10 Organisations Encouraging Female Professionals In Australia
10. Australian Centre for Leadership for Women
The Australian Centre for Leadership for Women (ACLW), a virtual Centre was founded by Dr Diann Rodgers-Healey in 2000 to assist emerging and established women leaders and advance gender equality outcomes.
ACLW has been the focal point of significant achievements, including the establishment of national awards recognising women’s advancement in workplaces and communities, research and extensive writing on key issues, submissions related to gender equality legislation, empowerment of women and women’s groups through coaching, mentoring, strategic facilitation, and giving women a platform to raise their issues, as well as numerous interviews with international leaders.
ACLW awards and recognises women and men who advocate for women in organisations and in the community through its national Awards Program. Diann has run ACLW on a not-for-profit basis steering its vision and enabling outcomes by bringing in teams of community and industry leaders to work on common goals to advance women in the community and in workplaces. Women who have registered their interest engage in a spirit of empowerment, learning and leadership.
9. Inspiring Women, Deloitte Australia
Inspiring Women is a program within Deloitte Australia, one that its own employees benefit from. The program was formalised in 2000, and in 2014 the company was recognised as one of only 76 organisations that have been awarded the 2014 Employer of Choice for Gender Equality by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA)
The program is not just a project: it’s a firm, wide-encompassing strategy. It has done—and continues to do—several great things for the company, including creating an inclusive culture driven by the leadership of the firm, increasing the number of women in leadership positions by promoting talented women, investing in talent identification, development and recruitment, building an appropriate environment to retain talented women and positioning the firm as the professional services firm of choice for women.
8. Chief Executive Women
Chief Executive Women had its foundations in 1985 as a branch of the Paris-based organisation, “Women Chiefs of Enterprise”. Barbara Cail was a founding member who wanted to provide a haven or respite for women seeking to share their experiences as pioneers in the boardrooms and C-suites of Australia.
During its first decade of operation, one of the first CEW initiatives was to provide an annual scholarship to aspiring women leaders.
“CEW’s scholarship has been a very unifying act for the whole group. There is now a good alumni group of the women who are connected through the opportunities that the CEW gave them and I hope the cascading effect of that is that in their lives they’ll reach out for other women and help them,” says Wendy McCarthy, founding member. With skilled members came increased resources, which now include a Talent Development Program and the CEO Kit.
As of last year, membership was around 300. At the same time as building the scholarships program, the organisation is becoming more externally focused, to reflect the fact that advocacy for gender balance and greater participation of women at all levels is still much needed in Australia today.
7. Women in Global Business Program
The Women in Global Business program is a joint initiative of the Australian, State and Territory Governments, supported by Austrade. The objective is to increase female participation in international trade and investment delivering increased economic benefit and job creation through greater diversity.
The program provides information and resources, support, advocacy, connection and communication services to support Australian business women to engage in international trade and investment.
WIGB works closely with stakeholders and the private sector partnerships to deliver the program’s services and addresses the barriers women face in doing international business. These services include a mentoring program, skills and capacity building, workshops and events, research into the barriers and motivations of women as they engage with international markets, inbound and outbound missions, information and connection and advocacy on the domestic and international stage.
6. Women’s Entrepreneur Network, Dell
Dell Australia’s Women Powering Business organisation is offered through the company’s Women’s Entrepreneur Network.
“Women share a unique approach to business; they are using innovative technology to reach customers and utilize data in unprecedented ways,” said on the company’s website. “Women especially understand that it’s not the technology itself that is important, but what connections, solutions and changes it enables you to make.”
Dell Australia offers several ways for women entrepreneurs to succeed including a centre for entrepreneurs; Dell’s Women’s Summit, an annual event taking place this year in Germany; and a Pay It Forward initiative, which works on the premise that if each contributor helps a woman business owner advance—and that woman, in turn, supports another— then we a global community of women supporting women can be created and the initial efforts can be greatly amplified. By the end of 2015, Dell hopes to support one million female entrepreneurs.
5. EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women Asia Pacific Program
The Entrepreneurial Winning Women Program in the Asia-Pacific is in its first year. The program, which has already had success in North America, has seen great success. So what can we expect for our region?
“We intend to leverage our global know-how, networks and convening power to help accelerate their growth journey,” shared Annette Kimmitt, Asia Pacific Executive Sponsor of the Entrepreneurial Winning Women Program. “In the Americas, women business owners who participated in our program have reported a 49 percent increase in average annual revenue and a 26 percent increase in average annual job growth. I’d like to see us achieve at least these same growth rates, which would see the combined revenues of these 14 businesses grow by more than $700m over the next 3 years and more than 2,500 jobs created over that same period.
“As I’ve said to each of our Class of 2015, my hope is that in three years’ time, when they are each running internationally successful market-leading businesses, they’ll look back and see our EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women program as an important catalyst in accelerating their growth jouney.”
4. Business Chicks
Business Chicks is a community for inspiration, for both women and men.
“There’s definitely something that sets us Business Chicks apart,” shares Emma Isaacs, founder and CEO, on her website. “It’s not an age or a stage, and in spite of our name, it’s nothing to do with being in business. What unites us is our shared passion for ideas, our lust for creativity, our boldness, curiosity and generosity.
