HR Directors Forum Schedule


9:00 am
9:15 am

Engaging employees through authentic and ethical leadership

The world is changing. Workplaces are increasingly dynamic and flexible, and HR leaders are increasingly being called-upon to provide ethical guidance at the executive level. What does leadership look like in today’s world?

  • How is the role of HR leader changing with the changing times?
  • Engaging employees through storytelling and authentic leadership
  • Coaching and guiding managers to provide effective feedback to their teams
  • Encouraging managers to give honest, fair developmental feedback and authentic praise

Chris Lamb

Chief People & Culture Officer, Greencross Limited

9:45 am

Answering the Call: Striving for equality and fairness in the Workplace

In this case study session, AustralianSuper shares their progressive leadership on creating a fairer future for women.
  • Supporting  change that will lead to a better financial future for women and Super
  • Strong gender diversity policies and normalising flexible working
  • Fighting for reform in superannuation guarantee contributions from employers
  • Bringing Australia closer to the goal of economic equality

Michele Glover

Group Executive, People and Culture, AustralianSuper

11:00 am

How Citibank transformed its global L&D

Providing relevant, personalised learning experiences that support the strategic priorities of one of the world’s biggest global banks with over 200,000 employees can be challenging. Peter Fox, Global Head of Digital Learning and Talent Technology is leading the transformation of Citi’s global learning function from a fragmented, inaccessible system to a consolidated, user-focused learning experience that delivers demonstrable value and ROI. In this global keynote, Peter will reveal key learnings from the transformation journey and discuss the strategies and processes employed to deliver a data-driven evaluation of employee skills, a robust assessment and selection of technology platforms and examples of how to prove the value of investments.

Peter Fox

Global Head of Digital Learning and Talent Technology, Citi Group

11:30 am

TED TALK: Building inclusivity – Learning from Uber’s Cultural Journey

An inclusive workplace is that working environment that values the individual and group differences within its work force. Hear UBER’s journey toward embracing the diversity of backgrounds and perspectives of the employees, which in turn increases their talent, innovation, creativity and contributions.

Susie Gleeson-Byrne

Head of Human Resources, Uber Australia and New Zealand

11:45 am

Workshop: Becoming an enabler of success

As technology liberates HR directors from routine processes, HR will take the lead in driving high performance cultures. This workshop will equip you with practical leadership skills to prepare for the future workforce.
  • Strategies for building emotional intelligence, learning agility and resilience in your executive team
  • Empowering, coaching, motivating and engaging teams and departments
  • Executive coaching techniques to leverage with the CEO and executive team

Joanna Geysen

Director, The Culture Group

12:30 pm

A human’s place in the future of work

If 60% of primary school children will work in jobs which don’t yet exist, how do we embrace the new skills needed? The changing technology landscape challenges executive leadership teams in their strategic planning and day to day execution.

This session will explore the “Future of Work” and what you and your executive team should be championing to stay ahead of the curve:

  • Building a vision for the future and embracing transformational changes
  • Preparing for the future skills and communications required to thrive in the world of work
  • How AI can be part of the collaboration, as humans make good decisions

Mike Bollinger

Global VP of Thought Leadership and Advisory Services, Cornerstone

2:10 pm

LEGAL UPDATE: New whistleblower protections for employees – what you need to know

A single, strengthened whistleblower protection regime has been passed by Federal Parliament, expanding and clarifying the prohibition against victimisation of whistleblowers.
  • Tips for drafting company whistleblowing policies
  • Step by step guide to dealing with whistleblower complaints
  • Investigating protected disclosures in accordance with the new laws
  • What constitutes unlawful conduct under the new laws?
  • Confidentiality and anonymity requirements relating to whistleblower identity

Kathryn Dent

Director, People+Culture Strategies

2:55 pm

A Conversation with Male Champions of Change: Confronting the Merit Trap in recruitment and promotion

When we use merit as shorthand for a package of admirable qualities that we innately recognise, we devalue ‘merit’. Many studies confirm that we are drawn to those who think, look and act like us. This is a problem for women working in male dominated environments where there are deeply held beliefs and norms about who is suitable for leadership. In this session, three CEOs will discuss their initiatives to combat the Merit Trap in recruitment and promotion.
Three CEOs of Australia’s Fortune 200 companies will join this timely discussion.


