Ballarat female leaders are calling for more women and a diversity of cultures to step up to the helm.
“We punch above our weight in Ballarat with the amount of women we have in leadership positions,” renowned Ballarat leader Judy Verlin said. “But we have to continue to nurture and culture the next wave that is coming through.”
“There has to be balance of gender, cultural diversity and people of all ages to be able to make the best decisions.”
A major conference for senior support staff in regional businesses and organisations will be held next month. The one-day Connecting Conference has attracted a powerful line up of speakers and panellists from major organisations.
Ms Verlin is patron of Ballarat’s Connect Networking, a group aimed at increasing the knowledge and skills of office professionals so that they can provide increased levels of support to business executives and their organisations.
“It’s a critically important network because we talk about growing the skills of women and increasing their board representation but there is no better opportunity to do that than through professional development in a supported environment,” Ms Verlin said.
While executive assistants are often quiet achievers, they are the backbone of organisations.
“Nobody has more knowledge than an EA about what’s happening in the business,” she said. “This network is so valuable for EA’s because they’re able to support each other and give each other confidence in the work they are doing.”
Ms Verlin has spent her life breaking the glass ceiling. She is a Member of the Order of Australia, been Ballarat's mayor four times and was awarded an honorary doctorate by Federation University Australia.
“Too often when you’ve got a board position, people put up the same names,” she said.
“But there are so many capable young woman who may not have the confidence to do it, so it’s a matter of supporting them, encouraging them, and exposing them to opportunities and allowing them to have a go.”
At the heart of the event, organised by Committee for Ballarat, is a pursuit to promote a leadership environment of equal opportunity encompassing gender diversity and multiculturalism.
Chief executives and executive assistants from Sovereign Hill, Central Highlands Water and Nicholson Construction, will join in a panel session ‘Who’s Making the Coffee?’ chaired by UFS Dispensaries chief Lynne McLennan.
The Connecting Conference will be held on Wednesday March 8, at the Mercure Hotel and Conference Centre, Main Road, Ballarat.
Details: 5332 1240