"Be brave and vulnerable and focus on the next little step."

We interview women in our community about innovation and what drives them to make a difference in their industries. This week we spoke to Sheree Henley, Founder of The Good Life Builders.

What are you working on?

I support parents who have an adult child with a disability to build the good life their son or daughter wants where they truly belong in the community. They want more than group homes and day programs. They want a job, a home of their home, friends and more. All the typical things that we all want.

Why is innovation important to you?

So often the pathway for people with a disability is separated and segregated settings. Special schools, special day programs, special housing. That can lead to low expectations, social isolation, risks to personal safety and a missed opportunity for the community to benefit from their skills and to learn to be inclusive.

What drives you to make a difference?

My son Isaac is 23 and has a complex disability. While there are many things he can’t do there are also many things that he can do. So we’ve focussed on those. He has a job, some wonderful friends and a home of his own where he lives with a housemate who doesn’t have a disability and who he loves. He is admired and valued in his neighbourhood as the guy that delivers cookies and will collect your mail for you when you are away. He’s also admired and valued by the wider Canberra community as a small business owner – Isaac Delivers. He’s always keen to make people happy and is very forgiving when we don’t give him time to understand or communicate. He shows his love and appreciation to those who support him with the best smile in the world. His knowing smile that he’s lucky to get the opportunity to live a typical life and that so many others like him don’t is what drives me.

Do you have any advice for getting more women into the innovation ecosystem?

Find your tribe. Hang out with other women entrepreneurs. Be brave and vulnerable and focus on the next little step.

What are you proud of right now?

I’m super proud of the feedback I’m getting from families I work with. They are telling me that they are so glad they have found me. That they have been struggling and feeling alone. That now they have a clearer way forward and someone to help them get there.

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