As a stroke survivor, Emily Korir (GradCertDisSt ‘16) has drawn on her harrowing personal experiences to become an inspiring champion for people with disabilities, amplified by the impact that her company BET Group Global has had in building accessible housing and improving liveability for people with disability.
Following a debilitating stroke in 2012, Emily was informed that she would never walk, talk, read, or write again, yet she never wavered through her recovery from ICU to rehabilitation at Hampstead, to adjusting to life at home. Showing amazing grit and determination, she followed a year of gruelling physical rehabilitation by completing an MBA, majoring in Human Resource Management and then a Graduate Certificate in Disability Studies at Flinders University.
She also developed a new business, BET Group Global, to address some of the problems she found accessing suitable disability-friendly housing after her stroke. BET, a registered NDIS provider, is the now fastest growing and most innovative disability housing service provider in South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales, employing 250 staff.
“We want to change the narrative by building accessible housing and support services for people living with disability, aiming to bring not only better functionality but also style and class to improved housing for people with disabilities,” says Emily.
“I see a future where people with disabilities have real choice and access to all opportunities. Not just some, not a few, but all opportunities.”
BET won the prestigious 2023 Telstra Best of Business Award for Building Communities, and named among South Australia’s FAST MOVERS Top 25, while Emily won a 2023 Enablement Award for most outstanding Chief Executive Officer in Australia’s NDIS sector. She also recently won she has won Global Most Outstanding CEO in Australia’s NDIS/Disability Sector for the 2023 Enablement Awards, which celebrate Top Performers in the Disability Care, Housing and Services Sector in 2023.
As an extension to this, Emily continues to advocate for Choice and Control for people with disabilities living in remote areas of Australia, and she aims to also build an accessible respite home in Kenya for children with disabilities.
Her continuing advocacy for inclusion includes volunteer work in Africa to prevent female genital mutilation, which affects more than 200 million women and girls around the world, and is most often carried out on girls between infancy and age 15. Emily’s BET Foundation works with community leaders and women’s rights networks in Kenya to help bring an end to this practice.
Emily’s memoir – Against All Odds: A journey of resilience, identity and success, released on International Women’s Day in May 2023 – shares the astonishing story of her life and recovery, and her inspiring work has seen her inducted into the South Australian Women’s Honour Roll in 2015 and appointed Ambassador UN Campaign #BeBoldForChange for International Women’s Day in 2017.
Emily Korir was awarded a 2023 Distinguished Alumni Award for her distinguished leadership and advocacy, through lived experience, in supporting people with a disability and in recognition of volunteer work in Africa to end female genital mutilation.