NEEOPA EOY Function with speakers Patrick Kidd, CEO, Invictus Games Sydney 2018 and Tom Moore, CEO a

The Value of Veterans: NEEOPA End of Year Event

Resilience, resourcefulness and strategic thinking: these are just a fraction of the skills veterans bring to the workforce. Unfortunately, many hurdles stand in their way once they leave the military: transitioning into civilian life, rehabilitation if they are injured, finding employment in a workforce that doesn’t value military experience. NEEOPA’s last forum for the year, hosted by PwC, featured two organisations who are meeting these challenges head on.

Opening Remarks

Victoria Park, PwC’s Diversity and Inclusion Program Director, opened the event by thanking NEEOPA for its work and expressing PwC’s commitment to diversity – especially through the company’s implementation of All Roles Flex, gender pay gap reporting, diverse cultural background targets admissions, and a Family and Domestic Violence support policy.

NEEOPA president, Rowan Arndt, celebrated D&I achievements for 2017, along with NEEOPA highlights. These included:

  • The majority of Australia voting YES to marriage equality, paving the way for politicians to pass Same Sex Marriage into law before Christmas

  • The establishment of the leadership council by Dr Tim Souphommasane, gathering executives to elevate the discussion on cultural diversity in Australian workplaces

  • The Diversity Council of Australia publishing research on cracking the cultural glass ceiling, reflecting on the challenges facing our women at the intersection of cultural diversity

  • The launch of NEEOPA’s new, more accessible website

  • A year filled with high-quality speakers and discussions at NEEOPA, covering topics such as cultural diversity, mental health, and leadership pathways for our Indigenous population. We’ve also featured noted speakers such as author and journalist Catherine Fox, and Juliette Bourke from Deloitte, who took us through the latest research from the Australian Human Rights commissions on customer inclusivity.

Keynote Addresses

Attendees then heard from two speakers doing notable work amongst veterans.

Patrick Kidd, CEO of Invictus Games Sydney 2018, has a 30-year career in the British and Australian defence forces. He is currently on secondment from Deloitte until the conclusion of the games.

The second speaker, Tom Moore, is the CEO and founder of WithYouWithMe: a digital start-up connecting ex-defence force talent to leading Australian employers.

Invictus: The Unconquered Spirit

Although most people have heard of the Invictus Games through the notoriety of its founder, Prince Harry, the real value of the event is what it brings to wounded veterans: the power of sport to inspire rehabilitation.

According to Patrick, the sheer scale of the 2018 games is something to behold: over 500 competitors from 18 nations competing in adaptive sports such as powerlifting, wheelchair basketball and indoor rowing.

Patrick says these events don’t just provide an incredible show of physical prowess; they also improve veteran wellbeing by harnessing the power of sport. By encouraging injured military personnel to simply “get moving”, Invictus aims to create a positive impact on rehabilitation, recovery, mental health, employment and independence.

But the benefits don’t stop there. ‘Invictus’ is Latin for ‘Unconquered’: a word made popular by 19th century English author William Ernest Henley’s poem about strength in the face of adversity. The Invictus Games also has the power to change the public’s perception of veterans with injuries. Witnessing servicemen and women overcome adversity is inspirational – their resilience and sheer determination an example to us all. In times where we recognise the need to empower rather than limit people from diverse backgrounds, this is a crucial message we all need to hear.

The Invictus Games will be held in Sydney from 20 to 27th October, 2018. Visit the website to find out how you or your organisation can volunteer.

WithYouWithMe: connecting ex-defence force talent to Australia’s leaders

The origins of digital start-up WithYouWithMe is personal for its founder, Tom. After spending more than seven years in the Australian Army managing soldiers in combat, Tom suffered a physical injury and was reassigned to a contract termination cell, where he had to tell his comrades their time in the army was over.

Sending servicemen and women back to the civilian world gave Tom firsthand insight into the problematic way defence personnel transitioned into the Australian private sector. Veterans have up to 125 transferable hard skills, but Australian employers struggled to know what to do with them. Their system couldn’t assign positive values to their military experience, lifestyle or skills. Tom vowed to address this knowledge gap. In December 2016, WithYouWithMe was born.

Currently, WithYouWithMe has over 1,237 veterans signed up to their program, with 201 successfully placed into roles with leading Australian employers and a 97% retention rate. According to Tom, the industries that suit ex-military talent is far-ranging: think robotics, data science, sales, cyber systems, engineering, IT systems administrations, telecommunications, rail, project management, business analytics and logistics.

By both educating employers about the value of ex-military talent, and training veterans for civilian life through mentoring, upskilling programs and work experience, Tom says WithYouWithMe offers companies a tested talent pipeline. This not only helps veterans find fulfilling careers, but promotes diversity in Australia’s corporate landscape.

To find out how your organisation can tap into military talent with no obligation to hire, visit the WithYouWithMe website. Or if you wish to register your details for a free consultation to find out more about our program, click here:


2018 NEEOPA Forum Line Up for your diaries

9am – 10.30am. Generously hosted by Deloitte, Level 9, 225 George St, Sydney

Tues 20th February: Faith & Spirituality

Tues 10th April: Procurement Supplier Diversity

Tues 5th June: D & I Masterclass

Tues 24th July: Asian Links Showcase

Tues 4th September: Future of Work – Link to D & I

Tues 23rd October: Topic TBD

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