Autism@Work 2021 Virtual Summit

2 December 2021

More than 500 delegates attended Australia’s first Autism​@​Work Virtual Summit, hearing about the benefits of a neurodiverse workplace and exploring how to achieve Sustainable Programs, Sustainable Employment for employers and employees.

Hosted by Autism CRC and DXC Technology, the two-day event included keynote addresses from three autistic speakers, and more than 50 speakers across 16 sessions. Jump in and watch any of the videos below, or head over to YouTube for the full playlist.

Welcome and opening address

The welcome and opening address for the Autism​@​Work Virtual Summit 2021 with the theme Sustainable Employment, Sustainable Programs featuring:

  • acknowledgement of country by Aunty Munya
  • official opening by Senator Anne Ruston, Minister for Families and Social Services, Minister for Women's Safety
  • words of welcome from Michael Fieldhouse, Social Impact Practice Leader at DXC Technology, and Andrew Davis, Chief Executive Officer at Autism CRC.

With Orion Kelly as MC.

Watch on YouTube

Keynote: Clem Bastow

Screenwriter, university tutor, award-winning cultural critic, author and autistic speaker, Clem Bastow talks about her experiences of employment in conversation with Autism CRC's Chief Operating Office, Wojciech Nadachowski. Hear about what it was like to navigate different employment environments as an undiagnosed autistic person, and Clem's reflection on the concept of ‘sustainable employment’ and share what this looks like for her.

Watch on YouTube

Employer panel

This panel session includes employer representatives from ANZ, SAP, SunPork, the Australian Federal Department of Home Affairs and Ultranauts, in the US, sharing their experiences on how to achieve sustainable employment and sustainable programs. Panelists will reflect on what aspects of their own programs help to make them sustainable and scalable. Moderated by Michael Fieldhouse from DXC Technology.

With Orion Kelly as MC.

  • Kirsty Richards, Autism and Agriculture Project Leader, SunPork Group
  • Andrew Baird, Journey Expert/Chapter Lead, ANZ
  • Sehida Frawley, Head of Digital Business Services for Aus/NZ, SAP
  • Kerry Davis, Relationship Manager Dandelion Program for Enterprise Testing & Systems Assurance, Department of Home Affairs - Rajesh Anandan, CEO Ultranauts Inc, Founder Unicef Ventures, Lecturer MIT
  • Cherie Martin, Test Director, Services Australia

Watch on YouTube

Neurodiversity employee resource groups

This panel session explores the benefit of neurodiversity employee resource groups (ERGs), with Bich Jennings and Alicia Jaeschke from GHD Engineering, and Natalia Lyckowski from IBM sharing their experiences and insights from their organisations' ERGs. They share lessons learnt and provide advice for other organisations considering establishing their own ERG. Moderated by Andrew Eddy from Untapped.

Resources discussed during the presentation:

Watch on YouTube

Learning to earning

This session involves three presentations followed by an expert panel discussion. Presentations provide updates and insights about:

  • myWAY Employability - Autism CRC's personalised career planner to help autistic young people plan and prepare for working life
  • The Integrated Employment Success Tool, Autism CRC's practical workplace manual for employers
  • a day in the life of an autism employment coach.

Moderated by Cally Jackson from Autism CRC, with Orion Kelly as MC.

Watch on YouTube

Supporting wellbeing

Hear from Dr Sarah Barker, Black Dog Institute Clinical Psychologist, on supporting the wellbeing of autistic employees. Sarah's presentation explores:

  • the changes in behaviour we can recognise in the workplace in ourselves and our colleagues when mental health may be negatively affected
  • the potential benefits of disclosing mental health concerns to the workplace
  • an evidence-based, 5-step model for effective conversations about mental health
  • evidence-based strategies to look after our wellbeing.

The presentation is followed by a panel discussion with Dr Barker joined by:

  • Dr Simon Bury, postdoctoral researcher at La Trobe University
  • Dr Lisa Smith, neurodiverse registered psychologist, autistic advocate, carer and casual academic

Hosted by Autism CRC’s Chief Operating Officer, Wojciech Nadachowski.

Watch on YouTube

Unpacking government employment policy

Amaze’s Deputy CEO Nicole Rees interviews George Sotiropoulos (DSS) and Jo Collins (NDIA) about the opportunities for autistic people in the fast-changing employment policy landscape. Topics explored include the upcoming National Disability Employment Strategy; redesign of Disability Employment Services and the broader employment services system; the NDIA’s Participant Employment Strategy; the Schools Leavers Employment Service; and systems interface issues.

Watch on YouTube

Keynote: Charlotte Valeur

Hear from Charlotte Valeur, experienced corporate governance advisor, Board member, and neurodiversity advocate. In this engaging keynote presentation, Charlotte shares some of her experiences and insights from her working life and provides advice to senior business leaders about the imperative of creating inclusive work environments.

