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UNIQ You welcomes new CEO

UNIQ You has today announced the appointment of Val Ridley as its new CEO, as the organisation enters a new phase of growth.

Queensland-based virtual career service, UNIQ You has today announced the appointment of Val Ridley as its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO), as the organisation enters a new phase of growth. 

Val officially commenced the position this week, taking over from UNIQ You founder, Tanya Meessmann, following an extensive search and recruitment process. 

Tanya Meessmann, outgoing CEO, Executive Director and founder of UNIQ You, says Val joins the organisation with an extraordinarily aligned background combined with the drive and passion to scale the organisation for reach and impact. 

“It felt like the impossible brief, to find a person experienced in scaling organisations for growth, a deep understanding of the education landscape, gender equality and the barriers facing girls following STEM and VET pathways while also being willing to operate in the often under-resourced not-for-profit sector,” said Tanya. 

“Val not only possesses all of these critical areas of experience, she has a deep understanding of UNIQ You’s mission and purpose and has hit the ground running with fresh ideas and approaches to our growth journey.”

“I feel secure in the knowledge that I’m handing over the reins to such aligned and capable hands, and I am excited to see the trajectory forward from here.”

In line with Val’s appointment, Tanya has moved into a Strategic Advisor and Founder role within UNIQ You and will continue to maintain her position as Non-Executive Director on the board.  

Val has vast experience in the not-for-profit sector and brings with her extensive working knowledge of the intersection of industry and education for career success.

“I am thrilled to be appointed the CEO of UNIQ You at such an exciting time in the organisation’s journey,” said Val. 

“Tanya and the team have built an incredible foundation and achieved impressive growth since launching in November 2021; doubling the size of the team, their schools footprint and funding.”

“I’m excited to continue building on this momentum to scale UNIQ You and have a significant impact beyond Queensland, on the removal of geographical barriers for girls to accessing quality career conversations and the greater issue of gender equality, as we look to future national expansion.”

UNIQ You Chairman Matt Lee, congratulated Val on her appointment as CEO. 

“Val Ridley is an exciting appointment for UNIQ You and on behalf of the members of the board I congratulate her for taking on this important role in moving the organisation into the next phase,” said Matt. 

“As a board we always knew from day one UNIQ You was a powerful and important concept, and we thank Tanya for creating the secure foundations for it to have the potential to significantly move the dial on gender equality in industries underrepresented by women.” 

“UNIQ You is now poised for important growth under the helm of Val, who has aligned expertise, experience and passion to lead the organisation.” 

Over the past 12 months, the one-on-one conversations UNIQ You has facilitated between girls in high school and women in industry have begun to see incredible impact, with over 90 percent of surveyed students reporting increased knowledge and confidence to pursue pathways into male-dominated industries and over 90 percent of surveyed educators reporting an increased confidence to advise students about pathways available to them within these industries.

Although this impact is positive, we know there is significant work to be done as individuals, and as a society to right the gender-representation imbalance in certain roles and industries and UNIQ You is fully committed to doing all it can to accelerate the pace of change.

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