Francesca Martinez, Patron
Francesca launched her comedy career in 2000 when she became the only woman to win the Open Mic Award. She has performed in Australia, Ireland, France, Sweden, South Africa, Canada, Singapore, Malaysia, America – on Hollywood and Broadway - and at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland alongside Oscar-winner, Emma Thompson.
She has toured the world and appeared on TV shows such as Live at the Apollo, The Jonathan Ross Show and Extras. Her first book “What The **** Is Normal?” was published in 2014 to critical acclaim and was nominated for two national book awards. She has supported Frankie Boyle on his UK tour, and is currently working on several TV and theatre commissions. Her brilliant play, “All of Us”, was shown at the National Theatre in 2022. An active campaigner, she regularly speaks out on many of the most pressing issues of our times.
She says, “I am proud to be the Patron of Evenbreak, a great organisation led by lived experience, which aims to remove the barriers to employment faced by disabled candidates”
Shani Dhanda, Ambassador
Shani is a multi-award-winning Disability Specialist & Speaker, named on both the Power 100 Most Influential Disabled People in Britain and on BBC 100 Most Influential Women across the World. She founded three important initiatives - Diversability Card (the UK’s first discount card for disabled people), Asian Woman Festival (the UK’s first-of-its kind event smashing stereotypes to empower and celebrate Asian women) and Asian Disability Network (an educational platform and support network for people who experience multiple types of stigma due to their ethnic and cultural identities). She’s a member of the Greater London Regional Stakeholder Network, an ambassador at Valuable 500, Parallel London and advisory board member for UnLtd. And now an Ambassador for Evenbreak.
She says, “I wish Evenbreak’s job site were around when I was younger as I started my job search; it would have helped me identify inclusive employers and save me so much time and rejection. I know first-hand what it feels like to be judged on your ability and be overlooked for jobs. The entire team at Evenbreak have lived experience of the challenges faced by disabled candidates and job seeking is tough at the best of times, so they know how to offer the best support to their candidates and employers.”
Penelope Harrison, Ambassador
Penelope has been a renowned advocate for the disability community since before she hit double-digits, most recently honoured by the National Library and Disability Power 100. She is currently undertaking a double-diploma in English and French Law at the universities of Leicester and Strasbourg; her motivations are multi-faceted, but all stem from a wish for disabled people to have their respective talents not only recognised but celebrated.
Her work thus far has centred around reducing the burden on disabled people to do twice the work for half the praise. With Evenbreak, she plans to not only reduce this in the workplace, while championing the well-being of disabled people as they adapt to the current, unjust environment.
She says: “I’m delighted to be an Ambassador for Evenbreak. Young disabled people are far too often over-looked for employment opportunities, and Evenbreak provides a much-needed and vital service - filling a gap in the provision of relevant, accessible and tailored career support led by lived experience of disability.”