Julie McElroy is a Scottish woman who has Cerebral Palsy which has resulted in walking difficulties along with a speech and hearing impairment and manual dexterity problems.
It is hard to believe that it is almost four years ago since I was one of the few disabled people who had completed Radar's Leadership Programme. The programme shaped my leadership vision for the future and a few unexpected surprises and opportunities I have seized along the way.
Leadership requires a combination of personal attributes that will help foster you to become a leader. I believe there are key attributes required to become a good leader, and they comprise of: confidence, vision, passion, motivation and organisation.
Also, I realise as part of leadership comes self-empowerment. This empowerment enables you to achieve or overcome difficulties as there are solutions to each one whether it may be making a change in tactics or different strategies to draw on - the list is endless.
To recall what has happened in the last four years sine my Radar leadership programme is hard, as there has been so much. However, here a few highlights: I fronted the campaign to prevent my old primary school being closed by Glasgow City Council, and I prepared a short educational film on hearing care matters which was unveiled at the Scottish Parliament.
In 2011, I was awarded the John Muir Award a which comprised of challenges that I had done over two years, trekked in the Himalayas in 2011, joined the Lomond Mountain Rescue Team on manoeuvre in 2010, climbed Helvellyn, England’s third highest mountain in 2010, paddled the length of Loch Shiel and led other disabled people on a three-day expedition on Arran in 2011. I was also presented the Sirius Leadership Award from the Wilderness Foundation
To date, my leadership journey is taking me into territories that I didn’t think would be possible but thank you to Radar who had given me that confidence to lead. David Stocks and Carina Schmoldt of Radar are in awe to what will be next in my leadership journey………..….it is exciting being able to lead and make a difference.
Perhaps the most unexpected recognition to date is being nominated as Scotswomen of the Year in 2012.
I look forward to 2012 that will take me new heights and helping people along the way from children to adults of all range.
The stories below are of three inspiring role models:
SWOTY: Who will get your vote in 2012?
Three inspiring women who have proved they can overcome any physical obstacle:
May Stone campaigns tirelessly to raise public awareness of a life-threatening lung disease.
The 52-year-old grandmother, from Penilee in
Pulmonary fibrosis causes the lung tissue to thicken and become stiff, while the scarring stops oxygen from entering the bloodstream, so May carries an oxygen tank to help her breathe.
She has set up an internet group for people with PF to share information. It receives 800 messages a month and has 250 members.
The only cure is a lung transplant and May has joined the Evening Times campaign to persuade the Scottish Government to switch to a system for opting out, instead of the current opting in, for organ donation.
Medical experts do not know how people contract PF, but it can be linked to prolonged exposure to occupational or environmental contaminants or dust.
Many workers who helped with the rescue and clean-up operation after the September 11 terrorist attacks in
But the grandmother of Thomas, two, and five-month-old Maria knows it is essential to provide the correct information about the disease, as internet searches often reveal only frightening statistics about early death, something she is fighting to overcome.
Now May wants to set up a trust to raise funds as well as awareness. Her hard work and dedication despite her debilitating illness make her a worthy nominee.
Dame Evelyn Glennie describes herself as a motivational speaker, composer, educationalist and jewellery designer, but it is as a percussionist that she has become world-famous.
Despite being deaf since she was 12, Evelyn was the first person to achieve a full-time career as a solo percussionist.
She says: “I simply hear in a different way to most people.”
Since graduating with an Honours degree from the Royal Academy of Music, in
She has blurred the boundaries between classical, pop and dance, working with, among others, Bjork, Bobby McFerrin and Sting.
A double Grammy award-winner and Bafta nominee, Aberdeen-born Evelyn, 46, remains in demand as a composer and records for film, TV and music libraries.
She has also presented Sound Bites for the BBC, plays up to 60 instruments including the gamelan, xylophone, marimba, timpani and bagpipes, and has 1800 instruments crammed into her Cambridgeshire home.
She also keeps percussion kits in six countries to facilitate her hectic touring schedule.
She is vice-president of Hearing Concern and Deafness Research
Evelyn has also collaborated with Scottish jewellery firm Ortak, on her ancestral home of the Orkney Isles, and has been part of a successful lobby for more money for music education with Sir James Galway and Julian Lloyd Webber.
Adventurer Julie McElroy has climbed mountains – both literally and metaphorically – to pave the way for disabled people to access the outdoors.
The 26-year-old from Jordanhill, in
But she has canoed across lochs, trekked in the
She is an ambassador for Bobath
Julie is currently researching for a PhD (part-time) in assistive technology such as voice recognition, which can help disabled people, at the University of the West of Scotland.
She believes it is time for disabled people to overcome the preconceptions of others and to stand up and lead others to greater independence, access and freedom and her motto is “drive, motivation, passion”.
She is driven by the desire to have the same opportunities as everybody else, despite her disability.
In November, Julie achieved her John Muir Conserver Award, the highest level of the environmental award scheme.
She has completed four adventure challenges including a 20-mile paddle up Loch Shiel in a canoe, hiked up Helvellyn, the third largest mountain in the Lake District in below-freezing conditions, and gone out with the Lomond Mountain Rescue team to prove disabled people can access the outdoors.
She set up the Wilderness Initiative for People with Disabilities and took six disabled youngsters on an outdoor adventure weekend in
Julie has been to Number 10 Downing Street to meet the wife of the Prime Minister, Samantha Cameron, whose son Ivan died in 2009 after suffering from cerebral palsy and epilepsy.
Julie works tirelessly despite her disability, and is a worthy nominee for this year’s Scotswoman of the Year award.
THEY are the women who make life that bit easier for the people around them.
And they are potential Scotswomen of the Year. This year the 49th ‘SWOTY’ will be crowned in the City Chambers, and this is your opportunity to nominate someone who you think deserves the accolade.
Notes to Editors
• Julie McElroy
Julie has mild Cerebral Palsy which has resulted in walking difficulties along with a speech and hearing impairment and manual dexterity problems. She has undertaken various adventures. For further information on Julie McElroy, go to www.juliemcelroy.com