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Julia van Graas

Julia van Graas

Chief People & Culture Officer, Advisor, Coach and Mentor

A third-generation accountant, it’s been said I’ve grown up with numbers and commercials in the blood. But it was the dinner time conversations about people, culture and leadership that I was always most curious about. Two decades spent diving into behind the scenes to high profile but complex 'difficult' situations around the globe as an advisor and interim executive confirmed what I’d learnt from family business – it’s people that make great businesses.

In every situation I've jumped into where culture has been problem, people have been the solution.  I co-founded Leaders on Demand so everyone has access to talented c-suite leaders right when they need them.  

I’m on a mission to ignite courageous leadership so that we can all thrive and make a positive impact (at work,  in our communities and at home). This sees me wearing many hats with my clients – interim leader, senior advisor, executive coach, facilitator, sparring partner and behind-the-scenes execution support. In each situation, I’m focussed on helping leaders and teams outperform and flourish at the same time.

Everything I’ve learnt about leadership has been through my lived experience of stepping in before I’ve felt ready. Over the years I’ve jumped from advisor to interim executive to co-founder. I’ve navigated the politics of global Big 4 Partnerships and ASX boardrooms (when in crisis) to the rollercoaster of business ownership.

The most difficult situations have taught me the most about how I lead – trusting myself, relying on my values of connection, wellbeing and courage and having the back of those I’m working with. I’ve learnt the hard way through experiencing burnout that prioritising health and wellbeing is a critical pillar of self-leadership. Bringing the self-discipline to care for myself, provides me energy to be resilient, adaptive, support others and deliver sustainable outcomes.

On Demand Support  

I work with Boards and Leadership Teams as senior advisor, facilitator, organisational coach and accept interim/fractional leadership roles. Problems I’m typically asked to help solve are at the intersection of leadership, people and culture and reflect my deep experience working in crisis, turnaround and transformation situations:

  • Execution support (interim and advisor) to CEOs and ELTs where team performance is paramount and rebuilding stakeholder trust, re-engaging workforces, or cultural resets are a priority.
  • Facilitate ‘team rumbles’ that uncover the elephants and emotions in the room so that teams can reset and get aligned, developing clarity, agreeing priorities and accountability for actions.
  • Design and facilitate bespoke leadership development programs (including Dare to Lead™ ) to scale leadership capabilities to meet organisational strategic priorities.
  • Uncover the cultural roadblocks preventing high performance cultures.  Specific focus on building leadership capability in courageous conversations, and enabling psychological safety and team trust to thrive.
  • Executive coach & mentor to c-suite leaders to act as their sparring partner, helping them shift mindsets and behaviours and show up as a more courageous leader.

Leadership Badges  

  • Interim Officer Veteran
  • Turnarounds Veteran
  • Accredited Organisational Coach
  • Certified Dare to Lead™ Facilitator
  • Leadership Perspectives Facilitator
  • Liquidity Master Facilitator
  • Performance Culture Facilitator
  • Resident Client Executive

Selected Deployments  

Shared Perspectives  

Growth from Mistakes

On the the lifelong practice of becoming a better leader, moments arise that if we gift ourselves the time, we have an opportunity  to pause and reflect on our role ...
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Lessons from "All or Nothing"

Having devoured Ted Lasso, I was invited to watch this along-side my Arsenal- 'waking up at ungodly hours in the morning to watch big games on the other side...
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Talent Strategy for 2023?

I have recently returned from an extended holiday to the USA.  As you may imagine, I had plenty of time for chats - meeting extended family for the first time...
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