Message from the CEO

Welcome back to work for 2022. I hope that you had some time to relax and recharge.

With another year of unknown ahead, it’s important to remember that we are all resilient, and with change comes opportunity. As we continue to build the new norm let’s keep focused on our shared purpose – to create a welcoming and inclusive Australia.

Over the past six months I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know our members. I have been amazed at the dedication and focus you all have and have been deeply moved by many of the stories shared. I’m excited to make 2022 even bigger as we work together to build disability confidence.

To start the year off strong, it is with great pleasure that I can share further growth within the Australian Disability Network. Striving towards our mission – ‘to create a disability confident Australia as a national peak body’; we are expanding our physical footprint with the introduction of a Brisbane based Relationship Manager role. This role will support members in the region as well as look to grow the QLD member base further. We warmly welcome Scott Green in this role. Scott has a strong background in the disability sector in QLD and will be a welcome asset to the team. The introduction of this role means Australian Disability Network has a physical presence in Brisbane, Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne, providing support for our members in person and virtually.

I can now also proudly introduce you to Rachael Kennedy, the newest member of our executive leadership team. Rachael joins us in the role of Chief Operating Officer. This role is instrumental in ensuring that we continue to operate smoothly and efficiently. Rachael joins us with experience across a variety of industries and organisations including mining and telcos. I have great confidence that she will continue the great strives Carolyn made in our digital transformation as well as introduce further opportunities to help us deliver our purpose.

Not all change is happily celebrated, so it is with sadness that I inform you Amy Whalley has announced her departure from Australian Disability Network after nine and half years. Amy has been a tremendous asset to AND over that time. I personally have learnt so much about the organisation and felt truly welcomed by Amy, the wonderful human being that she is. Amy has been instrumental in Australian Disability Network’s growth, as well as large contributor to our strong, supportive culture. Whilst Amy will be sorely missed, we recognise the time for change has come, and support her in her next endeavours. We have no doubt that she will continue to fly the flag of awesome.

Amy leaves Australian Disability Network the end of February. Amy has recorded a farewell message as she will not be able to reach out to all of you before she leaves.

Save the date

Start the new year planning now. Below are the dates for our Conference, Roundtable and Champions sessions. Mark them in the diary now to avoid clashes and disappointment later.


  • Our Annual Conference will be held on Thursday 9 June 2022 in Melbourne and virtually. Registrations opening soon.


  • Mid-March
  • Mid-May
  • Early September
  • Early December

Disability Champions Meetings

  • Canberra Champions meeting: 9 March
  • Melbourne Champions meeting: 10 March
  • Sydney Champions meeting: 11 March
  • National Disability Champions meeting: 16 June
  • Canberra Champions meeting: 14 September
  • Melbourne Champions meeting: 15 September
  • Sydney Champions meeting: 16 September

Stepping Into Internship

  • Stepping Into Winter cohort position nominations open from 17 January to 18 February.
  • Stepping Into Summer cohort position nominations open end of August.

PACE Mentoring

  • Contact to express your interest in our PACE mentoring program for the Autumn cohort.
  • Applications for our PACE mentoring program Spring cohort open at the end of May.

More information on these events, their confirm dates, where they will be held etc. will be made available on the events page on our website closer to the date.

I’m excited for what 2022 will hold and the impact we will make together. I wish you all the best for 2022 in whatever endeavours you have planned.

Corene Strauss

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