News & Resources

AUKCC International Women’s Day 2023

Simone Connors | International Career Manager

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

It reminds me of the amazing women I’ve been lucky enough to get to know through working life. And how many of them have since become good friends. Two amazing women in London, Verity Dephoff and Lisa Popplewell, are fellow Aussies from my first job in Sydney.

From a business perspective, what qualities do you believe women bring to the table?

Traditionally, I think female leaders are seen as collaborative and empathetic, but I’m really glad these are now traits we expect to see from everyone in the workplace now, regardless of gender.

What advice would you give young women wanting to be in leadership positions?

‘Back yourself’. It doesn’t always come naturally, so it’s important (and ok!) to remind ourselves to do it.

Brigitte Xelot | Government Relations Advisor

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

International Women’s Day is a day to reflect on the accomplishments and contributions women make every day and to consider everything that still needs to be done globally.

From a business perspective, what qualities do you believe women bring to the table?

Women are great at building teams which, in turn, get the job done. They are skilful negotiators, which makes them a real asset in any organisation.

What advice would you give young women wanting to be in leadership positions?

My advice would be to have a clear set of values, play to your strengths and seek out mentors early in your career.

Bronwyn Curtis OBE | Chair | Senior Independent Director | Board Member

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

It is important to celebrate the achievements and progress that women have made in the workplace. It is also a reminder to all companies that not only do they need to provide equal opportunities and pay for women, after all we are 51% of the population, but they have to be proactive and thoughtful about promoting women into the most senior levels.

From a business perspective, what qualities do you believe women bring to the table?

Diversity is an absolutely key requirement for any business to succeed. Women bring diversity of thought, background, experience, perspective, priorities and values – as do men. Everyone should have something to contribute to making an organisation a better place.

What advice would you give young women wanting to be in leadership positions?

Check out the company culture. This is a bit of a generalisation, but in my experience the older a company is, the more likely the culture is stuck in a 1970s rut. They will promote a few women, but usually, it will be in HR, legal or compliance. The profit-making arms will still be the province of the white male.

Also, be prepared to stand still on your career while your children are small, otherwise, you will be exhausted all the time and won’t do well in either role. If you are smart enough, the opportunities will still be there later.

Find a good mentor, preferably a female, but there are some terrific male mentors.

Olivia McFarlane | Business Development Manager

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

Celebrating being a woman and the value that being a woman brings to so many different situations.

From a business perspective, what qualities do you believe women bring to the table?

Soft skills, deepened understandings and perspectives, balanced opinions, new ideas and perspectives that challenge traditional ways of thinking and operating.

What advice would you give young women wanting to be in leadership positions?

Don’t see being a woman ever as a deterrent for being able to do or achieve something.

Claire Small | Cheif Clinical Officer | Board Member

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

IWD is an opportunity for all of us (whatever our gender or not) to think about the women who have helped shape us as individuals – influenced our paths in life, and our perspective on the world – including those women who have given us their time, their wisdom, their experience and their love to help us be the best versions of ourselves and achieve our dreams.

From a business perspective, what qualities do you believe women bring to the table?

Diversity is an absolutely key requirement for any business to succeed. Women bring diversity of thought, background, experience, perspective, priorities and values – as do men. Everyone should have something to contribute to making an organisation a better place.

What advice would you give young women wanting to be in leadership positions?

If you want to be a leader, be a leader. Leadership is not a position. It is an action, an attribute, a behaviour. It is about taking accountability for developing the potential in people and processes. Often younger women are working in roles where they see clearly what can be done better. Speak up, take your ideas to your managers, and volunteer to help. No one is going to appoint you to a leadership role if they don’t see you acting like one.

Vanessa Ganguin | Managing Partner

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

International Women’s Day originated to celebrate the hard won rights and suffrage that women have fought hard for.

As an immigration lawyer #IWD makes you think of the different cultures and regimes women come from and how globalisation and the movement of people has helped spread ideas of women’s rights and what women can achieve around the world.

From a business perspective, what qualities do you believe women bring to the table?

Women now outnumber men in the solicitors profession in the UK – a landmark borne of years of hard work. When it comes to the empathy, insight, analytical and communication skills needed for the profession, I have always been lucky to work in immigration practices where both sexes can succeed with such skills.

What advice would you give young women wanting to be in leadership positions?

Ignore the voice in your head which says you can’t do it.

Alexandra Geelan| Commercial Lawyer

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

IWD is a chance for us to all step back and acknowledge the contributions, wins and challenges of women and to have meaningful conversations about how we can all continue to promote equality in the workplace.

From a business perspective, what qualities do you believe women bring to the table?

Everyone has different strengths, weaknesses and perspectives that they bring to the table. Having equality and diversity in organisations and societies, and ensuring that women don’t get pushed out or marginalised, allows organisations to make the most of diversity of thought and experience to create stronger organisations and healthier communities.

What advice would you give young women wanting to be in leadership positions?

I would encourage young women aspiring to leadership to find other, like-minded women to connect with. It is challenging to push yourself out of your comfort zone and lead, so having a supportive community to hype you up and encourage you is invaluable to giving you the confidence and support to step up.

Imogen Gardiner | Director of Public Affair EMEA

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

IWD is a chance for us to all step back and acknowledge the contributions, wins and challenges of women and to have meaningful conversations about how we can all continue to promote equality in the workplace.

From a business perspective, what qualities do you believe women bring to the table?

Everyone has different strengths, weaknesses and perspectives that they bring to the table. Having equality and diversity in organisations and societies, and ensuring that women don’t get pushed out or marginalised, allows organisations to make the most of diversity of thought and experience to create stronger organisations and healthier communities.

What advice would you give young women wanting to be in leadership positions?

I would encourage young women aspiring to leadership to find other, like-minded women to connect with. It is challenging to push yourself out of your comfort zone and lead, so having a supportive community to hype you up and encourage you is invaluable to giving you the confidence and support to step up.

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