30 November 2015

7 books on management and self discovery to take on your Christmas vacation.

Author :

Every manager has their bible, the management text they were instructed to read by a mentor they clutch to their chests and quote from at any available opportunity. I personally had a manager who loved his journey through a book outlining the 6 Thinking Hats method by Edward DeBono so much, he used to refer to staff in meetings by the colour of the hat he had assigned them based on his observations of them.

Before I even transitioned from team member to team leader I had a habit of reading books on management, leadership and self-discovery in the half hour before I went to bed each night. My bookshelves bulged with books I’d had recommended to me by colleagues, or that I’d stumbled upon in the bookstore when I was in search of something else.

The Christmas period in Australia is the opportunity to unwind and relax. The summer is in full swing, organisations across the country shut down for a fortnight or so, and families go off in search of golden sands to bake on and cold oceans to swim in unless you’re like me in which case you go looking for a five star resort with a bar, in the pool.

The invention of the electronic reader and the various apps means we can stock up on some great reading material to take with us without the issues of my youth. You don’t need to limit the books you plan to read while sipping a cold beer or cocktail in the hot summer sun. They all fit neatly in the palm of your hand.

When I was researching topic ideas for this blog post, the one that sprang to mind was to write about the books that I believe changed my life, and my future, for the better. Some of these books I’ve not picked up in a decade or more, but I when I grabbed my notebook and pen it took less than a minute to come up with 7 books all managers, or would-be managers, should invest their time reading.

So here they are, in no particular order, my list of the top 7 books on management and self-discovery you should take on your Christmas Vacation.

The Greatest Salesman in the World:


I first read The Greatest Salesman in the World years ago. Written as a parable and outlining the life of a poor camel boy named Hafid as he rises from pauper to a life of luxury. The book is told in monthly installments, ten in total, which outline the steps Hafid takes to become a merchant of wealth and power. If you take the book as a guide, implementing the wisdom of the scrolls over the period of ten months it would be interesting to see just how much your life could change. I’m planning on doing just that in 2016. It may just be the case that it’s never too late to teach an old dog new tricks, again, after all.

The Richest Man in Babylon:


First published in 1928 The Richest Man in Babylon is by American writer George S. Clason. The book is again told in the form of a parable translating the secrets of the ancient Babylonians, the first civilisation to discover the universal law of prosperity and abundance. The book outlines topics such as thrift, financial planning, saving and personal wealth in simple, easy to understand words. With over 2 million copies of the parable sold around the world since it was first published, The Richest Man in Babylon has been referred to as one of the greatest inspirational books of all time.

The One Minute Manager:


The One Minute Manager, the perennial best seller by Ken Blanchard, PhD and Spencer Johnson, MD, is one of the best-selling management texts of all time. The book aims to provide managers – both experienced and new – with the tools they need to effectively develop and lead both their teams and themselves. The book which has recently been revised to address modern management issues covers topics such as; the rise of technology, a flattening global economy and the pressures on the corporate world to do more than ever before with less resources. The book is full of snippets of information that stay with you long after you’ve closed the covers.

Who Moved My Cheese


Who Moved My Cheese tells the story of two mice and their ever dwindling supply of cheese, and two humans all of which live in a maze. Addressing the need to be adaptable, embrace change and think outside the box, this book is one of my personal favourites. The book deals with the effects of change on the lives of the characters, that it can either be a disaster or a blessing depending on the way you look at it.

A short film was made of the book, which I saw on Youtube, so if you don’t have the time to read this little parable, you can always watch the movie. 


Who moved my cheese? The Movie
Based on the book "Who Moved My Cheese" by Spencer Johnson, M.D.

Who moved my cheese? an a-mazing way to deal with change in your work and in your life 

Movie originally copyrighted in 2003.

Credits:Original illustrations by Steve Pileggi ; animation by Wyat Germer, Benjamin Burnett ; original music by Brad Smith, Songsmith Productions.

