DCA's outstanding diversity leadership team includes:
- Nareen Young, CEO
- Lisa Annese, Director for Programs and Development
- Simone Earl, Office Manager / EA to CEO
- Sue Flockart, Events Manager
- Dean Ingram, Administrative Assistant
- Jane O'Leary, Research Director
- Catherine Petterson, Communications Director
- Amber Roberts, Member Services Manager
- Katriina Tahka, Cultural Diversity Director
- Jo Tilly, Policy & Research Manager
Since Nareen’s appointment as CEO of DCA in 2007, DCA has transformed into a flourishing independent, not-for-profit workplace diversity advisor to business with significant influence and expertise. Her strategic capacity, relationship building and collaborative working skills, tenacity and leadership have transformed DCA, creating a new organisation aligned to the contemporary needs of Australian workplaces and able to lead the creation of the workplace of the future.
Nareen has also been highly influential in thinking and practice on diversity. Over time she has made a major contribution to awareness and understanding of diversity in Australian business and the wider community and for encouraging diversity to be seen as a discrete, specialised practice area.
As DCA CEO, Nareen was appointed Chair, National Work/Life Balance Awards Judging and Accreditation Panel by then Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard in 2008. She is a Board member of the Institute for Cultural Diversity and a member of the Lend Lease Reconciliation Action Plan Advisory Panel. In 2012, she was named by the Financial Review and Westpac Group as one of Australia’s 100 Women of Influence and received the top honour in the diversity category, and was named one of the 'Twenty Most Influential Female Voices of 2012' by 'Daily Life'.
Prior to DCA, for seven years she was Director of the NSW Working Women's Centre, the prestigious peak body for women's employment in NSW. Prior to this appointment, Nareen was a trade union official and served on the executives of both the Australian Council of Trade Unions and Unions NSW in affirmative action (quota) positions representing women's employment interests.
Nareen has presented and published widely on employment diversity matters and has qualifications in education, her original career choice, and employment law.
DCA was delighted that Lisa Annese rejoined DCA in October 2012 as Director for Programs and Development. Lisa develops programs for DCA members to improve business capability in diversity management through the provision of strategic programs to improve diversity capability, and development of DCA’s member base.
This has followed an almost year long stint as the first dedicated Diversity Manager at Corrs Chambers Westgarth who recently won the Lawyers Weekly Firm Diversity Award. Lisa’s key achievements at Corrs include the publishing of an ASX Compliant Diversity Policy together with ambitious public targets for women in partnership, overseeing the industry partnership with the Melbourne Business School's Gender Equality Project and a role on the steering committee for the Australian Human Rights Commission's Older Workers and business growth strategy forum held in September 2012.
Lisa tenured previously with DCA from 2009 to 2011 working with Australian businesses, their leaders and diversity practitioners to assist them develop and implement diversity initiatives and runs various projects and networking forums to achieve that end. In that position Lisa contributed significantly to DCA’s contribution to the public debate by working on issues relating to gender pay equity, paid parental leave, women in leadership, cultural diversity and workplace flexibility. Lisa played a key role in developing DCA’s relationship with the UN Global Alliance and the UN Global Compact.
While at EOWA in 2004, Lisa co-authored “Chief Executives Unplugged: CEO’s Get Real About Women in the Workplace” which was named a “must-read business book” by AFR/BOSS magazine in 2005.
Prior to this, Lisa worked at EOWA where she developed 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. In her work at DCA, she oversaw the submission to amendments to this Act which contributed to the new Gender Equality in the Workplace legislation (2011). For her contribution at EOWA, Lisa was awarded a Medal for Significant Contribution to the Australian Public Service in 2001.
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.
Simone Earl joined DCA in 2013 as the Office Manager and Executive Assistant to the CEO, Nareen Young. She provides high level administrative support to the CEO but also plays a crucial role in managing DCA memberships, invoicing, handling proposals for consulting work and providing assistance with event management.
Simone has a pertinent understanding of business coordination, bringing over ten years of office management and administration experience to DCA. Simone’s career has spanned across the entertainment, government, banking & finance and FMCG industries. Simone also works with the Attorney Generals Department on a contract basis within their restorative justice programs. In her spare time she also volunteers with various Sydney and regional community groups.
As Events Coordinator, Sue Flockart’s role is to work in partnership with DCA members to present an exciting calendar of events, including face to face events, teleconferences, research launch events, corporate networking and DCA’s annual diversity debate. All DCA events are designed to ensure that the members have access to cutting edge diversity thinking with a focus on commercial application for member businesses that can be applied within the workplace to drive best practise.
Sue’s key focus in this role involves liaising with academics, industry, and DCA members to engage speakers and coordinate the timely delivery of a robust calendar of events.
Prior to joining the DCA team in February 2012, Sue has worked for the past 16 years within the broader exhibition and events industry. Her breadth of event experience includes major corporate events, sporting and tourism events, and trade exhibitions. As a senior events manager Sue has been involved with the management of all facets of event implementation and logistics for both large and small projects. Prior to DCA, Sue worked in a senior role for a privately owned small boutique trade event company, Groupe Grand Sud, to deliver three significant retail trade events. She has also spent 8 years working for global sports marketing company, International Management Group (IMG), on a number of events including the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show.
