Program speakers


Melissa Reader

Managing Direction & CEO – The Violet Initiative

Melissa is a dedicated social entrepreneur with a wealth of personal and professional expertise, driving impactful change in her leadership role at Violet. Drawing from her unique insights into end-of-life matters, Melissa’s consulting background in adaptive leadership, purpose-led strategy, and human-centred design has cultivated a culture of innovation and resilience within the organisation.

With a commitment to reimagining traditional approaches, Melissa spearheads creative problem-solving, leverages technology, and fosters new collaborative models to drive meaningful transformation. Her adeptness in navigating complex business landscapes and nurturing stakeholder relationships underscores her leadership style, which is marked by innovation, sustainability, and a steadfast dedication to delivering exceptional value.

At Violet, Melissa has transformed a community-based charitable organisation into a tech-enabled, purpose-driven social enterprise, reshaping how we approach and manage end-of-life planning.

With Co-founder Tom Hull, Violet adopts a strategic and commercial perspective to address critical challenges and generate value for individuals and diverse businesses across the system.

Violet’s Virtual care platform is setting new benchmarks in innovation and personalisation, enhancing experiences throughout the end-of-life journey.

A distinguished alumna of the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, and the prestigious INSEAD ‘AVIRA’ program, Melissa’s contributions have been recognised with notable accolades, including the Chief Executive Women’s Entrepreneurs Scholarship and the Westpac Social Change Fellowship.

In 2023, Melissa and co-founder Tom Hull secured a coveted spot in the Techstars Accelerator, showcasing Violet’s transformative potential on a global stage.