Vanessa Vanderhoek

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Vanessa Vanderhoek is passionate about making flexible working a reality for everyone.  She has sat on both sides of the fence - she was an executive for 10 years, and over the course of her career has adopted many different types of flexible work.  She strongly believes this decision played a critical role in her ability to successfully juggle her career, family and life goals.

Vanessa launched Flexible Working Day in 2017 to celebrate and showcase how flexible working can (and does) work.

She is the founder of The FlexAgility Group, a boutique flexible work consulting firm that partners with organisations, helping them make flexible working ‘work’ for both their business and their people.  There’s no on-size-fits-all when it comes to flexible and agile working - Vanessa believes it’s about finding the sweet-spot that’s a win-win for the organisation and teams.  Along with our tried and tested resources, and our innovative diagnostic tools, she works with organisations to tailor flexible and agile work strategies and training to meet their business needs, ensuring the highest-quality return on investment.

"The modern business understands that flexibility is much more than an accommodation for parents.  It is a strategy that benefits your business, people, and the world around us. It also enables a competitive business edge =  F L E X A G I L I T Y - the ability to adapt quickly and easily to meet opportunities in the ever-changing world." - Vanessa Vanderhoek

Natalie Goldman

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Natalie Goldman is driven by making a difference in this world, through her passion for creating economic empowerment for women.  She has over 20 years experience across numerous landscapes including being an entrepreneur, corporate, Government and Not For Profit – particularly in technology, HR, learning and development and organisational psychology.

She is the CEO of FlexCareers, a disruptive online talent matching platform connecting talented women with progressive employers offering flexible work. 

She is a believer of challenging the norm, being curious and innovating, finding better and different ways of doing things, of connecting and collaborating.

Ashley Winnett

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Ashley Winnett is not your typical HR Director - winner of the LinkedIn Conscious Business Leadership Award 2016 – Management Maestro category.

Ashley is the Executive Director – People, Performance and Culture at GM Holden, where he has been an active and vocal positive disruptor across the business and believes that supporting flexibility increases inclusion, supports diversity and improves overall engagement and teamwork whilst empowers people to be their best.   

Ashley is conscious that whilst flexibility works for him and allows him to be involved in those activities that he wants to share with his children, there are many people who want to work flexibly, albeit for different reasons. 

Kim Brennan

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Kim Brennan is an Australian World Champion, Olympian and Olympic Gold Medal winning rower.  She is passionate about flexible work because happy workers are good workers! She believes that it is really important to live a balanced life, and to be able to pursue your passions inside of and outside of the workplace.

As an elite athlete, Kim has  always prioritised a balanced approach to life off the water. She values the skills that she has learned in the workplace and the perspective a range of different experiences have given her. "Ironically, I performed better on the water by paying attention to my life off it! Being forced to work irregular hours, I learned the skills of time management, the importance of clear communication and the ability to set realistic expectations. The same applies now in the professional world- it is equally important to maintain a sense of balance, and encourage that from your team. Encouraging flexible work is about proactive communication about challenges and goals and being a good listener."

James Downie

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James Downie is CEO of the Independent Hospital Pricing Authority (IHPA), a government agency that determines the leads the implementation of activity based funding in Australian public hospitals.

"Embracing flexible working is essential to making sure that small agencies like IHPA can attract and retain the best people in our field of work – where finding people with the right skills is critical. It is also important that we start to break down some of the myths around flexible working arrangements- that they are only for mums with young kids etc. Flexible working arrangements need to made available to everyone in the organisation, so that people can contribute to the success of the organisation in a way that also works for them.

Flexible Working Day is providing an excellent catalyst for us to have that discussion as an organisation."

Lisa Annese

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Lisa Annese has been Chief Executive Officer for Diversity Council Australia (DCA) since 2014, leading a team of professionals who all work in a flexible manner to:

  • Lead debate on diversity in the public arena,
  • Develop and promote the latest diversity research, thinking and practice, and
  • Deliver innovative diversity practice resources and services to enable DCA members to drive business improvement.

