Autism@Work 2023 Virtual Summit

30 May 2023

Over forty local and international speakers – many of whom are neurodivergent – provided their expertise and shared their experiences at this year's Autism  @ Work Virtual Summit, held on 22-23 March 2023. 

Thank you to our event sponsors: DXC, GHD Engineering, La Trobe University, Untapped, ANZ, SAP and to session sponsors AIG and SunPork Group.

Jump in and watch any of the videos below, or head over to YouTube for the full playlist.

Welcome and Keynote: Tom D'Eri

Featuring a Welcome to Country by Elise Muller, opening remarks from Autism CRC CEO Andrew Davis and DXC Technology Social Impact Practice Leader Michael Fieldhouse.

This session also features keynote speaker Tom D’Eri, Co-founder and COO of Rising Tide Car Wash, an organisation that employs over 90 autistic individuals in a successful car wash business.

Tom has dedicated his career to unleashing human potential by creating organisational systems and culture that empower people to grow.

Watch on YouTube

Panel: Insights from employers

This is a session on insights from large organisation featuring:

  • Vanessa Weaver – Head of Technology Financial Crime Fraud at NAB
  • Laura Grant – Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at Ernst & Young
  • Kirsty Richards – Autism and Agriculture Program at SunPork Group

Moderated by Michael Fieldhouse from DXC Technology.

Learn from representatives from large organisations as panellists share their experiences on how they achieve skill development with their talent and reflect on what aspects of their own programs help to build workplace capacity.

Watch on YouTube

Panel: Insights from employees

Hosted by Orion Kelly, this session provides insights from autistic employees featuring:

  • Luke Van Bockel – Cybersecurity Analyst at Department of Treasury
  • Nicole Park – Fraud Tech Analyst at NAB
  • James Gleeson-Mccoy – Trainee Intel Engineer at DXC Technology
  • Daniel Slavin – Piggery Attendant at SunPork Group

This session is proudly brought to you by SunPork Group.

Learn about the experiences of autistic employees and exploring the role of skill development in career-building.

Watch on YouTube

Panel: Human Resources

This session features Human Resources insights featuring HR professionals:

  • Jessica Kaaden – Executive Director at SANE
  • Ashlea McKay – Chief People Officer at Parbery,
  • Samantha Garbutt – Chief People Officer at ASA

Moderated by Rhonda Brighton-Hall from Mwah.

Learn how existing HR resources support the management of autistic and neurodiverse talent and discover where the gaps in HR practice exist and how they can be addressed.

Human Resources provides the strategic and operational framework for the diversity, equity and inclusion practices in organisations, including policy direction, tools and resources to advance diverse talent.

Watch on YouTube

Panel: Small Medium Enterprises 

Hosted by Orion Kelly, this session features insights from small business representatives:

  • Kathy Isaacs – Salesforce Experience Consultant at turnKeyCRC (Autism CRC)
  • Geoffrey Smith – Social Entrepreneur & Data Analyst at ASA

Learn from representatives of small businesses that recruit and employ autistic talent and the enormous benefit that recruiting for neurodiversity has on small medium enterprises.

Small businesses are able to bring on autistic talent easier as they know all their employees really well. Autist talent increases productivity, bringing new ideas to teams and shaking up traditional ways of working and thinking.

Watch on YouTube

Keynote: Jessica Kaaden

This session features keynote speaker Jessica Kaaden, Director at SANE and hosted by COO Wojciech Nadachowski from Autism CRC.

Jessica is the Director of People and Communications at SANE, Vice President of Australian HR Institute (AHRI), and a founding member of Hacking HR’s Global Experts Council.

She is an HR Leader and an autistic advocate whose drive for inclusion and diversity has seen her pioneer and develop programs across the public, non-profit and private sectors.

Watch on YouTube

Panel: Employee Resource Groups

This session features insights from Employee Resource Group (ERG) representatives:

  • Elio Sarpi – Product Development, Center of Excellence, CX Sales, Director at Oracle
  • Imogen Bird – Manager of Gold Coast operations at GHD
  • Pierre Escaich – Neurodiversity Talent Program Director at Ubisoft

Moderated by Andrew Eddy from Untapped Group. This panel is proudly brought to you by AIG.

Learn how Employee Resource Groups (ERGS) are successfully supporting their staff to understand and better support autistic employees.

ERGs are voluntary, employee-led groups whose aim is to foster a diverse, inclusive workplace by proving support to create a psychologically safe work environment.

Watch on YouTube

Case study: myWAY Employability and Matchworks

This session features insights from people championing Autism @ Work programs:

  • Louise Sheehy – National Partnership Manager at MatchWorks
  • Ash Bates – neurodivergent myWAY Employability program participant
  • Jacinta Shellam – Employer Engagement Partner at MatchWorks
  • Trudi-Ann Gribble – Director at Autix International
  • Cheryl Mangan – Manager, Research Translation at Autism CRC

Moderated by Wojciech Nadachowski from Autism CRC.

Learn about the Neurodiverse Employment Training Program which was developed to provide support and training for MatchWorks Disability Employment Services (DES) clients who identify as neurodivergent.

The 4-day program was piloted in two sites in Western Australia and Queensland and covered topics of neurodiversity awareness including goal setting, universal design, and career exploration based on myWAY Employability.

