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Smashing The Ceiling

Nov 18, 2018

Lisa Cox is, quite honestly, an amazing human being. As a young woman she played national level volleyball, flew through two degrees in media and communications and was rapidly forging a hugely successful career as a copywriter in the advertising industry in Australia, travelling extensively and enjoying the high-life in her early twenties. 

That is until, in 2005, Lisa suffered a brain haemorrhage in Melbourne Airport which changed her life irrevocably. After a year in hospital, during which she lost her left leg, 9 of her finger tips and the toes of her right foot, Lisa spent months in rehab learning to walk, speak and live independently, before finally beginning to rebuild her career.

This she has done incredibly successfully, writing for the HuffPost, the Sydney Morning Herald and many others, publishing two books, and making regular appearances both on television and as a public speaker. My favourite quote from Lisa, which I think sums things up was when she said “Yeah, I’ve for some stuff going on, but I’m pretty grateful to be kicking around. There are far worse things going on in the world. I don’t see myself as a victim, and I certainly don’t want anyone feeling sorry for me.” 

I don’t feel sorry for Lisa, I am amazed by her. I really loved this conversation, and what I took from it was really not to sweat the small stuff. It’s not worth it. Bad things happen to people on a spectrum, but life is what you make of it, and Lisa is SUCH a prime example of that. 

In this interview we discuss:

* Lisa’s work as a Customer Representative, advocating for patients on committees with doctors and hospital management

* Her illness in 2005 and both the physical and mental consequences of that

* Her original career as a copywriter in the advertising industry, and getting back into writing from her hospital bed despite her brain damage, the amputation of her fingertips and the loss of 25% of her sight 

* How ‘Queer Eye For A Straight Guy’ emphasised to Lisa that 70% of women don’t like their body, and her desire to explore that after leaving hospital 

* The conflict between aspirational advertising and false images of perfection on social media, and how that plays into the body image narrative

* The lack of disability diversity in the media, and the role of Lisa’s #VisibilityForDisability campaign along with other Instagram accounts such as Models of Diversity

* How Lisa began to climb new mountains in rehab, including by setting goals for herself

* Lisa’s continuing exercise and gym routines, the growth of disability sport both in the UK and Australia and increasing representation of people with disability in the sport and exercise sphere

* The frequent lack of disabled access in spaces within the community, which hampers equality in the work setting. Read Lisa’s experiences on this here:

* How and why disability is missing from the diversity narrative, which tends to focus on gender and ethnicity

* Lisa’s wish that one day it won’t be a big deal for her to appear as a model in a runway show, and her side-career in modelling both before and after her illness.

* Her current project on the language used in the media surrounding disability, including educating both print and broadcast journalists on best practice in this area

* Lisa’s morning routine, how she practices positivity and gratitude in her life and the support her family have given her throughout her life