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Get to know Rachel Wiltshire, Associate Corporate Counsel, UK

Rachel Wiltshire, Audible’s Associate Corporate Counsel, works in our London hub with our legal team, assisting with a range of issues, from regulatory management and compliance to negotiating contracts and UK production legal queries, IP and copyright law, and so on. After spending her early career exploring financial services, tech start-ups, publishing and teaching, Rachel decided to train to be a lawyer (a solicitor, in UK terms) because it encompassed all the things she enjoyed about those previous roles. While working at a law firm, she was assigned to work with the Amazon Books legal team, which is how she first experienced Audible, and she decided to join us in late 2021. 

Recently, Rachel has been instrumental in ensuring Audible meets the requirements of the European Accessibility Act, which will take effect in June 2025. The background for the Act, Rachel explains, “is the well-established fact that, in order to function correctly as a democracy, all government or public authority websites, apps and services should be made accessible to ensure all people have access to government services.” The Act attempts to take those accessibility requirements for public organizations and apply them to private companies, in particular e-commerce services and tech devices, with the goal of making every new product and feature “born accessible right from the get-go.”

A key example of Audible’s accessibility work is around vision: Many customers experience issues with vision and use screen reader technology to navigate our web pages and app. The screen reader tech reads tags embedded in the code to relay images and icons and other critical information to the user, so much of the accessibility work lies in deliberately redesigning and coding the Audible experience to clearly and accurately communicate with the screen reader, including streamlining checkout flows and other transactions.

The European Accessibility Act has been a catalyst for Audible to redesigning our experience to not only meet EU regulations, but to optimize accessibility for our customers all over the world. To achieve this, our teams have formed a cross-functional global task force that Rachel is part of, along with employees from product and UX, marketing, customer care, and more, all of whom work together to achieve our accessibility goals and “be a force for good for customers.”

One of the things the task force has done is come up with accessibility tenets, a set of technical and design guidelines to drive our design of new products and features, and implement reviews, reporting, and other structures to help “accessibility become the common language” at Audible. “Given Audible’s customer obsession, it made sense to roll these new accessibility standards out globally, and in this more considered way.”

Accessibility has long been a passion of Rachel’s.  She is close with her grandmother and has witnessed her challenges around accessibility in using products and in contacting customer services. “Being a precocious lawyer with a strong sense of justice, it bothered me and I really wanted to work on accessibility and make it more ambitious than just compliance with the law.”

Rachel also works with Audible’s employee-led audABLE impact group, whose focus is on inclusion, accessibility, representation, allyship and empowerment of employees, customers, and creators with disabilities and those who care for people with disabilities (including physical, cognitive and intellectual, neurodivergent, psychiatric and sensory, invisible and undiagnosed disabilities). She helps the group with legal advice and presents new ideas and perspectives, connecting dots between our product and tech evolutions and increasing employee accessibility. 

In addition, Rachel and the rest of the Audible legal team are committed to pro bono work in the community, advocating for marginalized people by helping social justice organizations. For example, Rachel assisted with requests for social grant funding, helped charities by providing refugee asylum research for appeal cases, and recently worked on research of the law in order to pull together an information pack to assist organizations representing people suffering from facial disfigurement discrimination.  

When she’s not using her passion for justice and her legal training to make a big impact for our customers, community and employees, Rachel can be found walking her dog, training for a half-marathon, or watching sports, especially Welsh rugby.  

Fun fact: She’s a big Formula One racing fan. She even went to England’s Silverstone Circuit dressed as her favorite driver, Daniel Ricciardo, “even though he’s having an abysmal time right now.”

Current listen: The recently released Audible Original, George Orwell’s 1984, starring Andrew Garfield, Andrew Scott, Cynthia Erivo and Tom Hardy. (“The sound design is amazing,” says Rachel, who helped with the contracting for the music rights.)

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