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Diversity benefits: The positives women bring to the workplace

Have you ever been interviewed on air for TV?  This was one of my tasks last week and I have to tell you I haven’t felt so nervous for a long time!  It was an on-air promo on SkyTV to promote the International Women’s Day event I’m guest speaker at on 10th May for ClubsNSW.  But leaving aside my nerves (and my response to the nerves which I’ll simply say was “sub-optimal”!!), most of Jeremy’s questions weren’t new.  (Yes, I know, so why was I nervous after all?!)

One  of the questions Jeremy raised last week I think is worth sharing, as a reminder of the contribution we make as women to our workplaces and leadership roles.

Q:  What are the positives women bring to the workplace and in particular executive positions?

A: We all know that women bring many positives attributes to their roles, not the least of which our ability to think laterally and problem solve in different ways to our male peers. This stems from the physiological differences between the brain structure of men and women: scientists have discovered that women have 9 times as many neurological connectors between the left and right sides of our brains than men do.  This makes it easier for women to process information simultaneously and often results in better “lateral thinking” by women. 

RonniI can think of no better example of this than my good friend Ronni Kahn (featured here with my Ethan at Ronni’s home where we celebrated her announcement as The Australian of the Year – Local Hero).  Ronni is the founder of OzHarvest and what I love about about Ronni and OzHarvest is how they’ve taken an age old problem – how to feed the needy people in our communities – and solved it in an innovative way.  In the past governments, charities and community groups have thrown millions of dollars at feeding the needy, while tonnes of leftover food from restaurants, cafes and hospitality venues was dumped at additional cost.

Ronni looked at the two issues, and realised she could eliminate millions of tonnes of landfill AND feed the needy with the same high quality food that was being dumped.  And so OzHarvest was born – picking up food from across our cities and delivering it within the hour to the people who need it – all for only $1 per meal.  So far almost 5 milllion meals have been delivered by OzHarvest… Easy!

Well of course it wasn’t really all easy, but Ronni made it seem so.  Now I don’t know about you, but I’m not surprised that it was a woman who came up with this idea!! Ronni will be sharing the story of OzHarvest at ourAscend leadership development days this year in Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney.

And I bet you have examples too of all the innovative, lateral thinking women doing good things in our workplaces and communities… or perhaps you fit the bill yourself?

Post your stories here on the blog, and we’ll send a sphinxx pamper pack with the 5 essentials a woman needs to the 5 best comments…


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