I believe that building a community with less violence and inequality raises all of humanity up, not just those living with violence. Our workplace partnerships and training equip leaders and their staff to model respectful behaviour, contribute to life changing conversations and provide help for both those experiencing violence and those perpetrating it. For too long this has festered behind closed doors. In bringing these discussions to work we equip you with the knowledge and skills to make your own small difference. To raise up and strengthen your community of family, friends, neighbours and colleagues. To make your world and others’, bit by bit, more safe. Workplaces are where we can begin to end DFV. Together we can make it work. We are the difference.
I have been involved with organisations addressing DFV for over 20 years. I have worked closely with the ACEOC board since 2013, was appointed to the board in 2018, and elected Chair in 2019.
I have held executive positions across Queensland Government for the past ten years. Prior to that I worked for a decade in senior communications and marketing roles following an initial career teaching. I also chaired the government Women in Senior Executive leadership network for 4 years, and am passionate about growing diverse, inclusive and resilient workplaces. I have recently undertaken post-graduate studies overseas in futures, and adaptive leadership.
I am currently Company Secretary and Board Director - Volunteering Queensland, Board Director - Forensicare Foundation Ltd, Head of Innovation and Change Leadership with digital consultancy AlphaTransform, an accredited mediator and a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
I believe that everyone has the right to live freely and happily and to not be subjected to violence of any kind – especially at the hands of someone who is meant to be there to love and protect them. Early on in my association with ACEOC, I was at a conference where they played real life 000 calls related to DFV incident. What I heard horrified me and has stayed with me and I want to be part of putting a stop to anything like what I heard ever happening again.
In the early stages of my professional role as coordinator of pro bono and community investment in MinterEllison's Brisbane office, we were looking for an issue that needed addressing and a community organisation with which we could partner to help address it. We came across a group of people that was to become ACEOC. ACEOC's approach to addressing DFV in and through the workplace resonated with us and we began a partnership with them which remains in place today. As manager of that partnership, I joined the Board in 2003 from the outset as a way to properly and fully understand the issue and the organisation and so that I could be part of an organisation that would clearly make a positive change in the world.
I am Director/Deputy Chair on the Board of ACEOC and Chair of its Advocacy & Engagement Committee. I have a BA, LLB (Hons) and a Grad Cert in Australian Migration Law and Practice. My current positions are Special Counsel at MinterEllison, Member of Qld Law Society, Member of StreetSmart Grants Committee Queensland, Member of ABCN Operational Task Force Queensland. In 2018, I was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM), General Division, for service to social welfare programs and to the law.
DFV is so much more complicated than most people think. It does not discriminate to particular areas of the community; it is happening to people we know. I cannot understand that we can live in the twenty-first century and it can still be as big an issue as it is.
I have been a board member of ACEOC for over two years now and am honoured to be a part of such an important organisation to not only raise awareness but help change lives. By providing education and training to workplaces on how to recognise, respond and refer DFV issues, ACEOC is helping employees to bring their ‘whole self’ to work, which is where the majority of DFV victims spend most of their waking hours.
I formed ACEOC 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, ACEOC was established.
Over my 15 years as chair of ACEOC (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. ACEOC 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.
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 an ACEOC board member close to three years ago now because I understand that education is a key component to breaking the cycle. ACEOC’s 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 ACEOC 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.
Throughout my life I have seen the deep and traumatic impact that DFV has on individuals, families and communities. I am passionate about creating positive change and an environment that ends the cycle of violence and supports people to flourish and live their best lives.
I have served on the board of ACEOC for 3 years. Being a board member provides me with the opportunity to be part of a team that is committed to ending DFV. Whilst I am not at the 'front line' I can utilise my skills and experience to support the ACEOC and ensure services continue to reach those in need and create positive and sustainable change that ends violence towards others.
DFV tears apart the safety and security that kids and adults are entitled to have in their homes. The good news is that the culture that has allowed this issue to remain behind closed doors is changing, and everyone can help this happen. Workplaces are a key avenue for this culture change, as places of support and security for victims, and places where new cultural norms take root. ACEOC uses the power of corporate and personal leadership to open minds and hearts to the issue on a daily basis.
It is a privilege to serve an organisation that has been taking initiative and developing innovative approaches to culture change in this field for many years and is now gaining greater recognition for the importance of this work.