You can’t look across the world right now and see the extremes of thought and action on our streets and in our homes and devices, without knowing that something needs to change. I believe that workplaces provide critical opportunities to seed better awareness, understanding and systems that will grow that change. That’s my hope.
I have been involved with organisations addressing DFV for over 20 years. I have worked closely with the Challenge DV since 2013, and joined the Board in 2018. As a transformational change leader, I came into the role to guide the next stage of our growth and set the organisation up to thrive into the future.
I have held executive positions across Queensland Government for the past ten years in Qld Health, Shared Corporate Services, Customer Experience and the Department of the Premier & Cabinet. Prior to that I worked for a decade in senior communications and marketing roles following a decade of teaching. I chaired the government Women in Senior Executive leadership network for 4 years, and am passionate about growing diverse, inclusive, and resilient workplaces.
I am currently the Company Secretary and Board Director for Volunteering Queensland, Executive Committee Member for Queensland Walks, an accredited mediator, leadership coach, and a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. I’m also a Founder and Director of Stormbirds - an organisational strategy consultancy.
I formed Challenge DV (formerly Australia's CEO Challenge) in the mid-1990s with a number of other dedicated women from business, the community sector, unions and government and with the support of then Brisbane Lord Mayor, Jim Soorley who believed that if one woman was not safe in her own home, then Brisbane could not be called a safe city. Based on a model created by Jim Hardeman in the US, we believed we could contribute to making the world a better and safer place for women and that workplace could play an important part in this agenda. With the support of MinterEllison to form this movement into a not for profit company and to provide us a base within the corporate world, Challenge DV was established.
Over my 15 years as chair of Challenge DV (2002-2017) I have seen it grow from a small organisation based on volunteers, then our first part time employee - to a now vibrant and respected company with strong offerings to support the business world understand DFV and play their part in prevention and in supporting their employees impacted by violence. Challenge DV has always been based on partnerships - with refuges and community services, with other organisations with aligned goals, with businesses and workplaces, and with the government to bring the widest possible perspectives to the table to stop violence. I am proud to have founded and led this organisation which has such positive impact.
I am currently a Senior Executive in the UK civil service with responsibilities for property management, corporate strategy and change management. Previously a Senior Executive with the Queensland Government with roles including Chief Strategic Policy and Innovation Officer for the Department of Science, IT and Innovation; Assistant Director General for Shared Corporate Services delivering back end corporate services (including payroll and financial transaction services) for nearly 50 government departments and agencies; and General Manager of Smart Service Queensland providing the one-stop shop for Queenslanders across online, phone and counter.
Now, more than ever, is the time to focus on making real change in the domestic and family violence (DFV) space, especially through workplace networks where targeted programs can help those both using and experiencing DFV seek the help and support they need.
Challenge DV has such an important message to share and, with my 20+ years’ experience in the media, public relations, and communications space, I look forward to supporting the passionate Challenge DV team in telling this story, across Australia and beyond, so they can continue making a difference to the lives of others and the broader society as a whole.
Each day in my job I see the effects of DFV. As the Coordinator of a Women's Refuge I see firsthand how "trauma" to women and children impacts on their everyday life. To see the faces of children who have had to leave their belongings behind, and the sadness in mum's eyes is simply heart breaking. Their stories, although individual, share similarities in the types and ways that violence, sexual assault and coercive controlling behaviour is perpetrated. DFV can no longer be hidden, it is everyone's responsibility to do something.
I chose to become a Director at Challenge DV because I understand that education is a key component to breaking the cycle. Challenge DV workplace training in DFV is a great way to get up to date, relevant information on what to look out for and how to respond.
I have been working in Human Services for over 25 years with 20 years of that being in Management. Working predominantly in Homeless Services I was given the opportunity to Manage one of our Women's Shelters. Using my frontline experience, education and years of working in refuge I was able to come onto the Board with Challenge DV to ensure that the voice of the women and children and other refuges continue to be heard. This opportunity has also given me another way in which I can continue to advocate and contribute to a cause that I am very passionate about.