Responsibility: Spencer Johnson MD & Double Take Productions presents; produced & directed by L. Dee Johnson; a production of LDJ Film Productions.

How to Win Friends and Influence People


Back in the dark ages of the early 1990’s my father handed me a dog-eared paperback copy of Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends andInfluence People. I can still remember the Summer I read it. I was in my first job at a Supermarket and had just left school. The book was so old and well-read the pages were falling into my lap as I read on. The book by Carnegie is the Granddaddy of self-improvement books, and the language in it can be quite archaic at times, but the timeless messages of how to handle people, strategies to improve your likability, negotiation skills and leadership are still as relevant in today’s fast moving, disruptive environment as they were when the book was originally published in 1936.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People


Stephen R. Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People can be a heavy read at times, but its effectiveness in transforming people’s lives cannot be underestimated. The main theme of the book is the importance of a balance of personal and professional effectiveness before you can have true success. The book involves the reader undertaking work, so it’s not a quick fix solution but the strategies contained in it launched a revolution when it was originally published in 1990, with people including Presidents and CEO’s to educators and parents saying how it transformed their lives.

The Alchemist


I was given a copy of The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho by an ex-manager for a birthday gift a decade or so ago. At the time I was in the process of transitioning from a 15 year career working in inbound call centres, to taking the first steps in following my dream to be a professional writer. I was pretty much convinced I’d bitten off more than I could chew, and no amount of chewing was going to stop this massive shift in my life from choking me. The novel by the best-selling Brazilian author has been translated into 67 languages and has sold over 2 million copies. The story centres on a young man whose sleep is plagued by dreams of a grand adventure, a purpose. On the advice of a Gypsy woman, he sets out to follow the lead of his dream across the world to Egypt. The novel explores the themes of following your dreams and embracing the unknown in the search for your true purpose. I’ve read the novel several times now, and each time I do I find another layer to the story.

So that is my list of 7 inspirational books on management, leadership and self-development I recommend you download to your Kindle and take to the beach – or the bar in the pool if you can find one – to read on you Summer vacation.

What books have you read that you would recommend to others? Leave a comment below and tell us the book you feel transformed your life?


Mike Cullen has recently returned to Akolade after a period as the conference producer for one of Australia's leading economic think tanks. Mike began working in the conference industry in 2007 after looking for a career change from the high pressured world of inbound customer service. Mike has worked for some of the most well-known conference and media companies in the B2B space and in his spare time is working on his first novel in a planned Epic Fantasy trilogy.







27 November 2015

A millennial’s concise survival guide

Author :

I used to be that student who would stay at uni until 2:30 am about 4 times a week during the three weeks leading up to finals. I would also be that student who would be in the library at 6 am the next day to get the best, quietest seats in the library.

I ran on Red Bull (the sugar-free one, because I had to take care of my health, ya know?) and I would shut down anyone around me to be able to concentrate on my books. Seriously, I was terrible to be around.

I could sanely (sort of) manage this workload because I knew it was temporary. Work your heart out to get the results you want, and then you get to rest. Once you enter the ‘real world’ workforce, the ongoing madness isn’t only for three weeks anymore: it can literally become your life if you let it.

Although we often hear about millennials who act like they are entitled to everything, think they know so much more than you and are so much better than older folks in general, the reality is that these little brats only represent a small proportion of millennials and give us all a bad name. I think it’s much fairer to say that younger workers are absurdly self-demanding, obsessive-compulsive perfectionists like me.

