Graduating with a Bachelor of Arts and Masters Qualifying (Psych) from the Australian National University in 1981, Thérèse went on to establish her international business in 1989. Working as a rehabilitation counsellor, she founded the company on assisting people with injuries or disabilities to return to or enter the workforce.
“It was about helping people find, win and keep jobs that they could do. To walk beside them as they transformed their lives. This is a privilege. This is our work. This is my life’s purpose.”
Ingeus has since expanded from being a one person enterprise to employing more than 2,000 people in around 150 offices across 10 countries and with Thérèse remaining at the helm. Each year, the company assists tens of thousands of socially and financially excluded people into independence through finding suitable sustained employment.
"Ingeus does more than find jobs for people. We give them the means for a better life, whether they are mature aged, on a single parent's pension, on disability support or homeless. We give them hope, support, encouragement. We believe in them.”
Thérèse is at the forefront of Ingeus’ efforts to help governments and international bodies better understand and respond to workforce participation challenges. Her fundamental belief is that people the world over, regardless of their age, background or circumstance, are best assisted when interventions focus on their strengths, not their constraints; increase their confidence; take the time to understand what gives their lives meaning; and provide them with control and choice. Ingeus’ ability to successfully assist varying client groups across countries as diverse as the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, South Korea, Poland, Saudi Arabia and Australia demonstrates the effectiveness of this approach.
As a successful international businesswoman and entrepreneur, Thérèse has the ability to offer unique insights into topics such as reducing joblessness, social entrepreneurism and using evidence-based positive psychology concepts in business to help people flourish She is an inspiring innovator and advocate of using new technology platforms to help more people in more ways.
Her commitment to assisting people however goes well beyond her business. Thérèse is dedicated to assisting marginalised and disadvantaged people to achieve the means for optimal quality of life, and is active in the fields of disability, homelessness and maternal health.
In 2010, Thérèse was awarded the prestigious Australian Human Rights Medal for her ongoing work and commitment to celebrating and improving the lives of people with a disability and their carers, and is an active patron of the following organisations:
- Common Ground (Australia)
- The Indigenous Literacy Project
- UNICEF Australia’s maternal and infant health programs (see video below)
- Ability First Australia
- International Paralympic Committee (Honorary Board Member)
- OzHarvest Food Rescue
- Arts Project Australia
- Livable Housing Australia
- The Bella Program at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney
- ACT Junior Talent Squad for Athletes with a Disability
- ‘Shakespeare on Oxford’ Festival, Brisbane
Her contribution to driving improvements for all, not just those referred to her business, has included holding the positions of Director of the National Employment Services Association Board (Australia) and President of the Australian Society of Rehabilitation Counsellors (Qld).
Thérèse’s passion for assisting people grew out of her own personal family experience and the values taught by her parents.
Her father, John Rein, a RAAF veteran, became wheelchair-bound after a plane crash in WWII. Told he would not work again, he went on to become an aeronautical engineer, worked until retirement at age 65, raised a family, and represented Australia in the Paraplegic games (the forerunner to the Paralympics). Her mother was a physiotherapist.
“My father said if you think you can’t do something, then you won’t be able to do it, but if you think you can, you will. And my mother always stood alongside him – urging, encouraging and believing.”
Born in 1958 and raised in Adelaide and Melbourne, Thérèse married the Hon Kevin Rudd, former Prime Minister of Australia (2007-2010) in 1981. They have three children.
Interviews and articles about Thérèses' life's work:
Video: Therese Rein - passionate advocate for the disabled, 7:30 Report interview with Kerry O'Brien, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 28 October 2009 (Transcript)
Video: UNICEF Australia: Patron to UNICEF Australia, Therese Rein, presents this testimonial on maternal health
Video: Therese Rein launches the Bella Program at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, June 2010
Article: Therese Rein receives her medal, Australian Human Rights Commission, 11 March 2011
Article: New HQ for OzHarvest Canberra, June 2011
Article: Therese Rein and her team Cook for a Cause, April 2012
Video: Therese speaks on resilience at the Young Minds Conference, July 2012
News: Therese Rein, the first woman to be awarded the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Champion Award – Northern Region, in 2012
Video: Therese launches Livable Housing Australia, Weekend Sunrise, September 2012
Video: Therese Rein named Queensland's Business Woman of the Year at the Telstra Businesswoman Awards, ABC News, 5 October 2012
News: Therese Rein receives an Honorary Doctorate at Griffith University for her services to business, 13 December 2012