Winners of the 2014 NAB Women’s Agenda Leadership Awards announced

At a luncheon in Sydney today, the winners of the second annual NAB Women’s Agenda Leadership Awards were announced.

Designed to celebrate emerging female talent, as well as the women and men who help women achieve, we were overwhelmed by the hundreds of entries received and inspired by all the stories we heard during the nomination process. 

This group of winners is just a small taste of the talent that’s available in the NFP, public, private and small business sectors of Australia. It’s also a reminder of the mentors, change champions and agenda setters who are leading the change on workplace gender equality. 

Regional / Rural Entrepreneur or Manager of the Year: Zoe Waters, Director Volunteer Services, Barwon Health

Zoe Waters has been instrumental in creating major change in the volunteer sector. The director of volunteer services for Australia’s leading regional healthcare service, Barwon Health, she successfully lead a rebrand of their volunteer program, working with a network of 1000 volunteers who contribute the equivalent of $1.5 million in paid work. Her team managed to recruit 220 new volunteers in 2013, most under the age of 60.

Best Employer Initiative for Women: Caltex

Caltex introduced its BabyCare package in late 2012, which is in addition to providing three months’ paid parental leave which has been company policy since 2007. Caltex pays a 3% bonus each quarter to a primary carer once they return to work up until their child’s 2nd birthday. Employees can access five “emergency child care” sessions per annum, valued up to $300 each. New parents are connected with external providers to help them locate childcare before their return to work. The company also provides nursing mothers’ facilities at key workplaces to provide privacy for employers needing to breastfeed or express milk.

Male or Female Change Champion of the Year: Carol Schwartz AM

Carol Schwartz formalised her ambitions and advocacy for Australian women through the creation of the Women’s Leadership Institute Australia in 2010. The organisation has been highly influential in shaping public debate as well as implementing high-level practical solutions to rectify the imbalance of women in leadership positions. The Institute has developed programs to increase the number of women on boards, boost the visibility of women in the media, provide executive education to potential female leaders and ensure more women are considered for honours. Carol continually seeks to challenge public perceptions to raise awareness of the benefits of gender diversity in leadership.

Special Commendation: Andrew Brewer, Manager Kurnell Refinery

Andrew Brewer is an engineer and manager who continually advocates for the success of women at Caltex. He has actively challenged the recruitment processes to ensure female talent is considered for all managerial positions, he sponsors several female leaders and potential leaders and champions policies and initiatives to better support women at work.  His initiatives have tripled the number of female superintendents (mid-level supervisory level managers) at the refinery. He is a founder and an active steward of the Kurnell Women’s Network, which is now a vibrant and thriving support network for females on site.

Emerging Leader in the Public Sector: Michelle Bennetts, Executive General Manager, Aviation Rescue and Fire Fighting, Airservices Australia

Michelle Bennetts has lead over 850 members of the ARFF group through an unprecedented period of change. Joining the ARFF in 2012 she encountered a workforce that was passionate but disillusioned. Since commencing the role there is now a single, cohesive management team and staff who are engaged and committed to their organisation and a more empowered management team. As a non-uniformed female with no fire-fighting training or experience leading a uniformed male-dominated workforce, Bennetts established the Operational Capability and Advisory committee to ensure members of the Airservices were able to drive initiatives and remain committed to improving the organisation

Emerging Leader in the Private Sector: Fay Calderone, Director, MatthewsFolbigg Lawyers

Fay Calderone was a founding member of MatthewsFolbigg Lawyers workplace relations team. In 2010, she was promoted to director and rebranded the practice group as Workplace Solutions in 2013. In the same year, at the age of 35, Calderdone was made one of 10 equity directors in the business. Under her leadership the Workplace Solutions group has experienced extraordinary organic growth, resulting in a 220% increase in top line revenue. This is attributed to Calderdone’s unique and innovative approach to managing people, clients and budgets.

Mentor of the Year: Lynn Kraus, Sydney Office Managing Partner, EY

As one of the most senior women within EY in Oceania Lynn Kraus is regarded as a role model for many women inside EY and actively mentors as many up and coming females as possible. In addition to mentoring Kraus leads by example; she is a mother of two who has attained and maintained seniority whilst working flexibly. She is willing to share her experiences to help women in her organisation and has been a staunch advocate of women’s advancement in the workplace.

Emerging Leader in the Not-for-profit Sector: Rachelle Towart, CEO, Australian Indigenous Leadership Centre

Rachelle Towart is leading the Australian Indigenous Leadership Centre (AILC) to help turn the tide of disadvantage. Since joining AILC in 2007, Towart has tripled revenue and more than doubled the number of course places available to Indigenous people, without compromising quality. She has developed strong partnerships with major Australian corporations and government departments, and has leveraged those relationships to improve governance, strategic planning and efficiency.

Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year: Bridget Loudon, Expert360

Bridget Loudon was working at global management consulting firm Bain & Company when she realised how many businesses – of all sizes – needed to engage expertise to complete certain projects. More often than not, though, finding flexible talent to provide that expertise in house was difficult and expensive. One the other hand, she noticed there was a growing pool of quality executives who were working freelance in search of flexibility, mobility and diversity of work. So she conceived a platform to connect the two parties safely, efficiently and enjoyably. That platform went live in July 2013 and is now her business called Expert360.

Agenda Setter: Alison Monroe General Manager, Sageco

Alison Monroe co-founded Sageco in 2004 to redress the age balance in the workforce and create an optimum late career and transition to retirement experience for older workers. Monroe’s tireless efforts in the area of mature age employment have resulted in more organisations taking action to tackle age balance in the workforce and remove barriers to employment participation for older workers. Monroe is also the president of NSW Equal Employment Opportunity Practitioners’ Association and a board Member of HREXL.

Hall of Fame: Ann Sherry AO

Ann Sherry has cracked numerous glass ceilings, played an instrumental role in developing paid maternity leave in corporate Australia and fought for gender equality all through her career. Here’s a little more about Ann Sherry and why we’ve all benefitted from her decades of work.

This article first appeared on Women’s Agenda.


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