15 June 2023

Dylan Alcott AO.

Decision makers, community leaders and high-profile disability and gender equality advocates are coming together to share insights on how to boost diversity and inclusion in the non-profit sector.

The University of South Australia, together with AnglicareSA, Helping Hand and Uniting Communities, will host Australian of the Year 2022 Dylan Alcott AO, one of the most successful and well-recognised Paralympians, alongside Minister for Human Services Nat Cook, Natasha Stott Despoja AO and Karen Iles.

The keynote speakers will meet for UniSA’s Shaping the Future of Non-Profit Leadership Conference on 19 June to demonstrate the need for non-profit leaders and CEOs to strive for greater diversity and inclusion in their organisations.

Keynote speakers will join a panel of community leaders and leading UniSA researchers to explore the benefits of disability and gender equality in workplaces and to share industry insights.

Alcott launched the Dylan Alcott Foundation in 2017 to help young Australians with a disability achieve their goals in the workplace, on the sporting field or at university.

In 2022 he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for distinguished service to paralympic sport, particularly tennis, and as a role model for people with disability.

Alcott will join Minister for Human Services, Nat Cook, who, alongside husband Neil, founded anti-youth violence organisation the Sammy D Foundation in 2008 after losing their son Sam to a one-punch assault.

Also speaking is Natasha Stott Despoja, a former South Australian Senator and tireless advocate for the rights of women and girls, as well as Karen Iles, a Dharug Aboriginal woman and founder and principal solicitor of Violet Co Legal & Consulting, advocating for gender equality and racial justice.

UniSA Business Executive Dean Professor Andrew Beer says the rich lived experience of the esteemed keynote speakers will provide invaluable insights into how to shape a strong and inclusive non-profit sector for the future.

“Some of the most respected leaders in diversity and inclusion will be in the same room discussing diversity in leadership, having more women in leadership and bringing compassion to the conversation,” he says.

“We know that compassionate leadership creates a more resilient and kinder workforce. We need to amplify the voices of older people, people of culturally diverse communities, people with disabilities, and people of various backgrounds to create healthy communities and workplaces.”

UniSA Bradley Distinguished Professor Carol Kulik will share her expert insights into the positive effects diversity in leadership roles.

“Diversity in leadership roles has documented positive effects on employees, customers and clients and communities,” she says.

“Even though this research is not exclusive to non-profit organisations, it’s especially important to non-profits because they compete with private sector employers for employees.

“Their whole social ­mission is about service to customers and clients, and their success and sustainability depends on community goodwill.

“I’ll be providing some insight into the mechanisms by which diversity delivers those outcomes and offer a few straightforward strategies for increasing leadership diversity in non-profit organisations.

The Shaping the Future of Non-Profit Leadership Conference is hosted by UniSA, Anglicare SA, Helping Hand, and Uniting Communities. The inaugural event was sold out in 2021.

Shaping the Future of Non-Profit Leadership Conference

Monday, 19 June, 8.30am to 5.30pm

U City Function Centre, 43 Franklin Street, Adelaide.

For more information and to register visit the UniSA website.


Media contact: Melissa Keogh, UniSA Media M: +61 403 659 154  E: Melissa.Keogh@unisa.edu.au

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