In the lead up to the AusIMM International Women’s Day Event Series, Dr Kirstin Ferguson shares her insights on encouraging and supporting women as we strive for gender balance in the workplace.
Dr Kirstin Ferguson is passionate about amplifying the achievements of all women. She is Deputy Chair of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), and a business leader and author.
Dr Ferguson uses a ‘fishing net’ analogy to describe her commitment to helping all women succeed. Instead of the well-known analogy of successful women lowering down a ladder to help others up, Dr Ferguson prefers the idea of casting a fishing net to bring up many women together. The analogy encourages women to achieve their goals while also supporting others to do the same, because she believes, ‘we all succeed if other women succeed.’
In light of this, Dr Ferguson has encouraged people to find ways to celebrate and support the women in their lives. In 2017, Dr Ferguson launched the highly successful #CelebratingWomen campaign on social media, showcasing two women each day for a whole year. Dr Ferguson discovered incredible women from all over the world, working in various industries, with diverse backgrounds and from a range of ethnicities, showcasing how every woman has an inspiring story to tell.
‘I believe every woman is a role model to someone else whether they realise it or not. Not all women want to be an ASX100 CEO or a Nobel Prize winning scientist and that is absolutely OK. We need to remember that regardless of what it might say on your business card, you are already a leader who is having an impact on those around you,’ Dr Ferguson said.
‘I believe every woman is a role model to someone else whether they realise it or not.Dr Kirstin Ferguson
Dr Ferguson’s experience as a leader for a range of industries has also helped her develop a combination of technical and emotional intellect to lead and impact those around her. She started her career in the Air Force before moving into law, and then rising to lead various teams as a CEO and non-executive director.
‘Adapting your leadership style to ensure you are as effective as you can be in each different workplace or culture requires high levels of emotional intelligence. [This skill] is crucial for all leaders of today and into the future,’ Dr Ferguson said.
When it comes to gender balance in the workplace, Dr Ferguson encourages both men and women to work together in fulfilling the true meaning of IWD’s event theme ‘Each for Equal’, and for employers to consider the positive impact diverse teams can have in any organisation.
‘Better decisions come from having diverse ways of thinking about issues around the table and diversity also means ensuring that the women’s voices you hear from are diverse as well ,’ Dr Ferguson said.
Dr Kirstin Ferguson will present her keynote on 2 March 2020 at the AusIMM International Women’s Day Event Series in Brisbane.