Working with Employers

In this session, we will hear from experts on strategies around working with employers. Surveys have shown that many employers do not really understand the value a person with disability can bring to their organisation, and there are misconceptions about costs related to employing people with disability. Workforce participation rates for people with disability remain low. Our experts, will discuss the relationship between people with disability and employers, taking into account attitudes and strategies that make a difference when employing people with disability.


Brett de Hoedt MC, Hootville Communications

We live in a time of change – climate, gender, sheets et al. However one thing remains steadfast – our emcee whose work with us spans three decades.Brett will be typically irreverent, self-absorbed yet occasionally well-informed. Hungry to know more about this former journalist turned-nonprofit marketing consultant? Of course you are. Head to

David Parfitt CEO, The Field

David is CEO of the Field, a jobs platform designed to help level the playing field for people with disability looking to work for inclusive employers. He has over 20 years’ experience in leading global health technology businesses around the world and is passionate about developing scalable digital solutions that help complement offline approaches to address social inequity and support individuals to live more fulfilled and empowered lives.  He is formerly of the Virgin Group and more recently co-founded an international AI health business across APAC, the UK, US, Europe, and Canada.

Dr Jo Ingold Associate Professor, Deakin Business School, Australia

Jo is an Associate Professor of Human Resource Management at Deakin Business School and focuses on employment and skills and the workplace inclusion of under-leveraged talent. She has been awarded a number of grants in the UK and Australia, including most recently both an Australian Research Council Linkage and UK Research Council grant focused on employers, job quality and employment services. Jo is a Fellow of the Institute of Employability Professionals and co-chairs the UK Employment Related Services Association’s Employer Engagement Forum. She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a Chartered Academic Member of the Australian Human Resource Institute and Editor of the journal Work, Employment and Society.

Ms Corene Strauss Chief Executive Officer, Australian Network on Disability, Australia

Corene Strauss is a cause-related CEO, leading the Australian Network on Disability since July 2021. Passionate about improving the lives of others and building communities for good, Corene has led the transformation of multiple organisations. She was CEO of Special Olympics Australia, part of the world’s largest disability sports organisation and prior to that she was the first female CEO of the NRL’s Men of League Foundation, responsible for the welfare of the rugby league community. Prior to that she was the inaugural National Marketing Manager for Legacy Australia, caring for the families of the fallen and ill Defence force Veterans. Corene is dedicated to a life of purpose which drives change, equality, and inclusion for those who have previously struggled to find a place in everyday society.

Nicola Tuckwell Organisational Excellence Manager, JobAccess

Nicola is currently the Organisational Excellence Manager at JobAccess and was previously the Manager of this award-winning service’s Advisory and EAF program since its inception in 2006.

Before JobAccess, Nicola spent 13 years at CRS Australia (Australian Government vocational rehabilitation provider) as an occupational therapist, trainer, and Regional Manager. These roles have provided her with a depth and breadth of experience in assisting people with disability in the workplace. Her focus is to ensure that everyone can operate on a level-playing field with their colleagues and be the best versions of themselves.

In 2008, JobAccess was recognised with a United Nations award. In 2013, the program was presented as one of 10 innovative policies for people with disabilities worldwide at the prestigious Zero Project Conference on Employment and Disability in Vienna.

In 2016, JobAccess won the Government Contact Centre Excellence Awards in the Most Innovative People Strategy category, having been a finalist with an honourable mention in 2013.

Nicola holds a Master of Science (Occupational Therapy) and Postgraduate Studies in Health Science (Rehabilitation) from Curtin University

Ms Fiona Kalaf GM Projects, APM, Australia

Fiona Kalaf is General Manager Projects at APM, the world’s leading mission-driven human services business operating in eleven countries. Fiona has responsibility for APM’s global research and social impact projects. Fiona is an experienced non-executive and executive director, CEO and senior executive across a broad range of sectors, including financial services, private health insurance and mental health. Fiona is a Director of Euroz Hartleys Group Limited, Perth Festival and Celebrate WA, and a former Director of Healthway. She has held numerous senior executive and directorship roles, including CEO of Lifeline WA and Youth Focus, executive roles at Wesfarmers and HBF, and Chair of the Art Gallery of WA. Fiona holds a Bachelor of Arts, a Bachelor of Architecture and a Master of Business Administration (Advanced). Fiona has completed the Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management course at Harvard Business School.