Katie Kelly OAM is an Australian Paralympic Gold Medallist and had the honour of winning Australia’s first medal at the Rio Paralympics where Paratriathlon (vision impaired class) made its debut. She is also the Founder and Director of Sport Access Foundation, providing grants for Australian children living with a disability. Katie has worked in consumer sports marketing for over 15 years with organisations as Australian Paralympic Committee, NRL, ANZ Stadium and Tabcorp. Katie is now also working at BlueScope in the Social Impact and Inclusion team.
Katie is passionate about promoting inclusiveness for Australians living with a disability. She has worked with a number of community organisations including Blind Cricket Australia, Australian Deaflympic Team, as well as initiating professional fun runs in regional NSW and was involved in setting up the Darwin Parkrun. Katie is also on the Board of Deaf Sports Australia and is an Ambassador for the Royal Deaf Blind Institute for Children and Usher Kids Australia.
Katie also won the World Championships in Rotterdam 2017, and the World Championship in Chicago, 2015. Most recently, in 2018, Katie finished third in her third World Championships on the Gold Coast.
Katie's experience of being born with profound hearing loss, diagnosed at the age of 5 years, and then at 22 years of age being confirmed she had the condition Usher Syndrome resulting in hearing and eye sight loss, provides a unique position to share the challenges of managing a disability in the modern workplace.
Katie talks about real life examples of employers attitudes and at times appalling lack of sensitivity around her condition. What is interesting is to hear her describe her efforts to hide her disability, and she explains that it took her a long time to realise it wasn't she that needed to modify but rather the workplace.
Katie's passion for gender equality particularly in women's sport was evident from a young age when at 15 years she would write to the Toowoomba Chronicle seeking explanations on the lack of women's sport coverage. This would later be published in the Australian Sports Commission Active Women's newsletter.
An individual with a strong sense of social justice and has had a determination in her own small way to improve the opportunities for women in sport, and more recently for young children to access sport that are living with a disability.
An extremely rare genetic disorder that Is a leading cause of deafblindness and is at present incurable.
Hearing loss leading to deafness, loss of vision leading to blindness as well as balance problems and speech difficulties.
Approx 3% to 6% of all children who are deaf and another 3% to 6% of children who are hard-of-hearing have Usher Syndrome.
In developed countries such as the United States and Australia about 4:100,000 births have Usher Syndrome.