Dawn O’Neil AM

Former CEO of beyondblue and Lifeline

Dawn O’Neil was previously the CEO of beyondblue and Lifeline, one of Australia’s largest charities, and has over 20 years’ leadership experience in the social sector at all different levels.

Lifeline, one of Australia’s premier life-saving organisations, was considered to be significantly better organised and resourced as a result of her decade at the helm. She led the organisation from a grouping of 60 centres with a turnover of about $600,000 to a nationally co-ordinated $14 million-a-year telephone and web network.

Since 2011 Dawn has worked as a consultant in Collective Impact, social sector leadership, mental health and suicide prevention policy development and service reform.

She is well known as a collaborative, visionary and strategic thinker and is highly regarded for leading effective reform in the social and mental health sector.

Dawn O’Neil has been an advisory board member in the not-for-profit, community and public sectors for over 20 years and has participated in a number of key Federal Government (Health and Ageing) Ministerial committees where she has contributed to social and health policy such as the National Advisory Council of Mental Health and the Australian Suicide Prevention Advisory Committee. She led the development of the first Strategic Plan for the new National Mental Health Commission and undertook a study tour for the Centre for Social Impact into how the Collective Impact Framework could be implemented in Australia to increase the social impact of the social sector.

She was Deputy Chair of the Mental Health Council of Australia for 6 years and is Chair of the homelessness social enterprise STREAT Ltd based in Melbourne and Australian Director of the UK-based online early intervention service Big White Wall. She also provides strategic advice to a number of other private and social sector organisations.

In 2009 she was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for services to the Community and to Mental Health and in 2010 she received the Outstanding Contribution Award from Suicide Prevention Australia.

Dawn has a passion for ongoing learning and a genuine curiosity about life which means she is always looking for new ways to think about complex problems and how to contribute to innovative thinking or public understanding. As well as highly developed strategic skills, she has a strong background in governance, leadership, strategic planning, organisational development and change management in not for profit, mental health and suicide prevention.

As evidenced by her career to date, Dawn O’Neil’s key goals are the pursuit of social sector leadership and management excellence and the reform of community mental health and suicide prevention services and systems.

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