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Member News

  • 30-Apr-2024 09:39 | Cassidy Lau (Administrator)

    Construction is complete and cancer care provider, GenesisCare, is now treating patients at the new integrated cancer centre and research hub.

    The facility, which has the capacity to deliver more than 13,000 cancer treatments annually, will mean cancer patients in Campbelltown, South Western Sydney and the Southern Highlands will now have access to the latest advancements and treatments in radiation oncology, medical oncology and global clinical trials.

    The world class facility is a result of a partnership between Campbelltown City Council, Australia's leading integrated cancer care provide – GensisCare, and Northwest Healthcare. The facility, which has a 5 Star Green Star sustainability rating, is the first stage of a three-stage health precinct on the 2.8 hectare site in Campbelltown. Stage 2, incorporating a day surgical hospital, specialist consult suites, health and wellbeing related uses and a cafe, is anticipated to begin construction in late 2024.

    Further details on the new centre are available on the GenesisCare website.

    Find our more here

  • 26-Mar-2024 14:08 | Cassidy Lau (Administrator)

    Welcome To Our New Members

    The Connection would like to welcome our newest Gold Member:

    Pullman, Novotel & ibis Sydney Olympic Park With over 430 hectares of natural beauty throughout the parklands and world-class venues, Sydney Olympic Park is truly built for events and a place for everyone. Located just over 30 minutes from the Sydney CBD and 16 minutes from the airport, it is easily accessible by rail, coach, ferry, or car. Accor Sydney Olympic Park Hotel offers options at the Pullman, Novotel, and Ibis with 545 accommodation rooms and over 1700m² of space across 19 meeting and event rooms. It is the perfect place for people to meet, focus and create moments of impact to achieve successful outcomes.

    The Connection would like to welcome our newest Silver Members:

    Bartier Perry Lawyers Bartier Perry, with over 80 years of experience, offers personalised legal services without big firm overheads. Our core values of trust, quality, and innovation shape our culture, fostering collaboration and continuous improvement. We prioritise direct lawyer-client communication and adhere to rigorous service standards. Our legal advice is concise, client-focused, and transparent in cost. As a member of World Link for Law, we provide access to a global network. We strive for legal excellence as a standard and aim to make a difference in service delivery.

    Institute of Applied Technology The Institutes of Applied Technology are a collaboration between TAFE NSW, industry, universities and supported by the Department of Education. There are two Institutes:

    The Institute of Applied Technology Digital (IATD) is a technology focused institute at TAFE NSW Meadowbank. Working in collaboration with TAFE NSW, Microsoft, Macquarie University, and the University of Technology Sydney, the Institute of Applied Technology Digital designs and delivers market leading training that rapidly adapts to industry needs.

    The Institute of Applied Technology Construction (IATC) is focused on future innovations and leadership in Construction and will be located at TAFE NSW Nepean (Kingswood) from early 2024. Working in collaboration with TAFE NSW, Western Sydney University, and CPB Contractors, the Institute of Applied Technology Construction designs and delivers market-leading training that rapidly adapts to industry needs.

    Killara Services Killara Services is one of the fastest immerging Indigenous businesses in Australia. We are leading the way in creating sustainable employment opportunities for Indigenous Australians within the Cleaning & Soft Services Industry.

    Our clients range from Australia's largest Integrated Facility Management firms like BGIS, JLL, Honeywell and CBRE to direct contacts engagement with Shell Australia, BAE Systems, Canva & Coates. Our Indigenous engagement outcomes are the best in the entire Facilities Industry.

    The Media Park The Media Park is a full-service marketing and advertising agency based in Sydney, Central Coast, and Newcastle. We assist local and national businesses with comprehensive marketing strategies, including media planning, buying, social media management, digital marketing, graphic and brand design, website development, production, and more. Our agency prioritises client satisfaction, offering unbiased, cost-effective, and holistic marketing solutions from conception to execution. With a nationally recognised team, our experience speaks volumes. We are dedicated to our clients' needs, goals, and growth.

    University of Sydney As the first university to be established in Australasia, the University of Sydney consistently ranks as one of Australia’s top universities. We aim to create and sustain a university that will, for the benefit of both Australia and the wider world, maximise the potential of the brightest researchers and most promising students, whatever their social or cultural background.

    Waratah Group Services - Waratah Group Services provide Landscape Maintenance, Arboriculture Services, Landscape Construction & Cleaning Services to public, commercial and private sites the whole of Sydney. We work closely with our clients to give back to the community and achieve social and community outcomes. Regardless of the size of the job, WGS will work to your brief and budget, adding value to your property and creating a space you’ll love.

    WEXPO - WEXPO has evolved in a short time as a go-to business event series for the region. WEXPO is the umbrella brand for a series of expo-style events held at popular venues in Western Sydney. W denoting Western Sydney. WEXPO is where business and community gather in one place on one day to connect, learn, and grow. WEXPO is an informative and entertaining visitor experience for residents and businesses.

    The Connection would like to welcome our newest Bronze Members:

    Brick Studios We’re a collective of filmmakers who love to excite, engage, and create the stories that are important to you. Based in South West Sydney, we have a massive pool of creative talent to draw from, all specialists in their fields, with the flexibility to expand or contract the team depending on the scale of your video project. Our vision is to be a cultural hub for clients to collaborate with us as a trusted partner for their brand, and to strengthen pathways for both emerging and established artists across commercial and creative projects.

    Castle Hill Country Club Castle Hill Country Club is one of Sydney’s leading private golf clubs and home to a superb 18-hole championship course ranked in Australia's Top 100 courses. The Club has a proud reputation for hosting major amateur and professional tournaments. The modern clubhouse building is impressive both inside and out – with delightful gardens and alfresco areas in which to enjoy a drink or a meal, and a spacious and wonderfully-appointed indoor space with a magnificent covered balcony.

    JLW Interiors JLW Interiors is a privately owned commercial interior and office fitout company. Located in Emu Plains, New South Wales, our services are backed by years of fitout industry experience throughout NSW, and even other parts of Australia.

