DAY ONE: Wednesday 29 March 2017


8:00am   Registration opens


8:45am   Welcome from the Chair

Antoinette Braks, Executive Coach, Author

9:00am   KEYNOTE: Innovative HR: Enabling the workplace of tomorrow

Today’s workplace is in the midst of massive change driven by new methods of engagement, new products and new business models. In the new digital world of work, HR leaders now face the challenge of helping business leaders redesign organisations, jobs and the work itself to help enhance business performance. Innovative organisations are using design thinking to restructure this new workplace environment by studying their people and developing tools that empower and enable workers to be more productive. 

In his keynote, David Mallon will provide insights into the workplace of tomorrow and will share ways that innovative organisations are:

  • Incorporating design thinking into their people strategies
  • Replacing traditional programs and processes
  • Embracing digital HR

David Mallon, Head of Research, Bersin by Deloitte, Deloitte Consulting LLP


9:45am   AUSTRALIAN HR AWARDS EXCLUSIVE: The elements of a high-performance team

Successful organisations are built around highly empowered teams, driven by inspiring leaders. This panel brings together Australian HR Team of the Year finalists to share their key learnings.

  • What makes a high-performing HR team?
  • Establishing appropriate ways of expressing tension, disagreement and frustration
  • How to create collaborative team culture in a virtual team environment
  • Structuring decision making in a team so that it is flexible, agile and empowered

 Alec Bashinsky, National Leader, People & Performance, Deloitte
 Michelle Zimany, HR Director ANZ, Sanofi
 Kalena Jefferson, General Manager People and Culture, Southern Cross Care NSW & ACT



10:45am     Morning refreshments & networking break


11:30am   KEYNOTE: Mentally healthy workplaces- Good for people, good for business

  Employers today have legal and ethical obligations to provide mentally safe and healthy workplaces. This session will explore best practical guidelines for           designing jobs and workplaces to support employees and reduce mental health risks.

  • What types of support does an employee with a mental illness really need from their employer?
  • How to help someone return to work after a mental illness
  • What effect do formal disciplinary procedures have on someone with a mental illness?
  • How to have a conversation with an employee you're concerned about

  Lucinda Brogden, Commissioner, National Mental Health Commission

12:15am   LIVE INTERVIEW: Australian HR Champion (CEO) of the Year

Tricia Velthuizen, CEO, Churchill Education



12:30pm   CASE STUDY: 'Mainstreaming' flexible work at Westpac

Today’s employees expect flexible schedules and limited supervision – but such flexibility need to be balanced with the right systems, processes and culture, along with a strong focus on results.

  • Is the idea of working nine-to-five now an out-of-date concept?
  • Coaching managers to shift the way they manage and lead their teams
  • Designing processes for individually-focused work, collaborative work and team discussion
  • How does flexible working really impact productivity?
  • How to design a Flexible Work Strategy that translates into tangible action and benefit

Samantha Turner, Head of Inclusion & Diversity, Westpac Group

1:00pm   Networking Lunch


2:00pm   I survived a massive change initiative: Here’s what I learned

  Barb Hyman, Executive General Manager, People & Culture REA Group


2:15pm   EMPLOYMENT LAW: Best-practice guide to mental health in the disciplinary process

When dealing with workplace mental health issues, employers have legal obligations relating to discrimination, privacy, adverse action and health and safety.       HR professionals should tread very carefully to avoid legal risks when mental health is a factor.

  • Overview of section 351(1) of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986
  • Impact of Salazar v John Holland Pty Ltd[2014] relating to mental health as a contributing factor in misconduct
  • To what degree should an employer take a psychiatric disorder (anxiety and depression) into account when considering the employee’s ability to communicate within the workplace?
  • At what point is it pragmatic to cease disciplinary processes and come to a settlement with an employee who suffers from mental illness?

  Joydeep Hor, Founder & Managing Principal, People + Culture Strategies

3:00pm     Afternoon refreshments & networking break


3:30pm   CASE STUDY: Tales from the HR trenches: Lessons from the Masters wind-down

  Managing the HR aspects of the largest voluntary wind-down in Australian corporate history required tact, diplomacy and compassion. As the most senior HR    person in the business overseeing both Masters and Home Timber & Hardware (which was sold to Mitre 10) Gillian Davie had to lead HR changes on a            massive scale.  

  • Key lessons learned from assisting 6,200 employees to transition into new careers
  • Managing large-scale change and M&D from a people perspective
  • How to maintain trust and dignity during tough corporate times 

  Gillian Davie, former Director Human Resources, Masters Home Improvement


4:15pm   PANEL DISCUSSION: What is the right balance between commercialism and integrity?

As HR leaders increasingly focus on commercial priorities and business performance, are we neglecting long-term morale and ethical considerations? What is the right balance between hard-headed commercialism and empathising with employees?

