Karen Hayes AM, DSJ
CEO – Guide Dogs Victoria, Board member – International Guide Dog Federation, Board member – Multiple Sclerosis Limited, Board member – Melbourne International Comedy Festival
Since November 2011 Karen has been the CEO of the Victorian Division of Guide Dogs Australia, Australia’s “Most Trusted Charity,” for the 7th year in a row.
A past Telstra Business Woman of the Year Award finalist, she is currently a Board member of Multiple Sclerosis Ltd , The Melbourne International Comedy Festival the International Guide Dog Federation and is a past board member of Vision 2020 Australia, Melbourne Football Cub and Breast Cancer Network Australia. Karen was one of the founders of Breast Cancer Network Australia, and as the co-founder of the Australian chapter of the International Women’s Forum (IWF), she continues to play a leadership role for women across a number of industries and communities globally.
Under Karen’s leadership, Guide Dogs Victoria has delivered a $27m capital campaign to transform GDV’s campus into Australia’s first sensory campus. The new facilities are aimed at improving the lives of people living with blindness or low vision, while also providing a world class environment for breeding and training guide dogs and educating the community.
Karen was inducted into the Victorian Honour Roll of Women in 2017, in recognition of her outstanding contribution to business and the community and was appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the 2019 Australia Day Honours List, for significant service to the community as an advocate for gender equity, and to women in sport. She was also inducted as a Dame in the Order of St John in June 2019, in recognition of her contribution to community.