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Mark Birkinshaw

Chief Executive Officer


I chose to become a member of CEOs for Gender Equity because the whole concept of equity in the workplace (and beyond) is intrinsic to our company values, our employment model and the value we place on every member of the Tango Team. I stumbled across the organisation via my LinkedIn network and was introduced to Henry Cooper. It was immediately obvious to me that I wanted to be part of this.

The more CEO’s that genuinely drive equity in the workplace, the faster Australia and the world will reach a tipping point where treating people inequitably becomes the outlier, rather than the accepted norm. Relegating equity to a management level in an organisation is paying lip service, and usually comes with no budget, no power to create change and enabling quiet resistance and ignorance across the workplace. Only someone at the top can drive the change required.

My co-director, Ian Sloan, and I formed Tango in 2019 with a unique employment model that stated that our whole team would be encouraged to work where, when and how they wanted. We did not have timesheets and constructed a model that enabled us to pay people according to output at a value that is identical for every individual, no matter their gender, background, perceived seniority or type of work performed. This has delivered many unexpected benefits to Tango during its emergence from a startup, despite the barriers that employment legislation in Australia tries (inadvertently) to block. One of our three core organisational values is Empowerment – we empower our team to decide how much, when and where they wish to work and how much they wish to earn. Nobody is required to apply for leave of any kind and there is no limit to the amount they take.

Without advertising for staff, in a very competitive market, we have successfully recruited eleven team members to join us, all by word of mouth. We have only ever hired according to capability, suitability and values alignment, yet our team of eleven comprises five who identify as female in an industry that is vastly underrepresented by that gender. This is because our model is a fit for what they are looking for to achieve their own goals of work satisfaction, income, freedom, family time and passion projects or education – Empowerment!

Whilst we are big supporters of gender equity, we are also passionate about equity in the workplace in general – be it people with a physical disability, those with neurodiverse conditions, or those who identify as other than men or women. We are encouraging organisations to look at our employment model to facilitate that, providing an ability to tap into employment markets that are usually closed to potentially valuable contributors to the economy, delivering a win-win and transforming lives and families. Our model is easiest to implement as a new organisation (particularly professional services), but with imagination can be placed alongside traditional employment as a hybrid model, allowing employees to choose how to be employed and paid. I sincerely hope that having conversations about this with CEOs for Gender Equity will enable progress, be it with our model or one that others are inspired to come up with.

Our model and company are immature, but we believe in it and know it can work. We are happy to freely share our employment contracts and details of our model, but equally happy to take on board improvements and changes that align with our values and that work for our Team.


CEO Conversation.


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