WIBP008: Helen Conway’s Battle For Gender Equality In Our Workplaces


Helen Conway is the Director of the Workplace Gender Equality Agency and is charged with the responsibility of promoting and improving gender equality in Australian Workplaces. In this candid interview, Helen talks about how her small but dedicated and capable team are driving change in the big end of town through education and regulatory programs.

Helen also shares her views on quotas, their successes and failures. Her advice to future women leaders on topics such as networking, sponsorship and the ability to promote yourself and your value to your organisation is invaluable.

WIBP007 – Tracey Spicer talks about being Fat, Forty and Fired


On the surface I have always admired Tracey Spicer for her class and glamour as one of Australia’s top news readers. In this entertaining interview I discovered she is so much more than that! Join me as Tracey shares how she started her career as a ‘bogan chick from Redcliffe’, to becoming a household name and challenging the big end of town when she was fired after her second child was born.

Tracey shares some blunt feedback from her male counterparts in the media industry in this interview. Have you ever received confronting feedback that you think wouldn’t have been given to one of your male peers (however well intentioned)? What advice would you give to others if they were in the same situation? You can leave a comment by  clicking here.

Imagine what Women everywhere could achieve if when they hear the word “no”, they interpret it as “your mission, should you choose to accept it…”

Samantha Alford

WIBP006 – Sharon Howes shares some of the challenges of managing family, loneliness, and difficult choices at the top


Sharon Howes hasn’t had the easiest of paths to executive leadership. In this insightful interview, Sharon shares some of the challenges of managing family, loneliness, and difficult choices at the top. Sharon has held key executive roles at some of Australia’s most iconic organisations including Macquarie Generation and Snowy Hyrdo, one of the most complex water and electricity projects in the world.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced in rising to the top? And what advice do you have for some of our up and coming leaders to help them navigate their careers? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

WIB005 – Is Sponsorship a Dirty Word?

I’ve noticed that Sponsorship is a bit of a dirty word in some women’s circles lately.  There’s some assumption that it’s about promoting women because of their gender not their talents, and that by doing it we will be doing some harm to the gender equality movement.  I believe this is utter rubbish.  It is naive and ignorant of the fact that men have been sponsoring each other for years – they just haven’t labelled it!

Women who help women

This was never more apparent to me than at a recent Mining industry business lunch.  I sat down as is often the case as the only woman at a table with nine men.  There was an interesting dynamic as I joined the table which I will go into in another post.  The conversation started smoothly and within five minutes I had acquired recommendations from most of the men at the table for someone in their network that could help me with various business problems I was trying to solve.  Not one referral was a woman. What is that if not sponsorship?

WIB004 – Nominate a Rural Woman

There’s some great work happening over at the Rural Women’s Network to recognise and celebrate Rural Women.image

The Rural Women’s Network is seeking help to uncover wonderful volunteers in our communities to honour them in the The 2014 Hidden Treasures Honour Roll.

Volunteers are extremely valuable to communities as they ensure the survival of many important community groups including charities, emergency services, the arts, environment, social justice, education and sporting organisations, which otherwise would simply not survive. They do not seek the limelight and go about their work quietly and diligently giving so much of their time and energy to help others across these regions.

Last year saw women nominated from Gresford to Lightning Ridge, from Harrington to Tinonee, from Cobar to Byron Bay. The oldest volunteer nominated was 86 and the youngest 17. There are no barriers to volunteering, only rewards.

We encourage you to go to the RWN website and take a moment to read through the inspiring stories of the women nominated last year and to think about who you could nominate for this year’s honour roll.

You should also head over to the NSW Rural Women’s Network Blog to check out some interesting and inspiring stories and events with rural women.

WIBP005: Newcastle Woman of the Year Helen Cummings shares her very personal insights into Domestic Violence


This could well be one of the most important interviews I will ever do.  Today I share with you an intimate conversation with Newcastle Woman of the Year, Author and advocate against domestic violence … Helen Cummings.  This interview is a bit of a deviation from our typical interviews with influential women in business, but make no mistake, Helen is a woman of influence.  And she has the experience to back it up.

Helen is a survivor of domestic violence.  After leaving her husband and taking her two infant children to flee from harm, her ex-husband went on to remarry and subsequently killed his wife and four year old daughter before taking his own life.  Helen had a subsequent 20 year career in the Family Law Courts, earned her Associate Law Degree and for 10 years was an Associate to a Federal Judge.  Helen then became an author, with her life chronicled in her book ‘Blood Vows – A haunting memoir of marriage and murder’.  She is now retired, although still tirelessly advocating for those who cannot find their voice.  This year Helen’s tireless work was recognised when she was awarded Newcastle Woman of the Year.

WIBP004: Jann Gardner gives advice on effective networking and the value of trusted advisors throughout your career


In this insightful interview, Jann Gardner debunks the myth that you need a grand plan to build a successful career, and gives some sound advice regarding effective networking and seeking out a trusted advisor.

Jann has built an accomplished career over 27 years as a lawyer in private practice, with 9 of those years as Managing Partner of the Newcastle office of the national law firm, Sparke Helmore.

WIB003: UN Women International Women’s Day Breakfast – Hunter Chapter

What a great breakfast it was this morning at the UN Women International Women’s Day Hunter Chapter Breakfast. Over 400 women and men attended, which is a record from what I hear. Definitely a record number of men attended the event!  The theme of this morning’s breakfast was ‘What’s Possible’.

The breakfast was kicked off by a consummate professional, Natasha Beyersdorf from NBN News, who few would know gives her time free of charge each year to support this event.  Natasha handed over to Kirsten Molloy, who gave an inspiring speech about the fact that change isn’t happening fast enough when it comes to Women in senior roles in corporate and government Australia.  The research shows that it will take over 284 years at the current rate of change to achieve gender equality in senior level positions.   We’re proud to say that Kirsten is our first woman CEO to be interviewed at the Women In Business Podcast.  During her speech, Kirsten shared this graph showing that women are basically dropping off a cliff when it comes from their representation from professional to executive ranks!  You can listen to Kirsten’s wonderful and very personal speech here.


Belinda Smith, another inspiring Hunter business woman was then invited to formally invite Newcastle MP Tim Owen AM to announce the Newcastle Woman of the Year.

Newcastle Woman of the Year 2014 – Helen Cummings

Tim took the opportunity to share the inside scoop on what’s happening in Newcastle in terms of infrastructure and the Newcastle rail link in the coming years, before announcing the Newcastle Woman of the Year, Helen Cummings.  

WIBP003: Kirsten Molloy reveals how she transitioned to be the only female CEO in one of the world’s largest coal chains


Kirsten_MolloyKirsten Molloy is humility personified.  She has successfully transitioned to become the only female CEO among rail providers, coal terminals, coal producers (mines) and the port but she doesn’t want to make a fuss.  She credits her successes in her first year as CEO of the Hunter Valley Coal Chain Co-ordinator (HVCCC) such as delivering more throughput of coal than the Hunter Valley Coal Chain has ever seen, to the hard work of her team, and the support and collaboration of her male peers and their collective teams.

In this interview you’ll hear how Kirsten’s career evolved to this point, her tips for taking on challenging roles and assignments and winning, and how she managed to do it all while raising a young son with the support of her husband, family and friends.  You’ll also hear about Kirsten’s setbacks, and how she handled them as well as what she learned along the way.

I hope you enjoy this interview.  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.