Hosted by Matt Ormiston, Program Director Leadership & Development, NAB.

Watch on YouTube

Lived experience spotlight

In conversation with Autism CRC’s Chief Operating Officer Wojciech Nadachowski, autistic adult and cybersecurity expert, Darien Judge talks about the impact that sustainable employment has had on his life, including his financial security, wellbeing, relationships and sense of identity.

Watch on YouTube

Employee panel

Hear from a panel of autistic adults, including employees from SAP, NAB, SunPork and GHD, sharing their experiences of employment. Panelists reflect on what has helped them to sustain their employment and offer advice for employers looking to adapt their own recruitment, selection and workplace practices to support neurodivergent adults.

Hosted by Asha Sreedhar from SAP, with Orion Kelly as MC.

Autistic employee panel includes: 

  • Liam Picen
  • Centaine Kaesler-Smith
  • Jack Lyons
  • Conor O’Loghlin
  • Hunter Booth 

Watch on YouTube

Advocacy in employment

Hear from a powerhouse panel of Autistic adults sharing their lived experiences in employment and the workplace, including how they advocate for themselves and others in different work environments and industries to improve workplace practices, processes, culture and employee wellbeing.


  • Tammy McGowan, Project Officer, Autistic Self Advocacy Network of ANZ
  • Beth Radulski, Project Officer for Neurodiversity, La Trobe University
  • Vanessa Castañeda Gill, CEO and Co-Founder, Social Cipher
  • Aparna Kommineni, Social Impact Entrepreneur & Autism Advocate
  • Autumn O'Connor, Executive Editor, Be Your Best Academy
  • Paulette Penzvalto, Program Manager of ASAP, Google

Hosted by Orion Kelly.

Watch on YouTube

Levelling the playing field

Daniel Valiente-Riedl, General Manager of Job Access, presents this session on workplace adjustments, followed by Q&A session with host Orion Kelly.

Workplace adjustments are an essential building block of inclusive workplaces, however it is an area that many organisations remain unsure of. In this session, Job Access will address the common myth that workplace adjustments are expensive and difficult to make, when in actual fact it is the exact opposite. They will explore the wide range of workplace adjustments available (with a focus on those supporting the neurodivergent community), and highlight that individuals and organisations don’t have to do it on their own - with free and expert support and funding available.

Watch on YouTube

Working for yourself: Inspiring possibilities

This feature introduces you to several autistic adults who have started their own small businesses across a diverse range of industries. They share how they became interested in starting their own small business, reflect on how running a business has changed their life, and offer advice for other autistic adults considering whether running a small business is a good option for them.

Watch on YouTube

Higher education panel

This session explores support programs developed for autistic adults undertaking higher education.

First, Andrew Eddy from Untapped presents insights from support programs in the USA, with insights from Drexel University, West Chester University, University of Delaware, Bellevue College, College Autism Spectrum and Rochester Institute.

This is followed by presentations from Curtin University Specialist Mentoring Program, La Trobe University Neurodiversity Hub project and TAFE NSW SOCS program.

Learn about the difference these support programs make to student success and hear their advice for other institutions.

Hosted by Matt Ormiston, Program Director Leadership & Development, NAB.

Watch on YouTube

Neurominorities in the workplace

Hear from a panel of lived experience experts about being a neurominority in the workplace. Our experts share how ADHD, dyspraxia, dysgraphia, dyslexia, autism and other neurodivergencies have shaped their employment journeys and what has helped each of them to thrive in the workplace.


  • Tammy McGowan, Project Officer, Autistic Self Advocacy Network of ANZ
  • Autumn O'Connor, Executive Editor, Be Your Best Academy
  • Shae Wissell, CEO, Dear Dyslexic Foundation
  • Rebecca Flower, Lecturer, La Trobe University

Hosted by Andrew Eddy from Untapped.

Watch on YouTube

Keynote: Lee Corless

Hear from Lee Corless, Head of the Autism at Work Programme for EMEA and APAC Regions at JPMorgan Chase. In this engaging keynote presentation, Lee shares some of the journey that JPMC has undertaken, the breadth of roles offered and the key program elements that have helped make it sustainable.

Hosted by Matt Ormiston, Program Director Leadership & Development, NAB.

Watch on YouTube

Closing remarks

The closing remarks of the Autism​@​Work Virtual Summit from Michael Fieldhouse, Social Impact Practice Leader at DXC Technology, and Andrew Davis, Chief Executive Officer at Autism CRC.

Hosted by Matt Ormiston, Program Director Leadership & Development at NAB.

Watch on YouTube