Speakers

Speakers at Government Diversity & Inclusion Summit 2019


Rebecca Adam
Branch Manager, Enterprise Change
National Disability Insurance Agency

Throughout her professional life, she has been engaged with shaping environments to benefit society as a whole and this has included appointments to boards and committees including a recent appointment as President of the International Committee of Deaf Sports, the global peak body for deaf sports responsible for the delivery of the quadrennial Deaflympic Games.


Ric Ardo
Demand Management Improvement Manager and Diversity and Inclusion Council Member
Energy Queensland

Ric's is a member of the Energy Queensland’s Council for Diversity and Inclusion and is the lead of the LGBTI+ employee network, 'EQL Pride'. Ric led the working party which conceptualised, established and launched the EQL Pride network across Queensland in 2018, which has since grown to more than 500 members. Ric is an accredited Pride in Diversity trainer who has facilitated LGBTI+ awareness sessions for over 100 people.

Ric brings his unique perspective to diversity and inclusion with degrees in Human Resources and Business, Project Management qualifications, and extensive experience in big data analysis,.

Ric is also passionate about the inclusion of people with disabilities, Indigenous reconciliation, and paving the way for greater representation of women's in non-traditional roles.


Catharine Armitage
Head of People
Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation


Joanne Banyer
Change Lead 
Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet

 


Alma Besserdin FCPHR I MAICD
Founder & Director
Wimmigrants

With an extensive experience in leadership development, HR, business transformation, organizational and culture change, Alma assisted many companies to increase their productivity through cultural change and business transformation from inside out. Alma helps organisations to create a culture of inclusion, diversity & gender equality. Her industry experience  includes Telecommunications, IT, Financial Services, Retail, Utilities, Manufacturing, Transport and Logistics, State and Federal Government, Real Estate, Regulatory, Automotive, and Not-for-Profit. Alma holds a Postgraduate Diploma in HRM & IR, a Bachelor of Law Degree, and is an NLP Coach.  She is a graduate from Leadership Victoria, an AHRI Victorian Councilor and Fellow member, Former Board Director at the African-Australian Multicultural Employment and Youth Services (AAMEYS); Former Board Director at Crohn’s & Colitis Australia and a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (MAICD). Alma is an industry Mentor at the RMIT Applied Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program and is actively included as a Mentor and Career Coach with other Universities. She was also the host of “The Global Workplace” Radio Show on Voice of America, where Alma interviewed leaders worldwide on topics discussing to best practices in equality and diversity across the globe. Alma has been a nominee for the Telstra Women’s Business Awards in 2019 & 2016, was Awarded a Scholarship for the Board Leadership Program for Women at Leadership Victoria, Nominee for Women of the Year at the Kingston Council and is proud to be a Victorian Australia Day Ambassador.

Being a woman immigrant who had to deal with the challenges of immigration herself, inspired her to establish Wimmigrants Pty Ltd. Her vision is to help other professional women immigrants (Wimmigrants) achieve their professional careers, integrate in Australian society and become leaders in their workplace and community.


Allana Bianchi
Manager, Workforce Strategy
Public Service Commission (Queensland)

Allana leads the inclusion and diversity portfolio for Queensland Government, within the Queensland Public Service Commission. The agenda focusses on gender pay equity, LGBTIQ+, disability, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and the mature workforce.

Allana worked a number of years in the human services sector, including in the area of disability.  After gaining formal qualifications in Human Services, Allana joined the public service and worked in front line child protection, before establishing and coordinating a staff support unit for child protection staff.   Moving from child protection to generalist human resources, Allana led the first Queensland Government agency to achieve White Ribbon Workplace accreditation in 2016, part of a whole-of-Government domestic and family violence workplace reform.

Working a significant amount of time in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships allowed Allana to expand on her cultural capability and awareness around working with Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islander people and a deeper understanding of the complexities that face them when they are employed in the public sector. 

In addition to a Bachelor of Human Services, Allana has post graduate education qualifications


Winitha Bonney Thought Leader in the future of work and women of colour in leadership

When I was 15 years old, I started a Certificate II in Small Business at Highschool. A predominantly arts student, I instantly fell in love with how Business can be used to turn ideas into things. To me, it was and still is magic.

At 17 I created a prototype (my first business) and pitched it. Even at that tender age, I knew it was better to create a prototype, test it, generate orders, get cash and then build. As a result, I won a state award out of over 96 other entrants.

At Uni, I found a 'gap' in the system and I went for it. I completed an Adv.Dip International Trade AND a Ba.Business (Distinction) in 3.5 years when it takes 4 years to complete one-degree program.

Despite these achievements, I believed I was 'stupid' due to my low grades in Highschool. That was until I cracked a transport economics formula that my University Professor (who also consulted for large companies for big dollars) couldn't crack.

I have over 20 years experience working in complex corporate, Government and for-purpose environments in senior management roles (Australia and North America). I have also successfully started over four businesses (whilst working full time).

I am fascinated by innovation, design thinking, maker spaces, accelerators, incubators, co-working, lean startup, peer-2-peer leadership, high performance, and psychology.

I am an expert in the future of work and the advancement of women of colour in leadership and entrepreneurship. I believe in hard work and ideas.


Lisa Conway
Dire
ctor (a/g)
Department of Human Services

Lisa Conway is a Yorta Yorta woman with ancestral ties to Kurringai lands, north of Sydney. Lisa is a tireless champion for diversity and equality through her passion for culturally responsive service delivery and the cultural safety of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff. Her leadership and vision has been key to the development of the Indigenous Cultural Responsiveness Program for social workers in the Australian Government Department of Human Services. The Cultural Responsiveness program supports social workers to build on their cultural responsiveness, skills and confidence working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander customers. Lisa consistently shares her knowledge, perspectives and experiences to foster an inclusive workplace culture and promote cultural change. 


Jenny Fink
Manager Learning and Diversity
Ballarat City Council


Shanell Gadd
Senior Diversity Adviser
Australian Government Department of Veterans' Affairs

Shanell Gadd is an experienced HR manager with 14 years public sector experience; passionate about diversity management, event management, change management and good business governance.
She is currently the Senior Diversity Advisor at the Australian Government Department of Veteran’s Affairs. Previously, she worked as Indigenous Employment Advisor (Program Manager) at the Indigenous 
Careers, and Human Resources Officer (Indigenous Affairs) at the Department of Defence in Canberra.


Nadia Kettle
Independent Specialist, Independent Division
Transport Accident Commission

Nadia was the Project Lead of the Client Voice Project. Nadia has over 10 years’ experience at the TAC in a variety of roles including:

  • supporting people with complex needs,
  • leading change, and
  • managing projects with a client focus.

Nadia has a passion for innovation, inclusive practice and client centered design.


The Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG
Former Justice of the
High Court of Australia

When he retired from the High Court of Australia on 2 February 2009, Michael Kirby was Australia’s longest serving judge.

He was first appointed in 1975 as a Deputy President of the Australian Conciliation & Arbitration Commission.  Soon after, he became inaugural Chairman of the Australian Law Reform Commission (1975-84).  Later, he was appointed a Judge of the Federal Court of Australia, then President of the New South Wales Court of Appeal (1984-96) and, concurrently, President of the Court of Appeal of Solomon Islands (1995-6).  His appointment to the High Court of Australia followed in 1996 and he served thirteen years.  In later years, he was Acting Chief Justice of Australia twice.

In addition to his judicial duties, Michael Kirby has served on three university governing bodies being elected Chancellor of Macquarie University in Sydney (1984-93).  He also served on many national and international bodies.  Amongst the latter have been service as a member of the World Health Organisation’s Global Commission on AIDS (1988-92); as President of the International Commission of Jurists, Geneva (1995-8); as UN Special Representative for Human Rights in Cambodia (1993-6); as a member of the UNESCO International Bioethics Committee (1995-2005); as a member of the High Commissioner for Human Rights’ Judicial Reference Group (2007- 9) and as a member of the UNAIDS Reference Group on HIV and Human Rights(2004-).

