Page 22 - Australian Defence Magazine Aug 2019
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“We have doubled every measure of this awards program in just a year thanks to the support of the Defence community.”
LEFT: Held at the National Aboretum in Canberra, almost 400 women and their allies celebrated the success of
their peers.
BELOW: Women
in Navy performed particularly well in the awards this year.
person to graduate with an Honours degree in Electrical and Aerospace Engineering, and the first Indigenous female to graduate from any Engineering degree from QUT. She is now working on the Boeing Wedget- ail program while acting as an ambassador for the company’s STEM, diversity and in- digenous engagement programs.
Diversity matters
“It is really wonderful to be a room of so many amazing women and their allies to celebrate the very real benefits of diversity in action,” ADM Managing Editor Kath- erine Ziesing said in her opening remarks. “We have doubled every measure of this awards program in just a year thanks to the support of the Defence community.”
MC’d by veteran journalist and NOW Australia co-founder Tracy Spicer AM, the awards dinner showcased the brilliant women involved in the Defence commu- nity. With finalists from every service, Aus- tralian Public Service (APS), primes, SMEs and veteran-driven not for profit organisa- tions, the field of contenders was a stellar line up of talented individuals.
The judging panel acknowledged the strong field of nominations this year, re-
flecting that they were looking for achieve- ments in the 2018 calendar year but also looking for women who have gone above and beyond in their career to support the next generation of women coming through their organisations.
Speaking at the dinner, Megan Oliver Head of People and Culture at SYPAQ Systems shared some of her story with the audience.
“Last year when SYPAQs CEO Amanda Holt presented this award she reflected on her early engineering career, a phrase she said at the time resonated with me. She said something along the lines of that “you need to be able to see something in order to be something” and at the time she was reflect- ing on how few female role models in leader- ship were available for her to see when she be- gan her journey in engineering,” Megan said.
“Today, I was fortunate enough to at- tend the Rapid Context launch of their “Growing the Defence Industry Workforce Report” (see box for more on this report), which focused on: “Attracting and retain- ing workers with critical skills and trades into Defence and the Defence industry”.
“Several points were raised regarding issues around flexibility. So, when thinking about flexibility in my view, it is absolutely critical
in the work environment that all legislators, employers, clients, managers and employees approach flexible working requests creatively and with a positive mindset.
“If 30 – 40 years ago I was trying to live with the family circumstances I now do, I would probably be struggling to make ends meet. I would probably be relying on my family to support me, and I would probably be strug- gling to survive on a minimum wage role.
“However, due to improvements in educa- tion, legislation, childcare support, and most critically the enlightened employment prac- tices and policies being adopted by employ- ers, these changes that have made a funda- mental difference in my life and career path.
“In 2010 one of those unthinkable hor- ror stories happened to my family. I became a 37-year-old widow and single parent to a 3.5-year-old and a 2-week-old baby after my husband died suddenly from a heart attack. I went through a numb period of just want- ing to wake up from what surely had to be a shocking nightmare. The responsibility of providing for my young family felt over- whelming,” Megan outlined.
“Newly introduced flexibility legislation helped me immensely. I was able to request additional maternity leave, because quite
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