As far as I’m aware, there isn’t a survival guide for millennials entering the workforce. I’d love to write one, but I’m still trying to keep my head above water myself, so I’m probably not in the best position to write this book right now. But hey, while I’m busy gaining life experience and trying to avoid a nervous breakdown, here is a millennials concise survival guide:

  1. It’s not because you can work all the time that you should.
  2. Turn off that damn mobile.
  3. World leaders also live in a world with 24 hour days and manage on exercising. ‘I don’t have time’ is a pathetic excuse to avoid working out. MAKE THE TIME.
  4. It’s so much easier to go to McDonald’s to buy a Big Mac, diet Coke and chips than it is to make the time to cook, but don’t you dare complain to anyone if you feel like a big fat potato – mentally and physically. By eating out, you lose your body-shaming right (not that we ever endorse body shaming). To be fair, the last thing you want to do after a full day of work and an hour at the gym (remember point 2!) is to start cooking dinner. My suggestion is to set aside a few hours every weekend during which you cook meals in bulk and freeze for the week/two weeks ahead.
  5. Oh yeah, and this goes for lunches as well. Cook a big batch of lentils and/or quinoa and chop up some veggies for the week and throw some of these together along with a little bit of olive oil, lemon, red wine vinegar, pepper, garlic salt & herbs blend and voilĂ ! Two minutes and you can put together a healthy lunch that will carry you through your long afternoon.
  6. Find a mentor. Someone who will be able to guide you through the technical stuff, help you acquire new skills for your perfect job while giving you that kick and slap in the face, telling you to get over yourself and get your shit together.

I will hand point 7 over to Yoga Jones from Orange Is The New Black:

Yoga Jones: Do you know what a mandala is?
Piper Chapman: Um, those are those round Buddhist art things.
Yoga Jones: The Tibetan monks make then out of dark sand laid out into big beautiful designs. And when they're done, after days or weeks of work, they wipe it all away.
Piper Chapman: Wow, that's, that's a lot.
Yoga Jones: Try to look at your experience here as a mandala, Chapman. Work hard to make something as meaningful and beautiful as you can. And when you’re done, pack it in and know it was all temporary.

Work shouldn’t feel like prison, buuuuut… it sometimes does.

Your current job is not your dream job – and it shouldn’t be. Imagine getting your dream job in your 20s/early 30s? That would mean that the rest of your working-life is downhill from there. Now THAT is depressing.


8. Pick your battles. There will always be a terrible colleague whose head you want to rip off. Just be nice. Smile, nod and move on. Save your energy for something that’s worth it. The only person you will ever be able to change is yourself anyway.
9. Do not settle. This may seem a little ironic after saying earlier that a lot of millennials are perfectionists, but it is so easy to become disillusioned about job prospects in a day in age where, well, there aren’t job prospects if you aren’t looking to go in sales or finance. You are allowed to look for better options and there will be better options. Worried that you don’t have enough experience? It only takes one employer who will take a leap of faith and give you a chance, so make sure to put yourself out there in order for this employer to give you that chance!
10. Network. Network. Network. You might not feel like going out and sipping bad wine with people you don’t know, but remember that 80% of available jobs are not advertised and opportunities lie in your second-degree connections.


Again, by no means am I an expert on how to survive as a millennial, but I am an expert at being a struggling millennial who strives for a fulfilling career and a balanced life. 

Although Alexandra didn’t know much about conference production before first coming across this opportunity with Akolade, she has quickly become passionate about her job. Gaining in-depth knowledge in a variety of new fields without going through exam stress? Who could ask for more? If ever you speak to Alexandra and wonder what that funny accent is, it is from Quebec, French-speaking Canada. Do not hesitate to ask Alexandra about her former life on the 47th parallel; she will be thrilled to talk to you about snow storms, skiing and -35⁰c!

26 November 2015

Strategies to develop a solid mental health policy in the workplace

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In Australia, an estimated of 45 per cent of people will experience some form of mental health related illness once in their lifetime, and it costs Australian businesses $11 billion a year, with untreated depression resulting in over 6 million working days lost each year alone.

In order for businesses to maximise their productivity and drive greater motivation, it is crucial for employers to promote a mentally healthy environment. Companies that are successful in creating a mentally healthy culture can significantly reduce stigma, improve staff performance, retain staff and most importantly, make a happier environment for staff to work in.

A PwC study shows that for every $1 that is invested in creating a mentally healthy workplace will result in a $2.30 average return.

As an employer, you can start with these 3 simple and low cost steps to create a mentally healthy workplace.

