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Daring to Lead – Stories of Courageous Women

Insights from Bega colleagues Miranda Davidson, Assistant Brand Manager Bega Foods, Jess Atkins, Category Activation Planner Bega Foods and Phoebe Bullen, Social Media and Content Manager

We were lucky enough to attend this NAWO Quick Bite event on Thursday 18th July at Visy’s Coolaroo site. For one of us it was our first event and we would have to say that everyone was really inspiring.  It was so nice to hear stories from other women who have shared similar experiences and to share the same self-doubts as we have.  We highly recommend getting along to one of the NAWO events in the future.  We know it can be hard to justify pulling yourself away from work at times but we thought the event was incredibly valuable.

A combined summary of the key learnings from the fabulous moderator, guest speakers and panellists are below.  Thank you to Visy for generously hosting and to everyone that contributed to the event to make it such an inspiring success.

Michelle Redfern – Founder of Advancing Women and event moderator

Women don’t need to be fixed in order to advance, the system need to be fixed to help us advance

There are three types of people: those who make it happen, those who watch it happen and those who wondered what happened…. make sure we are the type of people that make things happen!

Think about what advice would you give to your younger self? Michelle’s examples included: stop trying to please others, take risks, keep your options open and don’t second guess yourself.

 Jean Yves Nouaze, EGM Paper & Pulp, Visy

Jean’s insights were that risk does not equal failure and it is okay to make mistakes. Do not accept a ‘blokey’ culture in the work place, for example a man saying ‘Good Morning, Gents’ when entering a meeting room is not okay – call out your presence and that you should be acknowledged.

Fiona Geminder (Visy Co-Owner)

Always hire the best person for the job, not the best available person.  If the best possible person isn’t available, particularly for senior/non-traditional roles, find women for these who may not have made themselves available – Richard Pratt (Visy Founder).

Visy is rolling out company-wide initiatives to stop the gender imbalance, for example longer maternity leave, purchase leave programs, mentoring and a parenting portal.

The company has also put the challenge to every department in the business to hire at least one female for a senior leadership position in each department.

Jenny Barnes, Energy Manager VP P- Process and Engineering and Operations Manager for the Cogeneration plant, VISY

The only way to move forward is to keep trying things, even if it leads to a big failure – teams will have a better bond after trying new/risky things.

If you are striving for perfection, know that it is okay to not be perfect at everything and you can ask for help from experts (this was a common thread with many of the women).

We need to get better at talking about times we have failed and the lessons we learnt, and appreciate the grit we had during those experiences – have courage and confidence during times of failure as well as success and acknowledge, and accept the accolades for what you have achieved.

Group Panel: Angela Kranjcic, Logistics Division – National Sales Manager, Liz Moussa Operations Manager, and Sonia Zdravkovska,  Divisional Procurement Manager, Visy

Take on projects in areas you want to develop to give yourself the confidence to take on roles with skills.

Further to the point on stopping the blokey culture, it shouldn’t matter if a woman is managing a group of men – it is just one human managing other humans!

“You can’t do this” negative self-talk – the only way to be able to do something is to try things and take on challenges to improve and learn.  Observe other people who are showing confidence – if they are doing it, why can’t I? Realise that other people also probably have self-doubts.

You don’t need to be an expert at everything – upskill in areas you are not confident in. You need to have the courage to grow and accept the opportunity. You need to use your network and team and resources to grow and build on those areas when required.

Women tend not to have the confidence to be ready for new roles (studies show that people are ready for a new challenge when they are 50-60% ready), however some women think they need to be 110% ready when they go into a new role, whereas men may feel only around 60-70%.  Typically, when progressing into a leadership role if you are at 60% then you’re ready!! BACK YOURSELF!






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