Gaya Raghavan Byrne: Diversity Advocate and Change-Agent

Paul Smith

Gaya Raghavan Byrne has a strong belief in diversity, and she recognises that it’s a necessity in all organisations, especially at the decision-making levels. Gaya currently works as a consultant alongside Australian businesses that export or invest in Asia, and she’s all too aware that it’s important to have strong voices and leaders at the helm of any organisation.

(Since this was written, Gaya now works for Telstra and credits her value proposition, developed as part of Future Directors, as a strong part in her getting the role)

But Gaya also knows that if the decision-makers don’t have the same perspectives as the audience they’re trying to serve, they won’t have the profound, necessary impact that is required when trying to make change. This realisation and desire to make change inspired Gaya to want to join a board.

Gaya had done a lot of volunteering in the past, and while she believed she had different, relevant perspectives that she could bring to a board, she wasn’t sure how to communicate that value properly – and she knew that was one of the first steps in getting a board role. Gaya had been previously considering participating in the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) directors course, but after finding out about Future Directors and seeing some articles written by founders Warwick Peel and Paul Smith, she was swayed to join their board accelerator program, now called ‘Make Me A Board Director’, instead.

The program gave Gaya the necessary skills and confidence to properly articulate the unique value she could bring to a board. It also emphasised the importance of networking and quantified her goals, providing her with the motivation to get out there and achieve them. The program gave her the blueprint of things she’d need to do in order to fulfill a board role, such as the skills she’d have to acquire, the best people to network with, the confidence in finding a mentor and the hands-on practical experience to do it all.

Since the program, Gaya has achieved a board role as a non-executive director at the Royal Women’s Hospital Foundation in Melbourne, where she raises funds for research projects and infrastructure. Gaya fully endorses the program to anyone looking to hone their skills, not just for a board role, but for any area of life. She believes the informative modules are transferable across many different aspects of life, and are beneficial to people in all industries.

Inspired by Gaya? Take the next steps and check out our FREE Director Diagnostic.