Karen Hayes is recognised as a dynamic influencer in the Australian Not-for-Profit sector. She currently leads the Victorian Division of Guide Dogs Australia, which is currently Australia’s “Most Trusted Charity” for the 5th year in a row, as voted by the Reader’s Digest Trusted Brand Poll.
Chief Executive Officer, Guide Dogs Victoria
A past Telstra Business Woman of the Year Award finalist, Karen is currently a Board member of Vision 2020 Australia, Multiple Sclerosis Ltd, The International Melbourne Comedy Festival and presides as President of the VU Western Spurs AFLW Football Club.
Karen is a strong advocate for women. A breast cancer survivor, Karen was one of the founders of Breast Cancer Network Australia, playing a pivotal role in the growth of the organisation and the development of the inaugural ‘Field of Women’ event at the MCG in 2010.
In her role as a Board Member at Melbourne Football Club, Karen developed a number of strategies to increase the participation of women at all levels of both playing, participating and supporting the AFL.
As the co-founder of the Australian chapter of the International Women’s Forum (IWF), Karen continues to play a leadership role for women across a number of industries and communities globally.
Prior to joining Guide Dogs Victoria, Karen enjoyed an exemplary blue chip career in the Professional Services sector including as Director, Corporate Engagement and Human Capital with UXC Limited and CEO for Planpower, a major Project Management delivery organisation.
In 2017, Karen brought the award-winning global phenomenon – Dialogue in the Dark to Melbourne as an Australian first. Dialogue in the Dark is a proven platform for social change and utilises an innovative experiential learning environment to positively change attitudes and behaviors towards people with low vision or blindness.
Karen is also one of the founders of the #notinmyworkplace movement. #Notinmyworkplace is a group of senior executives and leaders who have come together to address the issue of workplace harassment and abuse across all industries.
Karen was inducted into the Victorian Honour Roll of Women in 2017, in recognition of her outstanding contribution to business and the community.