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CEO & Founder, The Sunshine Effect

Diversity is not a nice to have. It’s a global economic imperative.

Nicola Hazell is a social innovator, board director and tech ecosystem leader committed to placing gender equality at the centre of the global innovation agenda.

Through her company, The Sunshine Effect, Nicola partners with organisations and leaders of change, to identify and remove barriers to equality, drive inclusive innovation, and achieve social impact at scale.

With a 20 year career spanning technology, government, media and civil society, Nicola is a systems thinker who traverses the gap between practitioner and policymaker, bringing together diverse groups of people to create lasting collective impact. She is passionate about backing and building a new wave of leadership in the innovation economy, and is actively working to reimagine the systems that stand in the way of a more inclusive future of work.

Current Work:

Nicola currently holds various board and advisory positions drawing on her expertise at the intersection of innovation and inclusion, and is a trusted advisor to a portfolio of impact-driven startup founders. She serves on the Federal Government’s Entrepreneurs Programme Committee and is a non-executive director on the board of International Women’s Forum Australia. She has previously served on the OECD’s Expert Advisory Group for Digital Transformation, the board of Australian non-profit The Parenthood, Sydney School for Entrepreneurship's Advisory Board and CEBIT's Women in Tech committee.

Nicola is a believer in the power of collective impact and has led and facilitated some of the region’s major tech, innovation and leadership forums, including Women@Amazon’s Tech Futures forum, Twitter Australia’s #ChangingTheGame series for women in sport, IWF's Australian Symposium for women leaders, the 2019 Not In My Workplace Summit on workplace sexual harassment, and Advance Global Gamechangers Annual Forum bringing together Australian innovators from all over the globe.

An expert moderator, she has secured and facilitated critical conversations with high profile leaders across diverse fields - from global tech entrepreneurs to politicians, Olympic athletes to military leaders, actors to activists - delivering captivating conversations that leave audiences inspired, challenged and deeply engaged. A former television journalist and political advisor, Nicola has a talent for drawing out the untold stories of those she engages with. She has a hunger for getting to the core of complex issues and translating them for the broader public to engage with and digest.

A compelling speaker herself, Nicola has been invited to speak to global audiences at the OECD Forum in Paris and APEC Women Business Leaders’ Summit in Seoul. In Australia, she has presented at Pause Fest, CEBIT Technology conference, WildDigital, Vogue Codes, Myriad Festival, Melbourne Knowledge Week, and Tech Inclusion Australia.

Previous Experience:

Tech & Leadership: Nicola has ventured from the frontline of startups to big tech in an effort to drive change. As Global Inclusive Innovation lead at Amazon Web Services, she led development of a new specialisation supporting tech teams and organisational leaders to embed inclusion into the baseline of innovation. In the startup environment, she has been instrumental in building a more inclusive ecosystem, including as Founding Director of SheStarts - an award-winning startup accelerator designed specifically for women, backed by Google for Startups. She also executive produced the SheStarts documentary series, amplifying the stories of women founders and showcasing the evolving Australian startup scene to the world. Having worked alongside and within some of the world’s tech giants (including Amazon, Google, Twitter and LinkedIn), and having led multiple startup delegations to the global tech centre of Silicon Valley, Nicola has rich insights into the challenges women face across the technology landscape. She leverages these insights in her ongoing work to drive systemic change for women in tech and innovation.

Talking Points

Design for Diversity.

An innovator’s guide on how to change the ratio for women in leadership, and embed inclusion across your organisational strategy. In this talk, Nicola challenges her audience to think beyond pink logos and morning teas, to identify and understand the barriers to inclusion and take real action to remove them.
Learn from local and global examples; be inspired by real outcomes; and hear the compelling argument for why diversity is not just a nice-to-have, it’s a global economic imperative.

Women and the future of work

Digital transformation is rapidly changing the way we live and work.

But the possibilities of technology and innovation will never be truly realised if we're missing out on the ideas and creativity of half the population.

In this talk, champion of women in tech, Nicola Hazell will share her insights and experience - from the frontline of tech startups to the centre of international policy making - on creating a more inclusive innovation agenda and why driving gender equality must be embedded as a central plank of the national strategy. Be prepared to be energized, inspired, and perhaps even a little bit angry.

Breaking the code

How a media and political junkie wound up in the heart of tech, on a mission to change the ratio of women in leadership.

Gender equality advocate and ‘accidental’ tech champion, Nicola Hazell shares her unlikely journey - from media, to politics, to the community sector, and into tech - and reveals the common thread that joins the dots between the various phases of her career. An inspiring story that shows the power of defining your purpose, following your passion, and finding your place in the universe.
QUT’s Real World Placement Program engaged Nicola Hazell as our Key Note Speaker for our RWPP Appreciation & Networking Event. Nicola embraced our topic ‘The Future Of Work’ and delivered thought provoking information that catered to the diverse audience we had. Nicola used her experience to empower students and employers to embrace the changing employment landscape and promoted excitement about the opportunities and flexibility of future options rather than the fear of uncertainty. The RWPP team has since received only positive feedback about Nicola’s presentation and we strongly recommend Nicola as an engaging and articulate speaker. Leading Australian University

Nicola presented for us at the Out for Australia and Corrs Chambers Westgarth Women's Leadership Panel in August 2016. Her contribution to the panel on LBTIQ women's diversity was extremely well received and her passion for diversity was recognised by our audience who gave fantastic feedback.

Law Firm

Nicola Hazell was the most extraordinary MC and brought such humanity to the event. Your insights were so valuable, however it was the grace and humility you exhibited in your facilitation that touched the hearts of many. Thank you Nicola for giving us your time and sharing your tremendous talent, with humility.

International Women’s Forum

Nicola is unique and in anything she does she radiates an inspirational optimism. She is an incredible and inspiring speaker, she has a true passion for her topics and combines first hand experience and an enthusiasm which is truly infectious. When Nicola talks about empowering and encouraging females in businesses, she speaks from direct and relevant experience. Nicola is also an exceptional and engaging moderator. She has a rare ability to draw out a fascinating and stimulating narrative from a diverse group of panellists. This is true talent which is extremely hard to find. She listens, engages and enhances the story and message of each panellist. Her intellect, charm and warmth encourage people to open up and tell their story. I would highly recommend her for any moderator or MCing role.

Catherine West, Non-Executive Director, Nine Entertainment
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