  • Are we too focused on short-term business goals, to the detriment of long-term morale and engagement?
  • Are the so-called 'soft skills' sometimes lost in the quest to achieve budgets and objectives?
  • Striking a balance between demonstrating commercial acumen and acting as a moral compass

Carel Bothma, Executive Manager HR, Aged Care Plus Support Services

Ashley Winnett, Executive Director HR, Holden

Helen Perkins, Head of Human Resources – ANZ, Johnson & Johnson

Sharon Stanford, HR Director, Asia Pacific, Nasdaq


5:15pm   Networking Event



DAY TWO: Thursday 30 March 2017


8:30am   Registration opens
8:50am   Opening remarks from the Chair

Mary Sue Rogers, Executive Strategy & Transformation, MSR Pty Ltd


9:00am   KEYNOTE: The fighting spirit of a champion

Be inspired by the story of Australia’s most successful track cyclist, who made one of the great comebacks in Australian Olympic history at the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008 and remains just the fourth Australian track cyclist to compete in four Olympics.

Anna Meares, Track cyclist champion and Australia team captain, Rio Olympics 2016


9:45am   LIVE INTERVIEW: Australian HR Director of the Year

Peter Hartnett, HR Director, Sanitarium Health & Wellbeing


10:00am   KEYNOTE: Peta Credlin Reflections on leadership and power

A strategist and policy professional with more than a decade of experience at the highest levels of Australian politics, Credlin was referred to by Prime               Minister Tony Abbott as “one of the smartest and the fiercest political warrior I have ever worked with". In this session she will reflect on the realities of             leadership in Australia’s highest office.

  • Candid, authentic reflections on the reality of being a powerful woman in a high profile leadership role
  • Managing people and making tough decisions in a high-stakes environment
  • Navigating gender stereotypes, politics and power plays

   Peta Credlin, Sky News Host and former Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister


10:45am   Morning refreshments & networking break


11:15am   AUSTRALIAN HR AWARDS EXCLUSIVE: Diversity and inclusion programs at Toxfree

Most executive teams now recognise the importance of diversity and inclusion programs on corporate reputation, employee brand, employee wellbeing and        innovation. What does an award-winning diversity program look like?

  • Key industry metrics and benchmarks on diversity and inclusion
  • Securing leadership buy-in for diversity programs
  • Diagnosing, addressing and eliminating the gender pay gap
  • Addressing bias in recruitment, selection and reward and recognition
  • Embedding the principals of inclusion throughout the whole employee lifecycle

Sarah Bagshawe, Executive General Manager, Human Resources, Toxfree 

Peter Cairncross, Human Resources and Group Training and Development Manager, Toxfree

12:00pm   What will be the next big HR breakthrough?

James Law, HR Director, Envato



12:15pm   PANEL DISCUSSION: Managing constant change in your organisation

As the pace of change in the economy accelerates, CEOs are increasingly requiring their organisations and HR teams to be more agile. How are employees           handling such incessant organisational change? In this interactive workshop, participants will hone their skills in change management and change                     leadership.

  • Igniting an appetite for change amongst employees who are suffering ‘change fatigue’
  • Creating an agile culture that can quickly adapt to changes
  • Bedding down change even through the stages of a business lifecycle
  • Dealing with change-resistant employees

  Sarah Crowley, HR and Talent Director, Amobee

  Vicki Leaver, Director People and  Organisational Development, Legal Aid
  Merryl Dooley, Executive GM People, Culture and Communications, Tabcorp
  Barry Barakat, Director, Learning and Development, Stryker

  Joana Bonto, Director HR, ExciteHolidays


1:00pm   Networking lunch


2:00pm   AUSTRALIAN HR AWARDS EXCLUSIVE: Learning and development programs that engage millennials

Technological advances and demographic shifts are disrupting the learning and development landscape. Organisations are increasingly trying to compress training into shorter, sharper interventions to engage young employees who have grown up in a digitally-saturated culture. What is the ideal blend for an L&D program?

  • How to incorporate massive open online courses (MOOCs) into a training program
  • M-learning and E-learning formats that keep learners engaged
  • Social learning and micro-learning - How quick is too quick when delivering training?
  • Engaging without sacrificing quality and depth of learning
  • Experiential training, including simulations, case studies, and flipped classrooms
  • Shifting from an internally focused, corporate-centric learning universe to a learner-centric one

Catherine Frogley, Manager Leadership and Capability, Sanitarium Health and Wellbeing



2:45pm   Predicting human behaviour – is it even possible?

Since the inception of organisational psychology, scientists, HR managers and management theorists have been trying to define and predict the behaviour of individuals and groups within organisations.

  • What can neuroscience tell us about the way people work in teams
  • How reliable is psychology and neuroscience in predicting organisational behaviour
  • Tips for interpreting, analysing, and leveraging psychological insights to improve decision making

Silvia Damiano, CEO About my Brain Institute & Neuro-Learning Programs Associate at MGSM Executive Education

3:15pm   PANEL DISCUSSION: People and technology today – What role should HR play?

Digital technology disrupting business models and radically changing the way we work. With automation increasingly disrupting the workforce, what will this mean for the future role of HR departments?

  • The opportunities and challenges presented by mobile, cloud, big data and social technologies
  • How can we help employees shift to a ‘digital mindset’?
  • How will HR itself revolutionise its own systems and ways of delivering HR services?
  • Will technological advances allow give HR professionals more time to focus on high-value tasks?
  • What does the ‘fourth industrial revolution’ really mean for the HR profession?

Toby List, Head of HR, Australia & New Zealand, Disney

Sarah Sammut, Head of HR, Fitness First

Mathew Paine, Director HR, International Convention Centre Sydney

Sally Kincaid, Chief Human Resources Officer, QBE Insurance



4:20pm   Grand Prize Draw


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