Lyle Steffensen
Manager – East Coast, Health & Community Services, Lockton


Lyle has over 25 years’ experience in the insurance industry, working across the Australian, New Zealand and Asian markets.

Lyle is highly regarded for her leadership and advisory in risk management and strategy solutions for aged care, primary healthcare, retirement living, disability, and faith-based community services.

Lyle’s passion for social justice has meant dedicating years of advocating for inclusivity in the corporate workplace to make corporate Australia more accessible for those diversified by culture, gender, race, religion, or ability. She is also a member of Women on Boards and Women of Colour Australia (WoCA) and Migrants of Australia Alliance.


Why a Lack of Cultural Sensitivity and Inclusivity is a Viability Risk – From a Person of Diversity’s Perspective

From 1 December 2023, providers’ governing bodies must be predominantly independent non-executive members with a mix of skills and experience.

Where to find them?

Reforms are predicted to create a shortage of 11,800 registered nurses by FYE2023. The workforce will need nearly 10,000 care workers, after care minutes increase to 215 in October 2024.

Despite the government raising minimum pay by 15% from July, we are still short thousands of workers.

These are both important risks and incredible opportunities.

I am a migrant woman of colour arriving in Australia at 15, who grew up in the not-able-to-vote-non-white community in apartheid South Africa.

I wholeheartedly affirm the opportunities offered by this ‘lucky country’, including world-class education and healthcare and a welfare safety net.

Yes, I have experienced every aspect of cultural insensitivity (“Are you here to do the Welcome to Country? Do you burn in the sun? Can I touch your hair?”) and lack of inclusivity as well.

I am also a senior risk consultant to the aged care industry, GAICD, senior enough to participate on committees and boards.

Is it because I do not know the right avenues, maintain the right networks, that I have not been offered these opportunities? I expect these invisible barriers to be the same for many in the industry.

Our sector maintains a workforce largely driven by migrants, like me, from all over the world, whose values include honouring their elders.

For most, their leadership teams are run by Australian-born Caucasian people.

An opportunity exists to support staff of diversity with career pathways right up to the board level. However, this is relatively unexplored. This is a risk to the ongoing viability of our sector.

There is much providers can do.

We can start with a willingness to recognise unconscious bias and privilege.

What does a culturally sensitive workplace look like?

What does it take to be an ally, partner, mentor?

Who do we already have who can bring new diversity to the way we solve the problems we face?

We must be willing to step outside the familiar and learn some new skills. This sector has the commitment and ingenuity to create a new way forward for diversity and inclusivity to contribute to how we look after our elders.

We already have the talent right in our midst.