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Avril Henry

Avril Henry

Avril Henry is a widely acclaimed keynote speaker, consultant, business and career coach, mentor and author, who is passionate about diversity, developing collaborative leaders and positive workplaces.

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Testimonials for Avril Henry

Cutting through all of the generational hype and bluster one person stands apart: Avril Henry. She tells it like it is and she tells it from the heart. Her conviction is palpable, her research is credible and her anecdotes are anchored in fact.

Bernard Salt, Demographer, KPMG


Fluent, captivating and authoritive presenter. A five-star performance; the highlight of the Congress. Great help for future reference and challenges ahead.

CPA Australia National Congress


Avril’s presentation was excellent, she had people talking about Gen X and Y for the whole Forum. Everyone was impressed with her knowledge of the topic, speaking without notes. She truly captivated the audience.

Institute of Body Corporate Managers


In the past 12 months, Avril has conducted a series of management workshops for me aimed at growing and developing management skills, particularly focusing on emotional intelligence. Again her energy and commitment to develop high quality managers impressed everyone. Avril is very passionate about people development and takes every opportunity to sell her compelling messages to audiences across Australia.

Commonwealth Bank


I have used a number of tactics and approaches in educating people leaders in how to provide feedback to manage poor performance. Of all the solutions, I have used, I have found the greatest impact was generated by Avril in her workshop. Her immense experience coupled with her powerful articulation has paved the way for performance management conversations at Optus. She is absolutely brilliant in addressing “Taboo Topics” and has the strength of character in managing and influencing a very resistant group of people. Our tough audience rated Avril the ‘best speaker’ ever! She absolutely blew them away and I constantly get passionate pleas to bring Avril back. When the going gets tough, the tough get Avril!.

Head of Learning and Development, Optus


I simply loved your presentation. As a professional MC, I see countless professional speakers each year, many of whom do not live up to the hype. You totally exceeded all the great things I have heard about you 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.

RCSA Conference

Avril Henry Travels from NSW
Fee Range: :$5001 to $10000

Avril Henry's Biography

Avril Henry is the founder of the Sydney-based management consultancy firm Avril Henry Pty Ltd and an internationally acclaimed keynote speaker, author, leadership strategist and provocateur, who is passionate about diversity, and transforming old leadership models and workplace practices.

In 2016 Avril was named one of the AFR Westpac’s 100 Women of Influence, and one of the 10 most influential women in the Diversity & Equity space. 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 9 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, a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management, a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and member of the Australian Human Resources Institute.

For two decades, Avril has delivered hundreds of keynote addresses to tens of thousands of people in Australia, New Zealand, Europe, USA and Asia to companies and industries as diverse as CEDA, IBM, BHP, Department of Defence, Australian Tax Office, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Queensland Health, NSW Health, NSW Police, ANZ, Westpac, Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Macquarie University, CPA Australia, Telstra, Australian Superannuation Funds Industry,  the Property Council of Australia, The Global Women's Summit, and various Singapore and Hong Kong government departments.

Avril Henry is an outstanding speaker: articulate, challenging, informative, compelling, dynamic and inspiring are just some of the words that clients have used to describe her.

Avril Henry is a game changer who tells it like it is. A decade ago, enlistments for the Australian Armed Services was dramatically declining. Our military was attracting fewer enquiries from young Australians - less and less of our generation Ys saw any merit in a career with the navy, army or air force. That's when the government turned to Avril for help in understanding why and what might be done to reverse the trend.

Avril completed a Ministerial Review for the Minister of Defence 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 & Capability Committee, being the first female and only civilian on the committee, a committee she served on from 2006-2017.  In 2013 she was appointed as a senior advisor to the Chief of Army on gender diversity, values and cultural reform, and coaches senior officers including Generals and Bridadiers. 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 is a well-respected and sought-after authority on leadership, organisational change, gender differences and intergenerational issues facing contemporary workplaces. Her corporate experience spans Finance, IT, Human Resources and Change Management across Mining; Financial Services; Retail Banking; IT Professional Services; Investment Banking; and Legal Professional Services, working in South Africa, Australia, Europe and USA.

She is a regular panelist on ABC’s The Drum, and ABC radio; and contributes articles to several industry publications and newspapers. For two years Avril also 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 the author and co-author of several books on leadership and the different generations at work, and her book, Leadership Revelations II How Australians Lead In Crises, topped the Australian Financial Review BOSS magazine's best brain food books of 2012. In 2015 her latest book, Leadership Revelations III, How We Achieve the Gender Tipping Point was launched by the Chief of Army and the ASX.   In 2010 she released her first children's book.

Subject Matter Expertise:

•          Change Management                         •          Gender Equity

•          Leadership Excellence                       •          Generational Differences

•          Workforce Demography                     •          Emotional Intelligence & Resilience

•          Diversity & Inclusion  

Speaking Topics Include

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 the Power of One.


Leading the Future Workforce is not for the faint hearted!

Rapidly ageing populations and workforces in educated societies, along with 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?


How the Best Leaders Lead!

What will it take to lead the workforce of the future? This keynote is based on extensive interviews with over 300 successful leaders and future leaders in Australia and overseas, and will give you a detailed insight into the characteristics required of future leaders.


Engaging & Understanding Generations @ Work

Each generation in the workplace has different expectations of the organisation, career management 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, and developing organization capability.


Future 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; being able to read others, build collaborative relationships and their ability to pick themselves up from personal or professional challenges and setbacks, and move forward in a new, positive way.   Are your people and your organisation emotionally intelligent and resilient?  Avril delivers EQ and resilience training to the Australian Army, and is an active advocate for RUOK?


Why Diversity, Inclusion & Fairness Matter Economically

Diversity leadership 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.  Without diversity, there is no innovation, only conformity and therefore more of the same.  Embracing diversity is an economic imperative and no longer a social justice cause.


Transforming Organisational Culture through Inclusive Leadership

What does it take to transform organisations with long histories of tradition, hierarchy, command and control leadership and resistance to new ideas?  It takes leaders who are courageous, agile, flexible and willing to listen and innovate.  It requires looking outside the square and embracing change, even risking failure.  Hear about the successful case studies of Australian organisations and leaders on the journey of transformation and what it takes.


Achieving the Gender Tipping Point

In her book on achieving gender equality in 2015, Lt Gen David Morrison, Chief of Army, and Australian of the Year (2016) wrote in the forward:-


“By every credible measure, women are denied opportunities that are accorded to men as a birthright of their sex.   We need men of authority and conscience to play their part, and we most certainly need women – too long denied a strong enough voice – to be given the opportunities to lead in all endeavours”.


This session looks at the common myths about women at work and in leadership that we are simply wrong; how women hold themselves back; and what both men and women need to do to change that and ensure gender equality, now and in the future.


Change Management = Agility, Flexibility and Adaptability! 

More than 60% of change programs fail as they focus on the wrong things first – clients, products/services and technology, without focusing on the people and communication.  If you focus on the people and communicate effectively, the rest will follow – clients, products, productivity and shareholder satisfaction!  What are the key steps to successful change management and what should communication focus on?