professional Personal Branding
• The Evolving World of the Workplace / Employees / Entrepreneurs
• Definition of Disability
• The Code of Good Practice in transforming the South African workplace
• Communication and Accessibility Measures to create barrier-free environments Motivating and Inspiring
Dreams have this li'l habit of coming true
Shezad Nawab MBE - United Kingdom
Award-Winning Entrepreneur | Non-Executive Director | International Speaker
Shezad Nawab is a unique individual who, from an early age, displayed unlimited enthusiasm, passion and a flair for business, despite being profoundly deaf. Shezad received his MBE at Buckingham Palace by HRH Prince Charles.Born in Birmingham UK, Shezad took his initial inspiration from his enterprising father who owned; a large and thriving branch of the Post Office, a busy supermarket and some commercial and residential properties. Over the last 15 years Shezad has become a business development expert and can help companies to increase their revenues and grow their businesses. He is a strategic thinker with a formidable network, and uniquely has an intricate understanding of the disability community and its needs, particularly the deaf community. With a sharp and intelligent speaking style, Shezad has the ability to engage a diverse range of audiences. His public speaking appearances feature sound and sensible advice on a variety of topics, with in-depth discourse on risk management and the tricky subject of managing a business through difficult times. Shezad's expertise lies in speaking to Deaf and Hearing clients on the subject of establishing a business and its future development, growth and sustainability. He is valued for providing keynote speeches and carries much expertise on business within the Deaf and Hearing community.
I remember asking my father how to make my fortune. He told me that before you take your first step in building your business, you need to invest time and money in creating strong foundations.
Karolina Sky Rafalski - South Africa
Keynote Speaker | Communications Professional | Life Coach | Psychology professional | Miss SA top 5 finalist | Businesswoman | Model | Mother
She sets her goals sky-high but still remains one of South Africa's most down-to-earth celebrities, well-known and loved for her ability to leave a lasting mark on everyone she meets. It's no wonder proprietorships; partnerships and corporations alike are requesting Karolina Sky Rafalski to speak at their events and motivate staff and management to reach for the stars. With a BA Corporate Communications Degree, an honours degree in Psychology and a specialised postgraduate degree in BPsych Psychometrics.Born in Poland and raised in South Africa, the stunning Karolina shot to fame in 2002 when she was placed in the top five of the Miss South Africa Pageant and won the very first coveted title of Miss Veet Legs South Africa. The latter saw her representing the brand in various capacities, from an exclusive yearlong Veet media campaign, brand ambassador to public speaker and motivator at the Veet countrywide road show workshops for young girls. This boosted her modelling career significantly and Karolina went on to become the face and legs of many international brands one of them being Revlon’s Divine perfume, SA’s official Lara Croft model as well as the face for Africa’s BIC Soleil range. In addition, she graced the inserts of countless magazines; participated in numerous fashion shows, both locally and abroad, as a runway model. About the beYOUtiful Minds workshops/talks: Through this process of introspection individuals will discover their most valuable assets, personality type, values and unique potential resulting in motivation, raised confidence levels and improved self understanding and self image, all of which will equip them in making the best, most important, decisions regarding their personal brand and future.
Samkelo Radebe - South Africa
Admitted Attorney of the SA High Court | Paralympic Gold Medallist
Samkelo Radebe lost both his arms when as a nine-year-old boy he was electrocuted by high voltage wires while playing with friends. He went on to become one of South Africa’s most celebrated sprinters. He started running at school in 2003 and soon after he was competing professionally, bagging over 50 gold medals and nearly 20 SA records for the 100m, 200m, 400m and long and high jumps.He became world famous as a member of the SA Paralympic team in 2012 when the SA team won gold and broke the world record for the 4x 100 relay. Blade runner Oscar Pistorious was part of this incredible team and they won the race in a world-beating 41.78-secs. “I did more living during that race than some people do in a lifetime,” he told the Mail & Guardian. However, Samkelo was determined to do more with his life than sprinting - and graduated from his LLB studies at the University of Johannesburg in 2014. He said his sporting career played a major role in his decision to study further as only a handful of athletes had much to show but medals for their hard work. Born in Soweto in 1989, he was an award winner at the 2013 National Future Leaders Awards. A natural achiever, Samkelo climbed and summited Mount Kilimanjaro in 2007 with Children of Fire, the organisation that assisted in his rehabilitation after losing his arms. That same year he represented South Africa at the 2007 International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports ("IWAS") Games and won two gold medals in the 100m and 200m T45/46 class. Already showing an interest in human rights and law, in 2007 he job shadowed counsel at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Tanzania. Starting to take sport more seriously, he represented South Africa at the 2009 IWAS Games in India and won two gold medals in the 100m and 200m T45/46 class. More gold medals came his way in 2010 when he represented South Africa in various athletics competitions in Germany. That year he also won silver at the Commonwealth Games in India. Then in 2011 he represented South Africa at the International Paralympic Committee ("IPC") World Championships in New Zealand and won a gold medal in the 4x100m relay t42-46 classes. Naturally, he was chosen as Sports Person of the Year at the University of Johannesburg Sports Awards 2012. In that year he was also chosen as Sportsman with a Disability of the Year at both the Ekurhuleni Sports Awards and the Gauteng Sports Awards. In 2013 he was selected to represent South Africa at the 2013 IPC World Championships. He also represented Central Gauteng at the Nedbank National Championships for the Physically Disabled from 2003 to 2013, breaking no less than 15 South African records in the 100m, 200m, 400m, long jump, high jump and cycling in the T45 class. At the age of 24 hung up his running shoes and surrendered his titles without defense at the SA National Championships for the Physically Disabled to focus on his articles as a candidate attorney. Now he is embarking on a fulltime career in law. He says: “I enjoy talking and listening, so my personality fits law quite well. Apparently I like arguing too.” He also has a sense of humour. He enjoys pranks around his physical challenges and told Sunday World: “... I was stopped by these traffic cops and when they saw me handling my driver's license with my arms, they were so shocked they let me go.” He believes it's his sense of humour that has made life bearable. This spirit is what makes him such a sought-after speaker. On the professional speakers’ circuit, he motivates, entertains and inspires.
Dylan Da Silva - South Africa
ParaTriAthlete | Motivational Speaker
Dylan Da Silva was born with a physical disability called Phocomelia. His left arm ends at the elbow and his right arm is three quarters in length with no elbow and has half a hand with two fingers which bend minimally.Dylan is a talented young athlete who has achieved great results and accomplishments over the last five years. In his early years as an athlete he spent most of his efforts swimming and cycling. In 2014, he started focusing on triathlons as well as his cycling as these are the two disciplines in which he has the best opportunity to succeed at an international level. Dylan was selected for the South African para-cycling team to participate at the World Cup Championships in September 2015. This accomplishment came about as a result of consistent performances over the last couple of years. Dylan is committed to achieving at the highest level in his sport but still makes time to involve himself actively in as much charity work as possible. In February 2014, in aid of charity, he climbed Mount Kilimanjaro with a group of fellow disabled sportsmen and reached the summit. Prior to the event he visited numerous under privileged schools in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Tanzania where they donated essential supplies to the children in need. Marky Warren (an avid activist for the late Joost van der Westhuizen and the J9 Foundation) led a fundraiser event for motor neuron disease by walking from Johannesburg to Durban. Dylan was asked to accompany him on the first stage from Johannesburg to Pretoria to raise awareness and funds for the disease. Dylan is frequently asked to participate in charity cycle events and does so willingly. Dylan has reached the highest levels locally but needs to start challenging at an international level. The only way for this to happen is by participating at international events against the best opposition in the world. He has a really bright future ahead of him and if given the right opportunities, he has the ability to be a top international athlete and hopefully a Paralympic/World medalist in the future.
Soneni Gwizi - Zimbabwe
Award-Winning Media Personality | Radio and TV Host | Fability Face of Africa
Soneni Gwizi: Radio Producer / Presenter, Proudly Zimbabwean & Proudly Disabled I AM! Student of Institute for the Advancement of Journalism (IAJ)2010 Media Award for reporting on Gender by Federation of African Media Women Zimbabwe
2011 Federation of African Media Women Zimbabwe Gender Sensitive Media Awards Nominee-Broadcast Category
2012 JCI Zimbabawe -Ten Outstanding Young Persons of Zimbabwe-TOYP Award winner for Contribution to Children, World Peace & Human Rights-Category
2012 Nac National Aids Council ( Byo ) honorary
2013 Women4Africa (Uk) Recognition Award for Outstanding Contribution/Achievements & being the first female disabled radio broadcaster in Zimbabwe
Using the media to influence Gender & Disability rights to create a safe place for all. Everyone has a voice on this planet!
Luthando Kekana - South Africa
Luthando Kekana understands resilience and how to wake up the fighter within. When she was just 17 years old she was shot and was also told that she will never be able to walk again. That should have kept her spirit down but instead it brought out the fighter within her.She had to come through from ground zero, regaining self-esteem and self-worth understanding her true values and redesigning her life. Today Luthando is a mother, an inspirational speaker, a communications professional, a television presenter, a poet and friend amongst other titles. She sees her disability as an opportunity to change the topic in the boardroom, on stage and every other platform she finds herself in. She believes that “When it hurts, never camp in misery. You have to keep moving, you may cry or scream as you go so but you must keep moving until you are out of it and can turn those tears of sadness into tears of victory. Keep moving until you shout for joy!” Luthando is passionate about children and finding creative solutions to bring a smile to their faces and to inspire them rise above their current situation, no matter the circumstances. She serves on the board of the Association for the Physically Disabled Greater Johannesburg. The Association for the Physically Disabled (APD) is a registered non-profit organisation helping people with most forms of physical disability through social work and home-based care services. For fun, she likes to play board games with family and friends, reading and traveling as much as she can, whenever she can.
