Helen Conway

Born
1953
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Occupation
Board member, Chief Executive Officer, Lawyer and Public servant
Alternative Names
  • Schell, Helen (married name)
Jurisdiction

Helen Conway is a lawyer with over 30 years' experience in business and, more recently, in the public sector. She spent ten years in private legal practice, including seven years as a partner in a major law firm in Sydney, and then moved into the corporate sector where she worked as a lawyer, company secretary and senior executive in the insurance, transport, energy, retail and construction industries for eighteen years. At the same time, she undertook various directorships in the health, transport and superannuation sectors.

In March 2015, Conway completed her term as CEO of the Australian Government's Workplace Gender Equality Agency. During her term, she stewarded the seamless implementation of new legislation governing the Agency and led the development of the Agency's strategic vision and long-term change agenda for driving improved gender equality outcomes in Australian workplaces. This included delivering world-leading unique standardised benchmark gender data, conducting bold change campaigns and developing innovative educational resources. She re-branded the Agency, positioning it as a light-touch regulator and transforming it into a collaborative, innovative and business-focussed regulator. She took personal responsibility for raising the profile of the Agency, undertaking a broad range of speaking and media engagements and secured bilateral political support for both the Agency and ongoing gender reporting to the Agency.

Conway has a long track record of undertaking a broad range of voluntary activities including those in support of women. She was a member of the New South Wales Equal Opportunity Tribunal for ten years, including three years as its Senior Judicial Member. She is an expert in workplace gender equality.

In 2005, Conway was awarded the Australian Corporate Lawyer of the Year by the Australian Corporate Lawyers Association and in 2008 led the team which was awarded the In-house Legal Team of the Year. In 2015, she was inducted into the National Australia Bank/ Women's Agenda Hall of Fame.

Conway is currently (2015) a director of ReachOut Australia, Australia's leading online mental health service for youth, and a member of the Australian Advisory Board of AON, Australia's leading provider of broking and consulting services relating to risk, insurance, human capital and financial planning. She is also an Honorary Fellow of the Australian Institute of Business and Economics at the University of Queensland.

Sources used to compile this entry: Gray, Joanne, 'How Helen Conway took on the establishment and left a valuable pay equity legacy', Australian Financial Review, 7 May 2015, http://www.afr.com/brand/boss/how-helen-conway-took-on-the-establishment-and-left-a-valuable-pay-equity-legacy-20150506-1m07qw; Mezrani, Leanne, 'Law's disappointing gender report card', Lawyers Weekly, 27 November 2014, http://www.lawyersweekly.com.au/news/15901-Law-s-disappointing-gender-report-card; 'Conway, Helen (1953-)', Trove, National Library of Australia, 2009, http://nla.gov.au/nla.party-1665972; Information provided by Helen Conway, May 2015.

Prepared by Helen Conway with Nikki Henningham