“I come from a big family… I am one of six kids! Three of my siblings were adopted from Africa, the Philippines and Korea. My parents treat all of us equally and taught us to treat everybody the same. It’s about embracing the differences that everyone has in order to be a better society.”
Shelley Abrams’ role at Medibank is to help ensure that the organisation is filled with the most suited people in the right jobs and making sure that her colleagues know that she is there for support.
“I’m a coach, I’m an advisor and I lend a listening ear on at any given day.”
Having grown up in a diverse family, Shelley knows all too well the importance of equality.
“One of my brothers is a gay man and equality to me means that he is able to have the same rights as I do as a heterosexual female.”
As the new chair of the Diversity & Inclusion LGBTI group, she has her priorities set with a strong focus on creating a welcoming setting for each individual, from all walks of life.
“I’ll be working hard to make sure that Medibank is a safe and open environment where people can bring their whole selves to work regardless of their gender, sexual orientation or religion.”
Celebrating Wear it Purple day with employees at Medibank.
As for upcoming projects and events involving Medibank, Shelley says there are a couple of exciting things happening.
“This year we entered into a strategic partnership with the Mardi Gras festival in Sydney, which means having some presence in the parade and the Mardi Gras festival. We also have a big focus on the AWEI submission for next year. We were able to get the bronze award this year and next year we’re aiming for the top – Employer of the Year spot!”
When she isn’t positively contributing to Medibank and its purpose, Shelley can be found working out, cooking delicious food, immersing herself in music, and laughing with her friends.
“’I laugh + learn better’ and try to bring fun to everything I do. I love those big belly laughs with everyone just having a good time. I’ve also learnt that opening my mind to other people’s ways of thinking brings diversity of thought and ideas.”
Shelley volunteering with Medibank on World Aid’s Day with the Victorian Aids Council.
Looking back on a pride and diversity training she had done in the past, Shelley says it really reinforces the importance of openly accepting people for who they are.
“We were talking about the effort it takes to be someone you’re not and how much of an emotional toll that takes. If there’s one thing I’d like to accomplish in this role, it’s to create a place where that doesn’t have to exist, where everybody can be themselves.”