International Women’s Day Panel

An alert world is a challenged world — and there’s no world better geared to challenge than today, where we are collectively picking up the post-pandemic pieces. 

We partnered with PwC New Zealand to host a special International Women’s Day Panel, which brought together leaders across diverse local organisations to share reflections and insight on what it takes to challenge norms and continue championing diversity. We heard insights from Martin Snedden (Chairman of NZ Cricket), Commodore Melissa Ross (Royal New Zealand Navy), Mark Averill (CEO PwC), Paula Tesoriero, (Disability Rights Commissioner) with facilitation from Kirsten Lacy (Auckland Art Gallery Director).

Breaking barriers, shaping ‘culture cultivators’, and key insights to keep top of mind when creating diversity strategies are all explored in our recap of this inspiring webinar:


What gets measured, gets focused on


Data collection and measurement tools are key ingredients in the recipe for workplace diversity success. But how should they be folded into the mix? The answer is different for every organisation. Each needs to start by carving out deliberate aims and clear objectives, which are set to be measured over a specific timeframe. Unlike quotas which are based on a single event, time or date, measurable aims are a way of driving change through a strong end goal — but allowing for a malleable journey to get there. 

It’s important to remember that measuring perpetuates momentum: the next step informs the next step, and so the pattern continues. However, it only continues if it’s deliberately picked up on, not left to chance. 


Culture keepers v.s culture cultivators


Change is about culture. Those who set the tone are the ones who can lead the change in tone. It’s important for organisations to understand who the culture power holders are among them, as they’ll have the most gravitas when driving change. In order to become culture cultivators, these people need to check in with and listen to the community of people they serve, identify the behaviours that need changing, and lead the way in recalibrating when it’s needed — instead of being all a-go and reactive. Key to this shift will be realising that diverse people will see different things when looking at the same thing, and harnessing these different perspectives.

Leaders play a pivotal role in creating change. It’s being brave and bold about doing things differently, so they’ll need to expect to smash some eggs and uproot norms for people to realise the movement is substantial. From here, walking the talk consistently is the only way barriers will consistently be broken.

Allyships are also a key way of creating culture change throughout different wings of an organisation. They’re encouraged to stand up, and leverage the privilege they may hold in an organisation: male allies for women’s inclusion, able-bodied for disabilities, ethnic majorities for minorities. 

So when can the power of culture cultivating be seen? Measuring sentiments among an organisation can be a challenge. However, a sign of a successful and cohesive cultural shift is when people enjoy the changes that come with the ride as the movements mature. 


Multiple identities can mean multiple barriers 


An intersectional lense is key when considering your diversity strategy. Women aren’t homogeneous, so we can’t expect them to face the same barriers. It’s important to not just consider how other elements of identity can create workplace barriers for women (such as disabilities, in the LGBTQI+ community, ethnicities) but to actively address these intersectionalities in diversity strategies and goals. 

For some organisations, this may mean re-examining pipelines to the pipelines. It could be reshaping the interview process, by assessing a potential new team-member’s skills and abilities beyond an interview, or being deliberate in fishing for talent in different, diverse, talent pools. 


Watch the full discussions from our inspiring panellists HERE


About Ava Wardecki – Ava channels her love of storytelling into writing and as a director of her company, Sneaky Social Media. With a background in corporate branding, consumer behaviour, communications and a conjoint Marketing and Public Relations degree from AUT and HEC Paris, she’s worked across corporate, fashion, lifestyle and hospitality industries. Paris born, Auckland raised and a keen traveller, she’s passionate about how understanding and creating cultures can inspire and evoke change.