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A statement from the Aspect Advisory Council

My name is Tori Haar and I am a member of the Aspect Advisory Council, a group of seven autistic adults who provide advice to both the Aspect Board and Executive regarding its strategy and risk. In the two years since the Council was formed, a positive and trusting relationship has developed between us and the Aspect Executive team and this has provided the opportunity to contribute to real change. We have had a growing platform to offer our personal and professional experience (as well as the broader needs and experiences of others in our networks) to complement the extensive corporate and professional experience possessed by the passionate, talented and hardworking people who form Aspect’s Board and Executive teams to achieve positive impact across the organisation.

Similar to our broader role in Aspect as an organisation, our role in the recruitment process for the new CEO evolved as part of our working together respectfully. We were initially consulted as a group by one of the Board members on the nominations committee to contribute suggestions of characteristics and skills they should be looking for in the new CEO. One of the thoughts raised at this meeting was that an autistic person should be part of the interview process. The Board considered this suggestion and we are appreciative of the fact that this resulted in two of us being invited to be part of the interview panel with the final candidates alongside the entire Aspect Board.

The opportunity to contribute in this significant and tangible way reflects our growing relationship with the Board and our prominence within Aspect as an organisation. The autistic community having not one but two seats at this important table, influencing this critical decision, is momentous. Ainslie Robinson and I approached representing our community in this way with passion, humility and respect. Similar to the Board, we wanted to ensure that the best person was appointed, so they could continue to grow and evolve Aspect as an organisation which truly works in partnership with a broad range of autistic people, and both assists and empowers them to be able to live the best lives possible.

We have appreciated working with the outgoing CEO Adrian Ford, who was the visionary behind the establishment of our Council. We have benefited from his attendance at our meetings, and been honoured to witness how Aspect has been changing in incremental, but significant ways to work more closely in partnership with autistic individuals to innovate and improve how Aspect engages with and supports both the autism and autistic communities. This growing influence includes not only the Council, but our operational counterparts the Aspect Think Tank, as well as other ways both large and small that autistic people are being asked to contribute to the important work Aspect does and the diverse and valued people it serves.

The role and influence of the CEO is of course a pivotal part of continuing this vision and partnership, and we look forward to continuing this journey with Jacqui Borland, the incoming CEO and building and strengthening this important relationship.

- Tori Haar, Aspect Advisory Council, 2019

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