Watch on YouTube

Keynote: Rajesh Anandan & Nicole Radziwill, Ultranauts

Hosted by Orion Kelly, this session features CEO Rajesh Anandan and Chief Data Scientist Dr. Nicole Radziwill from Ultranauts Inc.

Learn about Ultranauts Inc., an award-winning quality engineering firm with employees in 30 states across the U.S., 75% of whom are on the autism spectrum.

Named a Fast Company World Changing Idea, MIT SOLVE Challenge Winner and Interbrand Breakthrough Brand, Ultranauts is reimagining how a company hires talent, manages teams and develops careers.

Watch on YouTube

Keynote: Vanessa Castañeda Gill & Lucy Stevens, Social Cipher

Hosted by Orion Kelly, this session features CEO Vanessa Castañeda Gill and Creative Director Lucy Stevens from Social Cipher.

Social Cipher develops story-driven video games that give neurodivergent youth and the professionals who work with them a safe, accessible, empowering space to apply and understand social-emotional skills.

Watch on YouTube

Workshop 1: Starting out an Autism @ Work program

This session is a workshop on starting an Autism @ Work Program featuring:

  • Lauren Rowell – Detective Sergeant at Australian Federal Police
  • Stacey Cupka – Director, Organisational Strategy at Department of Treasury
  • Vicky Booth – Director, Autism Hub at Queensland Department of Education

Moderated by Tim Colliver from DXC Technologies.

Learn from some of the amazing people who have been championing Autism @ Work programs within their organisations for many years:

  1. The Autism @ Work Programs initiated within their organisations
  2. The business and social value these programs bring to their respective organisations
  3. Some of the challenges encountered and how they overcame them
  4. The key steps required to initiate your own Autism @ Work program

Watch on YouTube

Workshop 2: Sustaining your Autism @ Work program

This session is a workshop on sustaining your Autism @ Work program featuring:

  • Sharon Whip – Neurodiversity Consultant at Untapped Group
  • Adam Easterbrook – Dandelion Program Delivery Executive
  • Andrew Baird – Product Owner & Journey Expert at ANZ Bank
  • David Gibson – Dandelion Programme Lead at DXC Technology UK

Moderated by Andrew Eddy from Untapped Group.

Learn about building organisational capability, scalability and sustainability for your current or future Autism @ Work programs as panellists discuss how to structure a framework that makes success sustainable.

The primary purpose of Autism @ Work programs is to promote a psychologically safe workplace culture through acceptance, inclusivity and support.

Watch on YouTube

Panel: Insights from higher education

Hosted by Orion Kelly, this session focuses on insights from higher education featuring:

  • Laurie Ackles – Director, Spectrum Support Program at Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Beth Radulski – Autism Researcher and Academic at La Trobe University
  • Sascha Lemon-Spence – USEP Coordinator at Flinders University and University of Adelaide
  • Laura Trotter – Senior Climate Change Risk and Resilience Engineer at GHD
  • Joel Clark – Engineering student at Flinders University and intern at GHD

Moderated by Andrew Eddy from Untapped Group.

Learn about the La Trobe University neurodiversity project and how PhD research is exploring the barriers to disclosure and inclusion for autistic people and what is being done to support students to perform their best.

Hear from Joel Clark, an engineering student on his experience interning at GHD and what he has learned from his mentor, Laura Trotter, Senior Engineer at GHD.

Watch on YouTube

Presentation: Higher education thought leadership

Hosted by Andrew Eddy from Untapped Group, this session is a pre-recorded presentation featuring:

  • Ken Kilbride
  • Timmy Frawley
  • Charlotte Valeur
  • Beth Kilkenny
  • Blanaid Gavin

Learn about higher education thought leadership from a number of individuals at universities from Ireland and the work they’ve been conducting to promote neurodiversity in universities and drive thought leadership in areas of mental health and neurodiversity in the legal system.

Watch on YouTube

Presentation: Self-Advocacy @ Work website

Hosted by CEO Andrew Davis from Autism CRC, this session features:

  • Brendan James – Digital Product Manager at Autism CRC
  • Hayley Clapham – Project Officer at Autism CRC

Learn about the launch of the Self-Advocacy @ Work website, its key features and the co-design process that was undertaken in its development and delivery.

Autism CRC ‘s Self-Advocacy @ Work website helps autistic people navigate the world of employment, while building their capacity to understand their workplace rights and develop self-advocacy skills. Employers and service providers will also benefit from this resource created by and for the autistic community.

Watch on YouTube

Panel: supporting mental health in the workplace & closing remarks

This session focuses on supporting mental health in the workplace featuring:

  • Dr Simon Bury – Research fellow and clinical psychologist at La Trobe University
  • Cindy Nicollet – Autism Spectrum Consultant at Untapped Group
  • Susan Hayward – Postdoctoral research fellow at La Trobe University

Moderated by Anne Symons from the Black Dog Institute.

Learn about mental health issues faced by autistic employees and hear from Dr Simon Bury about the Supporting a Neurodiverse Workforce: a mental health and wellbeing resource and training package.

This short presentation will be followed by a panel discussion on how the training can be used and implemented by organisations.

Watch on YouTube