Chief Professionalist

2020 has seen unprecedented challenges for Australians and our institutions.  A driving question in the public policy and community space has been “who can we trust?”.

Australia’s professional community has stepped up to that challenge and shown that science-based, deeply considered expert guidance is the strongest tool we have to help us navigate the threat to our lives and livelihoods.  Whether that be from fires, floods, climate change, global pandemics or even ethical failures in leadership.

The dedication of the professional community to offer counsel and expert solutions is something we want to celebrate and promote as a national strength. In this our year of the Professions, Professionals and Professionalism we want to advocate for the importance of professionals and professionalism. To magnify and personalise that voice we have appointed Prof Deen Sanders OAM as Chief Professionalist1 to be the public face of our mission to government and the community.

This innovation is inspired by the highly valued Chief Scientist, Chief Economist, the Chief Medical/Health Officers, the Chief Engineer, Chief Data Scientist, etc.  Deen will engage with national leaders as well as the broader community to advocate for the purpose and value of the professions, professionals and professionalism.

Deen believes that the next step in the future of professions is about showing how we are more than simply ‘skilled’ or ‘qualified’:  “I believe that being professional is more than being expert. What makes our community of professionals so outstanding is that, no matter what their field, they combine that expertise with their natural humanity and dedication to service.”

“Ultimately our ‘trust in professionals’ will be strengthened when we understand our roles in terms of responsibility, accountability and wisdom. We are at an important moment, where our public professional figures have carved out a model of public and political respect. If we don’t capitalise on that opportunity to build the strength, humanity and voice of the whole professional community then we risk watching from the sidelines as the failure of leadership, failure of vision, failure of ethics, failure of integrity, failure of expertise play out in front of us.”

Within our Year of the Professions, Professionals and Professionalism, Deen will work with our member organisations in events large and small that will exemplify the value of the professions, their professionals and professionalism:

Deen is supported by the Office of the Chief Professionalist.

1: Merriam-Webster defines a Professionalist as “one who professionalizes an occupation

For more information on the activities of the Chief Professionalist and/or the Year of the Professions, Professionals and Professionalism, please contact the Office of the Chief Professionalist on 1300 664 587 or at!

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