Alma Besserdin combines her extensive leadership and culture change experience enabling organisations to apply leadership, cultural and communications wisdom to create an inclusive, diverse and engaging workplace that better positions them in today's global market.
She is a Leadership and Career Coach, Mentor, Facilitator, and Speaker. She is passionate and well-known for her advocacy for migrant women with professional backgrounds and women in general, gender equality and inclusion. Being a woman immigrant who had to deal with the challenges of immigration herself, inspired Alma to establish Wimmigrants, an organisation that specialises in inclusive leadership, diversity and gender equality as well as being a leading Coaching and Mentoring platform for migrant women. She is a recognised leader in the development & empowerment of women with diverse backgrounds, helping them achieve their professional careers, building confidence, integrating into society and becoming leaders in their workplaces and communities.
With a career spanning business transformation, leadership development, culture change and human resources, Alma is a sought-after advisor, facilitator and speaker on inclusion, diversity, unconscious bias, inclusive leadership and culture change across a wide range of industries nationally and globally. These include telecommunications, financial services, retail, utilities, real estate, manufacturing, transport and logistics; State and Federal Governments, Local Councils, Regulatory and Not-for-Profit, to name a few.
Alma holds a Postgraduate Diploma in HRM & IR, a Bachelor of Law Degree and is an NLP Coach. She is a member of Forbes Coaches Council, an AHRI Fellow and Victorian Councilor, a former Board Director at the African-Australian Multicultural Employment and Youth Services (AAMEYS) and a former Board Director at Crohn's & Colitis Australia. She has been admitted to the Forbes Couches Council.
Alma is a Mentor at Leadership Victoria and an Industry Mentor at the RMIT Applied Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program. She was a host at "The Global Workplace" Radio Show on Voice of America, where Alma interviewed leaders worldwide on topics discussing the best global practices in gender equality, inclusion and diversity.
Alma has been awarded a Scholarship for the Board Leadership Program for Women at Leadership Victoria and is proud to be an Australia Day Ambassador. She was a Nominee for the Telstra Women's Business Awards 2016 and 2019 and was nominated for the Kingston Council Woman of the Year 2019. She is also an Honorary Life Member of ALL Ladies League (ALL) and the Women Economic Forum (WEF).
Wimmigrants is a consulting provider at the Australian Gender Equality Council and CareerMoneyLife Platform.
What motivated you to pursue a career in Human Resources?
When I came to Australia, as a migrant, my law degree wasn’t recognised, so I completed a Post-Graduate in HR/IR majoring in IR. This helped me to bridge my qualifications with my experience from overseas where I majored in the employment law. Since then I held many senior positions and have been consulting across many different organisations and industries. I believe the human resources function is the key partner to delivering future organisational growth. I always enjoyed working with people, as everyone has different talent and capabilities, so utilising ideas from everyone to implement the organisational vision, really excites me. As a Victorian Councillor and the Vice President Certification & Professional Development at the Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI), I can advocate further implementation of HR Standards within the industry.
Your unique approach is intriguing. You have emphasised that you are not interested in “ticking the box”. Organisations should work to create a sustainable workplace culture. How do you work with an organisation to ensure this?
Just helping an organisation here and now will not create sustainable change. It will just “fix” a short-term problem. That is one of the things I always point to people I work with. Creating a long-lasting change requires a deep dive in the organisational existing culture and understanding what must change and why. So, the first step is understanding what the current challenges are, what’s working and what’s not. To support change, senior leadership must drive the change and take ownership. Understanding why organisations need to change is the key, and then communicating and engaging directly across all employees, so they are engaged in the process. Everyone needs clarity and direction. Change takes time, and implementing a stage approach is wise, whilst at the same time, it’s important to create momentum and some quick wins. Supporting leaders and employees through change is critical so that everyone understands their roles. One of the most important elements during change is communication and engagement. Everyone needs to understand the impact on their roles, clients, stakeholders etc. Also, calibration is particularly important. If some things aren’t working you can make adjustments and change your implementation trajectory as needed.
If you could give a key piece of advice to a student aspiring to push for positive change in the Human Resources field, what would it be?
Understanding the business is the key. Demonstrating your value to the senior leadership team and employees is critical.
What are some of the key challenges that exist in Australian workplaces?
Given the current circumstances, the key challenges are employee engagement as the workforce majority are now performing remotely. This means planning and employee relations, and redesigning jobs especially with those organisations that had to significantly reduce the number of their staff.
If you have any questions for Alma Besserdin, please:
1. Leave a comment under our Woman of the Week FB post, or
2. Email us at exec@WCPunimelb.com