Leadership Council on Cultural Diversity

Senior leaders advocating for cultural diversity in leadership
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The Council

The Leadership Council on Cultural Diversity is a group of leaders committed to improving the representation of cultural diversity within the leadership of Australian organisations.

Formed in December 2016, the Council seeks to make cultural diversity in leadership a reality.

Drawn from business, government, universities and civil society, Council members are advocates for diversity and inclusion.

The establishment of the Leadership Council followed the release of Leading for Change: A blueprint for cultural diversity and inclusive leadership in 2016, which highlighted the under-representation of cultural diversity among senior Australian leaders.

Dr Tim Soutphommasane

Dr Tim Soutphommasane

Chair

Dr Tim Soutphommasane has been Australia’s Race Discrimination Commissioner since August 2013. Prior to joining the Australian Human Rights Commission, Tim was a political philosopher and held posts at the University of Sydney and Monash University. His thinking on multiculturalism, national identity and patriotism has been influential in shaping debates in Australia and Britain.

John W.H. Denton AO

John W.H. Denton AO

John W.H. Denton is Partner and CEO of Corrs Chambers Westgarth. John is also Chair of the Business Council of Australia’s (BCA) Global Engagement Taskforce, and board member of Asialink and Teach for Australia.

Michelle Guthrie

Michelle Guthrie

Michelle Guthrie is Managing Director of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Before joining the ABC in May 2016, Michelle worked for a range of broadcasting and media organisations in Europe and Asia, including BSkyB, Star TV and Google.

Professor Peter Høj

Professor Peter Høj

Professor Peter Høj is Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Queensland. Prior to joining UQ in 2012, Professor Høj was Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of South Australia from June 2007. Before that, he was CEO of the Australian Research Council (2004-2007) and Managing Director of the Australian Wine Research Institute (1997-2004).

Tony Johnson

Tony Johnson

Tony Johnson is Managing Partner and CEO of Ernst & Young. An EY partner for over 16 years, Tony led the Oceania Assurance practice between 2009 and 2012 and has also been an active member of a number of Australian, Asia-Pacific and Global executive leadership committees within the firm.

Tan Le

Tan Le

Tan Le is Founder & CEO of Emotiv, a bioinformatics company advancing understanding of the human brain through electroencephalography (EEG). She is a technology innovator, entrepreneur, business executive and sought-after speaker. Tan was named a National Geographic Emerging Explorer in 2013, and was the 1998 Young Australian of the Year.

Ian Narev

Ian Narev

Ian Narev is Managing Director and CEO of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. Ian joined CBA in 2007 as Group Head of Strategy. From 2009 until his appointment as CEO in 2011, he was Group Executive, Business and Private Banking, with responsibility for SME banking, private banking and the CommSec retail brokerage business.

Dr Martin Parkinson AC PSM

Dr Martin Parkinson AC PSM

Dr Martin Parkinson is Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet. Prior to this, he was a professional Non-Executive Director, serving on numerous boards. From 2011 – 2014, Martin served as Australia’s Treasury Secretary, and before that, as the inaugural Secretary of the Department of Climate Change. In 2017 Martin was made a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC).

Luke Sayers

Luke Sayers

Luke Sayers is CEO of PwC Australia and Vice Chairman of PwC Asia. Luke has been a Member of the Australian PwC leadership team since 2004. He was the Tax and Legal Business Leader for four years, the Markets Leader from 2008 and he was appointed National Managing Partner in 2010. Luke commenced as Chief Executive Officer in April 2012.

Cultural Diversity and Leadership

Australia is an emphatically multicultural society. Almost half of the Australian population either was born overseas, or has a parent who was born overseas.

Few countries can boast to have enjoyed our multicultural success. Yet it is striking that among our leaders today, in various spheres, we are yet to see our multicultural character being reflected. Why don’t we see more diversity among our leaders? Do we have leadership that is fit for today’s Australia?

Recent years have seen some significant gains in diversity. But it is time to have a more specific conversation about cultural diversity. Prominent senior leadership on this is necessary if progress is to be made.

In 2016, a working group led by the Race Discrimination Commissioner released Leading for Change: A blueprint for cultural diversity and inclusive leadership.

The Leading for Change report found that:

  • the ethnic and cultural default of leadership remains Anglo-Celtic;
  • Australian society may not be making the most of its diverse backgrounds and talents; and
  • a more diverse workforce makes for better decision-making.

Leading for Change proposed actions with respect to leadership, systems and culture. This included guidance on senior leadership having ‘skin in the game’, measuring cultural diversity, strengthening accountability through targets, dealing with bias and discrimination, and enhancing professional development for culturally diverse talent.

Leading for Change:
A blueprint for cultural diversity and inclusive leadership.

Leading for Change Publication Get your copy here

Latest News

The Leadership Council on Cultural Diversity will host its first public event at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) offices in Darling Park, Sydney, on Tuesday 21 March 2017.

Ian Narev and Michelle Guthrie will be joined by emerging leaders Benjamin Law and Roxanne Moore to discuss ‘what diversity and leadership look like’.

How to get involved

The Leadership Council will be holding regular activities and events in 2017 and beyond. The Council will also be looking for partners and contributors to join with.

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