Diversity, Inclusion, Equity & Access Award Winners

We are deeply humbled to receive the inaugural IDEA Award for outstanding contribution to Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access by the global Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC).

To be recognised on this global level drives our commitment to championing diversity in the workplace even further.

The AESC IDEA Award was established this year to support the goals of the AESC Diversity Pledge, signed by more than 100 CEOs of leading executive search firms around the world, following the elevated awareness of these issues by the Black Lives Matter movement. The award recognises initiatives within the executive search and leadership consulting profession that demonstrate an exemplary commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity and access.

Our commitment to supporting diversity and inclusion is evidenced through the market-leading metrics for our appointment of diverse candidates over the last 12 months, with 66 per cent of them being female and 22 per cent being culturally diverse (i.e. of non-Anglo Celtic backgrounds). Many of these appointments have been leveraged into ASX-listed companies seeking to address the under-representation of both female and culturally diverse leaders.

Some of Johnson Partners’ notable placements in the past 12 months include:

  • Sharmila Tsourdalakis: Chief Innovation, Marketing and Technology Officer at Stockland (female, Australian national of Sri Lankan heritage)
  • Rachna Ghandi: General Manager Operations, Westpac Group (female, Indian born Australian)
  • Jackie McCarthur: Non-Executive Director, QUBE (female, Australian-Chinese heritage)
  • Kiri Brain: Chief Executive Officer, Turks Legal (female, New Zealand national of Maori heritage)
  • Christina Owyong: Chief Executive Officer, Zanui (female, Australian national of Singaporean heritage)

A number of protocols ensure that our company delivers diverse appointments. Shortlists must include at least two female candidates and one culturally diverse candidate. Our success is also a reflection of the tremendous diversity of our own team.

We also founded the annual 40 Under 40 Most Influential Asian-Australian Awards in 2019, co-convened with Asialink at the University of Melbourne, the Centre for Asian-Australian Leadership at the Australian National University, and PWC Australia to address the systematic under-representation of professional Asian-Australian leaders. It promotes the achievements of young Asian-Australian leaders under 40 years of age in the higher echelons of politics, business, media, sport, science and medicine, education and the arts, plus not-for-profit endeavours and activism.

Australia possesses a significant and growing Asian-Australian community, at around 12 per cent of the total population. However, the Australian Human Rights Commission’s (AHRC) Cultural Diversity Leadership Blueprint examined the cultural backgrounds of Chief Executive Officers of ASX200 companies, federal government ministers, heads of federal and state government departments and vice-chancellors of universities, recognising that only 1.6 per cent of those roles are held by Asian-Australians.

“Winning this global award will energise us to redouble our efforts and focus on delivering even better D&I outcomes for our clients.”

The 40 Under 40 awards have played a critical role in advancing our thinking and focus on how to better recognise and utilise Asian-Australian talent domestically and internationally to secure Australia’s post-COVID-19 recovery and future prosperity. To bolster awareness of the awards, we also founded the Johnson Partners Diversity Series which captures the stories of the nine category winners from each year’s Awards. These stories have become widely read publications and are a great source of inspiration to other Asian-Australians.

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