May
6
2014

Thanks Kate! – we say farewell to beyondblue’s CEO, The Hon. Kate Carnell, AO

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Kate Carnell FarewellIt’s difficult to quantify how far Australia’s national depression and anxiety initiative, beyondblue, has come in its acceptance and understanding of LGBTI communities, resulting in actions and programs tailored specifically to their needs.

It’s fair to say that two and a half years ago, the relationship between its chairman, former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett, and the gay and lesbian community were at an all-time low.  Following some explosive commentary in the daily newspapers, beyondblue’s CEO resigned and the Federal Government threatened to pull millions of dollars’ worth of funding from the organisation.

That’s when the former Chief Minister of the ACT and deputy chair of beyondblue’s board, The Hon. Kate Carnell, AO stepped up and took the reigns as CEO.

Under her leadership the organisation has delivered extensive research into the mental health needs of the LGBTI community, initiated targeted campaigns to raise awareness of homophobia and its impacts and fostered an ongoing relationship between beyondblue and LGBTI community leaders.

Perhaps one outcome that no-one would have initially predicted, was the transformational shift in Mr Kennett’s understanding and acceptance of the LGBTI community. Today he remains a staunch anti-homophobia and marriage equality advocate, regularly sharing his reasons for this change.

The legacy of her brief time at the helm of beyondblue will have life-changing ramifications for thousands of LGBTI Australian’s today…and for decades to come.