The Charity CEO Podcast


Susan Daniels OBE

CEO National Deaf Children’s Society: Driving change and dreaming big!

Our vision is a world without barriers for every deaf child... Our job as an organisation is to challenge the culture of low expectations (for deaf children).

Susan Daniels has been the Chief Executive of the National Deaf Children's Society since 1992. Prior to that, Susan served in a number of leadership positions at the Royal National Institute for Deaf People (now Action on Hearing Loss).

Susan was a Commissioner of the Disability Rights Commission from 2003 until its merger with the Commission for Equality and Human Rights in 2007. Susan has also served as Chair of the UK Council on Deafness, the umbrella body for all organisations working in the field of deafness.

Susan is currently Chair of the NHS Newborn Hearing Screening Programme Quality Assurance Advisory Group. She is Chair of Groundbreakers, an informal networking group for female CEOs in the voluntary sector; and is also a member of the BBC Appeals Advisory Committee.

In 2006, Susan was awarded an OBE for services to deaf children and their families.

Ep 12. Susan Daniels OBE,

CEO National Deaf Children’s Society:

Driving change and dreaming big!

There are over 50,000 deaf children in the UK and more than 34 million deaf children worldwide. It is important to encourage them – and their families – to dream big.

Susan Daniels is the CEO of the National Deaf Children’s Society, the UK’s largest charity for deaf children. The organisation raises awareness and provides expert support to families on childhood deafness, and campaigns for deaf children’s rights, so they have the same opportunities as everyone else.

As someone who sees herself as a leader, who just happens to be deaf, Susan is steadfast in her belief that a deaf child can do and achieve anything that a child with hearing can. What holds deaf and disabled children back are the inherent structures and expectations in society and education systems. Getting rid of such social, educational and cultural barriers is the first step towards meaningful equality.

We explore the ACEVO report, “Hidden Leaders: Disability Leadership in Civil Society”; and Susan shares her views on what leaders and organisations in civil society and beyond, need to consider in order to be truly disability-inclusive.

Susan also reflects on her own leadership journey. Over 28 years, Susan has overseen the National Deaf Children’s Society’s growth from £1m to £24m annual income, influencing policy-makers and delivering real change for deaf children. Her advice to leaders is to always focus on the Big Picture, choose your battles and when in doubt or stuck, ask others for help.

Recorded February 2021.

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