Raise awareness of mental health conditions and reduce stigma

To raise awareness of mental health conditions, it is important to know about the symptoms of mental illnesses. You can provide training to all managers and staff to increase their knowledge. This could be in the form of an information book, online or face-to-face training. A good way to reduce stigma is to listen to someone who has mental illness or has cared for someone who had the medical condition. You can arrange for someone to share their personal story on what it is like to be living with mental illness. 

Support employees who are dealing with a mental health condition

As an employer, you can develop and implement plans that can accommodate employees who are living with mental illness. These plans may include how to encourage employees to return to work after suffering from a mental illness or stay at work plans that are tailored to the employee’s needs.

Create a supportive workplace culture

Show that you care about your employees and increase the awareness that your business is committed to creating mentally healthy workplaces. To do this, you will need to engage with all your employees and let them know your plans on what you intend to do as well as receiving their input. This plan should include the roles and responsibilities of all staff relating to mental illness, covering areas such as work health and safety, discrimination, privacy and how to take care of their mental health.

…. good mental health is not simply the absence of a mental disorder. It is a state of wellbeing whereby an individual can realise their own potential, manage everyday stresses, work productively and contribute to their community.” – World Health Organisation

Being brought up in a typical Chinese family in Australia, Vivian takes pride as an ABC (Australia-born Chinese) where she happily embraces both the Chinese and Australian cultures. 


In high school, Vivian wanted to become a fashion designer, however she has developed a passion for running events after working backstage for multiple live shows. Prior to starting at Akolade, Vivian worked 4 years in the wine industry and she misses the wine tasting sessions and openly drinking on the job. As the Marketing Coordinator, Vivian enjoys using her creativity to design unique and fun campaigns for each event. In her spare time, Vivian loves to spend time with her two adorable cat and dog. 

25 November 2015

The economic impacts of cyber crime in Australia

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Recent findings from a report issued by the Poneman Institute showed the average economic cost to Australian businesses of cybercrime to be $4.9 million in 2015, rising from $4.2 million in 2014.

The Institute’s 2015Cost of Cyber Crime Study, sponsored by HR Enterprise Security, examined the economic impacts on 28 Australian businesses with costs ranging from $792,932 up to a high of $18 million dollars.

Strategies need to be developed to combat the risk of cyber-attacks in Australia. The risk itself will only get worse as time goes by and cyber criminals become even more sophisticated. The damage a well-executed attack could have on your business is catastrophic.

At the AICD’s 2015 Company Directors Conference in Kuala Lumpur, international organisational resilience, business continuity and emergency and crisis management expert Nathaniel Forbes discussed in his presentation that the corporate world had entered “The age of digital warfare.”

He stated Directors needed to manage the risk of digital information being compromised from a board level, saying that breaking down business silos and protecting against cyber-attacks was a governance, not an IT, issue.

“Any security expert will tell you that the biggest cybersecurity risk is management complacency about the threat,” he said. “Getting management’s attention is a board responsibility. Determining what level of digital security is appropriate for information is not a technical decision, it is a governance decision.”

For digital security to be truly effective, policy and technology need to be integrated in layers, with different departments or divisions working together on digital security.

“If your company’s cyber risk strategy depends on responding after a breach by fixing the fault in the software or the network you’re doing it wrong,” Mr Forbes went on to say. “The IT department will never find all the flaws. The flaw is not in the software or the network, it’s in the people. Training and awareness are essential for every individual in the organisation, starting at the top.”

In an interview with Computer Weekly in February 2015, International global digital risks and investigations firm Stroz Friedberg reinforced the concept that cybersecurity was an issue that couldn’t be viewed in isolation.

“A risk-based approach will ensure that companies are more resilient, that they wil be able to respond quicker to threats that really matter and that networks are properly segmented,” said Seth Berman, Executive Managing Director at Stroz Friedberg.

By segmenting your network a business can ensure only authorised employees are able to access appropriate data assets.

