Case study: Julie-Ann Lambourne
Julie-Ann Lambourne is Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and a Founding Member of enVizion Group Inc. She is a Torres Strait Islander woman descending from Mabuiag and Darnley Island.
enVizion is Indigenous-owned and a not-for-profit organisation. enVizion provide creative solutions for disadvantaged people. They use cutting-edge technologies and complementary traditional practices.
Julie-Ann is passionate about technology creating social innovation. Her vision is for advanced technologies to drive social and economic inclusion for all Australians.
Julie-Ann currently serves on many boards and advisory bodies including:
- Aboriginal Centre of Performing Arts Board Member
- Ignite Far North Queensland Board Deputy Chairperson
- Queensland Small Business Advisory Council
- Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Business and Innovation Reference Group
- Regional Development Australia – Far North Queensland and Torres Strait Islands
- Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation Indigenous Innovation Alliance
- Far North Queensland Suicide Prevention Taskforce – Lived Experienced Reference Group Chairperson
- The Cairns Institute External Advisory Board, James Cook University.
Julie-Ann and enVizion have won several awards. These include:
- Cairns Business Women’s Club – DATSIP Indigenous Business Woman of the Year (2017)
- The Institute of Leaders and Managers Australia – Not for Profit Leader Cairns (2017)
- The Cairns Chamber of Commerce – Business Technology Excellence Awards (2018)
- Finalist in the 2019 Queensland Telstra Business Woman of the Year Awards – For Purpose and Social Enterprise Category.
Importance of board diversity
Reducing risk and increasing creativity
Valuing diversity is key to meaningful progress. It leads to an increase in ideas and opportunities, reduces risk, and allows creativity and innovation within organisations. Julie-Ann says:
Diversity is about the intrinsic differences in people and what they as individuals can bring to a conversation. It offers many benefits to governments in formulating legislation and policies that impact on people’s lives.
As CEO of enVizion, Julie-Ann places great emphasis on board diversity as an integral part of the business framework. A women-led business, EnVizion has always ensured women are seated at the board table. Her tertiary understanding of corporate and cultural governance brings value to the organisation. She says:
I use my position on this board to bring diversity to the table. I ensure that social impact and Indigenous issues are at the forefront of any discussions on economic development of the Far North Queensland region.
Bringing lived experience
Growing up in extreme financial and social disadvantage, Julie-Ann has experienced violence, substance misuse and mental health issues of her own. Julie-Ann has overcome these barriers against all odds and is passionate about working with other people experiencing disadvantage to help them overcome adversity. Julie-Ann is the inaugural Chairperson of the FNQ Suicide Prevention Taskforce – Lived Experienced Reference Group.
Having lived experience allows me to inform the discussions for the Taskforce from real world knowledge of what it is to experience depression, addiction and the desire to self-harm. By speaking with other members of the Taskforce I am the voice that speaks beyond the clinical and epidemiological aspects to the human face of this issue.
Making diversity work
Moving from diversity to inclusion
Inclusion drives diversity into action, beyond conceptual and practice models. It creates a foundation of involvement, respect and connection. There is a richness of varied ideas, backgrounds, and perspectives. These interact to create business value and lead organisations to success.
Inclusion enhances a board’s ability to achieve better strategic results. By engaging people from diverse backgrounds and perspectives there is participatory decision-making. This ensures that social impact is on the agenda.
As a Torres Strait Islander woman, Julie-Ann has cultural roles and responsibilities toward her family and responsibilities to the community. Julie-Ann brings these cultural values into her business and board commitments. She always ensures that diversity and inclusion is embedded within any strategic decisions.
Advice for others
Continuous learning for board skills and disciplines
In 2015, after a long career in the public service, Julie-Ann was successful in securing a Cultural Diversity Scholarship for Women. She completed the Foundations of Directorship Course with Australian Institute of Company Directors. The course provided Julie-Ann insights into corporate governance frameworks. She has implemented these across all types of boards, committees and advisory bodies.
In 2017, Julie-Ann continued her educational journey completing a Masters of Business Administration. Through higher level education, Julie-Ann has expanded her knowledge to contribute to the success of enVizion. Julie-ann recalls:
As an Indigenous business woman, I am offered many opportunities, but I select boards and committees that impact positively on the social and economic future of our country. Indigenous people are highly entrepreneurial and have navigated many changes to the way successive governments have applied legislation and policy.