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Leading Great Workplaces for Great Business Outcomes

18 February 2015 @ 9:00 am - 5:30 pm

The Future of Employee Engagement 

9.00am – 6.00pm Wednesday 18 February 2015
Doltone House, Accenture Building, Darling Island Wharf, Sydney 

Join us for a day of conversations with leaders who have delivered outstanding results by creating highly engaged workplaces through values based leadership.
Leading Great Workplaces Flyer

Workplace engagement is the single most important factor in creating and sustaining job satisfaction, productivity and a healthy bottom line. Research firm Towers Watson reports that organisations with high rates of engagement consistently outperform their sector benchmarks for growth across a range of financials—including more than double the stock performance of the Dow Jones and Standard & Poor Index for five years running. Great Place to Work’s data showsthat the value of their 100 best companies grew by 291 percent between 1998 and 2012. Compare that to the 72 percent growth of the Russell 3000 Index and the 63 percent growth of the Standard & Poor 500 Index. Great workplaces have substantially stronger bottom lines and are superior in performance.

With so much data supporting the importance of culture, most organisations still have low engagement scores and struggle to create high performing teams that will ‘do what it takes’ to deliver outcomes. So what is the new paradigm in leadership that creates a highly engaged workforce? What are these leaders doing differently that gets the results?

Come and be part of the conversation.

How is this event different?

  • All the sessions are in a facilitated panel discussion format with leaders sharing their story and open to the attendees for input.
  • Each time segment consists of equal time with the panel and equal time for discussion amongst the attendees at each table.
  • The objective of the day is to have conversations with the leaders and attendees.


9.00amWelcome by Facilitators

Muneesh Wadhwa – Founder, Humanity in Business
Michael Bunting – Director, Worksmart Australia

9.15am:  The First Law of Leadership: Walk your Talk

Nathalie McNeil – HR Director, Novartis


  • The critical role of senior management’s behaviour on culture change
  • Why getting real with others is the kindest thing you can do for them
  • Following through on promises and commitments means more to your life and leadership than you might think
  • Values speed dating – how to keep your team Modelling the Way

Values speed dating – how to keep your team Modelling the Way. 7% lift in engagement scores, halving of staff turnover and 100% retention of all high potentials.
 Great leadership starts with your values and your personal behaviour:

Tyrone O’Neill – Head of Customer Marketing, Optus


  • The importance of leading by example in enabling deep cultural change and performance improvement.
  • Why self awareness is so fundamental to gaining and keeping credibility.

Tyrone joined Optus in 2012 and led a business transformation which in less than two years led to exceptional improvement in customer retention and engagement, achieving the best retention KPIs in the company’s history.

9.45am:  Attendee Discussion 

10.15am: Why a Vision is Critical for Employment

Jan Pacas, MD Hilti Australia


  • Creating a sense of belonging, direction and aspiration where we want to be.
  • The importance to link vision with personal ambitions and how every employee relates to it.

At Hilti Australia we broke the Australian record in connecting employees to company Vision and strategy in a study by AON Hewitt – 94% employees were strongly supporting our company vision and strategy. This then translated into strong profit growth. Jan led Hilti Australia to 4 consecutive AON Hewitt Best employer awards including taking out the prestigious #1 Best of the Best award.

Getting your People Aligned Behind a Shared Vision

 Louise Baxter – CEO, Starlight Children’s Foundation


  • The process of creating a truly shared, inspiring, authentic vision
  • Communicating your vision, the do’s and dont’s
  • Making the vision live in each and every employee’s work life

Louise led Starlight Children’s Foundation through a huge overhaul. She took it from a very challenging position during the GFC with massive levels of staff turnover, all time lack of funding to record levels of funding and record levels of positive community feedback, an Aon Hewitt Best Employer award, and top 10 Great Place to Work in Australia. Aon commented that the levels of alignment in her organisation are at the very highest levels they have seen. This is truly exceptional in that this is harder to achieve in not for profits than for profit organisations.

10.45am:  Attendee Discussion

11.15am:  Morning Tea

11.40am:  What if? The leader’s journey of new opportunities, experiments and risk taking

John Studdert – former Regional Director, Ogilvy Public Relations


  • Cultivating growth by investing in short and longer term revenue streams
  • Listening to customers and proving value prior to scaling up
  • The technician, the manager and the entrepreneur and the importance of all three to growth
  • The entrepreneurial & intrapreneurial mindsets and the management opportunities & issues they present

What are the organisational and leadership conditions under which leaders & managers can challenge the process?

