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Pledge 1%'s #WomenWhoLead series celebrates female leaders who are paving the way for the next generation. While our featured leaders come from a variety of backgrounds and industries, they are united in their efforts to promote equality for all women in the workplace. We’ve asked them to share a bit about their journey to success, as well as lessons they’ve learned along the way. 


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Lauren Black

Social Impact Manager, Atlassian

Sydney, NSW, Australia



What is your current role? Briefly describe in 1-2 sentences.


I lead global skilled volunteering and customer support programs that aim to increase the operational effectiveness and capability of nonprofit and social enterprise teams.


This year's International Women's Day theme is "Embrace Equity." What does this mean to you? How can we build workplaces that are more equitable and inclusive? 


Everyone benefits when equity, inclusion and belonging are realised. People feel safer and therefore have the confidence to be more creative. More perspectives fuel innovation and better outcomes for customers. But most importantly, every person is valued equally.

To build more equitable and inclusive workplaces we need every person to truly believe in the value of equity and make consistent, intentional efforts to lift others up and affect systemic change.


Do you have any mentors or role models who have helped you on your personal journey?


I’m very fortunate to have a long list of strong, empathetic women who continue to be guiding voices for me. Karen Iles taught me to root social impact in evidence and gave me opportunities as an intern that accelerated my career. Dr Eva Cheng was the epitome of inclusion, always inviting everyone by default and creating space for others.


What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?


Great careers are discovered, not planned.

I’ve heard this from so many different women, mostly in technology, who have taken interesting opportunities as they arose, rather than having a rigid long-term goal.


The past few years have brought many new and unprecedented challenges. What keeps you motivated or inspires you to stay optimistic?


There are incredibly clever people with lived expertise solving problems in their communities every day. We are seeing a shift in philanthropy to redistribute resources to organisations led by these people which presents a very promising future for us all. There is also much more collaboration in social impact than 5 years ago which reduces redundancies and fosters collective impact.


Pledge 1% helps companies of all sizes and stages leverage their assets for social good. Why do you think it's important that companies prioritize social impact? Do you have any specific stories or examples from your work or colleagues you can share?


The business case for taking care of our planet and communities is incredibly strong. We attract better talent, have more diverse and creative teams, engage our employees through volunteering, and inspire our customers with stories of how nonprofit customers use our products. But more importantly, redistributing wealth and resources to those who are systemically and structurally disadvantaged is a moral imperative.

Every Atlassian employee has 5 days to volunteer every year. When the partner of an Atlassian software engineer experienced a traumatic birth, he reached out to a local organisation to provide technology support. Being empowered and encouraged to support a cause personally relevant to him has been fulfilling, but more importantly, the organisation has developed new processes allowing them to grow rapidly and reach more parents experiencing birth trauma.


If you could describe yourself in one word what would that be and why?


Optimistic. I always see the good in people (or at least have empathy for their flaws) and trust that humanity can solve the problems we’ve created.


Do you have any unique or useful life hacks to help get through your day?


Action tasks you dislike first - the more they linger, the worse they are to tackle.


Do you have any go-to apps or tools use love to use?


I love Atlassian’s new goal-tracking tool Atlas. It helps me share quick updates on all the different projects I’m working on and learn about what the rest of the team is doing. It avoids duplication of effort and allows you to celebrate the achievements of your team!


What are you looking forward to this year? Are there any goals (personal or professional), activities, or experiences you are excited about?


Atlassian Foundation is currently refining its strategy and I’m enjoying thinking deeply about the problems we are trying to solve and the impact we hope to make. In social impact, there are so many causes you can support, wonderful organisations and potential activities to drive outcomes. It’s really important to be really clear on who you serve, how you serve them and more importantly, what you don’t do.