The Story Behind The Speaker #4 – Melanie Yap


Melanie Yap: Global Nomad and Social Impact Specialist

Be it from Canberra to Papua New Guinea, London to Singapore or Cook Islands to Melbourne, global nomad and social impact specialist Melanie Yap has been making waves internationally.

Melanie is the Director of Social Impact for Ellis Jones, an award-winning research, strategy, communications and design agency in Melbourne.

Her passion for social impact is infectious and her unwavering drive to affect change is a force to be reckoned with. I caught up with Melanie to hear more about her journey, and what a ride it’s been!

Meet Melanie below…
Tell us about your role, experience, journey to where you are. Why are you passionate about the industry?

I’ve always focused on creating social good. I started with a focus on social justice in Indigenous Law and Justice, within the Australian Attorney-General’s Department (AGD), then went to work for UNICEF Papua New Guinea as Child Protection Field Officer implementing new juvenile justice legislation and programs to protection orphans and vulnerable children. This really opened my eyes to the challenges of implementing legislation in complex communities, where many governments are lacking in capacity. With this new insight I went back to Australia to work in Pacific Legal Assistance at the AGD, developing new legislation to implement international treaties e.g. New Police Legislation in Tonga, new Crimes Act in Cook Islands.

I then decided to go back to study further in law and governance in developing countries (in London) where I gained even more understanding of the role of business in being a partner in solving social issues.

From there I undertook a Social Enterprise Leadership Course with On Purpose and went to work for boutique consultancy A Very Good Company in London, working with NFPs and businesses to create financial and social value. Inspired by their work in London, I set up AVGC Singapore before moving to Melbourne where I’m now Director of Social Impact for Ellis Jones.

Tell us something about you that people may not already know:

I’m very adept at moving houses – I love that my career has taken me to so many countries and has seen me working on a range of projects in multiple locations, but it’s meant living in 11 different places in the last 10 years.

My latest move to Melbourne (last year) was done with 2.5 kids in tow – I’ve recently popped out the third so the mini-tribe has grown again! We’re enjoying staying put for now and calling Melbourne home.

What can we expect to learn from you at the Ethical Enterprise Conference this year?

We live in times where there is growing expectation on businesses to use their dollars to do good. It’s no longer enough for businesses to bring financial return, they must also bring social returns to the individuals and communities that they touch through their supply chain, their employees and the goods and services they produce. At the same time, the not-for-profit sector is being challenged by funders to show how they are providing value. The introduction of initiatives like NDIS and JobActive is also forcing NPOs to think like businesses. Shared Value provides a compelling framework for both businesses and not-for-profits to marry financial and social value. Using case studies from my work in UK and Australia, I will discuss how organisations across the spectrum can use Shared Value as a framework to bridge the mindset gap between the for-profit and not-for-profit world.

Inspired? Intrigued, or keen to learn more? Be sure to book your tickets to the Ethical Enterprise Conference as soon as possible, by visiting the Moral Fairground webpage here.

Keep an eye out over the following weeks as we bring you more of the stories behind the speakers and we look forward to seeing you at the Ethical Enterprise Conference 2018!

Until next time,

Skye Vadas

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