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Lenni Duffield

Chief Executive Officer


I am fiercely passionate about accelerating gender balance in leadership in the Not for Profit (NFP) sector. Whilst we have seen a decrease in biases against women in senior roles over the last fifty years, there remains powerful, and possibly harmful, subtle biases that work to undermine the ideologies of meritocratic society, restricting the access for women to achieve positions of power.

Although Australia is progressing well in the race towards gender parity and despite a wealth of evidence demonstrating the positive impact of gender balanced leadership teams and the economic outcomes this provides to companies, there has been little to no specific study, data capture or research of this nature and that the role of gender balanced leadership within the NFP sector in Australia has been largely neglected.

Ultimately, I would love to see more women in senior roles and as Board Chairs for NFP organisations. The profoundly entrenched stereotypic beliefs in which “women take care and men take charge” give rise to shrew biases against female leaders, results in less favourable attitudes toward female leaders than the male counterparts. When I last looked at the top twenty NFP organisations only 25% of them have female CEOs. Typically, we see men in the senior roles, on the Boards and as Board chairs and this needs to change.

I strongly believe language is vital to enact change… when is the last time you heard someone referred to as “working dad”? Maybe never, yet the term “working mum” and the very appearance of the hashtag #workingmum, is commonplace. In fact, #workingmom is the no.1 hashtag in the world. To often we are referred to as working mums, yet this is not what defines us, just as it doesn’t define a man or non-binary parent who works. Strong women who are valued and capable can contribute without having to carry the burden of invisible sticky notes stating we are mothers, carers, organisers and woman. We are CEOs, executives, leaders and change makers.

As the recently appointed CEO of Huntington’s Australia, I am passionate to embed a culture in which all staff feel supported to thrive and particularly as our workforce is predominately made up of women (75%), supporting women, to develop their career aspirations, as these women are Australia’s NFP pipeline of future leaders.


CEO Conversation.


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