Fostering Leadership: Insight into Intereach’s Co-Chief Executives, Michelle Tai and
Yvette Buhagiar

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Women make up half of the Australian workforce but less than 20 per cent of them are CEOs.

Intereach is bucking that trend, with two women leaders at the helm of the organisation.

As we mark International Women’s Day 2024, the theme being “Count Her In: Invest in Women. Accelerate Progress,” we highlight the collaborative leadership of Michelle Tai and Yvette Buhagiar, Co-Chief Executives at Intereach.

Their partnership demonstrates the organisation’s commitment to inclusivity and social justice, particularly within rural and regional communities.

Appointed by the Board in December 2022, Michelle Tai and Yvette Buhagiar bring to their roles a wealth of experiences and share a unified vision for Intereach.


Have you been inspired by any women in leadership throughout your career?

Michelle: “Indeed. Women who exhibit a blend of empathy and decisive leadership have always inspired me. Their ability to navigate challenges with resilience has significantly moulded my approach to leadership.”

Yvette: “I’ve had the fortune of mentorship from women who believed in my potential, even when I was uncertain. Their investment in my development was transformative for my career.”

What will be the biggest challenge for the next generation of women leaders?

Michelle: “Addressing enduring stereotypes and biases is a formidable challenge. We must foster a culture that equally appreciates the leadership of women.”

Yvette: “Ensuring women have the same opportunities for growth and development is key. It’s our duty to eliminate the barriers that limit women’s achievements.”

Intereach is dedicated to social justice as shown by its strategic initiatives aimed at elevating women in all aspects of its work. From professional development opportunities to delivering comprehensive community programs, Intereach is nurturing the potential of women as leaders, employees, clients, and community contributors.

How does Intereach drive progress for women within the community?

Michelle: “It’s a privilege to work for an organisation that works toward social justice for women every day. We are very proud to invest in women across our workforce, and to support the important professional contribution that women make across a range of roles at Intereach. We are proud to offer professional development opportunities and career pathways for women, as well as employment conditions that support women to participate in the workforce.

Through our range of programs, we work with many women within our communities who are playing important roles as community members, mums, sisters, partners, daughters and friends. We aim to provide the information and support so that they can be empowered and exercise their full rights to live their life how they choose.”


“Exactly, we strive to empower women so they can bring change to their communities.”

The joint CEO role shared by Michelle and Yvette reflects their belief in the power of diversity and cooperative leadership. This arrangement allows them to draw on their individual strengths for the broader benefit of the organisation and communities.


Intereach’s executive team is all women, and, fairly uniquely, you share the CEO role with another woman – how do you work together as a team?

Michelle: “We all have a huge amount of mutual respect. As an executive team, we are all very different which is a wonderful thing as it means that we can learn from each other.”

Yvette: “As well as respect, collaboration and comradery, we are in constant communication with each other so we can ensure that we are all heading in the same direction from a business standpoint. Carolyn and Maree (General Managers) offer a huge wealth of expertise to the programs they manage and they are both achieving great things for our communities.”

Can you identify a pivotal moment in your career?

Michelle: “My involvement with the National Disability Insurance Scheme was a defining moment. It highlighted our capability to significantly impact individuals’ lives.”

Yvette: “Stepping into leadership roles across various sectors was pivotal, bringing new challenges and learning opportunities that have informed my holistic perspective on leadership.”

The leadership stories of Michelle and Yvette reinforce Intereach’s commitment to gender equality and social justice. It showcases the profound effects of investing in women and cultivating an atmosphere of mutual respect and partnership.

This International Women’s Day, Intereach celebrates not only the achievements of its Co-Chief Executives, but all women making impactful changes and continues to advocate for women’s causes.

With women making up more than 80 per cent of staff, the organisation is a champion for women, demonstrating how diversity, empowerment, and shared values contribute to promoting social justice and community service.