Please indicate if your Initiative is an Established Initiative.
Team - who worked on the project/initaitve
CEO Jo Mikleus & Founder Dylan Smith
Overview - Provide a summary to introduce the project or initiative
As CEO of RUBIX. Jo Mikleus leads a high-growth technology company specialising in data, analytics, AI and blockchain. While having led this business for just four months she has already started to create successful outcomes for the business and the people that work with it.
As a small but fast-growing technology company that also works in a very innovative space, it was clear that RUBIX. could benefit from cognitive and commercial diversity to propel its growth and success, and therefore the leadership recognised a need for a program to address this. The objectives and outcomes the CEO, Jo, was seeking to achieve from the program were three-fold:
- Team diversity: Increased cognitive diversity and gender balance among employees, and an expanded perspective about our organisation and opportunities;
- Client diversity: Increased diversity of our client profile and the nature of our conversations with them for greater opportunities for growth; and
- Financial diversity: expanded capitalisation opportunities from a wider client base and business relationships/partners.
How would you say diversity is embraced within your organisation or sector? Are there diversity initiatives in place or are diversity approaches new to your sector?
In terms of the sector, the technology / start-up sector has for some time recognised and embraced the need to address the lack of diversity of thought, and gender diversity. There are therefore diversity initiatives in the sector that are as diverse as the participants in the sector itself.
Detail the approach that was taken to implement the project or initiative, what actions were taken and why?
The primary approach was to create a 3-year strategy for accelerated growth and, uniquely, RUBIX. has embeded the diversity initiative within this overarching business strategy. The CEO also prioritised co-creating the company’s purpose, vision and values.
From a diversity perspective we would strive for three areas of diversity - team, client, and financial - and to wherever possible co-create the activities with staff members. Objectives and actions included:
- To increase team diversity: we used the existing employee happiness culture to co-create a purpose, vision and values; co-created new policies and processes; commenced a CEO blog and PR activities to elevate the organisation’s profile and instill organisational pride in staff; and improved hiring practices to support greater gender diversity opportunities and outcomes.
- To expanding client commercial opportunities: we worked with our sales/business development team, introducing them to new relationships with c-suite members of larger organisations than RUBIX. had typically dealt with. Through CEO and founder coaching we established processes and new behaviours / habits around how to go about approaching these organisations and people, elevating the conversations to the c-suite by creating conversations that were more strategic.
- To create financial options for the business and staff: diversifying revenue lines, facilitated a strategic investment partnership and expanding the company’s shareholding to include employees. We have also established the Tanarra CEO/Founder Forum to support B2B opportunities and to share growth plans.
Demonstrate the leadership shown in driving the initiative and fostering behavioural and organisational change.
Being passionate about leadership, culture and diversity, CEO Jo Mikleus has leveraged her time, networks and influence in previous roles to supporting these areas, and inspiring team members to do the same. Some examples are:
- Serving on boards that support mentoring and leadership including The Mentor List;
- Mentoring in Women in Banking & Finance (WiBF) and mentoring many aspiring women in management, including enabling new, flexible working arrangements;
- Inspiring countless others with guidance on career transitions, actively connecting them to her networks of diverse viewpoints yet underpinned by integrity and optimism; and
- Used her past involvement with Committee for Melbourne to position RUBIX. founder Dylan Smith as an integral member of the Victorian All Parliamentary Group on Artificial Intelligence, widening the commercial and leadership diversity of the business.
Jo has continued this into her leadership at RUBIX., with important components of the diversity program being both providing flexible work arrangements for the team and the mentoring of women within and outside the organisation.
Was there organisational/industry or other resistance to the initiative? If so, detail the actions taken to overcome resistance to the project or initiative.
One of the most daunting and challenging aspects of the initiative was the uncertainty associated with the fact that RUBIX was looking to launch a wide-ranging diversity initiative into an already positive and established team culture, and doing so within the first 3 months of the new CEO’s tenure. Thankfully, the CEO, Jo, had the courage and belief to forge ahead, knowing the team was embracing growth and change. There has therefore been no resistance from the organisation as it had CEO and founder support from the outset, in addition to directly linking the initiative to the existing positive culture in the team.
