Entrepreneur. Thought Leader. Advisor. Speaker.

Vanessa is an entrepreneur, commercial advisor and psychologist who has spent the past 19 years transforming a range of leading international organisations, and the leaders within them seeking progressive solutions.

In her role as Founder & Joint Managing Director of Maximus International which she founded in 2001, a progressive leadership house in Australia, we focus our energy on creating experiences for leaders that promote future-focused thinking, enable purpose-led leadership, unlock partnering and collaboration, and develop the skills to actively create space to reflect, think and be open to new ideas.

Inside Maximus, Vanessa is responsible for the firm’s future strategy, enterprise capabilities to deliver it, the sponsorship of exceptional relationships and the portfolio of offerings that differentiate our experience. Recognised as one of Australia’s most progressive future-focused leadership firms, Maximus has been built on decades of know-how, progressive partnerships, dynamic solutions, strong theoretical research and commercial nous with humanity and heart.

Vanessa is an advocate for the criticality of strong leadership and legacy having witnessed the impact of great leadership and the absence of it. She believes leadership is both a privilege and responsibility, and that connecting personal purpose with a compelling future-focused organisational vision leads to the creation of visionary companies. This aspiration must be backed by the capabilities and discipline to deliver. Leaders need to create workplaces where people can authentically create value and emotional commitment to drive impact at scale.

“The future of leadership is not about old-fashioned validations of success. It is about growing your impact, with a focus on a bigger purpose beyond yourself, backed by the capabilities to match.”

-Vanessa Gavan, Founder & Managing Director, Maximus

recent work


Vanessa has spent the past three years helping Telstra improve its bench strength by preparing high-potential talent to step up.

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