Chief Operating Officer, Federal Group
Why are you an advocate for gender equality in the gaming and hospitality industry?
As a husband, brother and son to exceptional women who each experienced professional and/or educational barriers unique to women, I believe in creating the capacity for everyone to have the opportunity to make their best contribution to our society.
Organisationally, performance is fundamentally underpinned by people. Without the capacity to bring the best possible people into the team and enablement of full representation, you are playing with one hand tied behind your back.
What have you done, personally, to support gender equality?
My personal focus has been to actively model those things that can create greater participation. Normalising flexible working has been an important part of this. The Executive Team I work with has 43% female representation, and 35% of the Team are working part time, in job share or have other flexible working arrangements.
The other thing I actively encourage is for women who express feelings of ‘guilt’ towards their own perceived constricted contribution in any aspect of their lives to be kind to themselves. They are making the best contribution in the place they are in at the time, whether that is work, friends, family, or self.
Creating a Women in Leadership program in the organisation is something that I have championed to continue the important conversation.
In what ways have you assisted in normalising flexible working?
People can sometimes be concerned that if they choose to work flexibly, their contribution may be perceived to be less if they are not as visible or have less time to commit. I’m clear that contribution is not measured by time or visibility, rather the outcomes they create.
I believe and communicate that it is OK to actively seek flexibility. It is not something that anyone should apologise for, nor be concerned about.
When did you become aware of gender inequality and how did this occur?
Gender inequality is something that I have seen through a few lenses.
Firstly, growing up in a rural community as a kid, secondly when I joined the Airforce in a ‘male’ only mustering and thirdly through some of the personal challenges that my amazing wife Kim has had through education and work.
Through all of these lenses, what really struck me was that no person should be judged on their gender as this is not a determinate of anyone’s contribution.
I remember a colleague of mine once saying that ‘meritocracy’ was a way of legitimising inequality for women as it used the concept of not being qualified for the job. She asked me how many men were given jobs that they weren’t qualified for and how often had I head ‘meritocracy’ used in relation to a man applying for a role. This has stuck with me ever since!