Detail the follow up or response to the project or initiative by the organisation /industry /sector. For example has it been extended for a further year, or has the scope been expanded?
The initial program is in its infancy, so the program will continue to mature and broaden RUBIX.’s commercial and people diversity for many years to come. The 3-year plan RUBIX. has in place includes the continuation of the CEO’s commitment in all three aspects of diversity outlined in the plan guarantees that RUBIX.’s diversity program will expand its scope to include our wider ecosystem as the organisation grows.
Please provide 2 references being the beneficiaries or people that experienced the change (as a result of the initiative). Details to be provided should include:
4. Phone number
6. Short description (up to 250 words) of association with the nominated diversity initiative eg as a beneficiary, experiencing the outcome, etc.
Principal, Tanarra Capital
(03) 8656 5700
John Wylie - investing in RUBIX. Following extensive due diligence on the business’ performance, strategy and 3-year plan, and on the CEO/Founder team.
Sara Drakeford - long standing client included in part of the purpose, vision and values creation
What outcomes have been achieved against overall program or organisational performance? Using metrics specify these outcomes, for example financial, growth, policy achievement, performance or capabciltiy uplift?
By establishing a plan targeting accelerated growth and with a focus on the wider definitions of diversity, we have been able to achieve a lot in a short period of time:
- Team diversity: improved the gender diversity of RUBIX. by 28%. Where previously the majority worked independently we have witnessed a marked increase in collaboration between team members, embracing brainstorming as a solution development technique resulting in better solutions for clients and for the organisation. There has been an elevated consciousness of the special nature of the RUBIX. culture, and more open discussion about how this diversity of thought makes RUBIX. unique.
- Client diversity: expanded the relationships with existing clients into the C-Suite, resulting in discussions about opportunities that are more strategic and higher value. For example, 60% of our clients now have relationships at c-suite level, compared to 15% prior to the start of the program, and we 100% more new clients in the pipeline only 4 months from when Jo joined and kicked off the program. In addition, we have widened the diversity of client conversations into Blockchain (opened dialogue at CTO and EGM level at Telstra and soon to be ANZ) and Data Monetisation (opened dialogue at CTO level and MD level at Telstra, NAB, and ANZ).
- Financial diversity: facilitated a strategic investment partnership that would also potentially represent new client opportunities through introductions / referral, resulting in an acceleration in our growth trajectory. Some of the financial diversity outcomes and components of the program include Financial injection, equity grants to staff, securing new clients (Tanarra investee companies and their clients); and ASX fund prospects. We have also established the Tanarra CEO/Founder Forum to support B2B opportunities and to share growth plans, contributing to significant diversity of thought around our business and financial strategy.
What do you consider your significant achievement with this Initiative and why?
I’ve always seen career success as a platform to make a positive impact on others. I am positive, principled and passionate - and so the significant achievement from this initiative is the increase in gender and client diversity achieved in such a short amount of time, as both of these factors I see as essential for driving business growth and a culture of happiness and employee satisfaction for RUBIX.
Looking ahead, I am certain that our increasingly diverse team, mindset, culture, and widening commercial awareness will be a key differentiator for RUBIX. while accelerating our performance into the future, as well as having an impact on building a strong technology ecosystem in Australia.
Who inspires you from a diversity perspective? Who provides leadership in diversity and why?
Alan Joyce, CEO of Qantas provides a great deal of inspiration to me, and I think a lot of corporate Australia, for the very public position he has taken around diversity and inclusion. This is especially because of how he has implemented the philosophy and practices at such a large scale and the global nature of the impact this has had for Qantas.
Beyond that, the Qantas statement around diversity and inclusion in many ways represents the common themes, approach and position on diversity and inclusion that we are applying at RUBIX. Specifically, these include:
- Valuing diversity of thought and experience;
- The fact that the right culture contributes to the organisation’s success and is a strength, that people should be treated with respect, and that all employees should be encouraged to reach their full potential;
- The value of leadership in driving a diverse and inclusive culture, including having flexible work practices and policies to support this; and
- Promoting a culture of gender inclusion within the workplace and through recruiting practices.