Heidi La Paglia

Heidi La Paglia

Heidi is an experienced researcher, contractor, consultant and advocate specialising in intersectional disability and neuro-inclusion.  

Heidi has over a decade of experience working in professional and voluntary roles in the disability and women's rights sector as well as extensive personal experience navigating chronic health conditions and disability.
Heidi lives in Muwinina Country, in Lutruwita, Hobart, Tasmania with her partner, son and three furry felines. 

Heidi was the 2023 recipient of the 'Rights Activism' award from the National Awards for Disability Leadership, and was the 2020 TADPAC Print Service to the Disability Sector Award winner in the Tasmanian Young Achievers. 

I finished university in 2018 after completing 3 degrees at the University of Tasmania. During my time at University, I held a number of hospitality jobs as well as several (low) paid student representative roles. When applying for the hospitality jobs, I found the process very difficult as I really struggle with interviews. As an Autistic person, I often found that employers would judge me based on my difficulty in social interactions and not consider my skills. However, the student representative roles were all gained through election processes, which surprisingly were more empowering, as I had the support of people who had volunteered with me and supported me for my values and work ethic.

At the beginning of 2019 I was employed at WWDA through a standard application and interview process. As before, I found this extremely difficult; but felt very grateful that my employer was able to look past my social difficulties. Being employed in jobs which support me financially to work on policy issues and advocate for the rights of my community has been hugely empowering for me as a young woman with disability; and has given me a sense of self-fulfilment and purpose.