Avril Henry is a game-changer who tells it like it is. She is an internationally-acclaimed keynote speaker, author, leadership strategist, coach and provocateur who is passionate about diversity, and transforming old leadership models and workplace practices.
In 2013 she was appointed as an advisor to the Chief of Army on projects including gender diversity, values and culture, coaches several senior officers, and is the only civilian on the Army's Gender and Diversity Executive Council, chaired by the Chief of Army. She completed a Ministerial Review for the Minister of Defence in 2006 into Recruitment and Retention in the Army, Air Force and Navy. Following the review, she was appointed as a Strategic Advisor to the Chief of Navy, and joined the Navy's People and Capability Committee, being the only civilian on the committee and remains the longest serving member. The result of her work has been a repositioning of the military services to young Australians and a significant increase in recruits and more recently, cultural transformation of the Army. She convinced both the government and our military leaders to recognise that times had changed; there were different motivations across the generations and there needed to be a change in approach to a generation that had only known peace.
Avril delivered a three-year leadership program to gifted scholarship students at the University of Western Sydney, in addition to their academic studies, to better prepare them for leadership positions in the future from 2008-2013.
In 2012 Avril received the Coaching Leadership Award at the Global HR Excellence Awards in Mumbai, India. In the same year she was invited to attend a global Leadership Best Practices program at Harvard Business School in the USA and was invited by the lecturers and her class mates to speak at the closing dinner. Over the past decade Avril has won the prestigious Lifetime Achievement in HR Award and been a finalist for Best HR Director at the Australian Human Resources Awards; been finalist in the Sydney Business Review Business Woman of the Year, recognised by the NSW government as part of International Women's Day; nominated multiple times for the Telstra Businesswoman of the Year, and been honoured in the Australian Who's Who of Women for the past six years as one of the most inspiring businesswomen and female leaders.
Avril is a Fellow of CPA Australia, a Senior Fellow of the Financial Services Institute of Australasia, an Associate Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management, a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and Australian Human Resources Institute. Her corporate experience spans finance, IT, Human Resources and change management across mining; financial services; retail banking; professional services and investment banking; working in South Africa, Australia, Europe and USA.
Her clients include IBM, BHP, Perseus Mining, Department of Defence, ATO, ACCC, Leighton Contractors, NSW Health, Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Australian Public Service Commission, Westpac, CBA, University of Western Sydney, CPA Australia, Optus, Telstra, Australian Superannuation Funds Association, and various organisations and government departments across Asia.
For two years Avril had a weekly radio program with the ABC as the resident expert on workplace relations and HR, which was broadcast to 16 countries in Asia. She is regularly featured on radio and TV, and contributes articles to several industry publications and newspapers. She is the author and co-author of several books on leadership and the different generations at work, and her latest book Leadership Revelations II How Australians Lead In Crises topped the Australian Financial Review BOSS magazine's best brain food books of 2012. In 2010 she released her first children’s book.
In her spare time you will find Avril completing adventure runs around the world to raise money for cancer research, including running the New York Marathon, Great Wall of China, in African game parks, and recently the Venice Marathon.
Client Comments for Avril Henry
- Thank you for delivering a brilliant keynote presentation at TUF23. Your presentation set an extremely positive and enthusiastic vibe running through all delegates. Comments from your presentation were popping up everywhere, quoted in other sessions throughout the forum. There were plenty of references to Gens X and Y, the baby boomers and veterans. I think people had seen the light and felt empowered to make changes for the better, based on this new insight into generational differences.
I can't stress enough how many people commented on your presentation and how fabulous it really was. I would like to also thank you for the time spent in preparing your presentation, traveling to and from TUF23 and speaking with delegates to answer their questions afterwards.
HP Software & Solutions
- For the past five years Avril has been working with Fund Executives Association Ltd to help the CEOs of Australia's largest superannuation funds to become better leaders. Through keynote presentations and workshop facilitation, Avril has equipped fund executives with essential people management strategies and guided our members to consider and understand the critical role they play in establishing a workplace culture that values individuals and encourages team members to give and achieve their very best. Avril Henry has the unique ability to engage an audience, impart knowledge, inspire thought and motivate the change that leads to better outcomes for individuals and organisations.
Fund Executives Association Ltd
- Ms Avril Henry has been working closely with the Royal Australian Navy through the 'Sea Change' program for approximately eight months. She was appointed as a Navy Strategic HR Advisor, not only to the program, but more broadly to all Senior Leadership of the RAN up to and including the Chief of Navy. This relationship has already proved to be most successful with significant momentum already achieved. She has provided invaluable contemporary HR insights that have greatly assisted the shape and direction of the Sea Change program that aims to improve retention within the Navy. Indeed, cultural reform is at the heart of the program!
Avril is a highly dynamic and credible HR professional who has (at our request) challenged/confronted some of the more traditional HR practices of Navy. Avril has greatly assisted Navy to understand that there MUST be changes to the entire HR system such that it is far more responsive to the generational expectations of a contemporary workforce. Ms Henry is an outstanding and integral part of Navy's Workforce Retention and Cultural Reform agenda.
Head Sea Change Implementation Team, RAN
- Thanks very much for your fantastic contribution to our Spokeswoman's conference - the feedback has been unbelievable and you were an inspiration to us all.
- Avril's knowledge of the global situation was impressive, extremely well planned, insightful and interesting. It was a lot of fun, hardly noticed the learning aspect; Avril had great energy... a practical session, especially on giving constructive feedback... the understanding of self was excellent.
- Avril Henry was brilliant! I really enjoyed the topic - very well presented, informative, entertaining and one of the most thought-provoking topics I have listened to in a long time. She's a very polished presenter; I took away lots of information that will be useful at work. Avril would have to be one of the best speakers I have listened to in over 24 years.