Sue initially started her career as Membership Coordinator, for the then peak tourism industry Victorian Tourism Operators Association (VTOA), now Tourism Alliance Victoria, a non-profit association advocating for and supporting the development of a professional and sustainable tourism industry. In this position Sue was responsible for the development of member services and the delivery of the association’s seminars and events programs.
Sue has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT). She lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband and two primary school age sons and works hard at striking the work life balance that DCA are so passionate about advocating throughout the Australian workplace in general.
Dean has over 20 years administration and project management experience, working in various organisations such as Australia Council for the Arts, Aboriginal Dance Theatre Redfern, Sydney Opera House and Wyanga Aboriginal Aged Care.
In the past, Dean has been involved in several community projects for which he has received numerous awards including 1996 Young Citizen of the Year for South Sydney.
Having worked in a number of Arts organisations, Dean is passionate about both the protection and promotion of Indigenous Arts in all its forms and has this year applied to study the Graduate Certificate in Indigenous Arts Management at the Victorian College of the Arts.
Jane O'Leary has been with DCA since 2001, working closely with members to assist them foster organisational cultures which are inclusive of all personal differences. In 2008 she took on the role of Research Director to oversee DCA’s mission to generate leading diversity research, thinking and practice in the Australian context. As Research Director Jane works in partnership with leading diversity thinkers and practitioners in business and academia to conceive of, design and implement innovative research projects, which influence progress and the broader public debate in diversity management and equity. She also works with DCA members to conduct diversity audits, develop and review diversity strategies and initiatives and conduct value-add diversity-related educational initiatives.
In 2010, Jane submitted her PhD, which investigated how Australian managers can most effectively manage workforce diversity. She was awarded a federal government scholarship to undertake this research at the University of Queensland Business School. The findings have been well received both here in Australia and overseas, with the Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management presenting her with an award at its 2010 conference. Jane also has a Masters of Education degree undertaken through the Queensland University of Technology. Her study focused on the area of women in leadership, and she was awarded an Academic Prize for Outstanding Achievement. She has published papers on women and careers, women and leadership, qualitative research techniques, and learning and development. Her particular areas of specialisation include managerial diversity capability, diversity strategy development, implementation and evaluation, women in the workplace, and learning and development.
Prior to joining DCA, Jane worked in the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency (EOWA) consulting to employers on issues relating to diversity and inclusion. She held the senior policy position in EOWA, with responsibility for developing the policy framework for interpreting and administering the amended Affirmative Action (Equal Employment Opportunity for Women) Act 1986 and overseeing the development of accompanying educational guidelines for employers. On the basis of her work in this role she was awarded a Medal for Significant Contribution to the Australian Public Service in 2001.
As Communications Director, Catherine Petterson’s role is to plan and manage DCA’s communications activities to provide a persuasive rationale for DCA membership to employers, and to increase member involvement in furthering best practice in diversity.
In this role, Catherine’s key responsibilities include writing and/or editing DCA’s regular publications on diversity such as Diversity Matters and Diversity Matters update as well as its Annual Report and all other member communications. She is responsible for DCA’s website and emarketing capability, and the introduction of a new customer relations management system, all of which have created more effective ways of engaging and communicating with members. Her current focus is on building DCA’s capacity for issues management and media relations, as well as developing the next phase of its digital strategy.
Catherine joined the organisation in 2004, initially to revamp its communications and organise its 20th Anniversary celebrations. This evolved into orchestrating DCA’s name change (from the Council for Equal Opportunity in Employment Ltd) and implementing a new corporate image in 2005. The new look and name was very well received with 92% of members surveyed approving of the new logo and image.
Catherine has a strong background in corporate communications and her expertise spans communicating to a broad range of audiences from business though to consumers, employees, investors, shareholders and the media. Prior to DCA, Catherine worked at public relations firm Hinton & Associates where she provided strategic financial and corporate communications advice to listed companies. She also had a long stint at ANZ Bank in a variety of senior communications roles including in corporate affairs, internal communications, investor relations and major project communications. During her time at ANZ, Catherine was awarded a Silver Serif Award from the Society of Business Communicators for publication of ANZ’s internal magazine ‘Scope’.
Catherine has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Melbourne and a Master of Arts degree in Communications from Monash University.
Since joining DCA in May 2011, Amber has co-ordinated and managed all DCA events and networks, taken responsibility for ensuring DCA’s website contains the latest research and resources for members, provided research, project management and administrative support on a range of DCA projects.
Amber’s particular diversity expertise resides in Indigenous social justice and native title. Her significant experience in this area was gained while working for the Department of Justice and Attorney-General and the National Native Title Tribunal.
In her role with the Department of Justice and Attorney-General, Amber researched and transcribed Magistrates Court Judgments and coordinated all Magistrates Court Circuits to the Torres Strait and Cape York.