She is a highly respected and regular contributor to publications and regularly presents and speaks publicly in all areas of diversity.

A highlight of Lisa’s work has been leading the DCA Research team in a number of projects focussing on steps to enable and mainstream workplace flexibility including DCA: Get FlexibleDCA: Men Get Flexible and most recently, Future Flex: Mainstreaming Flexibility by Design.  In particular this most recent project focuses on a new way of thinking about workplace flexibility, recognising that it is about more than accommodating an individual’s needs – it is about re-designing work at a team or organisation level to maximise both individual well-being and company performance.  Workplace flexibility is the key to enabling greater gender equality at work and making life more manageable and meaningful outside the workplace.

Other career highlights for Lisa include:

  • At the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (formerly EOWA), developing the first ever census of ‘Australian Women in Leadership’, the first ever ‘Business Achievement Awards’, the creation of the ‘Employer of Choice for Women’ citation and the development and implementation of the policy framework for the EOWA Act (1999) with Australian businesses. For her contribution at EOWA, she was awarded a Medal for Significant Contribution to the Australian Public Service.
  • Co-authoring “Chief Executives Unplugged: CEO’s Get Real About Women in the Workplace” which was named a “must-read business book” by AFR/BOSS magazine.

Lisa has a business degree from UTS (Sydney) and a Graduate Diploma in Human Resources. She is raising three independent and broad minded daughters with her husband in Sydney and is heavily involved in local community activities with them.

Jessica May

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Jessica May is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of the innovative web based Enabled Employment, which is a labour hire company for people with a disability, Australian Defence Force veterans wounded by their service, senior and Indigenous Australians. Enabled Employment is unique in Australia and possibly the world with its approach of using flexible arrangements to enable highly capable people in these marginalised groups to find productive and well-paid employment.

Enabled Employment is a commercial private entity with an entirely new approach to eliminating barriers to employment. The company uses multiple innovative elements including the use of remote work, the employment agency business model and the latest cloud technology to make finding suitable work and suitable employees easy for both employers and employees.

Jessica’s CV is impressive, and includes the Prime Minister’s Award and the Innovation Award for Excellence in Public Sector Management, the Medicare Australia Achieving Excellence Award, and she was a recipient of the Robert Perry Memorial Scholarship at the Canberra Institute of Technology. She was also recognised by the Australia Day Council with an Achievement Medallion in 2007 during her tenure as a public servant, and achieved her Diploma of Software Development, Diploma of Project Management, and a Graduate Diploma in Public Sector Management.

She and the business were a finalist in the Canberra BusinessPoint Awards in 2014, won the ACT Australian Web Industry Award for Best Commercial Website, and the 2014 ACT Chief Minister’s Inclusion Award for Excellence in Innovation.

In 2015, Jess won the Optus’ Your Shark Tank competition, the StartupSmart Startup Hero Award, launched a mirror service for Australian Defence Force veterans, won the ACT iAward Startup category, became a finalist in the ACT Telstra Business Awards, won the ACT Telstra Business Women’s Award for Startups, and went on to win the National Telstra Business Women’s Award for Startups in 2015. Jessica received a National Disability Award from the Minister for Social Services in November 2015 for Excellence in Community Accessibility. The business also won the Australian Human Resources Institute’s Graeme Innes AM Award Disability Employment Award 2015 against Australia Post, the Commonwealth Bank and Crown Resorts.

In 2016, Jessica and Enabled Employment were finalists in both the Telstra Business Awards, and the Telstra Business Women’s Awards, won the Global Corporate Livewire Award for Small Business, and was recognised in New York at the Stevie Awards for Women in Business as the winner of three Gold Stevies and one Silver Stevie. Jessica was exceptionally proud to be named a finalist in the ACT Australian of the Year Awards 2017.

