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Good news and bad news for Women on Boards, as Minister Wong launches BoardLinks aimed at giving women their first board appointment

There’s been good news and bad for me on the board front over the past week.  First the good news: I was present at the Australian Stock Exchange to see Minister Penny Wong launch the Government’s new BoardLinks initiative.  Board Links aims to provide more opportunities for women to be appointed to their first board, to launch and further their directorship careers, and increase the number of potential candidates for Australian Government boards.

A small group of Champions will advocate and publicly promote the Government’s initiative, as well as identify and encourage strong female candidates to consider Australian Government board positions.

Foundation champions in the program include Westpac CEO Gail Kelly, Telstra chairwoman Catherine Livingstone, businessman David Gonski, Australian Stock Exchange CEO Elmer Funke Kupper and director of Stocklands and the Womens Leadership Institute of Australia Carol Schwartz (who invited me along to the launch – many thanks, Carol).

On many levels, I think this is a great initiative, not the least that it was launched by the Minister for Finance – reinforcing the productivity opportunity that lies within the female talent in our country. Secondly, it aims to address a specific obstacle women face in the board appointment process – the lack of relevant comparable experience – by providing support into that vital first appointment.

The Government has issued a Board Links fact sheet that you can review here.  I’ll of course be following the developments of BoardLinks in the coming months and will keep you updated.

In the mean time, if a Government Board is on your hit list, my advice to you is to find out how you can connect with one of the new champions and signal your interest in being involved.

So then the bad news? You may be aware that I wasn’t successful in my bid to join the board of UN Women Australia.  Of course my first reaction was to hide in the closet and tell no one of my defeat!  But nonetheless I’m over the disappointment and I really want to thank the many of you who voted for me – with a special thanks to Ruth, Claire and Louise at Women On Boards for their help in spreading the word.  I also  congratulate those members who were successful in being re elected; in the end it came down to a membership vote and I did well, but not well enough and simply didn’t have the numbers this time around.

And yet I share this news because of what it is what it is: an opportunity, a lesson, a chance to learn.  So what did I learn?

  1. I’m reminded of the power of my networks and it was a good excuse to reconnect with so many of you 🙂
  2. I certainly have a better knowledge of the process for next time around: I know need to plan better in the future for member based votes, articulate my strengths better, and not leave my run so late!
  3. It’s only strengthened my relationship with UNWomen and my desire to support their goals through the work that I’m doing
  4. This process has reaffirmed commitment and renewed energy to my current role as Chair of Peer Support Australia, and has been helpful as I’ve been evaluating new additions to my own board there
  5. Perhaps another no simply gets me closer to a yes?

And because – of course – you’ve got to be in it to win it. We’ve ALL got to be in it to win it.  And we ALL have to keep putting ourselves forward.

So I already have an eye on my next target in line with my own goal to attain one more board appointment, this time I’m focused on a Government board and I hope I’ll have some better news to share on that front in the future!

I know many of you are also seeking board appointments this year… would love to hear how you are going in your process, there must be some lessons you’ve learned too and I’m sure many wins along the way??


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2 weeks ago

Jen Dalitz

What are the lessons you’re teaching your kids? We took the opportunity of a holiday long weekend to visit my mum interstate as the timing of the trip coincided with my son’s favourite AFL team battling it out against my mum’s beloved team. Perhaps only those of you with the love for AFL will appreciate why we’d plan a long distance trip around a game of footy, but suffice to say it was a passion project! With every ounce of anticipation, the game was a tough, tight duel and could easily have gone either way. Yet when the final siren sounded, it wasn’t our team that was smiling. It sure is tough for a 10 year old boy to sit within a crowd 41,000+ people all cheering for the opposite side. It was tough for him to see the exhaustion and disappointment on the faces of the players he adores. And yet, it’s so important for him to learn that his team won’t always win. There’s so many lessons in that, but the one I chose to instil is that you won’t always back the team that wins but you’ll always back the team that you love. That’s why I asked him to wear his team colours home the next day, and show his support even when the chips are down. That’s the kind of commitment I want my son to learn and the kind of team player I want him to be. PS. #gotheGiants @GWSGiants #neversurrender ... See MoreSee Less

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2 months ago

Jen Dalitz

I haven’t been here in a while as the writing has been on hold. But I was reminded today that there are things in our life that light us up. That might take us out of our comfort zone but, once you sit with it, bring you both joy and a sense of “I can do this” achievement. These moments are such a gift. So I’m curious, what’s your special thing that lights you up?

Despite (or in spit of) my professional career, these moments for me normally involve my horses. I’ll never be an equestrian Olympian, but I take great pleasure in all the lessons my horses teach me. They remind me that it’s a team effort, we’re in it together, and that if I’m prepared to give a little bit more, they will too. That’s true whether we’re on the ground taking care of their feet, or grooming, or when I’m atop riding as one. Two hearts one team.
It’s hard to describe the adrenaline and joy they bring to my life. But I’d love to know, what lights you up??
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And so, maybe time does change some things. Or women do.

Skavlan Talkshow
– They let me go at 42 because they told me I was too old to represent women's dreams. #kvinnedagen

Watch our talk show interview with Isabella Rossellini here:
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