She was an instrumental member of the Cairns Murri Court stakeholder team working alongside the Cairns Regional Coordinating Magistrate, Chief Police Prosecutor, Youth Justice, Community Corrections, Elders and Community Justice Group members to set up and implement the Cairns Murri Court in 2007.
Amber assisted the National Native Title Tribunal President with his publications, conference speeches and submissions on proposed changes to Commonwealth Government legislation, including to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Senate Committee in relation to the Native Title Amendment Bill 2009 and other related amendments to the Native Title Act 1993.
Amber has assisted to finalise complex agreements and timetables between native title parties’ towards consent determination of native title, future act agreement or alternative settlement by strategically managing agreement-making milestones, claim overview plans and complex mediation strategies.
In her roles Amber has liaised with the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Office and his Department, Commonwealth Ministers and their Advisors, Judges and Officers of the Federal Court of Australia, Land Councils, Native Title Applicant groups, Traditional Owners, State and Commonwealth Native Title Negotiators and all relevant stakeholders relating to Native Title.
Amber has completed a Masters Specialist Certificate in Social Policy (Inclusion) at the University of Melbourne and is currently studying a Graduate Certificate in Human Rights at the University of Sydney.
Katriina Tahka was appointed to the newly created role of Cultural Diversity Director for DCA in February 2013. The creation of this innovative role is a clear signal of DCA’s leadership in thinking and practice on cultural diversity and on building cultural capability in Australian business. Katriina leads DCA’s portfolio of cultural diversity initiatives including:
- Business engagement on DCA’s Capitalising on Culture: A National Survey of Australian Business Leaders
- Capitalising on Culture: Multicultural Supplier Diversity
- DCA’s sponsorship of the Ethnic Business Awards
- Business engagement on AHRC’s National Anti-Racism Strategy and cultural diversity road map.
Katriina brings to this role a deep understanding of the complex practical and legal issues having practiced for more than 15 years’ in workplace relations as an employment lawyer in top tier national law firms and also in-house in a large financial services organisation.
Whilst working in-house, Katriina was given the opportunity to move into diversity strategy and practice – and has never looked back! Katriina was appointed the national Head of Talent Management and Diversity. In this role Katriina was responsible for talent management and succession planning, the design and development of a new leadership framework and as well as working with senior leadership teams on strategic workforce planning taking into account looming skills shortages and a highly globalised, mobile workforce. Katriina was responsible for introducing a number of key diversity initiatives including the building of an on-site child care centre, increasing paid parental leave, purchase annual leave scheme and ensuring that diversity principles and practice were embedded into talent management practices.
Katriina has also held senior line HR positions, providing HR leadership across India, China, Singapore, United Kingdom, United States and Australia, seeing first hand the value that cultural diversity can bring to business innovation and growth.
Katriina draws on her extensive legal and corporate experience when providing strategic advice as well as practical, commercial solutions to DCA members. Katriina commenced with DCA in 2011 as the Member Services Director in and she oversaw the building of a highly focused Member Services Team to provide practical advice and assistance to DCA’s 180+ members.
Today Katriina continues to provide strategic advice and assistance to DCA’s members on building and valuing cultural diversity in the workforce as well as diversity more broadly. Katriina is a sought after public speaker and has presented widely on workplace relations, talent management and diversity in Australia and internationally. Katriina represented DCA at the 4th Annual Forum of the United Nations Alliance of Civilisations (UNAOC) in Doha, Qatar and spoke about intercultural dialogue, inclusion and diversity; and she continues to work closely with the UNAOC to develop a deeper understanding of the important contribution business can make to building cross cultural capability at an international and domestic level. Katriina continues to work closely with the UNAOC in developing an international understanding of intercultural capability building in business.
Cultural diversity and multiculturalism in an Australian context are a personal and professional passion of Katriina’s which she puts into practice every day as she raises her young family within a multi-faith, bi-lingual, dual citizenship home to become respectful global citizens.
Jo Tilly was appointed DCA’s Manager of Research and Policy in June 2012.
Prior to joining DCA, Jo was a freelance consultant working in the area of social policy research, submission and speech writing, and health advocacy.
Before establishing her own business, Jo was a senior policy advisor to the NSW Government on women’s and health issues. In this role she was responsible for establishing a new framework and funding stream for domestic and family violence, instigating a domestic violence homicide review process and was involved in the introduction of new legislation relating to sexual assault, domestic violence, anti-discrimination (breastfeeding) and tobacco control.
Before working for the NSW Government, Jo was a senior policy and research officer at the Australian Human Rights Commission responsible for sex and age discrimination issues. At the AHRC she was a key part of the Commission’s major projects focused on work and family balance, workplace relations, and discrimination against Indigenous women.
She was previously the Women’s Industrial Officer for the NSW Public Service Association where she was worked to successfully increase paid maternity leave across the sector to 14 weeks and was involved in the landmark Library Workers pay equity case heard in the NSW Industrial Relations Commission.
Jo has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of NSW and lives in Sydney with her partner Penny and their three children.