#WeLead

Tell us a little about yourself?

I’m currently Assistant Director, Technical Service Delivery in the Department of Health and Human Services. Originally from South Australia but I’ve lived and worked in Tokyo, Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne. I’m also mum to an inspiring young girl and I have an amazing husband who has been my biggest support throughout my career.

Who are the women who have inspired you most in your life?

The two people outside of my career who have inspired me the most are my mum and my daughter. My mum has always guided me to have a growth mindset, to laugh and enjoy life, and that nothing is too difficult if you really want it. She also showed me that strength comes from inside and whilst she battled cancer for 10 years which eventually took her life, she continued to enjoy every minute of her life.

When my daughter was 8 years old she asked my husband if she could speak at his photographic exhibition at the United Nations in New York. Most recently she has been baking cookies to raise money to support the Purple Truck which provides dialysis services in the most remote parts of Australia.

Any other female leaders you look up to?

MP Julie Bishop stands out for the strength she has shown in her political career. I recently watched the interview of her with Andrew Denton – if you haven’t seen it, it is a must. She spoke about her experiences and difficulties of being the only woman in the room and not being heard. I’ve also always loved Oprah Winfrey. Some of her most popular quotes really resonate with me and her story of being born into poverty and now being a philanthropist and multi-billionaire is incredibly admirable.

Why do you think it’s important to increase the number of women in business, particularly in leadership roles?

With just 12 women CEOs in Australia’s top companies we need to support the younger generation entering the workforce to become future leaders. Increasing the number of women in business WILL change the culture by bringing different viewpoints to situations and ideas. We all think differently and diversity in leadership is important. We need to look at diversity not just with gender, but recognising our individual differences and backgrounds.

What do you think are barriers for women in the recruitment process?

Confidence and thinking you don’t have all the skills when applying for a job is a common barrier for women. You may look at a job description and think that you only have 4 of the 10 skills they are looking for. Don’t let this be a barrier, keep applying and tweaking your resume. Also be persistent in your application and interview process and ask for ‘feedback’ as this will assist in future interviews.

What do you think contributes to the lack of females taking the plunge in entrepreneurship?

I think there are a couple things; feeling vulnerable, and not wanting to take risks due to the fear of failing. Being vulnerable is a strength and when you learn how to build on this you will do great things; it’s a game changer. You also need to take risks and celebrate everything you do in life. If something doesn’t go to plan, learn from your experiences and move on to the next journey in your life.

What more can be done to support women in male-dominated industries?

Connect and share with like-minded people. Women need to support each other and, we need to acknowledge and learn from those who have come before us and become challengers in the industry. We all need someone to support us, give us feedback, share vulnerabilities and boost our confidence. My husband has been a massive support and provided clarity in my thinking and reinforced my value as a woman when things get a little tough.