    Our Directors, including our Managing Director, John L Williams, also work within the company, thereby ensuring an active interest in getting things right and done in the most efficient way. We all about delivering a quality solution, every time!

    Navarra Venues Navarra is a collection of five extraordinary venues, offering 50 event spaces in Sydney. These venues include Curzon Hall, a 19th Century Castle surrounded by picturesque gardens and underground cellars; Oatlands Estate, a charming 19th Century Manor surrounded by vineyards and gardens; Montage, a stunning waterfront event venue in Lilyfield with uniquely contemporary event spaces; Conca D’oro, a newly refurbished event venue boasting elegance and class; and Villa Navarra, an esteemed estate nestled in the picturesque Southern Highlands. Situated on an expansive 116-acre property, Villa Navarra offers a splendid setting for both accommodation and events.

    Westgate Executive Search Westgate Executive Search, located in Parramatta, brings a fresh perspective to senior leadership recruitment within Australia and globally. Our team of former industry executives leverage their vast experience to match motivated talent with complex organisational requirements. Westgate’s services include talent acquisition for a wide range of leadership roles, including C-suite, executive, and board positions, as well as psychometric testing and strategic onboarding support. With a vast international network, we support businesses in Australia and abroad, ensuring a seamless recruitment process aligned with our clients' unique needs.

    The Connection would like to welcome our newest Small Business Members:

    Agile Energy Agile Energy is a developer, financier, owner and operator of commercial solar systems across Australia. Traditionally, to acquire solar assets, companies are required to invest upfront capital. Agile Energy disrupts the markets with its funding partners and provides ‘behind the meter’ Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) solution to companies.

    Under our solution, we fund, install and maintain the solar asset over the term, whilst our customers simply pay for the energy generated at a reduced rate.

    Amplify HR We are HR consultants who specialise in helping service based businesses of under 100 employees who need to scale up and grow. We do this through providing a dedicated HR partner to deliver on-demand HR support, and build your workplace culture using our Find Grow Keep methodology.

    Concept HR Services Concept HR Services helps small and medium businesses set up and maintain effective HR practices and processes to attract, manage, develop and retain great employees. Personalised HR solutions and day-to-day HR advice with support tailored to meet the specific needs of your business, your workplace and organisational culture.

    Narellan Smash Repairs With over 30 years of industry experience our focus is on high quality smash repairs and accident related services delivered with the highest standard of customer service. We keep up to date with the changing ways in which all vehicles are being designed and built, including new technology, materials, techniques and skills to keep delivering high quality repairs to our customers.

    NGNU We provide property, construction and government organisations with project management services that meet unflinching standards and deliver unparalleled outcomes. From the early stages of project conception through to close out and finalisation – it doesn’t matter whether you need help collaborating with architects, engineers, builders, or other essential consultants, we have the expertise to guide you through the process and deliver success, value and results every step of the way.

    Samartha Information System Samartha Information Systems Pty. Ltd. is an ISO 9001:2015 quality-certified company, adhering to internationally accepted standards for quality management. We specialise in Development and Software Integration, providing superior solutions for Software, Web, and mobile platforms. Our innovative approach stems from the collective experience of our team, enabling us to understand clients' needs, propose effective IT strategies, and deliver high-quality, scalable solutions using cutting-edge technologies.

    Simplly Fin Wiz With over 33 years of experience in Banking, Financial services, and Mortgage broking, Simplly Fin Wiz specializes in offering competitive Home and Business Loans accompanied by expert advice. As a full MFAA member affiliated with over 30 financial institutes, we provide objective assessments and assist in long-term financial planning, ensuring a seamless customer experience. Whether you're seeking a new loan or assessing existing ones, our team offers tailored solutions to meet your needs efficiently.

    Tiny Mobile - Tiny Mobile pioneers innovative tiny homes on wheels, boasting over 140 builds and recognised for excellence with awards like "Best Build Under 100k." Committed to quality and creativity, we redefine compact living, exploring expansion into mobile medical and dental sectors. With a passion for transformative design, Tiny Mobile is set to lead the market, driven by a genuine goal to address societal challenges.

  • 26-Mar-2024 13:34 | Cassidy Lau (Administrator)

    Introducing the Western Sydney Business Connection's "Meet the Member" Series: a fresh initiative designed to spotlight our members, offering insights into their businesses, accomplishments, and unique perspectives. From established industry leaders to emerging entrepreneurs, this series celebrates the rich diversity of our membership base. Stay tuned as we highlight our members, welcome our newest members, and foster meaningful connections in Western Sydney.

    Seeking connections with our members? Reach out with The Connection to learn how we can help facilitate those introductions for you.

    Meet Palantir Consulting

    Palantir Consulting is a solutions-based engineering consultancy franchise headquartered in Sydney. At Palantir, our commitment to clients is to create the best outcomes for projects – every single time.

    We recognise that professionals in the construction industry are always looking for ways to reduce wastage, better manage projects and improve their client relationships. We exist to help our clients maximise project value, minimise project risk and build with confidence and integrity.

    We leverage our expertise and industry knowledge to break down complex projects, envisioning likely outcomes and results. We help our clients see into the future by better understanding the structural integrity of their building assets, so they look good and stand strong for decades to come.

    What is Palantir Consulting working on at the moment?

    This year in May, Palantir is hosting its yearly event, RADIUS. RADIUS 2024 is a half-day event aimed at fostering connections and knowledge-sharing among Builders, Engineers, Consultants, Project Managers, Architects, and Suppliers in the Construction and Engineering industry. Scheduled for May 24, 2024, from 12:00 PM at the Swissotel Sydney, attendees will have the opportunity to learn from industry experts, connect with peers, and participate in matchmaking sessions. The event features professional photo sessions, lunch, barista coffee, dinner, after-event drinks, and valuable gifts.

    At Radius, attendees will learn from keynote speakers:

    • Michael McQueen: Multi-award-winning speaker, trend forecaster, and bestselling author, known for addressing over 500,000 people across 5 continents.
    • William Zhang: Featured on Forbes Australia, founder of Palantir Consulting and the RADIUS event
    • David Previte: National President of the Australian Institute of Waterproofing, Founder, and Director of Waterproofing Integrity.
    • James O'Loghlin: Australian comedian, television, and radio presenter at ABC.