IBM New Zealand
- Avril is a consummate professional in her chosen field. Her knowledge is based on substantial research and personal contact with potentially hundreds of people and organisations. Avril's style is to communicate and educate using humour and audience engagement. In our case the presentations were modified to ensure alignment with the fashion industry and the large number of creative people whom participated.
Avril in her consultancy practice provides the tools and strategic insights that assist people understand each other and work more positively together.
Apparel Group Australia
- Avril has got to be one of the best speakers I have worked with. Right from the get go, Avril was down-to-earth and an absolute pleasure to deal with. She was the perfect choice for our event and we've had nothing but rave reviews from our guests.
- Avril was a tremendous success with both our Horizon participants and also with our Executive and the feedback was nothing but positive. A truly inspirational leader who is down to earth and so easy to talk to.
Zurich Financial Services
- I simply loved Avril's presentation. As a professional MC, I see countless professional speakers each year, many of whom do not live up to the hype. Avril totally exceeded all the great things I have heard about her from colleagues on the circuit over the years. It was a terrific, insightful, thoroughly engaging presentation and many of the delegates were talking about it for the next few days.
- Avril has the business savvy that many organisations dream of. Her messages are always challenging and to ignore them, you do so at your peril.
Golder Associates Pty Ltd
- Avril has been a pioneer in cautioning people - particularly the stale pale males like me - that not all people think alike. The 1960s and 1970s showed the importance of gender, race and multiculturalism. Generational differences are now also significant, as we transition from the Baby Boomers to Generation X and Generation Y. Over the decades Avril has been the warning voice alerting us to the importance of these matters. She is no longer a voice in the wilderness, because much of what she has had to say has now become conventional wisdom. Avril shows once again that leadership matters: leaders make a difference.
- Self-Leadership = The Power of One
- Leading the Future Workforce
- Engaging and Understanding all Generations
- The Recipe for Success = EQ + Resilience
- Opening our Minds to Diversity
- Leading with Emotional Intelligence
- Authentic Leadership = The Power of One
- Authentic Leadership and Leading Yourself
- Change Leadership
- Conflict Resolution
- Diversity Leadership
- Employer Branding
- Generation Y: Managing and motivating a new generation of workers
- Generational Recruitment and Retention
- Leading Through Effective Communication for Improved Results
- Performance Management
- Recruiting and Retaining Generation X and Y: Adapting our approach to meet the challenges of the 21st century
- Self Leadership
- The Art and Science of Managing People
- Women in Leadership
- Workforce in the Year 2025
Topic SynopsesLeading with Emotional Intelligence
People bring their 'whole selves' to work - they think, feel and act at work because of the way they feel rather than on rationality alone. Employees have expectations today that their own emotions need to be understood, regulated and managed at work in a professional way by their managers.
People with higher emotional intelligence (EQ) perform better in all aspects of their lives, not just work, but importantly in terms of their mental health.
This session explor es leadership attributes and behaviours, and the links between strong leadership and EQ. It also explores strategies, ideas and practices for using the emotional capital in your organisation.
- What is Emotional Intelligence (EQ)?
- The Necessary Attributes of a Leader
- Key Elements of EQ
- Characteristics of a Leader with EQ
- Developing Emotional Competence
Self-Leadership = The Power of One
You cannot lead others unless you know how to lead yourself first. Self-leadership is about choices, self-awareness, self-belief and backing yourself. It is about taking care of yourself, before taking care of others. Self-care leads to self-preservation and a greater ability to lead others successfully. It is about the Power of One.
Leading the Future Workforce
In the year 2050 ... rapidly ageing populations and workforces in educated societies over the next three decades, global skills shortages and population growth confined to the 50 poorest countries in the world will create new and complex problems in society and business. Will you be prepared? Technology, science, medicine, agriculture, mining, and the way we live and work will have changed radically and nothing will be as it was. Business models, strategic workforce planning and leadership styles will need to adapt now to ensure sustainable, corporate socially responsible and profitable businesses in the future.
The Leader of the Future
What will it take to lead the workforce of the future? By 2020 40% of the workforce will consist of Gen Ys, and Gen Zs will then be part of the workforce. Generation X will be the new senior managers and Baby Boomers will dominate boards in the private sector. This keynote is based on extensive interviews with over 100 successful leaders and future leaders and will give you a detailed insight into the characteristics required of future leaders.
Engaging and Understanding all Generations
Each generation in the workplace has different expectations of the organisation, career development, learning and development and their leaders, and are motivated by different things. Understanding these differences and harnessing the uniqueness of each generation enables managers and leaders to motivate and manage each generation for maximum employee engagement, productivity and performance.
The Recipe for Success = EQ + Resilience
According to Harvard Business School research, the greatest predictor of success in the future will not be in an individual's IQ, it will be their EQ (Emotional Intelligence), and their resilience; their ability to pick themselves up from personal or professional hardships or problems, and move forward in a new, positive way. Their EQ will determine their success at influencing people, building relationships and valuing diversity. Are your people, and is your organisation emotionally intelligent and resilient?
Opening our Minds to Diversity
Diversity leadership is about understanding the value and strength of difference. It is about harnessing the strengths of gender, age, culture, disability, flexibility, and different ways of thinking, working, managing and leading. True diversity leadership results in creativity, innovation, and an environment where employees are encouraged to be the best they can be. On the other hand, conformity delivers more of the same old attitudes and problems, and cannot solve the problems of the future with existing thinking and methodologies.
"I came into this process quite late and your company was excellent in keeping us informed, anticipating issues and reminding us when we'd overlooked things... and always answerable to our questions. It was exceedingly smooth. It was a pleasure to deal with you."
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