How did you find your start in the industry and how did you arrive at your current position?  

I started working at Zagame’s Caulfield at the age of 18. I had no idea how to pour a beer and I certainly wasn’t ready for the grave yard shift as my induction to hospitality and gaming.

At the time Zagame’s Caulfield was the number one performing venue in Victoria and I relished the vibe of the organisation, the comradery of the team, the vision of the leadership, and the thrill of working the public bar and taking note of the horses that impressed at trackwork that morning at Caulfield Racecourse. I was hooked!

Since then I’ve worked at what is now The Glasshouse, Caulfield and then on to Tabcorp in a training role followed by a private RTO in a Hospitality Executive position.

I have been at the Australian Hotels Association (Vic) for 6 years, firstly as the Manager for Membership and now as the Senior Manager for Membership and Industry Engagement.

What has motivated you to get involved in being an advocate for change? (for gender equality)

Having now been in the industry for (ahem) 23 years, I see it as my responsibility to provide opportunities for those following me. I was fortunate to have some wonderful mentors forge a way for me so now it’s my turn to do the same.

The motivation comes from wanting to see people succeed, wanting to provide real, tangible guidance for my colleagues in the industry. Unfortunately the motivation also comes from having seen behaviour that wasn’t appropriate, behaviours that set people up to fail in ruthless environments.

Rather than climb the ladder and chop it off behind me so no-one can follow, it’s incumbent upon me to pull people up and support them through their career.

Who or what inspire you and why?  

Our members inspire me every single day. These people roll their sleeves up, day in, day out to provide a community hub, a place for locals to gather, celebrate and commiserate. They put so much on the line financially and emotionally, often working 6 or 7 days a week, not having taken a holiday in years. They wholeheartedly believe in the contribution they make to their community.

Pubs make up the social fabric of Australia and we are indebted to these families who are the custodians of such incredible gathering places.

What do you think makes a great leader?

A previous boss once said to me “I won’t ask you to do anything that I wouldn’t do myself” as she proceeded to grab a toothbrush and clean the seal of a bar fridge! I reflect on that quote often. People don’t work for you, they work with you and it’s your job as a leader to set the right scene and vibe in an organisation around what’s acceptable and what isn’t.

My ability to communicate effectively, be trustworthy and show empathy help me to be the leader I am. Of course I continue to learn everyday about how to be better!