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2020 EEON Events in Review

2020 Has been a busy year for all of us here at EEON. We have so far presented 5 of 6 planned events and our Biannual Summit (More Here). We’ve adapted to having online events which has broadened our reach to include international speakers and attendees, and been able to lift our event capacity about our previous cap of 100. We have partnered with over 25 organisations and made donations on behalf of our speakers to a range of charitable organisations.

Our final Event for 2020 is a chance to join with Aboriginal leaders Karen Milward, Stephen Walsh, Karen Jackson, Sara Alden and special guests in a panel discussion on “Conversations from the Heart” Co presented by the Australian Intercultural Society.

October 29th: Modern ageing in a Modern WorkforceOctober Event Photo

The Hon Dr Kay Petterson AO (highlighted) and others as you could see them at our event

EEON would like to thank The Hon Dr Kay Patterson AO, Dr Tom Verghese, Tom Brockhurst and Maike Schroeder for presenting such an insightful event on the realities of ageing in the modern workforce. With the reality of longer expected life spans, more of us are likely to need employment past the traditional retirement age of previous generations. Our panel presented a range of important considerations that workplaces will need to face, both to keep people employed, and to avoid the pitfalls of discrimination.

We will present some excerpts from the conversation, some great links,  and questions from the event soon.

July 28th: Diversity in Recruitment – The real recruitment story and how it impacts diversity in your organisation

Mason Atkinson, Diana Hewitson, Iain Pratt, June Parker

EEON was excited to present another engaging online event (with greater capacity) with four more wonderful speakers. June Parker, Diana Hewitson, Iain Pratt and Mason Atkinson. Together they shared their insights and experience in aligning recruitment practices with Diversity & Inclusion goals.

They offered a range of perspectives including; the candidate, recruitment agency, internal recruitment teams, coaching,and D&I practitioner lenses. As well as what organisations need to do internally to create a welcoming workplace where people want to apply.

Some further resources on this topic are given below. 

Gender gender equality scorecard  

Cultural diversity   

July 9th: intersectionality & Co-Design with people at the centre

EEON would like to thank Phoebe MwanzaJo SzczepanskaVictor Sojo for bringing to their panel discussion on intersectionality and codesign at our recent virtual event on 9 July 2020. We were capped at 100 for this event and a few people missed out (my apologies for this). If you did miss out, please get in touch with me directly, and I can provide you a recording of the event. We’ll upgrade our account shortly.  I have captured some comments, questions and references from the chat box and these are shown below.

  • What are your thoughts about intersectionality being substituted for just being different diversity factors without taking into consideration the oppressive structures and dominant narratives that uphold them?
  • I have a question about decision making and leaders being typically from positions of privilege setting/designing systems and structures, most people in power are in majority, how do we shift this?
  • How do we balance the change with healing?
  • How do we challenge privilege in an organisation bringing everyone on the journey especially in a hierarchical organisation?
  • White supremacy and whiteness is an ideology that is based on a social /political construct so how do you suggest we start to dismantle it? 
  • One of the challenges I have found is getting people to understand that they really do have power and a genuine opportunity to contribute to the outcome.  Are these tricks to this you can share?
  • Are organisations and governments actually going to hand over the real power and control for true co-design to take place.. Does calling something co-design but it not actually living up to that label cause more damage…?
  • What are some of the conversations I can have with a leaders in organisations with low consciousness? and high expectations for change?    
  • What are your thoughts on the constant expectation of volunteerism in consulting communities. why are we not valuing the importance of lived experience and embedding it in our workforces and instead relying on advisory groups
  • Would anyone be able to answer my question about co-designing with ERGs? any tips?
  • Kimberle Crenshaw certainly invites us to consider the systems of oppression and the structures that intersect to reinforce oppression / privilege based on identities/characteristics – it’s a super complex web … there’s the personal identity and how we relate to our own lived intersections, in direct relationship with the systems around us and how they impact us in terms of being oppressive or an advantage
  • The kid in the background – that’s intersectionality 🙂
  • I keep seeing how people use intersectionality as a substitute for all the things that make us different and Kimberle never coined it with that in mind.
  • We really lack data on intersectionality in Australia. A lot of the data is from Europe or USA.
  • I think it’s important to recognise the structural and systemic issues that create barriers for people who do not belong to the dominant culture in society.
  • Another point to raise on intersectionality, is that it needs to be contextualised to Australia and for us who are not First Nations people to recognise that we benefit from colonisation here. We need understand how we centre the experiences/voices of First Nations people in the work that we do. 
  • A further point to make on “representation” is that we want people who won’t assimilate to the dominant norms of leadership. There is no point in having people who look like us but still conform to dominance.
  • Leadership in Australia continues to be manifested as highly imbalanced particularly in terms of the white privilege, particularly when compared to the UK, Europe etc
  • People frequently talk about Co-Design, but what they describe is consultation. Very few (if any) organisations are prepared (or allowed) to hand over control…
  • Dismantling white supremacy is such a big conversation ha. when dismantling it we have to address its many manifestations – social, political, education, economic, justice outcomes. We start by acknowledging that it exists – educating ourselves, listening, diverting our resources/platforms, creating safe spaces, being co-conspirators
  • Interacting with concepts and making something together is a very powerful tool in co-design. More organisations should use this type of thinking and approach in using physical tools to have challenging conversations including power and privilege, intersectionality and race

May 20th: LGBTIQ+, What’s new in the workplace online seminar.

EEON Event Pic

I hope you enjoyed our last virtual EEON event titled ‘LGBTIQ+ inclusion, What’s new in the workplace?’ I want to thank Sarah CoxKim LeePaul Byrne-Moroney and Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli for a heart-warming and interactive discussion. Our first virtual learning environment on a larger scale with a combination of pre-recorded videos and 25 minutes of audience engagement and discussion. Trying to create a safe space to allow people to tell their stories, talk about their experiences and be their authentic selves on-line can be a challenge. I hope the learnings will help to further develop and accelerate our work! Our administrator said running the session was like flying a 747. Well done! We had a good flight.

Some additional Reading

February 26th: Diversity in Leadership: What are the Outcomes for People with a Disability?


Presented by Christina Ryan and Mark Glasgodine

Thanks Christina Ryan and Mark Glascodine for sharing years of knowledge and practice to deliver an informed, engaging and inspiring session that should provide the catalyst to accelerate people with disability in leadership. Powerful storytelling and interaction.

EEON would like to thank those who came along to the event. We hope you enjoyed it.

We were fully booked and for the first time, ran out of chairs. We also asked people to take their phones out during session to post learnings on social media. The event was live captioned and a copy of the transcript can be obtained by emailing

Some great takeaways and quotes include:

“Everybody knows that culture comes from the top. If you don’t have buy in from your executive team, from your CEO and your executive team you’re not going anywhere with changing culture, with shifting it, with it becoming more inclusive. So we need people with disabilities in those spaces.”

“We need to be in the boardrooms, we need to be in the executive leadership teams. If we’re not there, we’re not going to get anywhere. We can be talking about inclusion policy until the cows come home, it won’t do anything if we don’t have people at the top”

“People talk for us, but very rarely are we the ones in the room speaking for ourselves, particularly in rooms of power”

“There are very ableist expectations about what leadership should look like.”

“Honestly, it’s about making the decision and doing it. That’s how we’ve done it in other fields, it’s time we did that in disability. This is not rocket science.”

All these events would not be possible without the generous contribution of our sponsor: