HR director, ANZ/SEA/North Asia
Michelle Phipps leads a lean team of three HR business partners, overseeing 350 employees in Brown-Forman’s Asia-Pacific operations and spearheading initiatives on talent, culture, the HR process, organisation structure, and particularly D&I. Her PhD in communications and cultural strategy undoubtedly contributed to this emphasis, and the company’s D&I strategy is one example of global best practice. As part of the strategy, Phipps has put one D&I council in place for each region (Australia, Southeast Asia, North Asia), knowing that “D&I is a leadership concern” and cannot be easily achieved by running the same programs/activities across regions. Phipps has also ensured that the company’s D&I initiatives go beyond the office space, and has been heavily involved in industry-specific networking events. Brown-Forman also threw its weight behind the 2016 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.