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Employment Relations

DCA reveals Expert Panel to address barriers for CARM

Diversity Council Australia 4 mins read

Diversity Council Australia (DCA) has revealed an impressive lineup of culturally and racially marginalised (CARM) women leaders to guide its groundbreaking RISE project (Realise. Inspire. Support. Energise).

Launched by DCA along with partners Settlement Services International (SSI) and Chief Executive Women (CEW) in March 2023, the RISE project aims to break down systematic barriers and provide pathways to leadership positions for CARM women. This four-year project will work with 375 CARM women across 25 participating organisations to identify and address systemic barriers for CARM women and implement lasting change interventions.

The RISE project is funded by the Commonwealth Government Office for Women.

As part of DCA’s emphasis on centring lived experiences in all its programs and research, the Expert Panel of 11 CARM women leaders will provide advice and guidance as the RISE project progresses.

The lineup features a diverse range of leaders from academia, businesses and NFPs, including:

  • Dr. Derya Iner, Associate Professor and Research coordinator, Centre for Islamic Studies, Charles Sturt University & Deputy Chair and Research Head, Islamophobia Register
  • Professor Nareen Young, Associate Dean (Indigenous Leadership and Engagement), UTS Business School and Professor for Indigenous Policy, UTS Jumbunna Institute
  • Dr Dimitria Groutsis, Associate Professor, University of Sydney Business School
  • Dr Morley Muse, Co-founder, iSTEM Co. and DEIR; Board Director, Women in STEMM Australia.
  • Anyier Yuol, Founder and CEO, Lead Beyond Education and Anyier Model Management
  • Padmi Pathinather, Founder and Principal HR Director, Enrichment Consulting
  • Gloria Yuen, Inclusion Advisor and WOB, Cultural Diversity Committee
  • Türkan Aksoy, NSW Coordinator, Welcoming Cities
  • Kathrina Lo, NSW Public Service Commissioner & Member of Chief Executive Women
  • Farhana Laffernis, Senior Officer, Diversity & Inclusion, UNSW Equity Diversity & Inclusion
  • Mmaskepe Sejoe, Human Rights Consultant

The RISE project is currently in the pilot phase, the first of three phases, with three participating organisations which will be joined by a further 11 organisations later this year and 11 more in 2024.

Find out more about the RISE program here, and images here

Quotes attributable to DCA CEO Lisa Annese:

“DCA is thrilled to announce such a strong line up of trailblazing CARM leaders to help guide our RISE project. Each member of our Expert Panel is an authority in their field, and a thought leader when it comes to diversity and inclusion.

“DCA’s groundbreaking report on CARM women in leadership found that despite being ambitious, capable, resilient, and well positioned to contribute to their own and their organisation’s success, CARM women continue to be scarce across senior leadership positions in Australia.

“Our research recognised that it was not the women themselves, but structural barriers preventing CARM women accessing leadership.

“The RISE program will work with Australian organisations to address those barriers, and in doing so create more inclusive organisations for CARM women.”

Quotes attributable to Dr. Derya Iner, Associate Professor and Research coordinator, Centre for Islamic Studies, Charles Sturt University & Deputy Chair and Research Head, Islamophobia Register:

“A genuine multicultural society necessitates equitable representation, encompassing over 50% of the migrant population and First Nations people in all spheres of life, including senior leadership positions within the workplace.

“I am privileged to participate as a member of the advisory board for RISE, as this promising project has the potential to reshape the landscape.”

Quotes attributable to Professor Nareen Young, Associate Dean (Indigenous Leadership and Engagement), UTS Business School and Professor for Indigenous Policy, UTS Jumbunna Institute:

“The RISE project is an absolute Australian landmark. For the first time, a project that examines the experiences of CARM women that informs employers and is lead and run by CARM women.

“It is a self-determinationist approach in action, and for that reason can only be done by DCA. It will provide a wealth of information to employers that couldn’t be gleaned by any other methodology. I’m so proud to be associated with it.”

Quotes attributable to Dr Dimitria Groutsis Associate Professor, University of Sydney Business School:

“Centring racially marginalised women’s voices in understanding their pathway to leadership is a unique approach to deeply engaging with their lived experience.

“Indeed, this is a powerful step forward in workable solutions to reimagining leadership and seeing racially marginalised women at the decision-making table.”

Quotes attributable to Dr Morley Muse, Co-founder, iSTEM Co. and DEIR; Board Director, Women in STEMM Australia:

“Joining the RISE Expert Panel with DCA in collaboration with CEW and SSI is highly prolific for me as it enables me to contribute more broadly to empowering CARM women into senior leadership, which in effect will promote retention within their organisations and reduce attrition.”

Quotes attributable to Anyier Yuol, Founder and CEO, Lead Beyond Education and Anyier Model Management:

“I am committed to amplifying the voices of young women from Culturally and Racially Marginalised and underrepresented communities. For that reason, I joined the RISE project to contribute and help find better solutions to support young women in their respective professions to thrive and reach their full potential in a fair and just society where they are valued.”

Quotes attributable to Padmi Pathinather, Founder and Principal HR Director, Enrichment Consulting:

“I am a firm believer that through collaboration, mentorship, and skill-building, we can play a role in this journey towards empowerment and equality, both within the program and in the broader context of societal progress.”

Quotes attributable to Gloria Yuen, Inclusion Advisor and WOB Cultural Diversity Committee:

“As a culture maker, I’m passionate in creating access for underrepresented communities and providing leadership visibility for marginalised groups.

“Through RISE, I believe we can create an action-oriented movement at organisational levels across Australia while bridging the opportunity gaps for women to thrive against the marginalising system.”

Quotes attributable to Türkan Aksoy, NSW Coordinator, Welcoming Cities:

“By co-creating pathways for CARM women to reach senior leadership positions, this project has the potential to not only benefit individual women, but also improve workplace culture and performance for all employees.

“I am excited to see the impact that this project will have on the professional lives of CARM women, as well as the broader workplace culture in Australia.”


Media Contact: Ali Coulton

About DCA: Diversity Council Australia is the independent not-for-profit peak body leading diversity and inclusion in the workplace. We provide unique research, inspiring events and programs, curated resources and expert advice across all diversity dimensions to a community of nearly 1,300 member organisations. Our member organisations are estimated to employ nearly two million Australians, representing up to 20% of the workforce.


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