Two inspiring women leaders share their secrets of success

News story
To recognise International Women’s Day 2021, two outstanding leaders share their secrets of success with public sector employees across Western Australia.
Channel 7’s Syan Dougherty , Professor Colleen Hayward AM, Public Sector Commissioner Sharyn O’Neill, Jodi Cant, Director General of the Department of Finance

Over 600 public sector employees from across Western Australia tuned in online and in-person today to hear from two inspiring women in the lead up to International Women’s Day 2021.

Co-hosted by the Public Sector Commission and IPAA, the online discussion and Q&A session featured Professor Colleen Hayward AM and Jodi Cant, Director General of the Department of Finance, who spoke about their experiences in overcoming adversity and bias to be outstanding leaders in their respective fields.

Facilitated by Channel 7’s Syan Dougherty, the event opened with Public Sector Commissioner, Sharyn O’Neill, setting the scene for this year’s theme for International Women’s Day – #ChooseToChallenge.

Sharyn spoke about the importance of challenging any wrongdoing and the need to do more to increase the representation of women in the Senior Executive Service, detailed in the Women: Action Plan to improve WA Public Sector Employment Outcomes 2020–2025.

Following Sharyn’s opening, Jodi and Colleen shared their stories about their lives growing up and what it had taken them to achieve their ultimate success, including what we can do to challenge the status quo and improve gender equality.

Jodi and Colleen explained that in order to thrive professionally, they found it important to have self-belief and confidence in their own abilities. Having a sense of humour and a trusted and supportive environment were also critical, as was a willingness to take risks, as this empowered others to do the same. Having the courage to speak up when something was not right was also discussed, acknowledging that a supportive network was vital to have this confidence.

Jodi and Colleen acknowledged that changing culture was a step-by-step process, and that progress can be achieved by being consistent, fair and timely. This included having well informed arguments to convince people of your reasons for change.

A special thank you to Colleen and Jodi for contributing their time and for sharing their experiences so openly to help play a part in accelerating women's equality.

The full video of this session is now available.

Page reviewed 9 March 2021