Friska Wirya is the powerhouse behind Stevie-winner Fresh by Friska, a change management consulting, facilitation, and personal development service for executives, teams, and large businesses.
Friska guides complex organizations through the people side of change; she has helped industry-leading organizations shift tribulation into transformation.
Friska is the former Head of Change at the biggest gold miner in the Southern Hemisphere, leading digital transformation changes to achieve US$170m annual savings, skyrocket innovation and improve safety. She infiltrated a digital-first culture across four countries to create a solid foundation to drive the adoption of new and emerging technologies, achieving recognition such as the Most Innovative Hard Hat Company from Apple and various industry awards.
Before this, she was the Global Change Lead for multi-million dollar projects spanning technology, structure, process, and people, impacting +23,000 at Tier 1 engineering firm Worley. She brought the digital future of policing to life for the world’s single-largest policing jurisdiction.
Friska started her own business after leaving her corporate job in the mining, oil & gas, and engineering industries on the precipice of the global pandemic. As COVID-19 spread, restrictions came out fast, borders closed, and Friska’s pipeline was eliminated in the blink of an eye – organizations were not investing in change management, ironically when they needed it the most. Friska invested time in the online space to develop her virtual brand.
In response to the COVID curveball, Friska offered workshops to the public she’d previously only offered in-house and even welcomed big brands like Salesforce and Microsoft on board as clients. She spoke at Microsoft’s first D&I event in Asia and at conferences such as The Future of Mining, Female Influencers in Tech, and Women in Construction and Engineering.
Friska was then engaged by the #1 university in Australia, The University of Melbourne, to pivot rapidly to a fully remote campus, impacting 65,000 students and 15,000 staff while maintaining operational efficiency and blitz-scaling programs to aid student financial and mental health during the global pandemic.
With a speedy turnaround, Friska’s team created a country-first digital portal for students to remain connected to their lecturers, lesson materials, access COVID-19 safety information, financial support information, and mental health resources. This portal also connected university departments and had them working together in ways they had never done before. The results were astounding:
- Transitioned to a fully remote campus in five business days
- Built a one-of-a-kind connection portal where everyone may have been physically distanced - but in heart and mind closer than ever
- Held virtual open days—the University of Melbourne had a two-week Open Day event. The first visual open day saw more than 40,000 people registering from around the world. People could take a virtual tour, join a sample lecture, ask questions, and network with other students.
- 300+ live events over six separate days
- ~45k event registrations and ~14k platform registrations
Friska’s work made students feel supported and empowered the university to adapt and continue to operate. The scale and speed at which the COVID response was executed make it noteworthy. During this process, there was zero downtime.
The open days, and the positive feedback from these virtual events, were phenomenal. This program was the most comprehensive of its kind and a fully immersive experience. In numbers, this initiative impacted 65,000 students, 16,000 staff, and 250 vendors/consultants. It received exceptional media coverage in major newspapers. The marketing data for the virtual open days indicated that, over two weeks, over 45,000 visitors joined events from around the world, which suggests that a virtual event opened the university to more people.
Aside from keeping current students supported and extending the university’s credibility during a pandemic, this work also gave Friska’s business a chance to demonstrate her commitment to excellence and exceptional capabilities, seeing her pull off many incredible “firsts'' under challenging circumstances.
Friska has created a blueprint for change that is relevant for large workforces with central hubs where the workplace is more than just an office. Since then, she has gone on to consult for the world’s largest family-owned business in the automotive industry headquartered in the USA and enable a large Australian engineering company to implement sustainability principles across APAC.
Friska Wirya’s Fresh by Friska won a Bronze Stevie Award for Company of the Year among Small Advertising, Marketing, & Public Relations Organizations in The 2022 International Business Awards®.
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