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Nicole Forrester - Head of Office of Purpose at Fujitsu Australia

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December 1, 2021
Nicole Forrester
Nicole Forrester
Head of Office of Purpose at Fujitsu Australia

Nicole brings to Fujitsu over 15 years of diverse leadership experience in Australia and across the Asia-Pacific region. As a former Australian diplomat, science translator, industry adviser, international non-profit CEO, and diversity advocate, Nicole's expertise delivers inclusive cultural change through impact-driven strategy.

Nicole joined Fujitsu in April 2021, in the newly created role of Head of Office of Purpose. Nicole is responsible for making a real difference through championing and driving transformative change across sustainability, diversity and inclusion, and our corporate social responsibility programs. As a member of the Executive Leadership Team, Nicole reports to Graeme Beardsell, Fujitsu Australia and New Zealand CEO. Fujitsu’s purpose is to make the world more sustainable by building trust in society through innovation. Nicole and the Office of Purpose team is pivotal in Fujitsu’s ability to fulfil its ambitions.

Nicole joined Fujitsu from her role at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), where Nicole served as the inaugural representative in Washington, D.C. Upon returning to Australia in May 2020, Nicole has designed and led CSIRO's philanthropic engagement program in alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Her work at CSIRO has spanned its entire R&D enterprise, with a focus on environmental sustainability through energy, water, agriculture, and space research collaborations. Before joining CSIRO, as the CEO of Pacific Resources for Education and Learning, Nicole and her team across the Pacific Islands supported communities to grow their sustainability by utilising Indigenous Traditional Ecological Knowledges alongside Western STEM to combat the impacts of climate change. Nicole's work has spanned global next-generation leadership development for Pacific Forum CSIS, regulatory reform for the Australian Industry Group, and Australia-US foreign and trade policy as a diplomatic officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Prior to her diplomatic service, Nicole was an associate lecturer at the Queensland University of Technology's Oodgeroo Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander studies centre. In 2017, honouring her Wiradjuri ancestors, Nicole founded Gamarra (meaning ‘awaken’) Consulting, to support organisations with strategic diversity and inclusion advice across the government, industry, education, non-government and community sectors.

Show Notes

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Nicole's Story

Not only is Fujitsu paving the way of the future through the technological services and equipment it provides, but also through its commitment to diversity and inclusion, environmental sustainability, and social impacts. These three spheres intersect in the space that Fujitsu has called the Office of Purpose, and today’s guest, Nicole Forrester, sits at its helm. Nicole’s 30-year career has consisted of many different roles in many different organisations, but the connecting thread through all of them has been her drive to bring together principles from Western science and traditional knowledge to create meaningful change across multiple domains. In today’s episode you’ll gain an understanding of why an Office of Purpose is so important in a corporate setting, hear examples of how Fujitsu is putting its principles into action, and how Nicole plans to expand on these in the future. Nicole also shares some valuable advice around decision making, finding balance, being brave, and embracing every kind of mentor who comes your way!

Key Points From This Episode

  • What Nicole’s 30 year career has consisted of to date.
  • Values from Nicole's Aboriginal background which inform the way she works.Discrimination that prevented Nicole from pursuing her original career ambition.
  • Fujitsu's commitment to enhancing gender equality in the workplace.
  • Why diversity and inclusion need to exist hand in hand.
  • Advice Nicole would have given to her younger self about decision making, finding balance, and being brave.
  • The three elements which make up the focus of Fujitsu's Office of Purpose (of which Nicole is the head), and an example of how they connect all three.
  • Plans that Nicole has for the future of the Office of Purpose.
  • Benefits of increasing diversity in corporate environments.
  • Impacts of the COVID-19 related border closures on the workforce in Australia.
  • Fujitsu's new policy around volunteering leave.
  • The profound role that mentors have played in Nicole's life.
  • A way of being that Nicole learned from Colin Powell.

Tweetables

“If there was one thing that I’ve brought to my journey, and to those who have been able to share that journey with me, it is that spirit of collaboration, because everyone has something to bring to the table.” — Nicole Forrester [0:06:48]

“You can have all of the diversity that you like, but if your people aren’t feeling included and able to bring themselves and their full selves to work every day, and feel that that is their way to success inside your organisation, then diversity doesn’t mean enough.” — Nicole Forrester [0:09:49]

“The decision that you make right now with the information that you have available to you today is the right decision for right now.” — Nicole Forrester [0:11:27]

“More diverse organisations, more diverse teams have better productivity, and better impact. And in a commercial sense, better profits.” — Nicole Forrester [0:22:17]

Links Mentioned in Today's Episode

"More diverse organisations, more diverse teams have better productivity, and better impact. And in a commercial sense, better profits."
~ Nicole Forrester

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