NAWO’s new Regional Delivery Program kicked off in March as we teamed up with SunRice in Leeton, NSW, to ‘cultivate female talent in the Riverina’. A significant number of NAWO Corporate members have regional and remote sites. Recruiting women into operational businesses and roles in these locations can be even more challenging, and women can find it even more difficult than their city-based counterparts to build strong, supportive networks of like-minded individuals. Through the Regional Delivery Program NAWO will establish regional committees to host networking and professional development events. The response to the Leeton event was tremendous and we are well on the way to establishing a NAWO Riverina committee. Next stops? Shepparton and regional WA!
On March 21, SunRice – a Silver NAWO Corporate Member – hosted the inaugural NAWO Riverina event in Leeton, celebrating women’s leadership in the Riverina and exploring ways to overcome barriers to increased female participation in non-traditional roles in regional areas.
Following the inspiring career story presented by Kate O’Callaghan – General Manager, Southern Cotton, NAWO’s Louise Weine moderated spirited panel discussions featuring Kate with fellow panellists Tracey Morris – Financial Controller, Webster Limited; Jackie Kruger – General Manager, Leeton Shire Council; and Paul Scoullar – Site Operations Manager, Deniliquin, SunRice.
The panel considered the case for gender diversity, discussing the conversations they find themselves having around the issue of gender equality, at work, at home, in the community and with regional leaders, as well as considering how well the business case for diverse teams and gender balanced leadership resonates with regional leaders and what needs to be done to improve the situation.
The panel went on to discuss the female pipeline – lateral approaches organisations can take to identify, develop and progress female talent from multiple disciplines/functions; encouraging girls to study STEM related disciplines and making STEM career opportunities more attractive to women. Practical approaches organisations and community leaders in the Riverina can implement to entice talent to relocate to regional areas to take up opportunities to propel their careers forward were also featured.
The final topic for the panel focused on overcoming resistance to job flexibility and caring responsibilities, examining how leaders can provide effective support for all employees in juggling work and parental responsibilities, and contribute to the broadening of accepted ‘norms’ for Australian society in terms of child rearing and elder care.
Suzi Skinner, Managing Director of Selftalk and author of ‘Build Your Leader Identity’ then kicked off an exceptional leadership development workshop, highlighting the importance of authentic leadership.
SPECIAL THANKS TO SUNRICE FOR HOSTING THIS EVENT, AND TO MARIA RYAN AND SANDRA CITTADINI OF SUNRICE FOR THEIR FABULOUS EFFORTS HELPING TO ORGANISE THIS EVENT!
Just a small snippet of feedback from the event included:
“It was a great afternoon full of positive energy and encouragement!!! Thank you.”
“It was excellent to have an event like this in my local area. I often wish to attend events in Sydney that I see advertised but cannot justify the cost of travel. Thank you for hosting an event in Leeton.”
“Great event! Well received by many. We need more.”
“Great event, really enjoyable, well done.”
“Thank you for a great day of networking and discussions.”