Monash Business School celebrates its alumni success

Div Pillay, 2019 Monash Business School Alumni Excellence Award recipient

Social enterprise CEO and entrepreneur Div Pillay has been awarded Monash Business School’s 2019 Alumni Excellence Award at its annual Celebrating Excellence Awards, held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre on Tuesday, May 28.

Established in 2017, the Monash Business School Alumni Excellence Award celebrates graduates who are creating a positive impact on the world through outstanding professional contributions.

Monash Business School’s annual Celebrating Excellence Awards acknowledge the substantial achievements of researchers, educators, students and staff, as well as its global alumni.

Ms Pillay is the CEO and co-founder of business capability organisation, MindTribes –recognised by Westpac as one of the 200 Businesses of Tomorrow in 2018 – and the social enterprise, Culturally Diverse Workforces (CDW).

Focus on intercultural inclusion

Jane McAloon, Monash Business School alumna and keynote speaker

Both businesses focus on cultural inclusion as a way to deliver business impact and work with global executive leaders, offshore staff, multicultural employees and customers to improve business results by developing cultural competency.

In 2018, Ms Pillay was named by the Australian Financial Review and Qantas one of its 100 Women of Influence in the diversity and inclusion category. Ms Pillay completed a Master of Human Resource Management (Strategic Human Resource Management) at Monash Business School in 2013.

Accepting her award, Ms Pillay said businesses were missing out on the benefits of inclusion and diversity.

“Not including diverse customers in marketing, sales and service sees the Australian economy lose $75 billion annually,” she said.

“Some 90 per cent of our Australian client leaders lack the cultural competence to effectively lead cross-border - they contribute to low return-on-investment (ROI) on offshoring deals worth up to and over $100 million annually.”

A challenge to the Monash audience

Future Global Leaders, Josh Garkawe and Eliza Li

Ms Pillay praised the rich cultural diversity of Monash students, but then challenged the audience to act to ensure this was reflected throughout society.

“Ask yourself, for all the competitive advantage of a Monash education, when will we see these diverse students represented in our media, our parliament, our boardrooms and our senior leadership ranks?” she said.

“Do something active, positive and progressive in your sphere of influence – don’t wait for someone else. “

Monash Alumna, corporate director and public sector leader, Jane McAloon, featured as keynote speaker at the event.

During her substantial executive career, Ms McAloon worked at BHP Billiton and AGL and is a non-executive director on a number of Australia’s high-profile boards, including Viva Energy, Healthscope, Energy Australia and Cogstate. She is a senior adviser with corporate advisory firms Gresham Partners and Brunswick.

Simon Wilkie, Head of Monash Business School and Dean of the Faculty of Business and Economics

She spent 10 years in leadership roles with the NSW Government and has worked in private legal practice, as well as Monash University’s Economics Department.

Ms McAloon has a long association with Monash University, where she completed a Bachelor of Economics (Honours), a Bachelor of Laws, and a Graduate Diploma of Governance. She was awarded a Monash University Fellowship in October 2018.

In advice to students, Ms McAloon cited the need to prioritise “work, love, health and play” equally, being unafraid to fail, and most of all being “kind, compassionate and generous”.

“For me, this is the most important,” she said. “It is how you show up with others and speaks to the world about what matters to you.”

Head of Monash Business School and Dean of the Faculty of Business and Economics, Professor Simon Wilkie told the audience that businesses were living through ‘tumultuous times’ due to digital disruption, which many felt ill-equipped to deal with.

“So I feel the core of what we do, the skillsets we teach, are more valuable than ever,” he said.