    Where to find out more information about RADIUS 2024?

    Explore what's included and learn more about the RADIUS event by clicking the link below. Don't miss this opportunity to advance your career and expand your network in the construction industry 



    Welcome To Our New Members

    The Connection would like to welcome our newest Gold Member:

    Pullman at Sydney Olympic Park, Novotel Sydney Olympic Park, ibis Sydney Olympic Park

    The Connection would like to welcome our newest Silver Members:

    Bartier Perry Lawyers

    Institute of Applied Technology

    Killara Services

    The Media Park

    University of Sydney

    Waratah Group Services


    The Connection would like to welcome our newest Bronze Members:

    Brick Studios

    Castle Hill Country Club

    JLW Interiors

    Navarra Venues

    Westgate Executive Search

    The Connection would like to welcome our newest Small Business Members:

    Agile Energy

    Amplify HR

    Concept HR Services

    Narellan Smash Repairs


    Samartha Information System

    Simplly Fin Wiz

    Tiny Mobile

  • 08-Mar-2024 09:11 | Cassidy Lau (Administrator)

    UN Women Australia has announced its theme of International Women’s Day 2024 as: Count Her In: Accelerating Gender Equality Through Economic Empowerment. At the Western Sydney Business Connection we wholeheartedly embrace this theme! We present, in collaboration with Westgate Executive Search, a leadership interview series featuring six influential women in our region. With an exclusive article each day leading up to the 8th of March, we celebrate prominent female leaders shaping Western Sydney's business, social and economic landscape. Explore their perspectives, experiences, and commitment to diversity and inclusion.

    In our final installment for our COUNT HER IN Interview Series, we spotlight Susan Templeman MP, Federal Member for Macquarie. From journalist to politician, Susan's journey is marked by resilience and advocacy for education, mental health, and social justice. As Australia's Special Envoy for the Arts, she champions creativity's role in policy. Susan reflects on her experiences, highlighting the need to support women's aspirations in politics and beyond. Join us in celebrating her story and the impact of women's leadership.

    Susan Templeman MP

    Federal Member for Macquarie

    Susan Templeman MP is a politician, currently serving as a Member of Parliament in the House of Representatives. She was first elected as the Member for Macquarie at the 2016 election, with re-elections in 2019 and 2022. Her career in journalism included many years as a foreign correspondent in New York and London. In the early ‘90s she started a Media and Communications Business, while being an advocate in her community. Susan focuses on issues such as education, mental health, and social justice. In 2022, she was appointed as Australia's Special Envoy for the Arts by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

    Jacqueline Clements: Can you share what sparked your interest in politics and how you eventually became a Member of Parliament?

    Susan Templeman MP: Let’s start by saying that I never expected to become a Member of Parliament. I began my career as a journalist at the Canberra Press Gallery back in 1985, in the Old Parliament House during the Bob Hawke era. I was 21 and witnessed politics unfold and history being made before my eyes. That was my political education. It was such a privilege to see the parliamentary process at work from up close.

    It wasn’t until later, after returning to Australia from years of working overseas, and having started a family, that I realised the need for change. My family faced the challenges of supporting a child with serious mental health issues within a system of government that wasn’t working well. That planted a seed for me. When sharing the story of my daughter’s challenges within the community, other families shared their stories with me. It made me realise that many families were struggling with the existing systems.

    When the former member for Macquarie, announced his retirement I thought it would be good for our community to have a woman representing us. And I just decided to give it a go. I was in my late forties, wanting to use my life experience in helping to make a difference in mental health and related areas. That’s how my career as a politician started. However it wasn’t smooth sailing. I lost my first election in 2010 and lost again in 2013, finally being elected in 2016.

    JC: Your political and personal journey has been marked by a lot of resilience and determination. In 2013 you and your family lost your house to the Blue Mountain bushfires. How did you bounce back and how has this influenced your approach to politics?

    ST: Admittedly 2013 was not my favourite year. I turned 50, lost an election and my house burned down. Disasters often make people want to leave, but to me and many others affected by the Blue Mountains’ bushfires the opposite happened. There was such strength and connection in the community. The support from local organisations helping with the recovery was fantastic. This embedded a belief in me that local community holds many solutions and pathways forward, particularly after a disaster. Looking back, I realise how crucial that experience was. It is often in hindsight that we recognise the value of our experiences. And in fact, I didn't know that years later I would be the member of parliament dealing with the Gospers Mountain Bushfires and then flood after flood after flood and storms in recent years.

    In hindsight I also recognise that staying around after losing elections gave people time to learn to know me, allowing me to show the community that I was there for them. In the lead up to the 2016 election it was clear that I was going to be a strong voice, whether in government, in the opposition, or not elected at all. People recognised my genuine belief in the community rather than personal or political ambition.

    The community I represent is remarkably diverse. Within this relatively small region there can be many opposing views, making it both challenging and fascinating. I acknowledge the importance of respecting different opinions, remaining open to learning about different ideas, especially when I haven’t formed a fixed position. But there are also matters I feel strong about, where not everyone might agree. I was a firm supporter of changing the rules around same-sex marriage and openly advocated for a yes vote to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in the constitution. Sometimes you have to agree to disagree. Being respectful and acknowledging that my way is not the only way is important. I have been married for decades and even my husband and I don’t always agree on everything. It is therefore no wonder that there are many people in the community who have different views too.

    JC: In 2022 you were appointed to be the Special Envoy of the Arts by the Prime Minister. Can you share your views on this role?

    ST: The Prime Minister’s brief to me was to support the arts and advocate for the arts. It gives me an opportunity to raise issues with all ministers about the role the arts might play in their policy solutions. The last decade has been challenging for the arts. However we have returned to a situation where artists and peers make decisions about funding and grants. A year ago our new cultural policy came out, informed by national consultations.