“If attackers are restricted in their movement once they are inside the network, it gives businesses time to respond and limits the amounts of damage an attacker can do.”

Addressing the risks your business faces as the economy moves even further into the digital landscape takes planning and forethought. While the risks can never be completely mitigated, they can be reduced and the continuity of your business can be protected.

Business disruption, according to the Poneman Institute’s 2015 Cost of Cyber Crime Study, continues to be the highest external cost in Australia, followed by the costs associated with information loss. 

Business disruption alone accounted for 38 per cent of total external costs. The average time it took to resolve a cyber-attack increased from 23 days last year to 31 days in 2015, with an average cost of $419,542.

As the percentage of an organisations security budget focusing on cybersecurity continues to increase – averaging 20 per cent in 2015 up from 16 per cent in 2014 – organisations need to take the risk of an attacks even more seriously.

As the old saying goes “it takes a village,” and in relation to cybersecurity it takes a concerted effort from all departments to protect your future success.

Cybersecurity needs to become an issue driven across business units, and from the Board down, for a company to weather an attack with minimal economic damage. 

Mike Cullen has recently returned to Akolade after a period as the conference producer for one of Australia's leading economic think tanks. Mike began working in the conference industry in 2007 after looking for a career change from the high pressured world of inbound customer service. Mike has worked for some of the most well-known conference and media companies in the B2B space and in his spare time is working on his first novel in a planned Epic Fantasy trilogy.

24 November 2015

Building a culture of quality care and meaningful relationships in aged care

Author :

In the ever changing world of care provision, the crux of the aged care business cannot be forgotten and should in fact come to the fore; The delivery of quality care, and the building of core human relationships between care provider and care receiver.

Australian Ageing Agenda recently published an article about the importance of the relationship between the customer and the staff. When customers feel respected and valued by the staff who provide their care, they are more likely to find the emotional connection with an organisation, which consequently leads to better outcomes for both the customer and the organisation.

The regulatory environment is changing across this sector, giving the customer better choice and control over his/her care. The implementation of the Consumer Directed Care (CDC) model has long been in the works and implemented as of July 2015. Future reforms coming in 2017 expands this choice, giving customers not just control over their care packages, but also their choice of care provider.

In this new business environment, customers will only find value in the service provided and continue to be loyal to care providers if they find that their care is centred around meaningful relationships with their provider and if care providers genuinely, well, care!

But how do organisations ensure that their employees feel connected and engaged in their role and pass on this excellence to the customers they are caring for?

Dr John Fleming, the author of the best-selling business guide Human Sigma: Managing the Employee-Customer Encounter, recently spoke about customer and staff engagement in aged services. Here is a summary of some tips he offered to increase employee engagement and ensure that the services that actually reach the customers are of quality:

  • Managers should assist staff to feel like they are individually recognised, and are an important member of the team with room for growth. This will translate into employees feeling valued and consequently attaching value to what they do.
  • Organisations should think about how to measure staff and client satisfaction. Having a framework to do this will assist with identifying pain points and improve on these areas.
  • As an organisation, ensure that you embed in your staff the importance of delivering on promises to your customers. Do not provide false hope, even in the simple things like social gatherings or shopping trips.
  • Ensure you implement processes and tools to resolve customer problems in a fair manner, and that you communicate this effectively to and via your staff – do not just ignore the problem in the hopes that it will go away.
  • Determine your value proposition and what sets you apart in the market. This should be communicated effectively to your staff to ensure everyone identifies with these values. This is particularly important now that the sector is evolving from traditionally being not for profit to one that is business-focused.

Meaningful relationships between care provider and receiver need to be championed and embedded in the culture of all aged care providers. The recipe for this success is found in the combination of quality staff who find value in their work, and the organisation’s investment in their staff.

Su grew up dreaming of being a journalist, dodging bullets and gunfire with a camera thrust in front of her reporting from a war zone. Having realised that she is not really as agile as she thought, she has settled for dodging cockroaches in metropolitan Sydney as her adrenaline fix. Su is inquisitive and loves a good challenge, which is why she has chosen to produce conferences at Akolade. In her spare time, Su likes to read, drink green tea, and fantasise about making the world a better place; getting rid of the need for war journalists entirely.