The community of 35,000-plus strong, independent thinkers is a great venue for people to swap ideas, share stories and, most importantly, spark inspiration. But it’s not just all work—much of it is play. Business Chicks is known for its events, which regularly feature high-profile speakers like Sir Richard Branson through to Diane von Furstenberg, Ita Buttrose, Julia Gillard, Michelle Bridges, Dr Brené Brown, Arianna Huffington, Sir Bob Geldof and Seth Godin, with their most recent lunch series featuring Bobbi Brown.
Read related articles from Business Review Australia:
See How These Leaders Are Empowering Women in Australia
3. League of Extraordinary Women
The League of Extraordinary Women is on a—well—extraordinary growth path. Only founded three short years ago in Melbourne, the organisation now has nine locations within Australia and one now in the UK.
“Such quick organic growth indicates that there is a deep seated need for the League which is why it is now the largest and fastest growing movement of female entrepreneurs within Australia,” shared Chiquita Searle, General Manager of the League .
The goal of the League is to provide a powerfully influential community for women, globally, who are passionate and motivated entrepreneurs, who are inspiring each other to succeed while also participating fully in entrepreneurial communities world-wide.
“The start-up culture in Australia is incredibly exciting to be a part of and to be included in the Business Review Australia’s featured best organisations for professional women in Australia for 2015 is an honour,” said Searle. “Any platform developed to support women, who may be experiencing feelings of isolation and who simply want to connect with other women in a similar position on a regular basis, is incredibly important and we are delighted to be recognised as such by BRAu.”
2. Inkling Women
Inkling Women exists to inspire women to create extraordinary lives and careers. The helps women leaders develop the capability and confidence to step up into more senior roles and to create careers and lives that they love and thrive in.
This year Inkling will partner with several of Australia’s leading organisations to run in-house development programs for their high-potential women, as well as develop a gender diversity strategy to increase gender diversity across these organisations.
“Too many years have been lost with the wheels spinning on this issue,” said CEO Gemma Munro in an article she wrote for CEO Magazine. “It is time to be guided by the evidence. High quality leadership programs, pragmatic courage on quotas and sustained, top-down culture change are needed—and not for political reasons. The positive organisational outcomes of diversity suggest serious action on gender equity is an obligation for leaders everywhere.”
There are also several programs open to the public, including Ignite, for emerging women leaders; Speakeasy, to help women leaders speak with “confidence, excellence and ease”; and Inspirit, for senior women leaders. Two further programs—Unstoppable (in partnership with Taryn Brumfitt, founder of the Body Image Movement), and The School of Purpose and Passion—also run online.
1. Telstra Business Women’s Awards
For 21 years the Telstra Business Women’s Awards have celebrated and recognised the determination and innovation of many thousands of Australia’s brilliant business women, whose leadership and inspirational stories have made a positive impact in business and the community.
“Receiving the award is a great honour!” shared Anne Cross, CEO Uniting Care Queensland. “It is very exciting and I am especially pleased that the not-for-profit sector has been recognised through these awards by the business community. It is a privilege to lead an organisation of great complexity that does so much good work in community. I hope that the award will encourage other women to contribute their passion, skills and expertise to the not-for-profit sector.
“I think this showcases women’s achievements to the whole business community, builds networks and highlights to other women and the whole community what is possible.”
Business Chief Legend: Ho Ching, CEO of Temasek
Ask Singaporeans who Ho Ching is, and the majority will answer the ‘wife of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’. And that’s certainly true. However, she’s also the CEO of Temasek Holdings, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, and one of the world’s largest investment companies.
Well, she is until October 1, 2021, as she recently announced she would be retiring following 16 years as CEO of the investment giant.
Since taking the reins in 2004, two years after joining Temasek as Executive Director, Ho has gradually transformed what was an investment firm wholly owned by Singapore’s Government into an active investor worldwide, splashing out on sectors like life sciences and tech, expanding its physical footprint with 11 offices worldwide (from London to Mumbai to San Francisco) and delivering growth of US$120 billion between 2010-2020.
Described by Temasek chairman Lim Boon Heng as having taken “bold steps to open new pathways in finding the character of the organisations”, Ho is credited with building Temasek’s international portfolio, with China recently surpassing Singapore for the first time.
As global a footprint as Ho may have however, she has her feet firmly planted on Singapore soil and is committed to this tiny city-state where she was not only educated (excluding a year at Stanford) but has remained throughout her long and illustrious career – first as an engineer at the Ministry of Defence in 1976, where she met her husband, and most notably as CEO of Singapore Technologies, where she spent a decade, and where she is credited with repositioning and growing the group into the largest listed defence engineering company in Asia.
It’s little wonder Ho has featured on Forbes’ annual World’s Most Powerful Women list for the past 16 years, in 2007 as the third most powerful woman in business outside the US, and in 2020 at #30 worldwide.
But it’s not all business. Ho has a strong track record in Singapore public service, serving as chairman of the Singapore Institute of Standards and Industrial Research and as deputy chairman of the Economic Development Board; and is a committed philanthropist with a focus on learning difficulties and healthcare.
As the pandemic kicked off, she not only led active investments in technology and life sciences, with German COVID-19 vaccine developer BioNTech among the most recent additions to Temasek’s portfolio, but through the Temasek Foundation – the firm’s philanthropic arm which supports vulnerable groups close to Ho’s heart, handed out hand sanitiser and face masks.
So, you would be forgiven for thinking that at age 68, Ho might simply relax. But in March 2021, just as she announced her retirement from Temasek, Ho joined the Board of Directors of Wellcome Leap, a US-based non-profit organisation that’s dedicated to accelerating innovations in global health. Not ready to put her firmly grounded feet up yet it seems.