    Importantly, the arts are not limited to a small bucket of money with the word ‘arts’ written on it. In my view it is important to recognise that the arts can play a key role in many key policy areas such as disability, education, and wellbeing. Every portfolio has opportunities for arts and culture. It is also important that we support as many artists as we can in different parts of their career. I now have the privilege to see a lot of arts and cultural performances in different places around the country. It allows me to have discussions with artists and creators from the film industry through to the circus. It's a delight to see the incredible creativity.

    JC: As we celebrate International Women's Day we also reflect on the barriers that are still holding women back from reaching their full potential. Have you experienced such barriers in your career and how do you support women who aspire to a political career?

    ST: I hope that the presence of women in politics in general, and my own presence in Parliament, serves as an example for young women that a career in politics is worthwhile and achievable. We all know that if you can't see it, you can't be it. I am proud that my daughter is now involved in politics and works in policy areas at a different level of government. My wish is that she and other women who aspire to a political career get the respect and recognition that I now receive.

    But it has not always been like this. My career started as a journalist in a commercial radio news room. It was the 1980s and sexism was not subtle. Being quite shy, this required me to develop some key skills and stand up for myself. I would love to say that we have moved on since then, but unfortunately young women still face many challenges in the workplace and elsewhere.

    This is why as a small business owner I have always employed women who just had children and couldn’t immediately re-establish themselves back into their TV or radio journalism roles. By providing this balance between work and home, my media business could hire the most amazing women. Of course it wasn't always easy, particularly when a baby got sick in the middle of the night and someone else had to step in at work at the last moment. Reflecting on this now, I realise how lucky I was to have my mum help me when my children were young.

    My experience as a business owner has taught me how small businesses can make a big difference in supporting women who are juggling caring responsibilities and a professional career. But small businesses cannot always provide the next career step. Therefore I absolutely encourage and support women in planning where they want to be next and how to get there. I now have young women working with me who are still at university, soon moving onto the next stages of their careers. I’m excited to support them in either opening a door to a new opportunity or giving a nudge, backing their decision to step into that next challenge.

    Presented in collaboration with:

    By Jacqueline Clements
    CEO, Westgate Executive Search

  • 07-Mar-2024 09:40 | Cassidy Lau (Administrator)

    UN Women Australia has announced its theme of International Women’s Day 2024 as: Count Her In: Accelerating Gender Equality Through Economic Empowerment. At the Western Sydney Business Connection we wholeheartedly embrace this theme! We present, in collaboration with Westgate Executive Search, a leadership interview series featuring six influential women in our region. With an exclusive article each day leading up to the 8th of March, we celebrate prominent female leaders shaping Western Sydney's business, social and economic landscape. Explore their perspectives, experiences, and commitment to diversity and inclusion.

    In our fifth COUNT HER IN Interview, meet Jasmine Newman, Managing Director & Co-Founder of Killara Services. From a mother of four to an Aboriginal business leader, Jasmine's story is one of resilience and community empowerment. Read on and discover how she's breaking barriers, fostering inclusivity, and shaping the future of Indigenous entrepreneurship.

    Jasmine Newman

    Managing Director & Co-Founder Killara Services

    Jasmine Newman is a mother of four children, a wife, and an Aboriginal business woman. Together with her husband she founded Killara Services, the largest Aboriginal owned and operated cleaning company in Australia. She started Killara Services six years ago and now works across the country for a wide range of clients, including the Australian Government, the NSW Government and a large number of corporate organisations. She is a passionate advocate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, driven by the legacy of her great-grandfather Bert Groves, an influential Aboriginal activist. She lives by her motto to ‘engage, employ and empower her people’.

    Jacqueline Clements: Could you share the story of how you started Killara Services and what you wanted to achieve with your business?

    Jasmine Newman: My husband and I started Killara Services six years ago, bringing relevant industry experience with us. We worked together in a cleaning business that we took from a startup to a multi million dollar company. My role in the organisation was ensuring that the business was culturally aligned. However, when it was acquired by a larger company I no longer felt comfortable portraying it as an organisation with an authentic Aboriginal culture. That’s when we decided to start our own business.

    Culture is very important to me and it was my inspiration for founding Killara. The urge to make a difference comes from my strong family history of Aboriginal activism. My great grandfather was part of the activism movement in the fifties and sixties here in Sydney. He was responsible for a lot of the work that led to the repeal of the Aborigines Protection Act. He was such a strong advocate for opportunities for our people. With Killara I wanted to pay respect to my pop’s legacy by helping Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people into employment. Killara offers soft services, cleaning services for which you don’t need a formal industry qualification. This provides a low entry barrier, making it a really good first job for people who might otherwise not have found employment.

    JC: As a woman and an Aboriginal business owner, what challenges and obstacles do you experience in your entrepreneurial journey?

    JN: Being a mum and a business owner presents its own set of challenges. The work involved in supporting our staff behind the scenes can be quite demanding. Our people sometimes face very unique challenges, such as being the only person in their family with a job and they need support to hang in there.

    Another challenge I faced at the start relates to the male dominated decision making power in the cleaning industry. Winning contracts used to be based on relationships and I don’t think I was taken very seriously when I started. But over the years there has been a significant shift through professionalisation of the procurement space and tenders are now being awarded based on merit. There are also more women with decision making power in the industry. Many of the procurement professionals I work with in corporate organisations and government agencies are women, which is quite refreshing. But we are not there yet. I still walk into environments within corporate Australia where we are the first indigenous business in their supply chain. People sometimes ask incredibly insensitive and inappropriate things. It blows my mind that in 2024 there is still such ignorance around our culture.

    JC: What are your views on leadership and how is that different from mainstream ideas of what leadership should look like?

    JN: My approach to leadership is definitely different from most leaders I have dealt with throughout my career. My priority is simply being human, a good human. I'm a mom, I'm a wife, and I'm very family oriented. That is the basis for my leadership and I have brought this approach to my business.

