Women in leadership ambassadors break down barriers
More than hard work required to get to the top.
A group of women from the top ranks of business and finance have come together as Women in Leadership Ambassadors to help UTS Business School break down the remaining barriers to equitable representation of women in senior management.
The 12 inaugural ambassadors will not only be role models and mentors but will also help develop a suite of tangible support for aspiring women leaders, as members of the advisory committee for the new Women in Leadership Initiative at UTS Business School.
The committee aims to encourage more women to pursue leadership roles in areas such as finance, construction, technology and wealth management and to provide support programs that will help them get there.
By sharing experiences, engaging our networks and encouraging women to successfully complete business degrees, we have the potential to make a real difference and create real pathways in the career development prospects for women.
Lyn Lewis-Smith, Chief Executive of BESydney
Why is this sort of initiative still necessary in 2020? “Despite our best endeavours as a business community, and indeed as a broader society, diversity in leadership, including gender, remains an opportunity,” says Women in Leadership ambassador Catriona Noble, who has been a managing director with McDonald’s and for ANZ’s retail banking business.
“It concerns me that the lack of female representation is not changing quickly enough,” she says. “Even my 20-year-old daughter will not be part of a cohort that sees gender equality in executive ranks, at the current pace of change.”
According to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, women represent 17.1 per cent of CEOs and 31.5 per cent of key management personnel. A third of boards and governing bodies have no female directors. In contrast, less than 1 per cent have no male directors.
Fellow ambassador and Business School Alumna Michelle Inns, Chief Operating Office at Crestone Wealth Management, says: “I have always believed that hard work will allow me to achieve my goals. However, it turns out that’s half the story. The other half is that you cannot achieve great things, particularly in our fast-paced economy, on your own.” That’s why building networks and connecting with mentors is so important and will be part of the Initiative, she says.
The Initiative will provide a framework for collaboration with other leaders across industry, academia and government to influence and take action on gender inequality, says another inaugural ambassador, Lyn Lewis-Smith, Chief Executive of BESydney.
“By sharing experiences, engaging our networks and encouraging women to successfully complete business degrees, we have the potential to make a real difference and create real pathways in the career development prospects for women.”
The advisory committee will support and align programs spanning high school and university, including postgraduate education. Support programs will include scholarships, internships, career development, assistance with return to work from career breaks, mentoring and networking opportunities.
UTS Business School Deputy Dean Professor Carl Rhodes says the fact that, in 2020, women remain underrepresented in senior leadership is “scandalous”. “To rub salt in the wounds, even when women are appointed in such roles, they’re systematically paid less than their male counterparts,” he says. “This is a travesty of justice that needs to be addressed now.”
If you’d like to learn more or contribute in any way to the Women in Leadership Initiative at UTS Business School, please contact Hannah Brunskill, Advancement Officer.