Following his judicial retirement, Michael Kirby was elected President of the Institute of Arbitrators & Mediators Australia from 2009-2010.  He served as a Board Member of the Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration (2009-14).  He has been appointed Honorary Visiting Professor by twelve universities. And he participates regularly in many local and international conferences and meetings.  He has been awarded a number of honorary doctorates at home and abroad.  He also serves as Editor-in-Chief of The Laws of Australia (2009 - ).

He served 2011-12 as a member of the Eminent Persons Group on the future of the Commonwealth of Nations. He was a Commissioner of the UNDP Global Commission of HIV and the Law 2011-2012.  He was appointed to the Advisory Council of Transparency International, based in Berlin in 2012.  In 2013- 2014, he was appointed Chair of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights Violations in North Korea.  He a Commissioner of the UNAIDS Lancet Commission on AIDS to the Right to Health (2013-2014); the Global Fund’s Equitable Access Panel (2015-16); the UN Secretary-General’s High Level Panel on Access to Essential Medicines (2015-16); and UNAIDS/OHCHR’s panel on overreach of criminal law (2017); and Co-Chair of the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (2018 - ).Anchor

He was awarded the Gruber Justice Prize in 2010 and has been Patron of the Kirby Institute on Blood Borne Diseases in UNSW Sydney, Australia since 2011.  In May 2017, he was invested by Japan with the insignia of the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star in Tokyo, with an audience with the Emperor of Japan. In 2018 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of New South Wales (Est. 1866).  He was also named for the 2018 United Nations Honour by the United Nations Association of Australia.


Naomi Knight
Consultant
Naomi Knight Australia

Kate Gilmore was appointed United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights on 1st December 2015. She brings to the position diverse and longstanding experience in strategic leadership and human rights advocacy with the United Nations, government and non government organizations. Prior to joining OHCHR, Ms. Gilmore was Assistant Secretary General and Deputy Executive Director for Programmes with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Previously she was National Director of Amnesty International Australia and then Executive Deputy Secretary General of Amnesty International.

Ms. Gilmore started her career as a social worker and government policy officer in Australia. She helped establish Australia’s first Centre Against Sexual Assault at Melbourne’s Royal Women’s Hospital and her work over a number of years focused on prevention of violence against women. In Australia, she was granted honorary appointments to provincial and national public policy and law reform processes, including membership of the country’s first National Committee on Violence Against Women.

Ms. Gilmore holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of New England and postgraduate degrees in Social Work from the University of Melbourne and Community Development from RMIT


Sunila Kotwal
Diversity & Inclusion Manager
White Ribbon Foundation Australia

Sunila is an outcome focused professional with over 15 years’ experience in diversity & inclusion and organisational development. Her strengths are in community engagement & relationship management, developing & implementing diversity strategies and organisational change management. She is a strong communicator and work collaboratively across all levels. She has developed innovative solutions to foster inclusion and improve people engagement.

At White Ribbon Australia, she is responsible for leading and progressing social inclusion. She builds on the success of White Ribbon to proactively engage and empower Multicultural (CALD) and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and communities across Australia to prevent violence against women. She does this by extensive engagement, facilitation capacity building workshops and forums to empower men who may be silent bystanders to take a leadership role to prevent men’s violence against women. She has enhanced the primary prevention strategies by developing culturally appropriate resources such as simplified and translated factsheets, videos etc. to raise awareness and increase community engagement with the issue of men’s violence against women.


Yvonne Lewandowski
Diversity, Inclusion and Development Lead
Queensland Urban Utilities

Yvonne Lewandowski currently leads the development and implementation of the organisational culture transformation, leadership and talent and diversity and inclusion strategies for Queensland Urban Utilities.  With over 20 years extensive experience in human resources, including talent attraction and sourcing, employment relations & workforce planning, remuneration and benefits,  change management and organisational design, Yvonne has most recently taken on the role of leading the Diversity & Inclusion Agenda for Urban Utilities. 

Yvonne’s experience in partnering and providing strategic advice to the Executive Leadership Team has resulted in the delivery of successful transformational change programs and initiatives relating to culture change and employee engagement, achieving significant shifts towards desired state outcomes.  These results are measured through the use of Employee Effectiveness Surveys and Organisational Culture Inventories and publically reported on an annual basis.