Mike Watson

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Mike Watson is the father of three aspirational daughters, and strongly believes the move to a more flexible working paradigm can provide them with opportunities to lead full and balanced lives.  "A workplace culture that encourages and rewards flexibility stimulates innovation, promotes productivity, and fosters a connection to team and organisation that contributes to mental health. That’s why I believe Flexible Working Day is a great initiative and I support it wholeheartedly”.

Mike is the Founder of Flexion Consulting and specialises in advising boards and business leaders on achieving strategic and cultural alignment to create competitive advantage and to build sustainable organisations. Flexion is focused on helping leaders to drive the implementation of change across their organisations.  Mike and Vanessa work cooperatively and seemlessly to bring their combined expertise and experience to clients.

Tracey Spicer

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Tracey Spicer is an author, journalist and television presenter who has anchored programs for ABC TV, Network Ten, Channel 9 and Sky News over the past 30 years.

"I'm passionate about flexible working and believe it's the ideal way for men to be more hands-on in caring roles, while allowing women to truly take their place in the modern workforce. My husband and I both work freelance, which means we are 50/50 in both child-rearing and income-earning. It's a privileged position that we wish other people could easily access."

Renowned for the courage of her convictions, passion for social justice, and commitment to equality, she has a wicked sense of humour.

Currently, she works as a weekly columnist for Fairfax, presentation trainer for Outspoken Women and the Australian Film, Television and Radio School, and media trainer at Spicer Communications. She appears regularly as a commentator on ABC TV and Channel 9.

Tracey has written, produced and presented documentaries for NGOs in Bangladesh, Kenya, Uganda, Papua New Guinea, and India, and the National Breast Cancer Foundation in Australia.

Her essays have appeared in dozens of books, including Women of Letters, She’s Having a Laugh, and Bewitched & Bedevilled: Women Write the Gillard Years, while her TEDx Talk, The Lady Stripped Bare, has attracted more than 1.5 million views.

The 49-year-old is also the co-founder and national convenor of Women in Media, a nationwide mentoring and networking group, backed by the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance.

Her first book, The Good Girl Stripped Bare, was published by HarperCollins in April 2017.

Ben Woltmann

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Ben Woltmann is a international Management Consultant & Board Member.  As a leader for young professionals and experienced management consultant, he delivers professional results in a similar way to Roger Federer; delivering continuous outstanding results in challenging environments with a measured approach.

Ben believes that "working flexibly is paramount wherever you are but for me this is especially true when working between countries to achieve work life balance and to maximise effective time. As a UN board member for Australia I'm proud to promote such a great initiative that works towardachieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals 3 (good health and well being) and 8 (decent work and economic growth)."

Gemma Saunders

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Gemma Saunders actively champions the idea that flexibility should be offered to anyone, for any reason. She believes that flexibility should be encouraged for no reason other than it makes good business sense. As someone who personally wants to have a great career and a great family life, Gemma encourages others that this shouldn’t have to be a choice.

"The main reason for supporting flexibility should be employee wellbeing and engagement.  I am deeply passionate about creating opportunities for people to further themselves and am excited by the impact that a quality employee experience can have on business outcomes." 

Gemma is the Head of Organisational Development— Diversity & Inclusion at Medibank. Flexibility, inclusion and diversity play a big part in her role and she seeks to ensure Medibank’s talent & engagement programs create opportunities for a range of people.

Yasmin Grigaliunas

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Yasmin Grigaliunas lives life large!  A passionate and energising professional, who is as at home in her corporate life as she is raising her young family with her husband.  Yas is one of those people who can achieve what might seemingly feel impossible.  If you think you can’t, Yas will find a way you can. 

In November 2015, Yas resigned from a role she loved, to fulfil a family dream of travelling Australia in a caravan on what she calls a ‘Family Gap Year’.  When Yas met over coffee with the company’s General Manager to ‘come clean’ about her plans to formally resign, little did she know that he would provide a unique offer to Yas and her family to consider.  “Why resign? He said.  What do you think about the option to remain working part-time while you travel?”  What started as an experiment for both Yas and avt; the progressive company leading the charge on ‘extreme’ flexibility, quickly turned into what Yas has coined as ‘Australia’s most flexible role’. 

