Go to top of page

Upcoming Network Event: What is Strategic HR?

Edition: 2

Event type: HR Professional Network series

Date: 19 February

Time: Main presentation 2.00pm–3.30pm AEDST, light refreshments and networking to follow

Venue: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's Diplomatic Academy

44 Sydney Avenue, Forrest, Canberra, Australia

Register for the livestream.

What is Strategic HR?

Strategic HR is often described as the process of integrating corporate policy into HR objectives; that is, using HR techniques like training, recruitment and employee relations to meet organisational goals. 

But does that really reflect the power HR has to influence strategic outcomes? Our panellists will demonstrate the increasingly influential role HR is playing in business to shape corporate direction and strategy.

The role of HR is changing. We no longer simply meet business objectives determined by other areas – we’re earning our seat at the table by playing a critical role in influencing and guiding corporate direction.

When it comes to corporate strategy, business can’t achieve outcomes without the right people and skillset. We as HR professionals know this, and know the value we bring to building effective corporate strategy. But how does that potential become reality?

Join us at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) for the next event of the APS HR Professional Network, where you can hear first-hand from some of Australia’s leading HR and business professionals across public and private sectors. Sponsored by DFAT Chief Operating Officer Penny Williams, the panel discussion will feature HR leaders sharing the inside story about the power HR has to shape corporate direction and narratives. Featured guests include:

  • Jon Scriven, incoming AHRI Chair and Former Qantas Group Executive People
  • Katharine McLennan, executive coach and former Global Senior Vice President of People & Culture at Cochlear
  • Jacqui Curtis, Head of Profession and ATO Chief Operating Officer.

The panel discussion will take place in DFAT’s Diplomatic Academy from 2.00–3.30pm (AEDST time) Wednesday 19 February. Guests in Canberra are welcome to stay afterwards for light refreshments and networking, while participants at other sites can watch the main presentation as a livestream or recording (made available after the event).

This event is part of the APS HR Professional Stream commitment to bring HR professionals from across the APS together to discuss important issues affecting the HR profession. Thank you to DFAT for sponsoring the event and providing us with the next opportunity to learn, develop, and collaborate.

Speaker profile

JON SCRIVEN FAHRI                                                     

 (Incoming Chair) Deputy Chairman of the Board, AHRI 
Jon Scriven retired from Qantas in December 2017 having joined Qantas in April 2009 as Group Executive People. His responsibilities which encompassed all aspects of HR across the Qantas Group, were extended in 2011 to include overseeing the office of the CEO comprising Safety, Security, Environment, Risk, Internal Audit, Legal and Company Secretariat. 

Prior to joining Qantas Jon took on the role of Group HR Director for Coca-Cola Amatil in 2002. Between 1999−2002 Jon was a Human Capital Services Partner at Andersen. From 1991 Jon held various roles including Group Remuneration & Benefits Manager and Group Learning & Development Manager. Earlier in his career Jon held Learning and Development roles at both Westpac and Price Waterhouse. 

Jon is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Australia and holds a master’s degree in mathematics from Cambridge University in the UK.


Head of Profession and ATO Chief Operating Officer

Jacqui is Chief Operating Officer at the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), leading the Enterprise Strategy and Corporate Operations (ESCO) function. Jacqui sits on the ATO Executive, responsible for shaping and setting strategic direction and overseeing its implementation. A significant part of her role is corporate positioning, change management and design of the organisation and its workforce of over 18,000. In overseeing ESCO, Jacqui brings together an integrated picture of people and resource management to ensure the ATO has the right capability and culture to meet its strategic intent. Prior to her current role, Jacqui was Deputy Commissioner of the ATO's People function and headed the Reinvention Program management office, leading change management and key reforms to improve the client and staff experience. Before then, Jacqui held other HR leadership roles in both the public and private sectors. She is a fellow of the Australian Human Resources Institute, and was appointed adjunct professor at the University of Canberra in 2018. Along with her Deputy Secretary colleagues in the Reference Group, Jacqui has helped guide development of the HR Professional Stream work program.


Executive coach

Katharine McLennan has a career that spans corporate strategy, operations and leadership. Her specialty is facilitating executive teams in the integration of strategy, operations, team dynamics and self-transformation. She is also a writer, speaker and philosopher on the integration of ancient philosophy and corporate culture and leadership.  She enjoys working with the healing integration of body, mind and spirit in the individual and the team in all settings, and her ideas on the future of work, leadership and culture are provocative and inspiring in seminars, speeches or writing.      

Katharine is now an executive coach for a range of corporate, government and non-profit leaders of organisations, where she focuses on corporate strategy, talent and psychology.   

Katharine's most recent role was Head of Strategy and HR for the Federal Government's Export Finance Australia.  Prior to that, she was the Global Senior Vice President of People & Culture at Cochlear, focusing on the talent transformation across 20 countries.  Her career has also included being the Head of the Global Leadership Academy for QBE, where she designed and led five levels of leadership development across QBE’s 40 countries. Katharine has also been Executive General Manager, Talent and Business Unit HR for Commonwealth Bank of Australia. Here, she was responsible for many of the critical HR functions and line-managed the Heads of HR for the nine major business units of all of CBA.     

Katharine has a Bachelor of Science with Honours (neuroscience & history) from Duke University, a Masters of Arts (political science) from the University of New South Wales and a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from Stanford University, graduating with top class honours in all three degrees. She is also a qualified psychotherapist. 

Last reviewed: 
3 November 2020