Prepare for the future of shopping

Author :


The pressures of competition and the range of digital shopping solutions will most likely force retailers to reconsider the value of their original operating formats.

Many of today‘s major retailers are transitioning from their original business models into non-traditional, typically smaller store formats – operating a multitude of physical footprints, all aimed at pleasing their target customer in a variety of shopping modes.

In fact, these footprints may not involve physical stores at all but be temporal in nature, such as pop-us stores or solely online.

Brick-and-mortar retailers will always be leveraged for immediate and acute needs and need to be in close proximity to shoppers to remain successful.

Additionally, as Australians continue to travel overseas, their experience with shopping is changed and they return with customer service expectations which Australian retailers must meet to stay ahead.

According to a recent article in Power Retail, below are some of the key challenges (and tips) that retailers face in the changing Australian retail landscape.

Offline versus in-store

“Customers decide how they wish to interact with brands or services these days, and dictating to customers, or removing choice, only drives customers away and reflects badly on the customer experience.”

Greater personalisation

“With personalisation tools like beacons and loyalty apps, retailers can customise various aspects of their shopping journeys, from tailored recommendations and personalised in-store experiences, to customised rewards and more.”

Fast delivery

“Whether a customer has purchased in-store or online, they want to be able to either take their purchases away or have them delivered to their home or workplace the same or next day.”

Online should be easy

“Keep investing in your online and mobile offerings and make the experience as relevant and as easy as possible for the customer.”

Great customer service

“Whether the customer shops online, via mobile or in-store, the service has to be great. Customers expect to receive great customer service regardless of which channel they use.”

Shopping should be fun

“Overseas department stores such as Selfridges, Le Bon MarchĂ© and Galeries Lafayette use celebrities, fashion parades and art shows—rather than price-based promotions—to lure customers into stores.”

Due to the influence of technological advances and consumer demands for what and where consumers buy products, managing the demand chain is now an imperative for stronger growth.

Moving forward, closer integration of the demand and supply chains will be needed to maximize value and drive profitable growth.

Retailers need to integrate themselves seamlessly into their shoppers’ replenishment processes, and best-in-class retailers will always find ways to act as a bridge between real-time consumer data and the rest of the supply chain.


Whatever your ‘channel’, if you are losing conversions due to your online channels or problems in inventory visibility, and would like to learn from the multichannel retailers who have mastered store based fulfilment, Akolade invites you to join us for our
3rd Annual Online Retail Supply Chain Summit.



After finishing University with a degree in Business Marketing, I decided to make a big jump across seas for the first time and move from the east coast of America to Sydney, Australia. I landed my first job in a sales position in the event industry and soon thereafter moved into a marketing assistant role – following I had the pleasure of interviewing with Akolade which got me to where I am today.

Akolade is a fun, innovative company that brings together people from different walks of life to implement change. As the Marketing Manager, I have the pleasure of wearing many hats which motivates me to succeed, reach people in an array of avenues, grow our events to their full potential, and raise our story. As for me, I am a kind dedicated woman who loves to work hard, exercise, cook, be social and have some fun.

23 November 2015

Improving Indigenous health: Federal Government launches Implementation Plan to Close the Gap

Author :

In October 2015, Federal Minster for Rural Health, Senator the Hon. Fiona Nash announced an Implementation Plan designed to help Close the Gap by improving the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

According to the Australian Bureau Statistics in their 2012-13 Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey showed that 41 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples aged 15 years and older smoked on a regular basis while 30.4 per cent of children age 2 – 14 years old were classified as overweight or obese. Overall obesity in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples was also significantly higher than the comparable rates for non-Indigenous people in almost every age group.

