In touch with… Lisa O’Neill

Often working behind the scenes, Lisa O’Neill has an important role ensuring people of any gender, sexual identification or physical ability are optimally supported at Flinders.  

What is your role at Flinders University? 

I have responsibility to help us embed equal opportunity and diversity issues throughout the University, including the actions in our Disability Action Plan and the Athena SWAN Action Plan.

Flinders is a member of Pride in Diversity, a national not-for-profit that assists employers to best support gender, sexes and sexuality-diverse staff, and I liaise with our relationship manager in Pride in Diversity around training and networking opportunities.

Although my responsibilities are primarily around staff initiatives, in the gender and sexual diversity area I look after the University Ally Network, which is a staff and student initiative. Reporting on gender equality to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, and coordinating and supporting the work of the University Equal Opportunity and Diversity Committee are also part of my role.

My social science degree in psychology and linguistics has provided a good background for my work in equal opportunity, and I am currently halfway through a Masters in Disability Policy and Practice, which has increased my knowledge in this part of diversity work.

What does a normal day look like for you?

Preparing agendas and documents or attending committee meetings is commonly part of my work day, and assisting to put actions in place coming out of those meetings. Our Athena SWAN Action Plan is often part of a day’s work too. I coordinate both the Ally Network and the Equal Opportunity Contact Officer network, and a normal day can quite often mean meeting with staff or students from these networks and planning initiatives.

Sometimes I am in discussion with staff who have concerns around equity or diversity issues. At different times of the year I might be holding information sessions for staff interested in knowing about parental leave or supporting pregnant staff, or sending out surveys, analysing data and writing reports.

What has been one of your proudest moments?

Hearing that the University had been awarded bronze accreditation for our Athena SWAN application is a stand out – our application was the culmination of three years of work with the assistance of many people in that time, and I could not be prouder than to know that our efforts to support and develop our women in STEMM had been recognised. A four-year action plan to address issues and develop further initiatives in this area was part of our application, and I am so proud of the University’s commitment to ensure this work continues.

How do you relax in your spare time?

I live on a small farm in the Adelaide Hills, with my horses, alpacas, sheep and poultry outside, and a cat, rabbit and carpet python inside (all nicely separated so that they don’t eat each other). My animals are very dear to me, and I love the re-vegetation project I am working on as well as my veggie garden. My son and I are part of a surf patrol at Aldinga Bay, so during summer we balance the farm work with volunteering on the beach, as well as playing our violin and viola in a small string ensemble.

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