From the National Director

NAWO e-newsletter Issue 3, May 2016

inspiring industry solutions

Louise Weine

“Please get in touch if you would like to discuss how NAWO can help propel greater female representation in your workplace.”

Inspiring Industry Solutions

Last week I had the great pleasure of joining a select group of operational industry leaders at NAWO’s Queensland Industry Solutions event, ‘Bringing policy to life to create inclusive work environments’.

The event was hosted by Aurizon, a company that, under the inspired leadership of Lance Hockridge, is making real inroads into the drive for greater female representation. We are indebted to the Aurizon representatives who shared their key learnings and experiences with NAWO’s member network at the event:

  • Michael Carter – Executive Vice President Operations
  • Kathrina Bryen – Vice President Human Resources (Business Partner Operations)
  • Sarah Dixon – General Manager, Network Operations

Following is a brief summary of the key learnings from this event. I hope they inspire you to think about practical actions you can implement in order to boost gender diversity in your business.

Who knows? Maybe we will be able to showcase your achievements at our next Industry Solutions event!

Key Learning #1: The 5 minute “Diversity Share”

Our session opened with the standard Safety Share. Kathrina then shared Aurizon’s additional meeting standard – the Diversity or People Share. Considered critical to Aurizon’s cultural change, the Diversity Share is a 5 minute anecdote shared with each team that may be home or work related, focused on diversity and inclusion, or recognising someone in the team. The Diversity Share opens up opportunities for dialogue and provides a platform for launching courageous conversations.

Key Learning # 2: CEO sponsorship and strong leadership is key.

Key Learning #3: You need to educate and increase awareness of diversity issues. Communicate the priority/intent of gender diversity initiatives to the whole employee population and encourage involvement in this process.

Key Learning #4: Policy and Practice at intake is crucial. Challenge the definition of merit and review the processes in place. Be willing to think laterally, consider people with non-traditional backgrounds.

Key Learning #5: Provide the additional leadership support, mentoring and necessary technical training to this talent and they will succeed*. (*It will be high risk without this support!)

Key learning #6: It is more difficult to pinpoint the “what’s in it for me” biscuit when promoting gender diversity policy initiatives in comparison to other initiatives, such as safety. Ensure resistant conversations are not driven underground, but aired constantly, in a robust but respectful way, in order to move forward. Support front line managers to help them have these critical conversations.

Key Learning #7: Targets are crucial to progress. They need to be bold enough to get a reaction and ignite cultural change. The old adage of “what get measured gets done” really does apply in operational environments. Targets need to be focussed on – tracked, measured, reported and linked back to management remuneration.

Key Learning #8: Initiatives must make a real difference and must not be a FAD. Don’t stick with anything that is not working.

Key Learning #9: Identify the barriers to women returning to career and staying in career post childbirth. Identify potential solutions by consulting with both women AND men.


I will be sharing more of the anecdotes from this Industry Solutions event through our blog. In the meantime, please get in touch if you would like to discuss how NAWO can help propel greater female representation in your workplace.

Louise Weine

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