As an experienced coach and mentor, Yvonne’s passions are supporting ambitious and talented professionals at all levels to be the best that they can, and partnering with executives to build constructive cultures that encourage high performance, foster innovation and embrace diversity in all its forms.


Lisa Loney
Diversity and Inclusiveness Advisor
Barwon Water

Lisa Loney is an enthusiastic HR professional specialising in Diversity and Inclusion, with extensive experience in dynamic and diverse organisations across both manufacturing and professional sectors. Committed to achieving outcomes through modern People and Culture and Organisational Development practices.

At Barwon Water, she is responsibility for driving and delivering a range of leadership and cultural change programs designed to ensure a high performing workforce.


Kin Ly
Human Centred Designer & Maker
AbilityMade


Jo Marshall
Founder
Culturise

Jo Marshall founded Culturise following a 20 year career leading teams across a number of industries and sectors.  Degree Qualified in HR, she has led teams in sales, operations and as business unit head with multiple strategic and p&l responsibilities.  Jo has been Executive Diversity Mentor in a large publicly listed organisation (20,000 staff), has led large teams delivering services to government and has her own lived experience.   She has been a subject expert at public sector executive induction and also an advisor to the SA State Government on job creation in marginalised populations.

Throughout her career she has taken her passion for diversity and inclusion to every level within the organisation and proven that a diverse and inclusion business unit has a range of measurable benefits – hard measures.  Jo looks globally to curate the best content to share with leaders across business.  Businesses – both public and private – need to be engineered for constant change.  This takes resilience and it requires diverse and innovative thinking – nowhere more than in the employment environment of public sector organisations.  Through Culturise Jo has developed a unique, powerful and practical toolkit to help leaders at every level set a sustainable path.  #DifferenceIstheNewNormal #CulturalResilience


Elizabeth McPherson
Chief Culture Officer
futurefund


Leonie Newnham
Secretary
The Enablers Network, Victorian Public Sector


Harleen Oberoi
Diversity & Workforce Planning Advisor
City of Sydney

Harleen is an award-winning talent and diversity specialist, skilled at partnering with C-Suite executives and integrating business strategies through people and organizational capabilities. Her approach is action-oriented with an ability to make the connection between human resource initiatives and improved bottom line business results.

For nearly the last decade Harleen has helped organizations combat barriers based on disability, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and other differences with the aim of establishing a new, more productive organisation where everyone can bring their whole selves to work.
Harleen speaks at conferences as an inclusion strategist, cultural change catalyst and thought 
leader in the area of workforce planning to help organisations succeed by building more inclusive, fulfilling and productive workplaces.

She has been trained to administer Cultural Transformation Tools (CTT), a detailed and comprehensive cultural diagnostics and values assessment instrument. She also is trained in Neuroscience coaching strategies for leadership growth.
Specialties: Diversity & inclusion, Workforce Strategy and planning, Culture and Change, Organisational development


Bilge Ozgun
Diversity & Inclusion Lead - People and Culture
Wesley Mission Queensland

A passionate and resilient professional with 15 years’ experience delivering collaborative community programs for diverse multicultural groups. I have taken a lead role in advocating for diversity while enabling organisations to recognise the value in developing a progressive and inclusive workplace.

Tertiary qualified, I have obtained a comprehensive knowledge of language education, public relations, marketing, social media and community development. With a background in events and project management, my expertise also encompasses social change and formulating diversity and inclusion initiatives and strategies.

Skilled at bridging communication gaps between clients, communities and stakeholders, I generate an environment of positivity, enthusiasm and trust. Responsive and influential, I display empathy and charisma needed to inspire confidence in others. During my Australian and European career, I have achieved a track record of managing and implementing large projects on time and under budget, without compromising quality.


