Influential Leaders

Div Pillay

CEO and Co-Founder, MindTribes Pty Ltd
Recognition Year(s): 2021
Area of Impact: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging
School: Monash Business School, Monash University
Location: Australia

Div Pillay, CEO and co-founder of MindTribes in Melbourne, Australia, is an ardent champion for improving society through inclusive practices. Her company, MindTribes, promotes the business benefits of racial and cultural diversity and inclusion, and it partners with clients to redress systemic inequity in the workplace. Combining expertise in both people and business, MindTribes makes inclusion matter to individuals and organizations and demonstrates the impact on mental and emotional well-being, productivity, innovation, and growth. In seven years, MindTribes has grown into an award-winning business, named in the Westpac 200 Businesses of Tomorrow list in 2018.

Pillay’s work has been recognized by her peers, as well. She was a Telstra Business Women's Awards Judge in 2020 and was named one of 100 Women of Influence in 2018–19 by the Australian Financial Review and Qantas. She also received the prestigious Monash Business School Alumni Excellence Award in 2019 and was a keynote speaker at the Celebrating Excellence Awards that year. Pillay took part in Monash University’s “Change It” campaign as an Agent of Change.

Pillay’s master’s program in human resource management played a crucial part in her career. She says, "Monash Business School was really pivotal in my personal, professional and entrepreneurial development—it gave me opportunity and choice, which I took and maximized.”

Pillay is not afraid to promote social and cultural inclusion to senior leaders in the community. She has said, “The practice of cultural inclusion today is so important because we know from various studies that the Australian economy loses about 75 billion [AUD (about 58 billion USD)] annually from excluding diverse customers. Some of our biggest issues that we are facing now actually can be answered by the diversity of talent that sits in this country. Corporate firms lose out on potentially 35 percent of improved financial performance when they do not have ethnicity represented and included across the business and in senior leadership.”

Pillay’s company, MindTribes, provides an online platform called Culturally Diverse Women, a program that promotes the career progression of women who face barriers in Australian business and government due to their culture or gender. The platform is free to all women who identify as women of color or as culturally diverse. Over 73 percent of participants have reported achieving improved leadership levels, increased pay, and greater educational support from their employers. The platform also educates high-level Anglo allies and advocates for ways they can help fast-track program participants in their careers.

Pillay supports other educational programs, as well. She donates 10 percent of MindTribes’ new deals to Plan International, which empowers girls in developing countries and lobbies for gender equity. She has also been recognized by the organization as an International Ambassador.

Pillay is the board director at STREAT, a social enterprise that offers support and job training to homeless young people in Melbourne, and she chairs the Diversity and Inclusion Committee for the American Chamber of Commerce AU, bringing thought leadership and action to a business community of US-headquartered firms operating in Australia.