Avril Henry is a game changer who tells it like it is.
She is an internationally-acclaimed keynote speaker and provocateur who is passionate about transforming leadership models, building diversity capabilities and reforming outdated workplace practices.
Coming from a 23 year background in finance, IT, Human Resources and change management, in South Africa, Australia, the UK and USA, Avril founded her consultancy practise in 2003, Avril Henry and Associates.
Avril 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 was voted a “Must Buy, Must Read” and “Best Brain Food book of 2012”, by the Australian Financial Review BOSS magazine.
In 2010 she released her first children’s book.
Having spoken to hundreds of thousands of people globally since 2003, Avril is considered one of Australia’s premier and most engaging, entertaining, and practical keynote speakers who tells it like it is for each every subject she speaks on.
Smart, credible, bold, energetic, fresh, adaptable, nimble, practical, strong, nimble, frank, strong robust, solid research, experienced, daring, empowered and empowering.
Inspired and inspiring, authoritative, effective, dynamic, honest, bright, expert, energetic, open, fun, making complex simple, down-to-earth, forward facing.
Provocative, capable, educational, trustworthy, approachable, agile, driven, connected, savvy, insightful, professional, personable, confident, capable.
Founder, Chief Financial Officer and Excutive Director
Following Avril’s stellar corporate leadership career in investment banking and working for professional services firms in multiple senior leadership roles in IT, Finance and HR, she founded her own company, Avril Henry Pty Ltd in 2003, focused on transformational leadership and coaching. In addition to her extensive leadership experience, Avril is a qualified Accountant and Economist, and has written four best-selling business books, as well as receiving multiple awards and recognition, including the Global Leadership Excellence in Coaching Award and the Australian HR Lifetime Achievement Award. One of her books was also voted “best brainfood” by the AFR Boss Magazine. Avril has been recognised as one of the most sought-after keynote speakers, facilitators and executive coaches who is having a significant impact in Australia and overseas. She is also carving out a name for herself as a media commentator, with regular appearances as a panellist on ABC’s The Drum, and with interviews on multiple radio talkback programs. In her role as Founder and CFO of the re-branded AHAA! (Avril Henry & Associates), she conducts extensive research while also writing books and helping the AHAA! team to constantly improve the services and educational programs delivered across all sectors, locally and globally.
Chief Executive Officer
David’s unique and globally recognised 30-year career in pharmaceuticals has included over 24 years in senior global and regional roles. Committed to making a greater impact and passing on his leadership expertise, he joined Avril in a business partnership in 2019, and became CEO of AHAA! David is renowned for being the only Australian to have founded two multinational pharmaceutical companies in Australia and Asia Pacific (Actelion and Alexion). He and his teams, blazed a trail creating a whole new industry sector in these regions with life-saving and transforming products for ultra-rare diseases. As a leader who desires to make a difference, David was able to lead the creation of two of the most diverse workplaces in the pharmaceutical industry. In both companies, his senior leadership teams included over 80% females, as well as 80% of all staff made up of working parents with access to totally flexible workplace practices. Under David’s inclusive leadership, Actelion and Alexion broke numerous industry records, whilst at the same time also saving thousands of lives. David’s educational background spans registered nursing and postgraduate qualifications in critical care, marketing, business management, leadership and coaching, which he is now deploying to expand the services and influence of AHAA!
Martin is a seasoned continuous improvement and change professional with substantial project and financial management experience. Over the last two decades, his roles have encompassed the management of compliance infrastructure, cross-organisational change programs, process/productivity improvement as well as non-interest income/revenue enhancement. He has a demonstrated track record of achievement distinguished by strong communication and financial skills, business acumen, and the ability to liaise between technical and business lines to maximise service quality and increase customer loyalty. He holds an Executive MBA from the Australian Graduate School of Management.
After her initial university education in a Bachelor of Arts, Organisation Learning, Melissa continued her studies through TAFE in Marketing, Human Resources and Business Administration. While continuing these studies Melissa worked in the publishing and recruitment industries, working in the publishing industry Melissa worked on Human Resources and Law magazine publications.
Over the last seven years Melissa’s career has focused on refining her skills as an Executive Assistant. In this role she has been able to assist CEO’s and Boards across a diverse range of industries and as a result has flourished in this area. Melissa is vey passionate about all things administration.
Chief Happiness Officer
Benny has 11 years’ experience in bringing happiness to his family, friends and complete strangers—both human and other dogs—and is immortalised in Avril’s delightful children’s book, Benny Boo’s Parade of Joy. Together with his canine companion, Buddy, they look after the happiness and welfare of the AHAA! team.
