Business and philanthropic leader
2015 Australian of the Year | Australian Capital Territory
Glenn Keys is a business and philanthropic leader who has used his own foundation to address Indigenous health issues and to provide greater opportunities for young people with disabilities.
Glenn Keys believes in giving back. A former Australian Defence Force test flight engineer, and currently managing director of global healthcare provider, Aspen Medical, Glenn puts corporate social responsibility at the heart of his business. The company has its own foundation, which uses a percentage of Aspen’s profits to tackle major Australian health issues, particularly in Indigenous communities.
As the parent of a child with an intellectual disability, Glenn is passionate about helping people with disability reach their potential. Glenn is the Chairman of Special Olympics ACT and, in that role, has worked tirelessly to provide opportunities for athletes with a disability to develop physical fitness, gain skills and forge friendships.
An inaugural board member of the National Disability Insurance Agency, Glenn’s latest project is Project Independence, a housing initiative in partnership with the Australian Capital Territory Government that offers home ownership options for people with a disability.
Glenn is an active member of the Canberra Business Chamber, and aims to inspire other business leaders to incorporate community service into their professional lives.
Glenn Keys has chosen a handmade candle. Glenn and his wife, Amelda (Mel), lit this candle at their wedding and at the baptisms of each of their three children, Siân, Ehren and Tim. The candle is kept wrapped in a cloth given to the couple by Glenn’s parents, in a box provided by close family friends.
Light and life
As a boy I made candles and sold them as one of my first businesses. I have always liked candles and feel that they provide a sense of warmth and hope, with the flame representing light and life … Our wedding date is shown on the front, and our children’s names and their baptism dates are shown on the back.
Inspired in a dream
I had spoken to my wife and several work colleagues about what artefact I would use for this display, without any object capturing my requirements. I awoke the next morning having dreamt that the candle represented all the elements of my life that have brought me to this moment.
Family, service and the future
I have a strong sense of family, so I wanted something that represents my wife and each of our children. I also wanted to represent the fact that the success of my business, Aspen Medical, has allowed me to actively pursue my desire for philanthropy and service. Finally, I wanted something that represented a positive outlook for the future. This candle and its container do that.