Chief Executive Officer
Dr Helen Szoke is Chief Executive of Oxfam Australia and a strong advocate for foreign aid and international development, human rights, gender and race equity. Her career accomplishments include leadership of the Victorian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission as Commissioner, and the Race Discrimination Commissioner for the Australian Human Rights Commission.
Helen has held numerous honorary and governance roles with not-for-profit organisations, and has received awards and recognition for her work over many years in human rights, governance, public policy and leadership. This recognition includes the Melbourne University Award for Leadership (2014) and Law Institute of Victoria Award for Contribution to Human Rights.
In 2015, Deakin University awarded her an honorary Doctor of Laws for distinguished public service in the fields of anti-discrimination, equal opportunity and humanitarian leadership. In the same year, Pro Bono Australia, a not-for-profit industry news service, included Helen in its Impact 25 list of the sector's most influential people for 2015. She was a Victorian finalist in the 2016 Telstra Business Women's Awards, in the For Purpose and Social Enterprise category.
Helen has been seconded to numerous inquiries including into sexual harassment (Royal College of Surgeons) and into bullying and harassment (Victorian Department of Human Services).
Helen holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Tasmania, a Master of Arts from Deakin University and both a Graduate Diploma and a PhD in Public Policy from the University of Melbourne.
In her various roles, Helen has advocated strongly for gender equity, and has shown leadership in the organisations and sectors in which she works to advance the interests of women, through workplace policies and structure, mentoring and creating opportunities for advancement and in leadership roles outside of her main work. In her international work, women are at the heart of programming and response work.