Liberating Leadership, Innovation and Creativity


with Editor In Chief Dr Irena Yashin Shaw

While the term “intrapreneur” may be still reasonably new, it’s quickly growing in popularity. Today, more and more businesses around the world are discovering the benefits of having engaged and empowered employees on staff with business skills, creative problem-solving abilities, and an interest in personal leadership who can actively find and leverage opportunities.

These intrapreneurs are changing the game when it comes to business results. Plus, the people who are finding such ownership in their roles are also happier in their jobs as they get to experience the passion, excitement and growth that comes from being an intrapreneur.

One woman who is really paving the way for this new working style is Dr Irena Yashin Shaw. Apart from her work in this area as a speaker, author and consultant, she recently launched the first Australian Intrapreneurs Summit (AIS) at the Brisbane Convention Centre where people from a variety of industries and backgrounds came together to talk and learn about intrapreneurialism. We chatted with Dr Yashin-Shaw to learn more.

The inaugural Australian Intrapreneurs Summit was held in March this year and was a sell out! Can you tell us a bit about the event?

There is no other event in Australia like this. I believe there are a couple of key reasons why this event really hit the mark. Firstly there are many conferences that focus on innovation in the corporate world but none that brings together the same diversity of perspectives from such a wide variety of sectors and industries in the way AIS did. The other reason I believe that the event was such a success is because there is a growing awareness and acknowledgement that it is PEOPLE – INTRAPRENEURS – who drive innovation, change and transformation. If we want more effective organisations that fulfill their mission and mandate at the highest level, then we need to find, nurture, upskill and support the intrapreneurs. AIS did just that.

In addition to keynote speakers, there were also speakers representing various streams, such as government, academia, education, community indigenous and not-for-profit. Why did you decide to set things up this way?

Intrapreneurialism is alive and well in ALL sectors. It is not confined to the corporate world or the business world. For me, one of the key drivers for the Summit was to showcase intrapreneurialism across the board and to shine a light on the amazing work being done in sectors as diverse as education, indigenous, government, academia, community, not-for-profit as well as in corporate and business. The conference is unique in the diversity and breadth of voices it brought together to showcase and celebrate intrapreneurialism. I was delighted by the wonderful sense of community that was created at AIS.

What were some of the key insights participants took away from the event?
  • For many it reinforced for them that they are on the right track. It validated what they are already doing in their workplaces.
  • It gave them a common and shared language and a lexicon by which to understand and talk about their thinking and initiatives in relation to intrapreneurialism.
  • It helped them to realise they are not alone in the difficulties they face in their intrapreneurial journey – that people in other organisations and other sectors are experiencing similar challenges and have found effective solutions.
  • That innovation and intrapreneurialism doesn’t only have to be about big ticket items. Instead, small improvements and changes can also be valuable and can cumulatively make a big impact.
  • Many said they were utterly inspired by the stories of both success and struggle that they heard during the Summit.
  • Young people at the beginning of their careers said the event it gave them a new perspective on how to focus on their skill and career development.
  • People also came to the Summit to meet their tribe – fellow intrapreneurs from other industries and contexts but with the same enterprising spirit, passion for creating positive change and solving high-value problems. Many commented to me that they were extremely impressed not only by the high quality of the speakers but also by the calibre of the delegates who attended.
How will what intrapreneurs learnt at the event help them to succeed over the coming months and years?

As a result of the pace of change today, organisations from all sectors are feeling the pressure to transform and reinvent themselves. No organisation that wants to stay relevant can ignore the imperative to innovate. Intrapreneurs are the key drivers in that transformation process. They need to be kept inspired, motivated, informed and networked. So attending the summit is like putting some rocket fuel in their tank.

Were there any common themes you saw popping up amongst speakers?

Yes – in particular, how the greatest success comes from getting everyone involved in transformation, innovation and change. Enfranchising and empowering people is the best way of releasing and harnessing the enormous untapped talent within organisations.

What’s next for the Summit, and where can people learn more?

Given the spectacular sell out success of the inaugural Australian Intrapreneurs Summit it will become an annual event. There will be another one on the 19th of March 2020 again at the Brisbane Convention Centre. The theme for 2020 will be “Enabling Intrapreneurialism through Technology and Diversity”. It is still in the planning stages but it will once again be absolutely awesome. Guaranteed! We are in the process of locking in some truly inspiring Australian and international speakers as well as some very cool technology experiences. People can register now at the super early bird price at

For speaking engagements, in-house programs and consulting work contact Dr. Irena directly by email: