Phillip Riley was honoured to host our Women in Leadership Breakfast on Friday 31 May 2019 at the Pavilion Room, Arts Centre Melbourne.
General Manager Brooke Alexander hosted the event to inspire and engage women within a diverse range of industries, and highlight the struggles of gender diversity within the workplace. It was also a fantastic networking opportunity for like-minded individuals and a chance to empower each other through sharing adversities. The panel featured four talented speakers along with our special guest, Dr. Samantha Ratnam, Leader of the Victorian Greens. Michelle Redfern acted as MC for the event.
The guest speakers, Melissa Reynolds, Allison Hawke, Alba Ruiz Leon, and Dorothy Hisgrove, generously shared their career and leadership stories, their struggles with inequality and balancing work with personal life, with approximately 80 guests.
Special guest Dr. Samantha Ratman commenced the event with a brief speech about her career history with a focus on workplace equality and her political party’s stance on diversity as a whole. Samantha was followed by Melissa Reynolds, a C Suite executive with significant experience in organizational, transformation, commercial and people leadership. Melissa has changed roles, companies, and sectors throughout her career while raising three children aged 14, 10 and 8. Melissa spoke of the challenges faced by working mothers who are also navigating career transition.
Our second speaker, Allison Hawke, is currently Chair of the Clean Energy Council’s Solar Directorate and is the recipient of the 2019 Women in Renewables Award. Allison shared her experiences of dealing with personal feelings of inadequacy, and the hard work and dedication that was necessary to become successful.
Alba Ruiz Leon, who has 14 years of experience in the renewable energy industry, including more than 10 years of in-depth project development in the APAC region, highlighted her struggles when starting in the male-dominated engineering sector as the only female with her company. Alba also briefly touched on inequality in the home lives of many, and how this reinforces inequality in the workplace.
Our final speaker was Dorothy Hisgrove, partner and Chief People Officer at PricewaterhouseCoopers. Before PWC, Dorothy held the position of General Manager People, Customer, and Community, with AFL. During this time, she delivered the first gender strategy to grow female participation which resulted in a three-year funding commitment for investment in coaching, umpiring, a leadership development program for women in the industry, and the establishment of 163 female football teams.
Currently, within Australia, women hold 13.7% of chair positions and 25.8% of directorships and represent 17.1% of CEOs and 30.5% of key management personnel (WGEA 2019, Data Explorer). The Women in Leadership breakfast celebrated the success of Australian women in leadership roles but reminds us there is still a significant way to go. Phillip Riley values integrity and diversity within the workplace and believes women deserve equal opportunities to flourish within leadership roles. We are grateful to those who participated in this empowering event and look forward to supporting and paving the way for Women in Leadership.