Women in Energy celebrated International Women’s Day on March 8 by hosting an event with AECOM on the topic ‘Think You’re Not Ready To Be On a Board’?.
With many attendees having already attended breakfasts, lunches or seminars earlier in the day that celebrating the success of women in the corporate and not-for-profit sector, there was a buzz in the room which created a great atmosphere for the event.
We were very proud to partner with AECOM, who is recognised as an Employer of Choice by Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) for driving positive change through our commitment to gender equality. AECOM is also an official partner of International Women’s Day.
Angela from AECOM introduced our moderator, Nassim Khadem, who is the deputy editor for Business Day for the Sydney Morning Herald. Nassim did a fantastic job of generating insightful discussion between the audience and the panelists, while sharing her own experiences and musings on the issues discussed.
We were thrilled to secure the services of three impressive panelists, who brought different perspectives and a variety of knowledge that generated vibrant discussion and debate. On the panel:
Paul Smith, CEO of XY on Boards, whose company is dedicated to empowering and connecting the next generation of board directors. Paul is a director of several organisations and he has worked in a number of professions: actuary, marketer, investor and social entrepreneur.
Susan Taylor, General Counsel & Company Secretary with AusNet Services. Susan has worked in the US and Australia in a number of high profile roles in government and private practice, including a leading role in the creation of the NEM.
Debra Kwasnicki, Partner at Sheldon Harris. Debra has over 15 years’ experience in executive search and assessment and has also held senior leadership positions in IBM and Telstra. Debra is a director on the board of the Hunger Project.
The panelists shared their experiences of sitting on or chairing a variety of corporate and community boards - the challenges they have faced and how they have overcome them; the benefits of diversity on boards and executive leadership teams and the advantages of having younger professionals on boards.
Nassim referred to studies and statistics from around the globe about female representation on boards and asked their panelists and audience for their views on whether Australia is actually going backwards in terms of gender equality. The audience was especially interested in the panelists’ position on quotas and whether they positively influence change, or prevent organisations from securing the best person for the job.
The event also focused on how to make the leap into your first board position. The panelists encouraged the audience to clearly define their goals and assess why they want a directorship and what kind of organisation they wish to contribute to.
I really enjoyed the networking drinks following the event, where I got to further discuss the topic and meet some impressive women and men in the energy sector, all of whom are interested in further enriching their careers in this exciting industry.
Overall it was a successful night and we are looking forward to our next Women in Power breakfast in late April, where we will continue to discuss battery penetration in the residential market.