Annika Freyer

CEO, Male Champions of Change

3:45 pm

PANEL: Communicating and driving cultural change in the C-suite

Successful HR directors are highly valued change managers and business shapers.  This panel will discuss strategies for effectively executing change at the executive level.
  • Becoming a trusted advisor at the senior leadership level
  • Proven ways to effectively communicate change to the workforce
  • Providing clear direction and communication
  • How to ensure that middle managers feel ownership of the change programs


Jon Williams

Partner, Fifth Frame


Jo Cairns

Chief Human Resources Officer, Automotive Holdings Group (AHG)

Vanessa Hicks

HR Director, Vodafone

Mary Lemonis

Chief People Officer, REA Group

Katie McGrath

Chief People and Culture Officer, Seven West Media

Kelly Parmenter

HR Director, Foxtel

9:10 am

Truth to power: C-Suite and boardroom dynamics and executive skills for today’s HR leader

Hear from Cathy Doyle on the practical realities of strategy-making, conflict resolution and alliance-building in the c-suite and the boardroom. 
  • Negotiating and influencing skills for HR leaders in the executive team
  • Truth to power
  • Conflict management at the highest level – creating unity while encouraging diversity of thought
  • Guiding the executive team through ethical dilemmas

Cathy Doyle

Group Executive, Human Resources CHRO, Rabobank

10:00 am

PANEL: Working with a new CEO

All HR directors will, at some point, need to adapt to working under a new CEO.  If you’re a senior team member in a company with a new chief executive, your success will depend on your ability to quickly build a relationship. How can you adapt, survive and thrive in a time of such massive changes?
  • How to demonstrate support and create a great first impression
  • Embarking on your own personal transformation journey with your new CEO
  • How to maximize your chances of prospering and succeeding with a new leader
  • Positioning yourself to help the CEO to building a strong and committed executive team


Jon Williams

Partner, Fifth Frame


Lisa Burquest

Chief People Officer, The a2 Milk Company

11:15 am

Driving a continuous learning culture to support your organisation’s business goals

  • Aligning your L&D initiatives with your organisation’s business goals
  • Understand what drives continuous learning culture at Accor
  • Strategies implemented in Accor to assist employees for future leadership roles

Sarah Derry

Senior Vice President, Talent & Culture – Pacific, ACCOR

12:00 pm

KEYNOTE: Bold leadership from the top: Perspectives on People Strategy

Forward-thinking CEOs understand the critical importance of HR directors in inspiring people to carry out strategic initiatives. The session will cover:

  • The importance of empowering HR team to carry out people programs
  • The traits that CEOs value in HR leaders
  • The key to authentic, bold HR leadership in the boardroom
  • How HR can impact bottom-line revenue and performance

Carolyn Creswell

Founder and CEO, Carmans Fine Foods

12:30 pm

HR spotlight:  Telling stories through data

HR leaders increasingly need to think ‘big picture’ and analyse HR data to drive decision making. In the future, how will HR teams use data to tell stories?
  • Making connections across data and information to inform successful decision making
  • Using data and analytics to influence stakeholders at all levels
  • How to shape data into a narrative to help reveal findings, trends or underlying patterns
  • Using linked visualisations to explain how and why HR data changes over time
  • How can we use data to think differently about the employee experience?

Darren Fewster

Executive Director, HR Shared Services, Telstra

2:15 pm

CASE STUDY: Leading agile career development strategies

Many organisations are moving to agile and dynamic team structures. How can we maintain a flat organisational structure while still meeting our team’s need for advancement opportunities?
  • Developing talent in agile organisations that are no longer hierarchical
  • Moving talent around the organisation to suit changing business priorities
  • Encouraging managers to rethink and reshape their teams while managing day-to-day operations
  • Taking an agile mindset to support and guide new projects

Raechel Gavin

Group Executive, People and Culture, Quantium

2:45 pm

PANEL: Leading for the future – equipping our workforces with the skills for the future

The future is human. When AI and other HR tech platforms have been effectively implemented across the economy, HR leaders will need to work cross-functionally to provide the people side of strategy.
  • How will we build our credibility as respected, valued and trusted HR leaders?
  • What will future organisations need from their executive teams?
  • How can we build our organisations’ agility to meet unknown new challenges?


Adam Hall

Talent and Reward Leader Australasia, Willis Towers Watson


Lucy Lithgow

GM People & Culture, BPAY Group

Pip Russell

VP, Strategy, Innovation & Commercial Operations Pacific, Schneider Electric

3:45 pm


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