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Alisha Fernando

"Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance" - Verna Myers

Alisha Fernando

Associate Director - Diversity & Inclusion

Specialty Areas

Cultural Diversity

About Me

Alisha Fernando fled Vietnam in 1982 with her parents and uncle, they were rescued by a Dutch freight ship in the South China Sea and brought to a refugee camp in Pulau Bidong where they received refugee status and were granted safe haven to Australia.

Alisha and her family arrived in Tasmania in early 1983 where they embarked on rebuilding a new life before settling in Melbourne. She completed her V.C.E. followed by a Bachelor of Business Banking and Finance at Monash University.

Alisha’s early career experience includes credit assessment, business banking, project management, strategy, and people leadership. Throughout these roles Alisha pursued her passion of advocating for the under-represented in society. In 2015 her personal and professional vocations aligned and Alisha took on the role of Inclusion Program Manager at ANZ.

At ANZ, Alisha owned and managed specialised programs focused on Indigenous Australians, asylum seekers and refugees, people with mixed abilities, community giving, women’s leadership and family violence initiatives.

Her achievements in this role include the development and launch of ANZ’s public facing Indigenous Cultural Awareness module; delivering the company’s first Reconciliation Action Plan since 2008; developing a new Indigenous traineeship strategy; and managing the globally-recognised ‘Accelerating Banking Experiences for Women’ program.

Her work was awarded the Migration Council of Australia’s Business Inclusion Award in 2017 for her leadership in expanding ANZ’s refugee work placement program.

Today, Alisha is the Associate Director of Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Melbourne, where she leads the Diversity and Inclusion portfolio across the University.

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