In October of 2015 I was invited to a conference in Toronto, Canada, to speak about my work in Aboriginal communities here in Australia. My experiences revealed something ordinary yet often overlooked: in order to bring about real progress, close collaboration and mutual respect aren’t just important, they’re non negotiable. As I sat there listening to the United Nations goals for humanity that year, it occurred to me that the same principles applied to another UN global issue: gender parity for women.
As a woman who rose through corporate environments composed mostly of men, I know that there is a strong need for continuing support in the workplace to ensure female employees remain engaged and confident, especially when there are few women in a particular industry or the nature of the work is predominantly male. Furthermore, to retain the best and most innovative employees, a corporate culture where many viewpoints and leadership styles are welcomed is a must.
The challenge is this: how to create a work environment where all employees feel they have a voice and can make a difference, regardless of gender. As we move forward into a world where more and more women are functioning in leadership roles, there is an ever pressing need to recognize the diverse ways in which influence can occur within corporations and to make certain that all genres of talent are efficiently utilized.
Energized and inspired, I returned to Australia and set to work.
Gender parity is a two way street. An educated, competent woman can step into a role and do her best, but the second part of the equation is an equally committed work place that makes time to ensure that employees feel able to function at their highest ability.
“I feel supported by John Holland.” --John Holland Employee who participated in the Women of Worth program
John Holland is an excellent example of an incredibly masculine industry with an impressive 27% female representation in leadership roles. What’s more, they make an effort to make sure that their 27% have access to the management tools they need to make great things happen.
It has been my absolute pleasure to work alongside John Holland’s female leadership via Women of Worth, encouraging employees in seminars and personal coaching to foster greater trust, respect and appreciation for their natural and collective talents. The culmination of this experience is the celebration of International Women’s Day 2018 in partnership with John Holland!