“From startups to big tech, there are systemic barriers to equality in every part of the tech industry. We need to work collectively to reinvent the system, to build a new one that genuinely includes us all.”

Nicola Hazell is a social innovator, board director and ecosystem leader committed to placing gender equality at the centre of the tech and innovation agenda. With a 20 year career spanning technology, government, media and civil society, she has worked across sectors to design and accelerate new solutions to achieve impact at scale. She is a systems thinker who traverses the gap between practitioner and policymaker, bringing together diverse groups of people to create collective impact.

Nicola has ventured from the frontline of startups to the heart of big tech in an effort to drive change. As Global Inclusive Innovation lead at Amazon Web Services, she led development of a new specialisation supporting tech teams and organisational leaders to embed inclusion into the baseline of innovation. In the startup environment, she has been instrumental in building a more inclusive ecosystem, including as Founding Director of Shestarts – an award-winning startup accelerator designed specifically for women. She has led startup delegations to San Francisco and New York, building connections between Australian and US ecosystems. She also executive produced the SheStarts documentary series, amplifying the stories of Australia’s women-led startups to the world.

Nicola holds various board and advisory positions drawing on her expertise at the intersection of innovation and inclusion, and is a trusted advisor to a portfolio of impact-driven startup founders. She currently serves on the Federal Government’s Entrepreneurs Programme Committee and is a member of the board of International Women’s Forum Australia. She has previously served on the OECD’s Expert Advisory Group for Digital Transformation, the board of Australian non-profit The Parenthood, Sydney School for Entrepreneurship’s Advisory Board and CEBIT’s Women in Tech committee.

Nicola is passionate about backing and building a new wave of leadership in the innovation economy, helping purpose-driven founders to navigate the startup journey from idea to scale. As an advisor to government, investors and industry, she is working to reinvent the systems that make it harder for women to get started in the first place.

Nicola is a believer in the power of collective impact and has led some of the region’s major tech, innovation and leadership forums. She co-convened and facilitated Women@Amazon’s Tech Futures forum, Twitter Australia’s #ChangingTheGame series, IWF’s Australian Symposium, the 2019 Not In My Workplace Summit, and Advance Global Gamechangers Annual Forum. A former television journalist and political advisor, Nicola has a hunger for getting to the core of complex issues, and translating critical insights for the broader public to engage with and digest.

Through her company, The Sunshine Effect, Nicola channels her diverse experience, passion and expertise toward meaningful collaborations with partners ready to challenge the status quo and create systemic change, together.