19 August 2019

Getting more women on board

Ladies, it’s time to step up if you want to effect change in your industry! This was the resounding message at the REINSW Women on Boards Breakfast held recently at Sydney Opera House. The event, hosted by REINSW’s President Leanne Pilkington, attracted more than 50 women from the real estate and associated industries. 

Ruth Medd, Executive Chair of Women on Boards Australia, spoke about the various types of boards and explained to the audience that Industry associations such as REINSW were a very good place to start a board career.

"What do you need to do to position yourself best to join a board?" Medd asked the audience. She then extolled the importance of creating a quality resume, a board-ready LinkedIn profile and most importantly perfecting a convincing 30 second pitch.

A lively panel discussion took place as everyone was finishing off a delicious breakfast.

Four panellists - Sandra McCullagh, Pauline Vamos, Amanda Rose and Sarah Bester - took to the stage to explain to the audience how they became board members and the best way to go about joining a board in an industry that you’re passionate about.

“Finding boards which align with your values, passions and expertise is paramount,” McCullagh said.

“Ask yourself, where do I fit in? Can I add value to this board?” Vamos added.

Post event feedback

Amanda Blackburn from Marsh Pty Ltd

"If you want to make a difference to an industry that you’re passionate about then you’ve got to get involved in order to help steer the decision making."

Achelle Hill from Lendlease

"Take the opportunity, you have to make yourself known and then network, communicate, position yourself. Personal brand is really important."

Other relevant topics discussed by the panel were the need for prospective board members to create their own personal support team and how crucial it is in finding success. Locating the right recruiters, finding mentors who offer guidance and even a sponsor on your desired board are all ways prospective board members can create and sustain that support.

Rose spoke about the need to support one another and the importance of working together to get more women into board positions.

 “I believe that pathways are open and have always been open, but we didn’t realise it,” Rose explained. “If we work together and connect to each other and sponsor each other into roles there will be a lot more women on boards, even 12 months from today.

Pilkington then took to the stage to speak about the REINSW board, and upcoming elections, the process of nominating for the available positions as well as the eligibility criteria for nominees. She was very pleased and encouraged by the enthusiasm of panellists and audience members alike.

“There’s lots of enthusiasm around the next board election. I think a better understanding of what prospective board members need to do to actually achieve a place on the board is something I’m really excited to see,” said Pilkington.

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