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Elisabeth Lammers shares with us her accomplishments as an EASPD Board Member

Elisabeth talks about the opportunities and value the position holds for service providers in the disability sector in Europe.

We interviewed our Board Member, Elisabeth Lammers from UNAPEI, an association that advocates for the rights of people with disabilities in France. Beyond being a professional in the social services sector and EASPD Board Member, she is also a parent of a child with a disability. Sharing with us her story, she opens the door to show us what can be accomplished by joining the EASPD Board!


What motivated you to join the EASPD Board?

Elisabeth: I was asked to represent the most important network in France that advocates for rights of people with intellectual disabilities. I was hesitant at first as most of my knowledge was limited to Neuro-disability. However, having a child with a disability gave me that extra push to join the EASPD Board and after 3 years, I can say it was the right decision.

During your 3 years as Board Member what is that one achievement that stands out?

Elisabeth: It’s a “work in progress”. Yes, we have come a long way but there is more ground to cover. A very key moment for me was when I presented UNAPEI’s work at the EASPD Annual Conference in Malta in 2022. While presenting I realised a lot of people were not even aware that UNAPEI had the capacity to accommodate and support so many people with disabilities.  So, introducing UNAPEI to EASPD’s network of service providers helped me bring light to the realities of people with disabilities in France.

Generally, I was so impressed with the people I met at EASPD conferences each year. It led to multiple enriching and eye-opening conversations.

Are there any lessons you learnt during your term of 3 years?

Elisabeth: Collaborative work is the best way to make change happen. This was my biggest lesson learnt, especially through all the Board meetings and the new people I interacted with. I think when one is in a position of making change, it’s important to be patient and not impose this change on people. Rather, slowly incorporate it.

Which skills do you think a Board Member should have?

Elisabeth: One important skill is to be able to communicate between your grassroots organisation and professionals working in EU institutions. As a Board Member having management skills helps with this, especially if this is the first time you are applying for such a position.

I also strongly believe each Board Member needs to walk in with a collaborative approach towards everything. This means tackling each issue with a broad perspective, not just limited to their own country or personal interests.

Beyond these skills, I would say working with the EASPD secretariat in Brussels is an absolute delight for me! I enjoyed interacting with them and I feel every Board Member should be open to meeting the team, especially by attending EASPD conferences.

Three Vice-President positions, along with 15 other governance roles, will be open for election on 19 October 2024. Eligible candidates have until August 31 to submit their applications for a Board position. For more information about the application process, please visit the EASPD website here.