March 8 is International Women’s Day – a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. It’s a time to celebrate all women, in all their diversities.
Every year we celebrate International Women’s Day to help spread the message of gender bias and equality. This year’s theme is Break The Bias.
Here at Smarter Communities, we have a tribe of fabulous females around the country in diverse roles.
“From the most senior executive leadership positions in Business Operations, People & Culture, IT and Growth, to state and regional managers, community managers, technical trainers and award-winning support staff, our people demonstrate the strong traits required to maintain a cohesive, caring and supportive environment for all staff.
Our female staff play a critical role in the success of our business and preserving our culture. They are selfless, modest role models who guide, advise and help develop future leaders. They are a credit to the business and our industry.” Alex Lang, CEO.
What qualities do you believe women bring to the workplace?
“Effective communication skills – Women are patient and good listeners which make excellent mediators.
Organisation skills – Women are great planners due to their organisational and multitasking abilities.
Team/relationship building – Women value relationship and bring a sense of family into team and company.” Yiyu Qiu, National Proposal/Research Manager
Inspirational and empowering women’s moments
“I read the story of Nat King Cole’s wife who was stuck in the rain trying to get to her dying husband’s bedside after her car had broken down. Someone stopped to pick her up, having no idea who she was, and she did make it.
After Nat passed away, Maria made sure she still thanked the person who got her to her husband’s beside; a young white male, which was against all stereotypes for the day to help an African woman. Maria’s penned note said:
Dear Mr James, thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes but my spirits. Then you came along. Because of you I was able to make it to my dying husband’s bedside just in time before he passed away. God bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others. Sincerely, Mrs Nat King Cole.
This has stuck with me always as it broke down the gender and race stereotype, even so long ago.” Simone Lucas, Team Leader Operations Support
- “When American celebrity Lauren Conrad was inappropriately asked in a radio interview what her favourite position was. She paused briefly before replying ‘CEO’. Kudos to Lauren!” Kendra Burgess, Marketing Co-ordinator
What do you believe can be done to address gender stereotypes?
“I believe there needs to be an education and it starts with our children. We should be talking about it, not just as adults but in schools. Teaching our children that regardless of who you are and how you identify you are just as capable as the next person.” Lauren Spink – Repairs, Maintenance & Compliance Manager
Nicole Roach, Assistant Community Manager & Technical Trainer agrees.
“Children are the way forward. They don’t have biases until adults impart them onto their children. Thankfully the world is moving towards a more accepting route, so this should be phased out sooner rather than later. I will be outdated eventually, and I’m okay with that, because a step in the right direction is a step in the right direction. I will keep up as best as possible to ensure that everyone of all minorities are accepted and loved.
Remember, your initial thought is what you’ve been TAUGHT and your secondary thought is who you are. Eventually, that secondary thought will become your initial thought.”
Have you experienced bias?
“Not by my colleagues or by the industry, but certainly yes from clients. One particular client did not like an answer I provided, even though it was the legally correct one, and requested I be replaced by a ‘switched-on male community manager’. I am young, female, I work hard and hold a senior role and am confident with body corporate legislation. I am proud of who I am. I will not be deterred by any form of bias either in the workplace or outside.” Rikki Slaughter, Regional Manager
What advice would you give women starting their careers to defy bias?
“Set yourself regular goals and seek out a fantastic support network of both men and women to help you achieve your goals. We are all unique and have fabulous strengths so don’t try to be someone you’re not.” Kerrie Miller, General Manager Business Operations & People
Our IWD messages
- “Do not give anyone the power to make you feel inferior. Be your true self anywhere you are, do not doubt yourself, continue to rise above all limit and break the bias.” Modupe Ikadeh, Senior Community Manager
- “No more mum guilt and mum shaming. Women are magical, and we should support them in their journey as individuals and as mothers. Enjoying what you do and wanting a career for yourself does not mean you’re a bad mum.” Stephanie Toft, Regional Manager
- “Women are strong, and we are as capable as we are diverse. We need to support and encourage women’s choices. Professional, academic, construction, mother, carer, leader, adventurer – we are woman.” Melinda Vassallo, Brand Manager
- “Women can do anything as long as they have the knowledge to give themselves the power.” Lisa Maher, Business Development Assistant
If you’d like to join the team at Smarter Communities and be inspired by our amazing women, and men :), then contact Nina Prodywus in People & Culture.