Australia’s CEO Challenge began with a vision of a world without domestic violence and today has grown into a passionate and influential organisation with over 60 members. With the support of their business partners and the relentless efforts by the committed staff, Australia’s CEO Challenge is educating workplaces and communities about the damaging effects of domestic violence.
Following the successful business model originated by Jim Hardeman, a specialist in advanced training in workplace violence, Brisbane Lord Mayor, Cr Jim Soorley, introduced the program through the Lord Mayor’s Women’s Advisory Council in 1999. In less than a decade, Australia’s CEO Challenge has secured 35 partnerships between businesses and the community.
Through fundraising and proactive business partnerships, Australia’s CEO Challenge facilitates aid for local refuges and shelters who support those worst affected by the silent epidemic. This support comes in many forms and Australia’s CEO Challenge partners acknowledge that money is not always the best support. Although the estimated value of these partnerships is $500,000 per year it is the simple and understated items such as toilet paper, underwear, books and children’s toys which are among the most in demand items acquired through The Race. With an estimated value of half a million dollars, the donations and items collected last year alone went directly to the 678 women and 1005 children who fled violent domestic situations during the year.
For Executive Director Wendy Reid, it is the long term potential which is inspires her driving force. Enthused by assisting companies to address their corporate philanthropy through community involvement, Wendy ensures workplace becomes a forum for social change by conducting informal, open and honest training sessions which address an otherwise unspoken issue.
Interacting with business partners who employ over 5000 staff allows for the taboo nature of domestic violence and the misconceptions associated with it to be broken down in a public arena. “Sometimes, just discussing it honestly shows people that support is there,” says Reid. But Australia’s CEO Challenge aim to do much more than just discuss. In the last 12 months Australia’s CEO Challenge has maintained partnerships between nine businesses and have recently undergone a complete corporate re-branding to effectively maintain their organisational aims and objectives, the guiding principals of Australia’s CEO Challenge.