The Implementation Plan is a ten-year road map: a strategy to better health for Indigenous children, youth and adults. In the interests of continuity, the Coalition decided to adopt and build upon the 10 Year National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan (2013-2023), delivered by the previous Labour Government. While the original document was a high level strategic document, the Implementation Plan from the Coalition delivers detailed actions and achievable goals to bring about improvements in the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

“The release of this Implementation Plan is an important milestone in Indigenous health and the result of deep cooperation between the Government and Indigenous stakeholders,” Minister Nash said.

“The Implementation Plan includes 20 specific goals which will be used to measure outcomes in Indigenous health. It lays out goals in the areas of antenatal health, health checks, immunisation, smoking rates and diabetes. The Plan also lays down the changes needed to make the health system more comprehensive, culturally safe and effective for Indigenous Australians.”

Information released in the Overview of Australian Indigenous Health Statistics 2014 showed Indigenous mortality rates in Australia were 1.7 per cent higher than the mortality rates for non-Indigenous Australians. The figures draw a stark contrast when compared with republished estimates from the ABS in 2013, that showed an Indigenous male born between 2010-2012 could expect to live for 69.1 years, a 10.6 year difference to the expected 79.7 years for a non-Indigenous male, with Indigenous females born in the same time period having a life expectancy of 73.7 years in comparison to 83.1 years for non-Indigenous females.

The plan commits the sector, and the Government, to increasing the percentage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 0-4 who have at least one health check a year from 23 to 69 per cent by 2023. It also aims to increase the percentage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders youth who have never smoked from 77 per cent to 91 per cent by 2023 and the percentage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders children who are fully immunised by the of 1 from 85 per cent to 88 per cent by 2023.

Working with Indigenous stakeholders was an important part of the development of the Implementation Plan to ensure the goals and plans outlined were achievable and culturally sensitive. Lowitja Institute Chief Executive Officer Romile Mokak has welcomed the Plan.

“The Government, through Minister Nash, has worked in genuine partnership with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to develop an effective plan for achieving better health outcomes for our people,” Mr Mokak said. “From here, we must all ensure implementation of the plan, including addressing the wider social and cultural determinants of health and wellbeing.”

“The Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme is investing $3.3 billion over four years to support the continued delivery of services to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, particularly through Aboriginal community controlled health services,” Minister Nash said. “We are investing $94 million to expand efforts to improve child and maternal health through Better Start to Life; and $36.2 million will expand the Healthy for Life programme into a further 32 Aboriginal community controlled health organisations to better manage chronic disease.

Minister Nash acknowledged the work done in the Indigenous health space by former Indigenous Health Minister, Warren Snowdon, Senator Rachel Siewert, and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and individuals.

For further information on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023 click here.


To read the Ministers press release, click here. 

Mike Cullen has recently returned to Akolade after a period as the conference producer for one of Australia's leading economic think tanks. Mike began working in the conference industry in 2007 after looking for a career change from the high pressured world of inbound customer service. Mike has worked for some of the most well-known conference and media companies in the B2B space and in his spare time is working on his first novel in a planned Epic Fantasy trilogy.

20 November 2015

The 15 faces of developing your first social media strategy

Author :

Have you recently decided to create a social media strategy for your organisation? There are so many exciting adventures ahead of you. 


Picture it, Monday morning 9:15am, a boardroom in the middle of the city. Crowded around the table are a bunch of sleepy, I can’t believe its Monday already, faces. The MD is pumped and ready to get the week off to a fresh new start.


“We’re going to develop a social media marketing strategy,” he says in between sips of his coffee. You can see how excited by the idea he is. You know it’s going to be hard work. You nod, smile, wish you had an extra strong coffee instead of the now inefficient flat white with two sugars you’d brought with you. So you take notes, allocate timeliness and dates, this is a meeting after all and return to your desk to begin creating a social media marketing campaign that will work. 


Back at your desk you start researching social media strategies to find out how other people have done it. It doesn’t look too hard, after all in just six short years you’ve already got nearly 3,000 followers on your personal twitter account, and all you do is talk nonsense and post pictures of cats.


