An interview with Diane Smith-Gander
Business resilience with Diane Smith-Gander
This week on Leadership on the Front Foot, David talks with Australian business executive, Diane Smith-Gander AO.
Diane is a proud West Australian and a true leader in every sense. David and Diane discuss the governance of our largest companies, leadership resilience, what will change because of COVID-19, and the importance of gender equality in the workplace.
The breadth of Diane’s knowledge and expertise is inspiring, and in this podcast, listen to Diane as she shares her wisdom in a generous, no-nonsense way.
Diane is a non-executive director of Wesfarmers and AGL Energy and is Chair of Safe Work Australia and CEDA.
In previous roles, Diane has been Chair of ASX-listed Broadspectrum, and was a director of CBH. She also served on the APRA capability review panel post the Hayne Royal Commission.
Diane is a fierce advocate for gender equality and equal opportunity within the workforce. She believes that people shy away from having conversations with women about their career progression.
“It’s been an interesting journey for me because it really wasn’t until about ten years ago when I was in my early 50s that I started to realize that I could actually have a voice and a really important voice and be somebody who could move the dial. I went ‘hang on a tick women are 51% of the population we should have 51% of the power, 51% of the seats in parliament, 51% of the board and 51% as CEO’s'”.
Ten years from now, Diane would like to see the gender diversity percentage at 50%.
“For me, 50/50 is the goal and sadly I don’t think that’ll happen in my lifetime”.
Diane states that she wants to dismantle the idea of men and women being seen as too different.
“I don’t think we’re actually that different. I think our experiences drive us to difference and then when we have more like for like experience, some of those sort of stylistic differences will fall away. But really, I want to see that women have equal opportunity“.
Importantly, Diane emphasises that her views are not based on meeting a quota.
“It’s not about equal outcomes. I genuinely believe that once given an equal opportunity that women will just rise through the system, but because the system is broken at the moment and we can’t get enough interest to fix the system, we actually have to try to identify some of the pinch points and put in change”.
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