    Everyone knows my phone is always on and my door is always open. That applies to my family, to my management team, to the staff in the office and the cleaners on the ground. I make an effort to solve problems, even if these are not related to turning up at work and getting the cleaning done. That is not always easy. I have supported people with domestic violence plans, helped with the paperwork and removed them from dangerous situations. I have organised emergency accommodation for staff, I shopped and put groceries in their fridge and picked people up from their homes and drove them to work.

    These are all responsibilities that are not normally part of the role of a managing director. And the costs for this support are not business expenses, they come out of my personal finances. So my approach to leadership is to treat everyone like family and this is something that you can not do in a mainstream business.

    Another foundation of my leadership is that I want to create safe spaces. Most of our staff are women who choose to work for us because of the level of cultural safety we offer. We provide cultural awareness training in the organisations of our clients to create an understanding of what cultural safety means. This way we can ensure that these places are fit for our women to work in.

    At the same time I want to do right by our customers too. I place a lot of emphasis on customer service. We teach our staff that it doesn't matter whether you work in a corporate building or a high security building, you always say good morning, you can always be nice.

    JC: You are very passionate about Killara Services and have worked hard to achieve success. How are you going to take this to the next level?

    JN: That is a very good question. The biggest challenge we faced during the past 12 months is that we have grown so much that we are no longer competing in the indigenous business sector. We are now competing against large corporate organisations with hundreds of millions in revenue and decades of experience. The implication is, that even when everybody wants to feel amazing about engaging with an indigenous business, it is hard to win a tender in such a competitive environment.

    I anticipated this and invested heavily in my business development team early on. We are lucky to have one of the best business estimators in the country work for us. But it is not the commercial aspect that is the challenge, it is the perception that there is an element of risk in dealing with an Aboriginal business. And we also see many organisations just being comfortable with the businesses they have long time relations with, which creates barriers for newcomers like us. But I strongly believe that there is no issue in delivering the jobs we commit to. We are more than capable.

    What I and other women in the Aboriginal business sector have observed is that there is so much support for indigenous business to start, but a real void in helping them grow. I want to change that with a new service. I’m going to call it Mimi, which is an Aboriginal word for sister. It will be a consortium of female owned businesses, where Aboriginal women can come together to support each other in the growth of their businesses. And I would like to have a panel of experienced indigenous business leaders who can offer one-on-one support. We have plenty of people in our networks who have the ability to make introductions and open doors for indigenous women into relevant supply chains. I believe that this is something that can really make a difference.

    Learn more about Killara

    Presented in collaboration with:

    By Jacqueline Clements
    CEO, Westgate Executive Search

  • 06-Mar-2024 10:48 | Cassidy Lau (Administrator)

    UN Women Australia has announced its theme of International Women’s Day 2024 as: Count Her In: Accelerating Gender Equality Through Economic Empowerment. At the Western Sydney Business Connection we wholeheartedly embrace this theme! We present, in collaboration with Westgate Executive Search, a leadership interview series featuring six influential women in our region. With an exclusive article each day leading up to the 8th of March, we celebrate prominent female leaders shaping Western Sydney's business, social and economic landscape. Explore their perspectives, experiences, and commitment to diversity and inclusion.

    In our fourth COUNT HER IN feature, we explore Maryanne Dever's remarkable journey from accidental leadership at Monash University's Centre of Women’s Studies & Gender Research to her current role as Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Education at Western Sydney University. Join us as we uncover her inspiring narrative of empowerment and advocacy, shaping the future of academia for women.

    Maryanne Dever

    Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Education, Western Sydney University

    Maryanne Dever is the new Deputy Vice Chancellor, Education, at Western Sydney University. She is tasked with leading the University’s education innovation and quality enhancement strategy. Maryanne is an experienced higher education leader, with a track record in improving digital learning opportunities and a passion for the student experience. She is an experienced mentor of early career female academics and well known for her research in feminist literary studies.

    Jacqueline Clements: One of the objectives of International Women’s Day is to empower women to fulfil their potential in all areas of life, including education, career, and personal development. Can you share how you decided to pursue leadership as your career path?

    Maryanne Dever: My leadership journey started quite accidentally at Monash University, a long time ago. A range of circumstances led to me taking on the Director role at the University’s Centre of Women’s Studies & Gender Research. It wasn’t a role I had sought; I was simply the only person available at the time. I assumed the position and held it for eight years in the end, navigating through some difficult challenges to a point of stability and growth. It proved to be a valuable experience, allowing me to acquire new skills around people, planning, and finance.

    This role gave me an initial taste of leadership and paved the way for my subsequent role as Associate Dean Learning and Teaching at UTS. Although not 100% sure at first that it was the right career step for me, I soon realised that I enjoy fixing problems, driving quality, and managing change. For the first time I was able to make decisions and address issues myself rather than passing them up the chain. I was encouraged at UTS to work on larger and larger transformation projects in learning and teaching, thus shaping my leadership trajectory. Critically, these experiences taught me the power of good relationships and collaboration within an organisation. And they gave me an appreciation for joined up solutions and insight into how we deliver on an organisation’s overarching vision.

    I could take these insights with me when I moved to a new role three years ago as Pro Vice-Chancellor at the Australian National University. There I was responsible for strategies aligning education and digital innovation. Then when Western Sydney University announced last year that they were recruiting for the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Education, I put myself forward.

    JC: How has your experience as a senior higher education leader and your academic background in feminist literature and gender studies shaped your views on leadership?

    MD: In my view, it is very important for everyone to identify their own model of leadership. Our ideas of ‘good leadership’ can be very gendered. When we ask people to describe a good leader, we often end up with a series of qualities or attributes that align very closely with traditional masculine behaviours. We all need to learn how to lead in our own way. For me personally, that means leading in a collaborative way, being at all times highly respectful of people, being professional, and demanding the best of myself and the people around me.

    Leading is not about being the most important or the loudest voice in the room. For me it is really about relationality — not a story about one person, but a story of how we bring people along with us. My leadership priority is to establish networks within and beyond the organisation to achieve our goals in partnership.

    JC: Mentoring is often seen as a way to empower women in their professional career. What is your view on mentoring early career women and how does it impact inclusion?

