Helen Macdonald was born in Perth, Western Australia, in 1961. Within a couple of years her father’s career in telecommunications meant that her family, including her newly-arrived younger brother, had to relocate to Melbourne.
After finishing high school, Helen started a science degree at university but dropped out in her first year having majored in ‘amateur theatre and boys’. She spent the next 12 months as a sales assistant in a city bookshop, reinforcing a growing addiction to books and helping her recognise a desire for further study.
Helen returned to university to complete a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Italian before entering the corporate world in the areas of recruitment and personnel management. After nearly a decade in a variety of corporate positions, Helen was made redundant from her role with a petrochemical company. She describes her redundancy as a gift and one that led to her current work as an employee performance expert, which she finds endlessly challenging and deeply satisfying.
As director of her own business development consultancy and co-director of national training company, The Learning Difference, Helen is committed to helping her clients create positive workplaces, in which employees are encouraged to do their very best. Her messages are delivered through conference presentations, training programs and executive coaching. As a past national president of the National Speakers Association of Australia and a Certified Speaking Professional, she travels all over the Asia Pacific region, energising and aligning individuals and teams to create better results.
Helen lives in Melbourne’s Bayside area with Lachlan, her husband of 19 years, and their black cat, Blue. She describes herself as a ‘virgin grandmother’ and enjoys spending time with Lachlan’s adult children and grandchildren. She also spends her spare time keeping fit and healthy, and exploring a wide variety of interests, from theatre to abseiling.