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Non Executive Director & Executive Coach, Touchwood Consulting Pty Ltd

Mentors in Adelaide

Karen Hayes

Non Executive Director & Executive Coach

Touchwood Consulting Pty Ltd

As a leader with over 30 years of governance experience, Karen has championed inclusive leadership across community-centric boards and organisations. Her specialisation lies in strengthening the board-executive relationship and amplifying women’s leadership, health and education agendas in Australia.

Combining business acumen with a passion for equality Karen seeks to support people within marginalised and disadvantaged groups to achieve their goals, regardless of their circumstances.

A corporate career spanning several decades has enabled a comprehensive range of skills, experiences, and influential networks. Most recently, her responsibilities as CEO at Guide Dogs Victoria for over 10 years included delivering strong leadership together with innovative transformation projects and a future-proofing strategy for growth.

Under Karen’s leadership, Guide Dogs Victoria delivered a $30m capital campaign to transform GDV’s campus into Australia’s first sensory campus. The new facilities are aimed at improving the lives of people living with blindness or low vision, providing a world-class environment for breeding and training guide dogs, while also engaging and educating the community.

A strong commitment to growing and supporting women’s leadership has led to being a founding member of Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA), a co-founder of the Australian chapter of the International Women’s Forum (IWF), a director and shaper of many of Melbourne Football Club’s pioneering initiatives including: ‘Field of Women’ – raising awareness for breast cancer; ‘The Long
Journey’ – raising awareness of Indigenous contributions to AFL; and, ‘Women in Football’ – obtaining one of the first official Women’s Football Licenses and showcasing the growing number of AFLW players in the club.

As a coach and mentor, Karen continues to advocate for women across a broad range of industries and communities globally.
Karen was inducted into the Victorian Honour Roll of Women in 2017, in recognition of her outstanding contribution to business and the community and was appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the 2019 Australia Day Honours List, for significant service to the community as an advocate for gender equity, and to women in sport. She was also inducted as a Dame in the Order of St John in June 2019, in recognition of her contribution to community.

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