    MD: Mentoring is important. I have been very fortunate to have had good mentors in my career and for a long time have mentored women in universities myself. I think that one of the most important aspects of mentoring is information sharing, whether that’s about culture, career moves, remuneration. Why make every early career woman reinvent the wheel? That seems just time consuming and unnecessary. However, there are valid criticisms of mentoring, because it can be about showing people the ropes in a way that reinforces the status quo when maybe we ought to be challenging it.

    To achieve better inclusion of women in senior roles, the mentoring conversation needs to take place alongside a conversation about sponsorship. As a mentor, I'm talking to you about your career; as a sponsor, I’m talking to someone else about you and your career. Mentoring without sponsorship won’t necessarily lead to career advancement.

    Sometimes we can make a difference in women’s career opportunities with small gestures. At the Australian National University a senior colleague and I organised brown bag lunches to introduce early career academic women to senior women leaders in the Chancellery. There was no advertising or promotion of these gatherings, it was just a low-key initiative that turned out to be a really helpful way for us to learn more about what those women were experiencing at their career stage and for them to learn a little bit about the pathways that had taken us into senior leadership. I firmly believe that there is always something you can do beyond the precise job you’re hired for, no matter how small, that makes a difference.

    JC: What can universities do to be more inclusive and promote diversity?

    MD: In the time that I have been associated with universities, we have come a very long way. Universities are doing a much better job than they used to in recognising the diversity of students and of employees. In my role I feel a responsibility to ensure that we have an inclusive lens over everything we do.

    It is relevant in this context to understand how we can improve flexibility in the learning opportunities we offer. Many of our students join us after working, parenthood and other life experiences. Where university fits in their lives is rather different than for students who enrol straight after high school. We have a significant number of students who are parents, trying to fit study around caring commitments.

    During Covid we saw how flexible delivery can create greater accessibility and new developments in digital technologies will create more and better opportunities for flexible learning.

    Higher education is an industry where things are happening, and we might not welcome everything that comes our way, but we are definitely not going to be standing still.

    Presented in collaboration with:

    By Jacqueline Clements
    CEO, Westgate Executive Search

  • 05-Mar-2024 11:11 | Cassidy Lau (Administrator)

    UN Women Australia has announced its theme of International Women’s Day 2024 as: Count Her In: Accelerating Gender Equality Through Economic Empowerment. At the Western Sydney Business Connection we wholeheartedly embrace this theme! We present, in collaboration with Westgate Executive Search, a leadership interview series featuring six influential women in our region. With an exclusive article each day leading up to the 8th of March, we celebrate prominent female leaders shaping Western Sydney's business, social and economic landscape. Explore their perspectives, experiences, and commitment to diversity and inclusion.

    In our third feature article, we hear about the career path of Janine Williams, a successful entrepreneur who founded and developed The Epiphany Group into a highly influential business. Read on as we delve into Janine's experiences and lessons learned, from overcoming challenges to embracing inclusivity in the workplace. Through her story, we'll hear valuable insights into defying stereotypes, building a thriving business, and finding success as a woman in the business world.

    Janine Williams

    Founder & CEO of The Epiphany Group

    Janine Williams is the founder of The Epiphany Group, a highly successful consulting business that helps organisations scale and grow while providing the programs and services that support that growth. She worked as a trainer and a coach in a wide range of industries, including retail, FMCG, franchising, hospitality, manufacturing and construction companies. She has a wealth of knowledge about how business and industries operate and is convinced that successful companies are driven by empowered teams at all levels.

    Jacqueline Clements: You have founded and developed The Epiphany Group into a highly successful and influential business. How did your career path lead to this point?

    Janine Williams: My career journey has been far from conventional, working in many different roles in a wide variety of industries. I grew up in a small regional town, with 200 people and this environment offered very limited opportunities or resources that matched my aspirations.

    I focused on education because I understood even at a young age that education was an equaliser. I had two priorities: doing well at school and leaving town. I left home two days after I finished my HSC to move to Sydney, six hours away. My parents thought it was insane and they couldn’t understand why I would want to do that.

    When I was at school my aim was to become an English professor. I really loved learning and wanted to help other people also find a love for learning. But I took a different path and landed initially in hospitality, moved on to retail and franchising and then spent time in the corporate world. My corporate and franchising roles included supporting businesses in their growth trajectory, as a company ourselves we focused on growing to then go through an IPO process which eventually saw the business got to a public listing. Over time I began to realise that I didn’t like the corporate politics and that the work didn’t align with my moral and ethical values.

    It was time for a change. I left my corporate career and decided to spend more weekends at home with my children. This period coincided with significant changes in safety legislation, an area I have always been passionate about. I quickly realised that it was going to be a game changer in many industries, particularly in construction. I had this vision that we needed to change the way people looked at safety, empower every single person to contribute to a safe workplace. I wanted to be part of this development. The government provided funding for training organisations to upskill and educate people on the new legislation and I stepped into the opportunity. I loved talking to people about safety and was passionate about it. I also understood the constraints of business and industry. During this phase of training, people started to urge me to become a coach, encouraging me to get a coaching qualification. And Epiphany, the company was born from the idea that I could help business owners see things in a different way through my experience and straightforward approach. The intent was they would have that lightbulb moment that would take them and their business to the next level.

    JC: One of the aims of International Women’s Day is to empower women to overcome obstacles and embrace opportunities. From your experience, what are some of the common challenges for inclusivity in the workplace?

    JW: From my experience the government is incredibly effective in providing KPIs and targets in their contracts for diversity and inclusion. This helps organisations with government contracts to implement actions towards achieving these KPIs. One of the things I learned in working with CEOs and managing directors of larger companies is that while they prioritise inclusion, it can often become one priority amongst a number of priorities.

    In my view, the best place to start is education. One of the biggest challenges for inclusion is that people just don’t know how to put good measures in place. They don’t know how to break the vision of inclusivity down into achievable steps. They need to see examples. One of the companies that has set a good example is Mirvac under Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz. She recently left as the CEO, but when she started, she put a target of 50% gender equality for every level at Mirvac. And she achieved it. This really is a best practice case study for businesses in Australia. We can learn what worked and what didn’t work from this achievement and others like it.

