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Disability advocate wins prestigious Third Sector Young Leader of the Year award

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Riley Saban, a young technology researcher, product tester and disability advocate has won the 2019 Third Sector Young Leader award.

On the 24th of September at the Sydney Le Montage, industry leaders and organisations joined together in celebration of the third sector. Awards were presented to NFP leaders, innovators, marketing experts and emerging organisations to honour the passion and dedication of not just award recipients, but the industry as a whole.

Between school and being a teenager, Riley volunteers his time to to Psykinetic, a social business that creates inclusive and empowering technologies to support people living with disabilities. At just 16 years of age, Riley has already starred in a documentary, participated in a technology start-up program, runs regular free Assistive Technology Workshops and more recently co-founded Polyspine. Polyspine is a customisable supportive exoskeleton for people with moderate to severe physical disabilities. It provides comfort in wheelchairs as well as supporting the user to participate in rehabilitative and recreational activities outside of their wheelchair.

Despite a physical disability that does not allow him the freedom of controlled movement, Riley is making incredible leaps in the industry and he continues to pioneer the future of disability technology, volunteering his time whenever he can. He is an experienced public speaker who is making his mark through on-stage presentations and tech demonstrations and is well on his way to delivering his message to the world. With the right tools, strong will and determination, he said, “Goals can be reached and anything is possible’.

“If you have a big problem to mend, you must think outside of the box. Don’t let your barriers prevent you from achieving, you must never give up. To be successful isn’t about getting rich and famous, it’s about making a positive impact on our society,” he said.

Riley loves creating technology and giving people like him the tools to be who they want to be. His plan is to become an Entrepreneur when he finishes high school to lead people with disabilities to an inclusive society, so they can achieve all their dreams and goals successfully.

“ I was honoured to receive this year’s young leader of the year third sector award. I am very thankful to the judges who voted for me. I am appreciative to get recognition for my achievements,” Riley said. “Third sector awards is all about celebrating all of our community accomplishments such as,  to recognise innovation and outstanding achievement in communications and marketing, fundraising, finance, management, governance and working with other sectors. I am so thrilled to be part of this years event.”

Third Sector gave a special thanks to Woolworths for sponsoring Riley’s travel and facilitating his participation at the awards evening. Riley and his father were absolutely thrilled to be able to attend the evening and accept the award in person. He was smiling, clapping and dancing in his chair the whole night.

Third Sector Live Event Producer Arabella Ollerenshaw said it is young people like Riley who lead social change and empower others to put in the hard work and make a positive difference. “Congratulations to an incredible young man, who no doubt has many more achievements on the way. With young people like Riley bringing innovation and passion to the community, the future looks bright.”



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