Business Stories Jan 14, 2019

Here’s a truth: every team, every venture, needs a great leader to make it wonderfully successful.

STELLA PETROU CONCHA is one AND she helps create them too. More than that, through her ‘Elevate a Nation’ campaign, she’s doing it in a way that really creates and leaves an amazing legacy. And she does it every day.

She not only leads by example but encourages others to do the same too. Again, every day.

STELLA is the co-founder and CEO of a fast-growing finance management consultancy and recruitment agency, Reo Group.

Her mission is straightforward, concise and precise. It’s to elevate human potential by working with executives to deliver value for their organisations through leadership, strategy and vision.

Stella began her career in medicine, only to quickly realise (even though she had deep-seated empathy for others) that the healthcare sector was not her true passion. She quit medicine and found her perfect fit in the recruitment industry.

She founded Reo Group in her late twenties and since its conception in 2009, Reo has won numerous industry awards, including BRW Fast 100. She was recently recognised as one of Australia’s Top Ten Women Entrepreneurs by My Entrepreneur Magazine, and when you meet her, it’s easy to understand why.


After interviewing over 3000 people looking for employment, Stella realised something profound: people didn’t just want a job anymore, they wanted a job with purpose and meaning. They wanted to work in an organisation that made a difference, not just a profit.

She recalls, “Everyone looking for a job comes to me sick and dying — sick of their boss and dying to get out of their company.”

“People’s lives become compromised when their employment is not harmonious. People are often disconnected from their passion, lack confidence to move forward and feel they don’t have a sense of belonging. It’s usually driven by a work environment that’s not inclusive, fair or equal.”

She continues: “The problem is a big one; one I knew I could take a good crack at and help with. That’s just one of the reasons why I love recruitment – the industry itself is a direct route to the 8th UN Sustainability Development Goal of ‘Decent Work and Economic Growth’.

“I realised that as the CEO of a recruitment agency, I have a true opportunity to promote inclusive and sustainable employment and decent work across both the customers I serve and as an employer myself,” said Stella.


Stella founded Reo with her husband, Marcelo. Immediately, they wrote the blueprint for the type of organisation they wanted to run. They documented their vision where men and women had equal opportunity for growth, zero tolerance for bullies and a framework based on family values. It’s a blueprint that also helps encourage their clients toward a ‘recruit without prejudice’ culture.

But recruiting without prejudice wasn’t always the world Stella knew.

In fact, she knew first-hand the damage a negative, sexist and unequal workplace could cause. Like many women in the workforce, Stella experienced loneliness, isolation, unwanted sexual advances and unequal pay.

She saw too that working mothers don’t have equal opportunity.

They simply don’t have the same opportunity for sustainable income simply because they can’t give 40-50 hours of their life per week to their job. They have to balance work with their commitment to their family.

Stella’s shares these alarming statistics:

  • Men earn 12.5% more than women in 40 out of 45 countries.
  • The gender pay gap stands at 23 % —globally!
  • According to statistics, it’s going to take 68 years to achieve equal pay.

Something Stella admits, “As a woman, it’s difficult for me to swallow this pill. Secondly, I have two daughters and I will do everything that I can to ensure that they have the ability to be cognisant of the issues that they face as being women in our corporate society.”

The SDG of ‘Decent Work and Economic Growth’ begins with every person, every business, every organisation.  And Reo is “chipping away at achieving this goal.”

Such experiences and insights helped cement Reo’s vision, culture and creed.


Not surprisingly, Reo itself leads the surge for equality. It’s a place that provides men and women the same opportunities to thrive and grow. A place where fairness, job satisfaction and growth isn’t the exception. It’s the rule.

And central too is Reo’s commitment to give — specifically to ‘Elevate a Nation’.

Reo Group joined the B1G1 giving movement in May 2018, and since then, they have been outstanding members of the B1G1 community.

Giving is embedded right at the heart of Reo. Every time a candidate placement happens (someone gets a job), Reo gives 50 days of technology education to children in remote communities of Australia that don’t have access to a school.  (Interestingly, only 24% of children in remote communities around Australia have access to a primary school or to a school that goes to Year 10.) So, now every time someone gets a job through Reo, the company supports a child that could be deemed ‘unemployable’ due to his or her lack of education.

Stella believes that giving can have a massive impact on business as well, because individuals are now looking for organisations that not only are successful in their own right but have a very specific focus in elevating the world as a whole.

She works hard to drive the message that giving gives companies an opportunity to create a culture of high performance. And not surprisingly, that culture brings depth and meaning to the organisation, enabling it to grow sustainably and quickly.

Stella’s a fan of mantras. Her own mantra describes her philosophy of serving others well. “When you succeed, I succeed,” she says. It’s a testament to the way she lives her life.

Paul Dunn

Paul is the chairman and biggest supporter of B1G1. He frequently travels around the world inspiring businesses with B1G1 and his amazing business insights.

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