NAWO discusses ‘growing female talent’ with Shepparton and streams the event to its national network
The second event in NAWO’s regional development series and our first to be Livestreamed was held at the Macintosh Centre in Shepparton on August the 31st. It was a huge success, with over 100 guests attending the physical event and over 100 more Livestreaming the event remotely.
Co-hosted with NAWO Silver Corporate Member SPC Ardmona, the morning program addressed what it is like being female working in operations in the Goulburn Valley, what the challenges are for the region to retain and develop female regional talent, and what steps the region can take to attract and grow its pipeline of female workers in operations. It was also a great networking opportunity for attendees from a broad range of regional businesses, including food manufacturing, retail, local government and education.
The agenda included three keynote addresses and a panel discussion with the following excellent speakers:
Lesley Hart – Director, Dawes & Vary Riordan Lawyers | Board Member, Committee for Greater Shepparton
Sam Birrell – CEO, Committee for Greater Shepparton
Rebecca Woolstencroft, CEO, MB+M Chartered Accountants | Board Chair, GV Health
Simon Taylor, General Manager Manufacturing, SPC Ardmona
Jo Anderson, Chair, Goulburn Murray Water
Seema Abdullah, Councillor, Greater Shepparton City Council
Gabrielle Westlake, Plant Manager, Campbell Arnott’s
Discussions addressed some of the issues for the region such as the shortage of professional workers, unemployment, loss of talent to cities and an aging population whilst identifying the opportunities for filling the female pipeline by employers promoting Shepparton and surrounds as a lifestyle choice with affordable housing and quality of life for families in their job adverts.
The panel considered the region’s ability to attract female talent and discussed examples in their companies of females coming to the region to develop their careers. Gabrielle Westlake shared her fascinating story of how as a nurse from Tasmania she came to Shepparton to develop her career firstly as a food technician and now as Plant Manager for Campbell Arnott’s – a career path she is clear she could not have achieved in a metropolitan setting. Flexibility for women, and men, was a hot topic as well as strong mentoring and leadership to support developing talent.
The feedback from the event was very positive from both the Shepparton attendees and those who logged on to the watch it live online or afterwards. If you missed the event (or you want to relive all the fun!) click here and login to view the replay using the following password: NAWO1357
Some highlights from the speakers were:
“The event sends a strong message that regional careers, and regional contribution, is equally as important as metro contribution. We should as a country talk more about this.” – Yvonne McKay, Head of People Culture and Communications, SPC
“Gender diversity improves the balance and quality of decision making in business and on Boards” – Sam Birrell, CEO, Committee for Greater Shepparton
“Regional people are more flexible and open to trying new things – they have to be” – Rebecca Woolstencroft, CEO, MB+M Chartered Accountants
A huge thank you to SPC Ardmona for co-hosting and organising the event at the McIntosh Centre, and to the City of Greater Shepparton.
The event was part of NAWO’s Regional Delivery Program which aims to reach the large pool of female talent across regional Australia and is funded by Australian Government’s Office for Women. This funding is part of the Government’s Women’s Leadership and Development Strategy, which is focused on improving gender equality and providing support for women’s economic empowerment, safety and leadership. It is anticipated this partnership will enable hundreds (if not thousands) of regional women to participate in operational leadership development opportunities, and regional organisations to further their gender diversity targets.