What are you in this industry/occupation?
Graduated with a PhD in Chemistry and commenced my career with ICI (soon to be Orica) in technical roles. Orica and the Industry offered ongoing exciting and challenging roles, across marketing, sales, strategy, supply chain and manufacturing leading to significant commercial leadership and general management roles. Working for a large corporate provided excellent experience and opportunity, and also enabled me to progress a career whilst remaining located in my hometown of Newcastle, which became increasingly important when I had my son. My move to the CEO role at HVCCC further supported the next level of challenge I wanted in my career, presenting an exciting environment with high complexity, requiring significant leadership capability and is based in hometown Newcastle.
What are the benefits?
The Industry having gone through significant growth, and a range of cycles (up and down) means I have been exposed to environments of both retraction and growth. My technical skills have been important due to the nature of the industry and the complexity of the services offered in the organisations I have worked in. It has meant that I have worked on a range of technical and commercial challenges and opportunities and been able to deliver valuable outcomes for those organisations. I also have significant interest in positive social outcomes and developing people and have been able to tap into this in my roles, whether supporting programs to aid less fortunate people, or developing leadership programs for women in leadership, team development programs, women in field operations, to supporting organisations like Beyond Blue. To have a good work life balance, and to minimise travel away from home has been a key benefit in my current role and one that I value enormously at this stage. To have a fascinating and key role at the heart of a huge industry, is incredibly rewarding. I also have the opportunity to continue to develop my team, positively impact the culture, and participate in other activities that support my passion for Equity and Diversity. Conditions are very good, and degree of flexibility suits me.
What are the drawbacks?
I have an amazing job and at present a very good work life balance, I am not sure there are any drawbacks to my current role. I guess the main comment I would make is that there is a significant investment of time and energy required to get to this position. It is not a drawback just a reality.
Why do you encourage other women and girls to consider this industry/occupation?
Yes absolutely – Senior Executive roles can be very rewarding, if solving problems and making change appeals to you. If you want to have a positive impact on others and to help people reach their full potential then leadership roles enable you to do that. Financial rewards can be good. It opens up many more options to you as well (e.g. directorships). There are many really capable women graduating and entering the workforce. We know they are just as capable of being Senior leaders as anyone else and I am keen to encourage that outcome!