She joined Diversity Partners earlier this year and has already partnered with a range of organisations, including facilitating workshops and focus groups with hundreds of leaders and employees.
During her career, Jill has worked with the National Mutual Life Association of Australia as a graduate trainee business analyst, ANZ, Zurich European General Insurances (based in London) and most recently, at IAG.
Jill’s expertise includes diversity and inclusion, talent management and succession, and capability development to support organisational strategic objectives. She has partnered with Chief Underwriting Officers and Chief Actuaries to support and champion underwriter and actuarial development through strategic development pathways and targeted succession planning, as well as led executive talent management processes at IAG.
Jill co-chaired IAG’s Pride (LGBTIQ+) Employee Resource Group, including during the period of the 2017 Marriage Equality campaign, and was actively involved in strategies to support the LGBTIQ+ community and allies, providing visibility, education, and awareness to progress equity and inclusion. Jill went on to lead the Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging portfolio at IAG.
Jill is proudly the Chief People Officer (on a volunteer basis) with The Pinnacle Foundation, supporting young LGBTIQ+ people achieve their full potential through the gift of education.
We asked Jill some questions about her background and career highlights.
What draws you to D&I work?
‘My father arrived in Australia as a young refugee from Latvia and I grew up in Hobart in an area predominantly settled by post WW2 immigrants, so I have always been interested in and fascinated by human-rights and cultural diversity. I spent two years teaching English as a Foreign Language in the Czech Republic and then in multicultural classes in summer schools in England during my 20s.
‘I’ve also spent too many years in my career hiding a key aspect of myself (being in a same-sex relationship) for fear of rejection, humiliation, or simply not knowing how this would be received.
‘When I realised how damaging this was, and recognising the supportive organisational context within which I was, I found my voice and courage to speak out. When you find your voice and feel your ability to support others, you never look back.
‘I am committed to creating spaces where we all feel safe to be our authentic self.’
Can you share some career highlights?
‘I co-chaired IAG’s Pride (LGBTIQ+) Employee Action Group, including the period of the 2017 Marriage Equality campaign. The day of the Marriage Equality announcement was a career highlight; we hosted a live dial-in to the results across each of our national and satellite offices, with rainbow cake in each. It was fabulous to celebrate this win with our LGBTIQ+ community and allies.‘
What type of work are you doing at Diversity Partners?
‘I was first introduced to the great work of Diversity Partners as an organisation development specialist within a large general insurer. Our organisation was going through transformational change, and my role at one stage was to support business leadership groups to challenge any biases that may impact their decision making. I was introduced to guidance materials from Diversity Partners as part of this work; this was a significant time for me in learning about the value of considering diversity and inclusion to guide effective decision making.
‘As a Senior Associate with Diversity Partners, I’m helping clients develop D&I strategies, coaching leaders on inclusive leadership, and helping Victorian organisations (particularly local councils) meet their requirements of the new Gender Equality Act.’
What are you enjoying about working with the team?
‘I feel privileged to have joined Dr Katie Spearritt and team at Diversity Partners. Each of us has a varied set of backgrounds, experiences, and capabilities. The magic comes in the practice of sharing, collaborating, bouncing ideas, and supporting each other with empathy and a good dose of humour!’