No stranger to working flexibly, Yas has been doing it in various roles since the birth of her first child 11 years ago, before flexibility was even a thing. Yas believes (and has proven) that flexibility in the workplace is limited only by your imagination, and the foundations of mutual trust and transparency with your employer.  Travelling Australia for 18 months in a caravan with your young family is one thing, but to do it while remaining working full-time and fully flexibly is a whole other story.   

Nicole Lessio

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Nicole Lessio strongly believes that flexibility is key to job satisfaction. "Offering flexible work is recognition that employees have full, rounded lives that don't stop between 9 and 5. Any employer that truly embraces flexible work practices is rewarded with happier, more engaged employees who are more productive and are extremely loyal. It's a win for everyone."

Nicole is the Executive Director of The Parenthood and a mum of four kids - from grade 12 to kindy. She's a former high school teacher with more than a decade of campaigning experience as well as years of experience in federal and state government policy and media. Nicole is passionate about celebrating parents and helping to make it just that little bit easier to raise kids in Australia.  

Angela Priestley

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Angela Priestley is the Executive Editor of Women’s Agenda, a news publication for career-minded women that she first launched with Private Media, and later acquired while on maternity leave with her second child.

Angela runs the business – which includes a consulting arm and a national awards program – with a small team working flexibly and remotely from all over Australia. Known to personally work ‘odd hours’ and be at her most productive before 7am, she believes the traditional Monday to Friday working week must shift dramatically in order to create more inclusive, sustainable and productive employers in the future.

Scott Pyke

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Scott Pyke is a flexibility enabler!  In his role as General Manager at avt, Scott is responsible for creating ‘Australia’s most flexible role’, where one of his team members (fellow Ambassador Yasmin Grigaliunas) works full-time and fully flexibly travelling around Australia in a caravan with her family.  

 Scott’s transformational leadership style sets him apart from conventional leaders.  Scott truly believes that it’s people who matter most, and he inspires real change by strategically providing a safe place for individuals to find the space they need to deliver outcomes beyond expectation.  Scott has successfully introduced and implemented agile methodologies throughout the core of the business, and this has resulted in empowering teams to lead themselves to provide improved outcomes.  Flexibility at avt is underpinned by trust and transparency, both of which come naturally to Scott.   With transparency as a foundation, Scott enables those around him to think about more than work, at work. 

 Scott practises mindfulness daily, and has taken many of the team on the journey of journaling, creating much needed space through self-awareness and the emotional intelligence discovery.  Scott’s ability to build trusted relationships is inspirational!  He is a true transformer and leader, in not only flexibility in the workplace, but in living and leading family first values in business.

Hayley Windsor

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Hayley Windsor is a business consultant, yogi and creative.  She possesses diverse career experience through which she is known to bring a fresh perspective, energy, excellent engagement skills and an outcome-driven mindset. From international business journalism assignments to big four management consulting projects and social enterprise start-ups, her dynamic approach, effervescent personality and professional integrity are consistent.

She is driven by a benevolent curiosity and an enthusiasm for uncovering her greatest potential and helping others to do the same.

Having left the corporate 9-5 behind in October last year, she now provides support to businesses on a freelance or project-defined basis. Drawing on her yoga studies, teaching and leadership skills, she also runs boutique retreats focused on health, fitness, yoga and reflection for entrepreneurial spirited professionals and small groups. 

Tom Faulkner

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Tom Faulkner is a professional sportsman and property development specialist. Tom is passionate about flexibility because it has enabled him to pursue his professional aspirations in property whilst preparing to compete at the highest levels of his sport; beach volleyball. 

Tom recently put his property career on hold in order to pursue sporting aspirations abroad. Residing in the Netherlands and following an international training camp in Spain, Tom has competed in and won his first two tournaments on the Dutch Beach Volleyball Tour and will take to the arena against the worlds best in Europe this summer. 