    We shouldn’t shy away from admitting what doesn’t work. Doing so helps people understand the nuances in their industries and what might be effective for them. We also need more open discussions about unconscious bias and acknowledge the importance of diverse perspectives. When we approach differences with curiosity and a desire to learn, we have a solid starting point. And that starting point is for most businesses the hardest thing.

    JC: What role did inclusivity play in your career, have you experienced any barriers in your trajectory and how did you overcome these?

    JW: In the early phases of my career, I have certainly experienced stereotyping. There was the perception that when you had children, you would no longer have the same level of commitment to your role. At the time this was openly discussed by senior management. Unfortunately, I think that this notion still permeates in some organisations today. However paternity leave has assisted in shifting this conversation and the some of the perception of who does the child raising.

    Of course, we now have a much better understanding of the fact that a career pause is not a step backwards. It can provide you with life experience, enable personal growth and the ability to see things in a more holistic way.

    I learned that a really good way to overcome barriers to promotion is having a role model, finding someone who exemplified who I wanted to be. During my career I had several role models who inspired me with how they approached challenges and opportunities. I would advise everyone to find a role model or a mentor.

    Besides a mentor, it is also important to find a sponsor. If you are in a large organisation, you need to have someone more senior who respects your work ethic and your contribution, otherwise you just don't make it to the top.

    The other thing that I did was make sure I got results. I would present my results in a factual way, communicating what targets I reached and what this meant in terms of profitability for the business. Demonstrating your value through positive contribution, a strong work ethic and a positive mindset will help overcome a lot of barriers in most industries.

    JC: To conclude this interview, what advice do you have for women who like you, plan to leave their job and start their own business?

    JW: I coach a number of young women who are doing exactly that. Their enthusiasm is so contagious, and their knowledge and skillset is exceptional. That is a great place to start. But they also need to put in the hours without seeing results for a long time. New business owners will need to put a lot of sweat into their business and that sweat equity is probably one of the most challenging things. All this effort and so little reward.

    The piece of advice that I would really like to give to young female entrepreneurs is that they need to be prepared to put their hand up and ask for help. There is going to be so much that they do not know. They will find that people genuinely want to help, and they need to be ready to explain what type of help they need. This is a skill in itself. They also need to think about how they can help somebody else. Business is very much about reciprocity. Offer help to people, one day someone may be able to help you as well. That is the foundation for any successful business.

    Lastly my most important piece of advice, and that is having people around you who believe in you and cheer you on. If you are in a room with people who celebrate you and want the best for you, you are in the right room.

    More about The Epiphany group:

    Presented in collaboration with:

    By Jacqueline Clements
    CEO, Westgate Executive Search

  • 04-Mar-2024 15:30 | Cassidy Lau (Administrator)

    UN Women Australia has announced its theme of International Women’s Day 2024 as: Count Her In: Accelerating Gender Equality Through Economic Empowerment. At the Western Sydney Business Connection we wholeheartedly embrace this theme! We present, in collaboration with Westgate Executive Search, a leadership interview series featuring six influential women in our region. With an exclusive article each day leading up to the 8th of March, we celebrate prominent female leaders shaping Western Sydney's business, social and economic landscape. Explore their perspectives, experiences, and commitment to diversity and inclusion.

    In our second feature article, we delve into the experiences that ignited a passion for advocacy in Amanda Rose, Founder of Western Sydney Women. From facing socio-economic disadvantages to challenging negative perceptions, Amanda shares her inspiring journey of empowering women in the region. Read on as we explore her vision for change and future of Women in Western Sydney.

    Amanda Rose

    Entrepreneur and Advocate for Women in Business

    Amanda Rose (#BossLady) is an advocate for women in business, a media commentator, keynote speaker and an entrepreneur. Appearing weekly on Sunrise and SkyNews and contributing regularly to the Australian Financial Review, the Daily Telegraph and SmartCompany, Amanda applies compassionate critical thinking to disseminate complex issues affecting everyday Australians. Amanda is the Founder and CEO of Entrepreneurial & Small Business Women Australia (ESBWA) and the Founder and CEO of Western Sydney Women. As a mentor and advisor to women in executive roles and SMEs, Amanda is known for her strategic, practical approach to leadership and business.

    Jacqueline Clements: This year, the theme the UN has chosen for International Women's Day is 'Count her In.' Against this backdrop, could you share the experiences that inspired you to become an advocate for women in Western Sydney?

    Amanda Rose: My drive to advocate for women in the region and eventually founding my organisation Western Sydney Women, came from seeing the socio-economic disadvantages and the prejudice that stemmed from simply being born and working in Western Sydney. I found that girls and women here didn’t have access to the same resources as people on the other side of Sydney. There was this prejudice that you had no ambition, that you didn't care. And I found this quite oppressive. I simply had enough of the disadvantage and wanted women to have the freedom to pursue their aspirations without facing unfair judgement based on their birthplace or workplace.

    My own experience growing up was an important drive too. I come from a working class family and you don't realise how much people dismiss you until you say you are from Western Sydney or that you are working class. I can only imagine what it must be like for those who are immigrants as well. When I told people that I went to school in Regents Park or Greenacre, they had no idea where this was and derogatorily called me a ‘Westie’. Luckily I was encouraged from a young age to take on the world and now I’m proud to be a ‘Westie’. But it doesn’t take away that I felt humiliated many times by people frowning upon where I came from or saying I had done well for myself.

    While it is hard to change the negative perceptions and prejudice of those outside of the region, I decided that I could inspire and encourage those living here. Empower them to be proud of where they came from. Given that Western Sydney is witnessing the largest investment in New South Wales, and with everyone competing for a slice of the money, it is disheartening to see the persistent and widespread disadvantages across many pockets of our community. I decided to address the disadvantage through various avenues, such as events, programs, and advocacy. It is all aimed at empowering women, giving them a voice, and ensuring they achieve economic independence, whatever that means to them. That is in short the backdrop for founding Western Sydney Women, now eight years ago. I have since expanded advocating for women on a national scale, through founding an organisation called Entrepreneurial & Small Business Women in Australia.

