Welcome Dr Helen Szoke AO to the Life Without Barriers Board

18 December 2019

Life Without Barriers is pleased to announce the appointment of a new Board member: Dr Helen Szoke AO.

Dr Szoke has led a distinguished career as a leader in the human rights space and has extensive experience in public policy, social justice and discrimination. She is a powerful advocate for equality who is driven by a passion for championing the rights of vulnerable people.

From 2013 to 2019 Dr Szoke was Chief Executive at Oxfam Australia, one of Australia’s largest not-for-profit organisations. Before that she served as Australian Race Discrimination Commissioner, Australian Human Rights Commission and Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner. She is also a member of the Judicial Commission of Victoria. In 2018, Dr Szoke was awarded an Order of Australia for distinguished service to social justice through roles with human rights, anti-discrimination and equal opportunity organisations, to health sector policy development, and to the disadvantaged.

Life Without Barriers Chair of the Board Terry Lawler AO said Dr Szoke brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the organisation. “We are thrilled to welcome Dr Szoke to Life Without Barriers, she is truly a leader in the not-for-profit sector as a strong advocate for foreign aid and international development, human rights, gender and race equity. We welcome the unique insight and leadership she will bring.”

Helen says she is pleased to have the opportunity to join the Life Without Barriers team.

“Throughout my working life, I have a strong belief that the communities that are vulnerable have solutions to those vulnerabilities and that we must all work together to help people thrive beyond what barriers may have been holding them back.

Dr Helen Szoke

Helen said she believes that she and Life Without Barriers will be a great fit, “I am pleased to have the opportunity to join the Board of Life Without Barriers. Throughout my working life, I have held a strong belief that the communities that are vulnerable are also the ones that have solutions to their vulnerabilities. I believe that Life Without Barriers is striving to ensure that clients and communities shape and inform the way services and supports are given. This is crucial to ensure their relevance and their success, but also to ensure that the people we work with are respected. I look forward to learning, to meeting both staff and clients and to making a contribution to the work into the future.”