Collaborative, supporting, inspiring – helping each other problem solve
AOG Women 2015: Be resilient, don’t be easily offended, and let your work speak for itself [Event wrap-up]
A gathering of over 400 professional women in the oil and gas industry guarantees an interesting conversation around diversity, especially when we consider that only 15.7% of the workforce in resources and mining are women.
The panel line-up was very impressive including:
- Narelda Jacobs, Channel 10 (MC/Facilitator)
- Cynthia Griffin – U.S. Consul General (Journey across international borders)
- Deidre Willmott – Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Western Australia (Industry Snapshot)
- Jodie Hatherly – General Counsel and General Manager Legal – INPEX (Diversity)
- Michael McNulty: Office Managing Partner of Perth Deloitte Male’s championing change
- Rebecca Lewis – Subsea Production Team Lead – Woodside (nominated representative of the new generation of women in industry)
Over the two hour discussion, there were lots of key take-aways from this event.
WORDS OF WISDOM FROM CYNTHIA GRIFFIN – US GENERAL CONSUL
- Take every opportunity that you can for professional development
- Invest in a coach – it will make a difference
- If you see a boss being overwhelmed, ask them how can you help them. My interpretation of this is not just asking in the general approach, but provide some specific examples where you can add value and assist. This will see you being offered new opportunities.
- Let you work speak for itself – Do the work, do the research and don’t be afraid to put your hands up. Don’t waste time on things that aren’t your strengths.
- Work on things that are important to the organization (they are spending 20% of their time – you spend 20% of your time)
- Having ambassadors (rather than mentors) will open your awareness to new career opportunities that you might not even consider as suitable. Having someone in your corner who believes in you can make the world of difference in your career development
Throughout the panel discussion segment, the group discussed some of the key issues within the workplace.
I really resonated with topic raised by Rebecca Lewis, when she said that she wished she had the courage to raise her voice earlier and join the conversation around the issue of diversity in the workforce. Originally she did not want to be associated with anything negative or identified as a “man-hater” by raising issues that related specifically to women, equality and diversity. And I completely relate. We all just want our work to speak for itself. We want to demonstrate that women can achieve equally, and deserve equal pay for our achievements. We want to know that we will be promoted or will get the job based on our merits and because we are the best person for that job.
But, unfortunately, we are not at that place just yet.
As Michael McNulty identified within their recruitment referral process, there was an unconscious bias, and this started right at the beginning. If you can’t measure it then you can’t change it. Any company needs to understand the issues around unconscious bias, provide training, and more importantly tools that allow leaders their teams to take positive action. Unconscious bias can be so confronting, because as the term defines, it is unconscious. But until we are aware of it, we cannot change it. I feel at this point I do need to mention some of the research around this as an example. An Australian symphony company started auditioning musicians behind screens to stop the influence of unconscious bias. The participation of women increased from 6% to 20% as a direct result of this process.
I will conclude with reference to the “sticky” question asked: Why are we at a High Tea to discuss issues women face, if we are looking for equality? While a fair question, the AOG Women event creates a unique space at a high profile event, that engages a diverse range of women and men, for conversation and raising awareness around issues.
Hearing from experts in the industry who have walked that path can encourage us to take action.
I think this event has the potential to give confidence and courage by knowing that there are other people out there that share our views, have had similar experiences, and that there is another way.
Be resilient, don’t be easily offended, let your work speak for itself.
As a founding member of the AOG Women committee in 2013, it truly is an honour to part of this group, this event, and to be part of a collaboration project that is raising awareness around issues faced by women in industry. I hope anyone interested in sharing experiences and knowledge that supports diversity in corporate Australia, will join us in 2016.
Positive Business Coach – advocate for change