Jack Eyers - United Kingdom
Personal Trainer | Model at Models of Diversity | Mr England 2017/19
'I want to show that having a disability won't hold you back': British personal trainer who had his leg amputated when he was 16 to become first disabled man to model at New York fashion week.Eyers became an amputee at the age of 16, after having his right leg, which had been left withered by a condition called Proximal Femoral Focal Deficiency, amputated. Fed up with constant trips to hospital, Mr Eyers opted for the amputation in the hope of finally being able to lead a normal life. 'Growing up with the deformed leg was really hard - I had no muscle structure or knee joint and I walked with a really pronounced limp. 'At primary school I was really into sports but it was hard to join in, and I would get bullied.' Eyers became a fitness fanatic and started to look into a career in modelling after the amputation. Eyers has modeled for fashion retailer Boohoo and starred in ads for Tango and Barclays, 'I remember at the age of around seven saying I wanted to have it amputated but I needed to wait until it stopped growing - it felt like this devil attached to me. When I finally got it removed it felt like I’d been reborn.' Finally rid of the leg that had caused him so much pain, Eyers became a fitness fanatic, and started to look into a career in modelling. He eventually came across Models of Diversity, a company that campaigns for more diversity within the modelling industry. Signed on the spot, his career has gone from strength to strength, and was even crowned Men’s Health Magazine’s Man of the Year. New lease of life: 'I went along to a photo shoot with them and everything has just snowballed from there. I could hardly believe it. It still doesn’t feel real, but I can’t wait to get out there and get stuck in. It’s such a massive step for me and the modelling industry.' His career is hotting up and he was crowned Men's Health Magazine's Man of the Year. Warm welcome: Designer Antonio Erzi said it was an 'honour' to have Mr Eyers appear on his catwalk. Eyers went on to walking at multiple Fashion Weeks. His recent achievement includes been chosen as Mr England 2017 during a national finale held at Resorts World Birmingham, on July 14, 2017. Jack will now represent England in the next edition of Mr World.
My dream is to be seen as a good model, not a sob story.
Marciel Hopkins - South Africa
Miss South Africa finalist '16 | International Curve Model | Motivational Speaker/MC | Psychology Honours
As a young girl she never dreamed she’d be on stage in the Miss South Africa pageant, more than a year after her journey started, Marciel Hopkins (24) is making her mark as a model.Marciel grew up near Franschhoek and when she was 13, her family moved to Paarl. She is a Psychology Honours graduate from the University of Stellenbosch and she was Primaria of her female residence, Huis ten Bosch, in 2015. Marciel Hopkins entered the Miss South Africa competition in 2015. “I never followed the Miss SA beauty pageant,” she admits. Before the first elimination round of the competition, she decided she needed a new challenge in her life and she lost 14kg in 4 months to enter for Miss SA. She was eventually chosen as 1 of the top 12 finalists. After Miss SA, she says she didn't choose curve modelling, it chose her. “My body has always been naturally curvy which, with a sustainably healthy lifestyle, enables me to be a curve model,” she explains. “I was never sad or discouraged to exercise and work so hard, because I knew there was a bigger picture to keep in mind. I’ve always been passionate about looking and feeling good,” Marciel explains. “I think it’s a wonderful form of creative expression to be able to transform yourself into difference characters and styles.” After all, she did study drama at Stellenbosch University! Now, after the pressure of the competition, she’s more comfortable in her body. “I’m not letting myself be restricted by the regulations of a competition anymore,” she says confidently. She approached Ice Genetics, a modeling agency in Cape Town, who signed her immediately. She recently signed contracts with agencies in London and Germany, and now it’s time to fulfill another dream. “My dream is to go to New York in two years from now,” she says. She is passionate about education and skills development and she will be studying again next year to become a life coach. She believes in body positivity and in breaking stigmas of beauty and body image that is created by the media. She wants to be an inspiration to other women to accept their bodies in their natural state. She says being healthy doesn’t necessarily mean being a size 10 or 12. It simply means being the healthiest version of yourself. For Marciel, Miss SA was never the end. It was the beginning.
"You must become unshakable in the belief that you are worthy of a big life." - Kristin Lohr