FOUNDER, THE VALUABLE 500
Caroline Casey is the founder of Kanchi and the O2 Ability Awards and is also an international speaker and adventurer. A social entrepreneur, Caroline set up The Aisling Foundation (known today as Kanchi) in 2000, with the aim of changing the way people think about disability. Under the new name of Kanchi, Caroline will continue to deliver a deeper level of engagement with society, business, media and politics to affect change through positive solution based thinking.
Over the past nine years, Caroline has brought a unique blend of leadership and vision to the business and political world in relation to promoting the abilities of those with disabilities on a national and international level. She has received several high profile awards in recognition of her work worldwide. She became the first Irish person to be appointed a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum in 2006. In the same year, Caroline was awarded an honorary doctorate from NUI Ireland, became the first Ashoka fellow from Ireland and the UK and received the Eisenhower Fellowship in 2007. Caroline is continually invited back to the World Economic Forum in Davos, where she presents on a variety of issues relating to the area of disability and diversity.
The new name for The Aisling Foundation, Kanchi, stems from Caroline’s trip to India in 2001, when she trained to become an elephant handler with an elephant called Kanchi. Caroline is also involved with many projects and is a founding trustee of elephant family in the UK, a board member of the Jack and Jill Foundation, Sightsavers International, the Irish Charity Tax Reform Group and 98FM.
Launched in 2004 by The Aisling Foundation, the O2 Ability Awards were created to establish best practice for the employment and inclusion of people with disabilities within business. The Ability Awards included the development of a unique assessment tool and intensive communications campaign. Establishing a business standard; they are also pioneering an achievable vision for leadership engagement whilst constructively challenging the relationship between business and people with disabilities.
International interest in the awards has created the opportunity to replicate them outside of Ireland and through O2’s parent company, Telefonica, the O2 Ability Awards will be brought to Spain later this year.
A former management consultant with Accenture, Caroline is visually impaired to the degree that she is registered as legally blind. www.kanchi.org