Directors Forum Schedule


9:00 am

Welcome address from the Chair

Daniel Cogan

Human Capital Consultant, Deloitte

9:10 am

Business transformation: An executive’s perspective on people strategy and fostering an agile environment

Forward-thinking executives understand the critical importance of HR directors in inspiring people to carry out strategic initiatives.

Kendra Banks

Managing Director, SEEK Australia and NZ

9:50 am

2020 and beyond: HR leadership in the future

We live in an increasingly dynamic and fluid world. As workplaces transform, employees are demanding more flexibility and technology is promising to liberate HR departments from transactional tasks. What will HR roles look like in the future? 

  • Preparing your workforce for future challenges and opportunities 
  • What does the future hold for progressive and flexible work options and benefits? 
  • How can we guide and support teams for a future that is uncertain? 
Lucinda Gemmell

Chief People and Culture Officer, Virgin Australia (HRD Hot List 2019)

11:30 am

Panel: Leading 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  
  • Communicating the significance of change to the workforce 
  • Harnessing the power the C-suite to provide clear direction and communication  
  • How to ensure that middle managers feel ownership of the change programs 


Lisa Green

Group Executive – Human Resources, ASX

Heidi Suominen

Chief People Officer, RACQ

Kate Svoboda

Chief Human Resources Officer, Genworth Financial

Erika Takahashi

Human Resources Vice President – Australasia, Mastercard

12:30 pm

Legal update

Details tbc

2:00 pm

HR Director 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? 
Dean Summlar

Vice President Human Resources – Pacific Zone, Schneider Electric

2:30 pm

Case study: Preparing leaders for the future of work 

There are a lot of changes ahead with the future of work. Will there be a change in requirement from our leaders to meet these future demands? It’s one thing to prepare for the future of work but how are we going to prepare our leaders? 

  • Understanding future workplace trends and their impact on leadership 
  • Changing the way leaders think about themselves and of leadership 
  • Pragmatic leadership skills to deliver successfully in a transformation environment 
  • Effective outcomes from enterprise wide development program over multiple years 
Anna Buber-Farovich

HR Enablement and Transition Lead, Google

3:40 pm

Workshop – Finding the unlikely leader: valuing difference and diversity

Facing our human tendency to judge competency based on assumptions not facts. How to find, value and amplify the silent skills all around us for next level leadership. 

  • Why working with diverse, difficult or different people fast tracks careers and results 
  • How we unconsciously determine the potential of those around us 
  • How logic and intellect can get in the way of progress and potential 
  • Why our skills and experience are part of the problem and what to do about it 
  • Why the ‘traditional’ push for diversity is making things worse 
  • Why the world is ready for a new leader and how to get there 
Anneli Blundell

Professional People Whisperer,

9:00 am

Opening remarks from the Chair

Daniel Cogan

Human Capital Consultant, Deloitte

9:10 am

Bold leadership from the top: A CEO’s perspective 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 teams 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  
9:50 am

Case study: Change leadership at eftpos Australia

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 rethink and reshape their teams while managing day-to-day operations 
  • Taking an agile mindset to support and guide new projects  
Viona Young

Chief People and Culture Officer, eftpos Australia

11:00 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? 

  • Should the role HR leader change 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  
Karen Ancira

Chief People Officer, KFC South Pacific

11:40 am

Case study: Leveraging technology for an amazing onboarding experience  

How are innovative employers using tech platforms to integrate new employees into their corporate cultures. 

  • Creating and implementing an onboarding strategy that supports your corporate culture 
  • Driving onboarding strategies and programing your HR tech solutions to implement these 
  • Where is the wow factor? How to make your onboarding process remarkable
Edan Haddock

Talent Manager, flybuys

12:20 pm
1:20 pm

Case study: 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 the views of a person you may not know. 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 
Tracey Lake

Chief People Officer, CUA (HRD Hot List 2019)

2:00 pm

Panel: Leading for the future – offering a human element to strategy

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. This panel will draw on audience participation to discuss key take-aways from the forum. Prepare to get involved. 

  • 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? 


Diana Dawid

Chief Human Resources Officer, Mills Oakley

Tristram Gray

Chief People and Capability Officer, Kmart Australia

Tracy Quinn

Global Talent Acquisition Lead - Capability & Development, Mondelez Australia

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