Prior to his departure, Tom was awarded Young Professional of the Year in 2015 by the Urban Development Institute of Australia and promoted to lead business development in new commercial projects for Mirvac in 2016. Tom has contributed to the realisation of architecturally and commercially significant office buildings and committed himself to working with leading Australian companies to challenge and redesign the vision for tomorrow’s workplace. 

With the support of Mirvac and the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, Tom participated in the Equilibrium Man Challenge where he discovered the challenges and enormous rewards to a flexible working arrangement. “I was able to perform better in the sand AND in the suit when I could rely on a transparent and dynamic approach to time and resource management. Working with my team and learning how to better empower, delegate, review and revise elements of my flexible working arrangements made it possible to reach my goals and facilitate the realisation of broader team objectives.”

Lisa Britt

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Lisa Britt, team manager of seven remote workers, has found that flexible remote working can be the key to the elusive work/life balance people are always talking about.

“Working remotely can mean more than just working from home; it can support a bigger, more adventurous life. It isn’t always easy, but with the right technology, a can-do attitude and enough self-discipline, it is achievable and it is definitely worthwhile. When you are personally fulfilled and have some time for yourself during the day, you have far more to give to your customers and teammates.”

After a diverse career, most recently in the not-for-profit world, Lisa is now Head of Customer Experience at Evergiving - a software as a service company for face-to-face fundraisers. From the outset, Evergiving has had an entirely remote workforce who coordinate, collaborate, and solve real world problems as a globally dispersed team of 18 people. 

While dividing her time between heading the customer support side of the business and being a direct line manager, Lisa is about to embark on a year abroad. She’s planning to pursue her passion for photography and travel, while working entirely remotely and spending some quality time with international customers and team members.

“My role certainly involves long hours working across multiple time zones, but this allows me to spend some time during the day pursuing my own interests. Currently, in my downtime I’m focused on health and fitness, and studying Spanish in preparation for my visit to Argentina where I’ll be getting to know some colleagues better.”

“I think our CEO, James Goodridge, sums flexible work up perfectly “When you have the right people, with the right skills, and a team that already works remotely, why not let your staff do amazing things? If they are happy, motivated, and delivering beautiful work, everybody wins.”

Frances Crimmins

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Frances Crimmins has been the Executive Director of leading feminist organisation, YWCA Canberra since 2013. She is the current Co-Chair of Anti-Poverty Week in the ACT, and was also the Chair of the ACT Ministerial Advisory Committee for Women.

Frances says that at YWCA Canberra, promoting gender equality and diversity is embedded practice, through a number of policies and procedures that support flexibility in the workplace.

Under Frances’s leadership, YWCA Canberra has been cited as a Workplace Gender Equality Agency Employer of Choice since 2014, and accredited as a Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace since 2013.

Frances was drawn to YWCA Canberra in 2010 as she had always identified as a feminist, and has a strong belief in social justice, which she attributes to her mother’s influence. Having faced discrimination during her own career journey, she is now committed to being a strong voice for women.

Frances is a mother and a carer herself, and passionately believes that women should not be forced to choose between a having a successful career and a satisfying home life, or made to feel less valued as a result of their choices. She feels strongly about offering flexible and equitable working arrangements for employees, and advancing equal opportunities for women.

Ian McGuire

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Iain McGuire fully appreciates that diversity and flexibility in the workplace are essential to fully embrace our individual lifestyles, priorities and personal situations.  Understanding, accommodating these and engaging in a transparent dialogue engenders trust and inspiration in the workplace.

Iain is a Partner at PwC and leads the Government technology practice in Canberra.  Moving to Canberra provided Iain with a platform to drive change in an area he is passionate about. 

As a father of 4 children, Iain balances his work and life goals through PwCs commitment to flexible working further enabled by their ongoing investment in technology and collaboration tools.  Iain lives in the snowy mountains achieving a family goal, whilst balancing a successful client facing role at PwC