CEDA member profile: Navitas



Helen Zimmerman, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Navitas 

What does your company do?

Navitas is a global education leader based in Australia. It provides pre-university and university programs, English-language courses, migrant education and settlement services, creative media education, student recruitment, professional development and corporate training services to more than 80,000 students across a network of more than 110 colleges and campuses in 27 countries. Navitas listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) in 2004 and is now an S&P/ASX Top 100 Company, employing more than 5,500 staff globally. This year it was ranked 25th on Forbes World's Most Innovative Growth Companies 2014.

What is your role with the company?

As the Chief Corporate Affairs Officer for Navitas, my role involves coordinating an integrated and strategic approach to external relations. This includes engaging with governments, industry and other key external stakeholders, such as education industry bodies, regulatory authorities, and peak business and industry groups. I also coordinate and contribute to Navitas' public policy positions. 

In addition to my role with Navitas, I am the President of the International Education Association of Australia (IEAA), a position Navitas has generously supported and encouraged me to hold since 2012.

What type of CEDA activities (events/topics/research areas) matter most to you and your company?

CEDA's calendar of Australia-wide events - public forums and trustee lunches - means that Navitas staff have regular opportunities to attend and network. The Trustee boardroom briefings are excellent - small groups, a relaxed atmosphere, knowledgeable opinion and thought leaders on the big issues of today. I also particularly like the focus CEDA has taken on education given Australia's future prosperity will be heavily dependent on our how well we do in ensuring our education institutions are responsive to changing demand, innovate, and are globally connected. Recent events such as 'The role of universities in a competitive economy' and the upcoming Vice Chancellors Panel, 'Shifting paradigms in higher education' are examples of CEDA's focus on education issues.

Personally I find the annual State of the Nation conference one of the best events in Australia for keeping in touch with the thinking and debates on the economic, political and social issues affecting Australia. This year's conference was no exception. 

Throughout your experience with CEDA, what have you enjoyed the most?

The Women in Leadership series, which CEDA has been running for four years, has been a standout for me. Last months' forum 'Women in Leadership Series: Influence and action - driving change in your organisation', which featured CEO's Margaret Staib from AirServices Australia, Martine Jager from RAMS, Virginia Haussegger from the ABC and 2014 G20 Youth Summit Chair Holly Ransom, was inspiring, energising and definitely showcasing the talent of Australian women leaders and the value of diversity.