As you do your research you realise everyone else is basically making it up as they go along. Schedule your tweets, don’t schedule your tweets, be personal, stay professional, respond to complaints, and ignore complaints focus on the good. In no time at all, you’re casting the evil eye at everyone else who managed to not get volunteered for this exciting new initiative.


Sooner or later you need to put finger to keyboard, so you take a deep breath, read the entire internet, clean your desk, buy another coffee, decide that you really need to read the internet again in case you’ve missed anything and then, after lunch and some phone calls you really need to make, you’re off and running.


This is the job you know you were born to do. Social media marketing strategy. Send out tweets, write a blog, maybe two. You’re caffeinated, you’ve got your inner Anthony Robbins shouting encouragement in your head. You know that no matter what this is going to be the best ever, soon to be included in every single marketing “how-to,” guide ever created.


After days of research and hard work your shiny new social media strategy is done, and now comes the important bit, getting buy-in from the other team members and senior leaders. You’ve got a vision to execute and while you’re going to champion it, you need to make sure other people understand its importance.


The team reassembles, opinions are forthcoming. We should be more personal, we should definitely be less personal, and we should only do professional things, what about a funny tweet on a Friday afternoon. I don’t like memes, cats, I really like cats how can we incorporate cats, everyone likes a funny kitten picture. You sit and you make notes, take on board feedback that sounds like all the blog posts you read at the beginning and come to the realisation social media is a like a rubix cube. No matter how often you move the pieces, you still end up with a hyper-colour mess. You just have to get down and do it and see what happens. Planning may look good, and you have a swanky new document, but it will only get you so far.


You’ve written your content, the blog is bulging with wonderful tid bits of information. You’ve figured out how to write an engaging tweet, you’ve racked up a bill with Shutterstock the size of most third world countries annual GDP. As you sit at your desk, 140 gleaming characters stare back at you. You press send, and rejoice for you are a social media God! Come at me Nobel Prize for Social Media Strategy. Write that Social Media Best Tweet Ever Oscar speech. Riches will soon be yours.



You give yourself a pat on the back and half an hour later the urge to check how triumphant you have been is too strong to ignore. You click on the blog platform. 4 reads? That can’t be right. I used words, and hash tags and a link, ohh and a picture too. The blog platform must be broken. You go to your link shortener, 0 clicks. Really is the whole internet broken today? What about that clever cross post on LinkedIn? No activity. Well poo.



Your first tweet didn’t exactly set the world on fire, but that’s okay. You’re resilient, you’re determined, you got three new heart things on a tweet about your sandwich on an earlier post on your own account. You can do this. Nothing will get in your way as you reach for the stars as a social media super strategist. All those hours of live tweeting reality TV shows have given you a skill set no one can beat. Time to regroup and get back to it. Another hour, another tweet.


Another moment, your stars are aligned, you’ve included in an infamous quote from an infamous Prime Minster. Your image is on fleek, confidence reigns. You unleash your inner Olivia Pope. There’s nothing you can’t cover up or fix or if it comes to worse case scenarios, a court you can’t use to pervert the course of justice. You forget the dismal failure of your first tweet and do another one. This one is on point. You know it, the universe knows it and soon Twitter will know it too.


Twenty minutes later you check the stats. 2 retweets, half a dozen stars – I miss the good old days – and a couple of tweet backs saying they liked the post. Not only that, you’ve gained a new follower. All the doubts and fears subside, you’re on the gold medal podium. A superstar. You mention your new follower. That person is now obviously your new best friend, you’re already planning to ditch work early and take whoever it is out for a coffee. And the boss says;


That’s great, now what about the LinkedIn groups?






Mike Cullen has recently returned to Akolade after a period as the conference producer for one of Australia's leading economic think tanks. Mike began working in the conference industry in 2007 after looking for a career change from the high pressured world of inbound customer service. Mike has worked for some of the most well-known conference and media companies in the B2B space and in his spare time is working on his first novel in a planned Epic Fantasy trilogy.