Deloitte Consulting leader Ellen Derreck named chair of batyr

11 April 2023 3 min. read
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Prominent youth mental health organisation batyr has brought on board Deloitte Consulting national managing partner Ellen Derreck as its next chair.

A long time mental health advocate, Ellen Derrick is also a board member of the Australian branch of the Corporate Mental Health Alliance, and plays a leading role at Deloitte in the promotion of diversity & inclusion. She replaces batyr’s founder Sebastian Robertson, who will now step down in an official capacity.

Having experienced his own mental health struggles while at university, batyr was established by Robertson in 2011 at just the age of 25 with the aim of reducing stigma around the affliction and hopefully reaching other young people who might also be suffering in silence.

Ellen Derreck, Nic Brown and Sebastian Robertson

The charity has since reached more than 350,000 youth, via 2,000-plus preventative programs delivered in schools and universities across Australia.

“Big numbers are important, but every number is one person’s story. Their life story. And they have chosen to use that story to help another life, or even thousands,” Robertson stated in announcing his departure. “I wanted to find someone passionate about the cause. I think it shows just how far batyr have come as an organisation to have someone of Ellen’s calibre step into the role of chair and guide the organisation moving forward.”

Based in Canberra and appointed managing partner of Deloitte Consulting at the end of 2020, Derrick has also previously led Deloitte’s Public Sector & Public Policy practice during her twelve years at the firm, having originally started out at Accenture. Altogether she brings over 20 years of health and human services-focused consulting and public policy experience to batyr’s board, in addition to expertise in digital transformations.

In taking up the role, Derrick shared her personal experience with the often tragic outcomes of youth mental illness, her university-aged nephew having taken his own life. Her daughter too, experienced depression as a teenager before having the courage to seek help. Derrick: “Mental health is the issue of our time, and I want to take the passion and ambition batyr has and do what I can to extend that, to positively impact as many young people as possible.”

As part of the organisation’s 2030 Strategic Plan, bartyr aims to deliver its peer-to-peer personal story-sharing programs to 70 percent of all Australian high school students by the end of the decade, as well as work with the nation’s universities to reach three million students over that time. This ambition, the charity says, will require new connections and funding channels and fresh strategic thinking, making Derrick the ideal candidate to take over as chair.

Batyr CEO Nic Brown paid tribute to Robertson, who noted that while he may be formally stepping down he’s not ‘stepping away’: “Sebastian’s contribution has been immense. It’s been through Sebastian’s vision and ambition that we’ve been able to grow batyr and increase our impact on the lives of young people across the country and the mental health sector itself. His dedication to growing resources for the youth mental health space is unparalleled.”