Richard Hall – Associate Dean, University of Sydney Business School


What is the role of?

  • Mindset. How can we cultivate and support a readiness to challenge, constructively and effectively?
  • Data, research, and evidence: What do we need in order to make a case for innovating or challenging the process’?
  • Systems, processes, practices: How can we encourage open innovation? What approach should we take to failure, and how can organisations realise this in practice, rather than just in rhetoric? What is the role of rapid prototyping, test and learn approaches, feedback?

12.10pm:  Attendee Discussion

12.40pm:  Lunch

1.35pm:  Building Relationships for Extraordinary Results

Brian Bissaker – CEO, Virgin Money


  • Moving from an individual contributor to a true leader
  • Build trust and collaboration across boundaries
  • The importance of humility in the Australian context
  • The rules of engagement to leverage high performing individuals into great teams

Brian has had many years of experience in senior roles dealing with the nuances of optimising the output of human capital in organisations

Getting 110% from Your Team

Celia Hodson – CEO, School for Social Entrepreneurs


  • Making your team members the CEO of their own area
  • Leading people beyond their own limitations and expectations
  • The heart of a leader

Celia has led a non-profit (SSE) from the edge of bankruptcy and closure to a thriving and inspirational organisation achieving extraordinary outcomes in the community.

2.05pm:  Attendee Discussion

2.35pm:  Personalised Performance Commentary

Rachel Argaman – CEO TFE Hotels (former Telstra businesswoman of the year)


Each month, Rachel writes an email to everyone in the company where she reviews the monthly hotel performance results across the entire business, with commentary that is specifically written for each Hotel team; in this email she opens with reflection on life and conscious living, great speakers she has heard, books she has read or stories from the group or from customers and shares these learnings with the team.

This feedback fosters a culture of high performance, through encouragement and personal recognition, throughout all TFE Hotels teams

Going Beyond the Awkward Chats in the Corridor

Deven Billamoria – CEO, Smartgroup


  • The importance of being authentic and genuine when recognising people
  • Helping your team find their inner brilliance and nurturing the best in them
  • The art of communication in crisis

Deven has led his business through a major legislation crisis and ultimately managed to keep his staff engaged and efficient though a very uncertain period. It was a part of his winning the AHRI CEO of the Year award.


3.05pm:  Attendee Discussion

3.35pm: Afternoon Tea

4.00pm:  Thought Leaders Discussion

James Rutherford – Principal, AON Hewitt
Zrinka Lovrencic – MD, Great Place to Work Institute
Adam Hall – Director, Towers Watson
Lesley Brown – Asia Pacific Leader, Towers Watson
Brian Bissaker – CEO Virgin Money

  • What are the mistakes you see organisations make when it comes to trying to become a sustainably engaged place to work?
  • If you were to recommend only 3 core behaviour leaders need to master in order to maximise engagement, what would they be?
  • What is the financial case for getting your engagement scores higher?
  • What does the future of a fantastic place to work look like?

4.45pm:  CEO Panel – The Challenges of Values Based Leadership 

We asked our leaders what questions they would like to ask of the attendees and other leaders on the panel.

Louise Baxter – CEO, Starlight Foundation
How to achieve better team alignment & engagement – quick wins?

 Deven Billimoria – CEO Smartgroup
It seems that the path to success is to always be listening and learning – is the end not nigh when you manage to find yourself on stage teaching and preaching?

Rachel Argaman – CEO, TFE Hotels
What is/are the philosophy/philosophies which underline your belief in values based leadership and the difference it makes in peoples’ lives and in corporate success?

Jan Pacas – MD, Hilti Australia
Leader vs manager – what are the differences? Leaders – are the made or are they born?

Brian Bissaker – CEO Virgin Money
What did it take for you to obtain a position of CEO. Was there a turning point along the way or did it build over time? Were your values challenged along the way?

5.30pm:  Discussions Close and Celebrartory Drinks

6.00pm: Event Finish

View the Brochure including Speaker Bios

Investment Options

After January 15

$650 +GST per person

$1100 +GST for 2 attendees

$4000 +GST for Table of 8 ((Includes branding on event flyer, signage)

Tickets available at: http://www.trybooking.com/114641

We will donate $20 of every ticket sold to the Starlight Foundation.

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Registrations are closed for this event


18 February 2015
9:00 am - 5:30 pm