inspiring Origins


“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.” — Margaret Mead.

Change is driven by catalysts. And the catalyst for NAWO was Angela Tatlis. Click here to read the story of NAWO, or watch the video to hear Angela’s story.

Originally known as Women in Manufacturing...

…this group was founded in Melbourne in 2009 as a networking opportunity for general manager/director level women working predominantly in manufacturing companies.

It began as a discussion forum regarding best diversity practice and has evolved since to focus on women in non-traditional roles or within operational businesses. In April 2011 the volunteer organisation was formalised as an incorporated national not-for-profit association.

Along with a new name, the National Association of Women in Operations (NAWO) widened its scope to encompass operational roles and/or businesses. A Board of nine executives from different major businesses started to formally develop NAWO’s proposition to create a network of mid-career women through offering high quality events.

As membership grew, NAWO expanded into Sydney in 2011, then into Perth and Queensland in subsequent years.

NAWO’s success has hinged on seeking insight into what diversity practices work well, and providing practical tools and mentoring for women’s professional development. Influencing the diversity agenda at CEO/executive level has provided an additional level of support by fostering greater industry understanding of strategies required for establishing a robust pipeline of female talent.

NAWO’s approach has centred on four key areas:

Attract more women
Develop individuals as leaders
Advise business leaders
Advocate and inform

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