Chief Security Officer
After being rescued when he was not even two years of age, and becoming part of the family and AHAA! team, Buddy has proven to be a super talented ‘force of nature’ who is committed to office security. If you visit the premises, his security checks can be heard for 1-2 minutes, then he will lick you into submission under his awesome powers!
Sydney Women's Fund
Wendy is an experienced company director who began her career as a secondary school teacher. She was a founding member of Women’s Electoral Lobby and continues to be an advocate for women. She has held many significant leadership roles in key national and international bodies. Wendy was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for outstanding contributions to community affairs, women’s affairs and the Bicentennial celebrations. In 2011 she was profiled in The Power of One as one of 100 women who have shaped Australia.
Ann is the former CEO and Chairman of Carnival Australia, driving transformation of the cruise industry in Australia and NZ. She is also the former CEO and Group Executive Westpac NZ and Bank of Melbourne, driving cultural change and customer focus in banking. She has been an adviser to Premiers and Prime Ministers on the status of women in Australia.
Currently Non-Executive Director NAB, Sydney Airport, Palladium Group, Chairman UNICEF Australia, Director Museum of Contemporary Art and Cape York Partnerships & Infrastructure Victoria.
Cape York House
Simone retired as a Major General after an exceptional military career spanning 35 years with operational service in Cambodia, Iraq, and as the Commander in Afghanistan. Other roles included Commander of the Australian Defence College and Chief of Staff in Army Headquarters. She Chaired the Australian Defence Force Sports Council and established our Invictus Games teams. She now enjoys a portfolio career as a Professor of Defence Technology at Deakin University and a Non Executive Director of the Australian American Leadership Dialogue, AFL SportsReady, the Beaufort Group, and as an AFL Commissioner.
Dress for Success
After a career as a teacher, workers’ advocate, PR and Marketing executive in the education sector, Megan set up Dress for Success Sydney in 2009. She is currently leading the development of Success Works, a DFS Sydney program which will provide employability training and real job opportunities for women affected by the criminal justice system.
Graeme is one of Australia’s leading authorities on leadership resilience and creating mentally healthy work cultures. He helps leaders and teams to be more caring, resilient, and growth-oriented. After previously working in senior leadership, he went through a 5-year episode of depression. He is the author of 4 books, including the internationally acclaimed Back from the Brink, featuring stories and practical advice on overcoming depression. He was instrumental in the establishment and growth of RUOK?
Indigenous Literacy Foundation
Industry Professor, Indigenous Policy (Indigenous Workforce Diversity), Jumbunna Institute of Indigenous Education and Research, UTS, Sydney.
Nareen has been one of Australia’s leading diversity thinkers and practitioners for many years, having led two workplace diversity peak bodies to enormous success and impact, having identified and introduced many practice concepts. She has received awards and accolades for this work. She is currently leading thinking around the contribution of Indigenous people to the Australian employment market.
Share the Dignity
Jen is a CA and CPA qualified finance professional with extensive strategic and operational experience in the banking and finance sector. An internationally recognised thought leader on diversity and inclusion, Jen has been an influencer on issues relating to women in leadership for the past decade. Jen’s current appointment as CEO of Women in Banking and Finance follows a 25-year career in both line roles in banking and as a management consultant with global and boutique firms.
Chief Executive Officer, Family Life.
Jo has worked within the community services sector for more than 40 years and has been CEO of Family Life since 1996. In this role, she has led an innovative program of change driving substantial organisational growth. With a reputation for knowledge and understanding of the complex social services sector, Jo’s position allows her to impact policy and drive research through her affiliation with Swinburne University. Jo is passionate about empowering vulnerable families, children and young people and contributing to movements for social change.
A military veteran, with 38 years’ experience in organizational change, cultural reform, and contemporary gender-responsive strategies, Jennifer supports global efforts to ensure more effective and sustainable peace and security through the inclusion of women at all levels. Her more recent roles in the Australian Defence Force included Navy Women’s Strategic Adviser, Gender Adviser to NATO in Afghanistan, Director National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security, and a policy specialist on peacekeeping and sexual exploitation and abuse with UN Women in New York.
Founder of Bravehearts Foundation Ltd
Hetty’s background is diverse. She has a strong senior business and finance administration background for national and state-based companies, a small business owner, a successful community campaigner which led to a promising political career as the State Leader of the then Australian Democrats in the late 1990’s. Utilising her extensive experience, and after a personal tragedy, Hetty founded Bravehearts Foundation in 1997 and has become Australia’s leading child protection advocate.