Hema Raman
Acting Senior Manager, Knowledge Management Services
Australian Securities and Investments Commission


Aimee Reeves
Senior Project Lead | BizLab
Department of Industry, Innovation and Science


Janice Rieger
Associate Professor
Queensland University of Technology

Dr Janice Rieger is an award-winning researcher, educator, curator and designer with expertise in inclusive design and disability research. She has been advocating for people with disabilities for over twenty years and has been awarded a Mayor’s Access Recognition Award and a state level disability award for her leadership in promoting access and inclusion. She has also been appointed to national juries by the Canadian Centre on Disability Studies, held council appointed board positions, and has worked with various levels of government in Canada, Australia and the USA. Prior to her academic appointment at QUT in Australia, Dr Rieger spent ten years at Mount Royal University in Canada, where she taught one of the only Universal Design courses in Canada and was also co-founder of a national certificate program in accessible design, CSAHD. She has also spent time overseas as a Visiting Fellow at the University of Hasselt (Belgium) and as an international member of the European Society for Disability Research, where she co-facilitated the international doctoral school, Disability Mundus. Dr Rieger is currently a chief investigator with the QUT Design Lab and an ethics advisor for the university ethics council. She continues to practice as a designer and is an active member of the Centre for Universal Design Australia and Design for All, Europe.


Jill Sears
Diversity and Inclusion Manager
Melbourne Water

Jill Sears is a diversity and inclusion professional with expertise in strategy development, program design, management and implementation, change management and general human resource consultancy gained within a range of sectors including resources, telecommunications, education, health and emergency services. Her particular areas of interest and experience are in workplace diversity and inclusion, gender equity, the prevention of sexual harassment in the workplace, and the interaction between anti-discrimination law and the Federal workplace relations system.

She is also experienced in dealing with inappropriate behaviour and poor performance, managing workplace investigations into employee misconduct, and developing workplace training programs.

All views expressed are her own and are not necessarily the views of Melbourne Water or the Victorian Government.


Silven Simmons
Senior Director of People, Safety & Performance
Queensland Health

Silven is a senior human resources professional with demonstrated experience managing large corporate functions through periods of significant change and transformation in large and complex environments. Silven has worked in senior roles with federal and state governments leading diversity and inclusion, culture and engagement, transformation and change, negotiations of awards and enterprise agreements, policy development, payroll, project management, performance management, workplace investigations and organisational development. Silvne has strong stakeholder management skills with an ability to work across all levels of an organisation and able to drive the people agenda at an executive level. 

Silven is currently the Senior Director, People, Safety and Performance with Queensland Health and drives Queensland Health’s strategic direction for diversity and inclusion, people performance and workplace health and safety.


Andrea Smith
Business Service Manager
NSW Council for Intellectual Disability

Andrea Smith is the Business Services Manager at NSW Council for Intellectual Disability.
She is an experienced operations manager with a demonstrated history of working in the social care industry. Skilled in performance improvement, case management, team building, change management, social and public policy.

She’s also Co-Founder and COO of better goals, Australia's first mobile assistant - Designed by and for people with an Intellectual Disability. A social enterprise with the purpose of empowering independence for everyone. Better goals’ vision is a community where we all have the choice to be independent to pursue our goals.


Fadzi Whande
National Human Rights Program Manager
United Nations Association of Australia

Fadzi Whande is an award winning Global Diversity and Inclusion Strategist and Social Justice Advocate. Her background ranges from launching telecommunication networks to addressing social disadvantage across government, business, not-for-profit as well as educational institutions in Africa, Australia, United Kingdom and USA. She currently works as the Inclusion and Diversity Manager at the University of Western Australia.

A dynamic and engaging speaker, Fadzi is a champion for encouraging dialogue as a means of understanding difference and her work primarily focuses on addressing systemic and institutionalised barriers held towards historically underrepresented groups.

Over the course of her career,  she has been the recipient of various awards and accolades including being named an Australia Day Ambassador,  2018 Western Australian of the Year finalist, a recipient of the 2016 International Racial Equity Leadership Award in the USA and a 2016 finalist for the Australian Human Rights – ‘Racism it Stops With Me’ Award.

Fadzi sits on the Board of Volunteering WA, the Museum of Freedom and Tolerance and is an Ambassador for 100 Women.

She holds an Executive Master in Business Administration and a Graduate Certificate in Social Impact from the University of Western Australia.


Speaking opportunities are still available for Government Diversity & Inclusion Summit 2019


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Reference: 
Government Diversity & Inclusion Summit 2019