    J: What opportunities do you see for advancing women in Western Sydney and what are the changes that will need to take place?

    A: Obviously there are lots of jobs available, but women still face barriers in accessing these opportunities. Some women might need flexible work arrangements, or they might need upskilling. Childcare is important for many women. Without it they won’t be able to work or study, obtaining the required skills for these jobs. We need the government and large corporations to make an effort in this space. We also need to change the narrative in Western Sydney. It shouldn’t matter whether you are a male or a female. Equal opportunity is about providing access to work for migrants, generational Australians and women. This will make a tremendous difference in the community.

    I can’t shake the impression that many organisations only pay attention to women when there are staff shortages. Only then they realise there are issues with childcare, with women carrying so much more of the burden at home. They suddenly understand we have not sufficiently addressed these challenges. It requires a cultural shift. Luckily the number of women in management roles is increasing. They understand the barriers and are often willing to do something about it. Change is happening, but it’s happening at a snail's pace.

    Unfortunately we are often discouraged talking about these issues. But raising awareness without fear of what people say is important. Negatively labelling the raising of issues is just deflection, showing that the boys club is real. Women who are interested in higher positions are often overlooked for someone's mate, and that is a cultural problem. We now have all these educated women, all these women with experience and passion who are missing out, which means companies are missing out.

    J: Mentoring often comes up as a tool in creating equal opportunities for women. You are a mentor yourself. Can you explain why mentoring is so often proposed as a career accelerator for women?

    A: The reality is that men have mentors by default. They might not explicitly call them mentors, but they have easy access to advice. When they don’t know something they pick up the phone, call their father’s friend, or ask a more experienced colleague at work. They are naturally surrounded by wisdom, advice and connections. Whereas in my experience, women often don’t ask for help, worried that they are not good enough. The consequence is that they miss out on opportunities.

    I learned that mentoring is a way to even the playing field, to make sure that women have access to that wisdom, to that advice. This could for example be encouraging a girl to go to university and eventually running her own business. Or it could be encouraging someone in a corporate role who believes she can’t get a promotion. To me mentoring means empowering someone to use their skills and tap into what they already know in order to succeed in the workplace or at school.

    My advice to women is to ask more people for help, not necessarily through a formal mentorship, but reaching out and asking others for their opinion and wisdom. And mix it up. Don't just ask that one person but create a network of people. I would also encourage everyone to become a mentor and embrace helping others. It doesn’t matter what level you are at, everyone has something to teach to someone else.

    J: You are organising a large Summit on the ‘Future of Women in Western Sydney’ on the 8th of March. Can you tell a bit more about this event and can people still sign up for it?

    A: We are organising the Summit now for the second time and it is the signature event of Western Sydney Women. It's the first of its kind. So often we see International Women's Day events that are just courtesy or a tick box. We aspire with this summit to have a substantial event with a serious dialogue. An event that highlights key female players and discusses the issues and opportunities for women in Western Sydney as well as the changes we would like to see happen.

    It is a platform for people to share their visions, their experiences and their insights in what is needed for women in the region. Are we approaching it in the right way? Are we addressing key issues such as transport and entrepreneurship effectively? We want to spotlight remarkable women who have achieved success, making the voices heard of those who quietly drive progress within organisations. Women often don’t call out their achievements, so we need to do that on their behalf. This event encourages conversation and connections across different industries and different organisations. We even have schools attending. If you want to learn more about what's really happening in Western Sydney, what women are really doing behind the scenes, this is the event to go to.

    For more information, visit our website -

    Presented in collaboration with:

    By Jacqueline Clements
    CEO, Westgate Executive Search

  • 01-Mar-2024 09:00 | Cassidy Lau (Administrator)

    UN Women Australia has announced its theme of International Women’s Day 2024 as: Count Her In: Accelerating Gender Equality Through Economic Empowerment. At the Western Sydney Business Connection we wholeheartedly embrace this theme! We present, in collaboration with Westgate Executive Search, a leadership interview series featuring six influential women in our region. With an exclusive article each day leading up to the 8th of March, we celebrate prominent female leaders shaping Western Sydney's business, social and economic landscape. Explore their perspectives, experiences, and commitment to diversity and inclusion.

    We kick off this empowering series with our first feature article: Lindy Deitz, General Manager at Campbelltown City Council, interviewed by Jacqueline Clements from Westgate Executive Search. Lindy's insights sets the stage for an enlightening series showcasing the remarkable women driving success in Western Sydney.

    Lindy Deitz

    General Manager, Campbelltown City Council

    Lindy Deitz is the General Manager of Campbelltown City Council, leading the transformative journey of one of the largest and oldest councils in NSW. With over 30 years of experience in local government, Lindy brings a wealth of knowledge and a strong commitment to serving the Campbelltown community. Her leadership has been instrumental in driving innovative change and advocating for the diverse needs of the region. Lindy is passionate about inclusivity and her limitless dedication is key in shaping the future of Campbelltown as a vibrant and sustainable city.

    Jacqueline Clements: With nearly 30 years of experience in local government you bring substantive knowledge and experience to your role of General Manager of Campbelltown City Council. Can you share what attracted you to working in local government and how you got to this point in your career?

    Lindy Deitz: My career just happened through embracing opportunities that came my way. I never set out to be a general manager in local government. I learned over time that the council is a really wonderful place to work and make a difference for the community, so I kept going. It is incredibly diverse. One moment I am dealing with issues around the garbage pickup service and the next minute I am meeting with the Premier.

    But the council is not where I started my journey. Initially I was trained as a registered nurse and worked in health care. Not being able to provide the quality of care I aspired to, I became increasingly disillusioned with the health system. So I embraced the opportunity to work for the community when a position came up in local government. As a Campbelltown resident I knew there was so much depth and strength in this amazing community, but its voice was not heard. I had a desire to be an advocate for the community and make a difference in peoples’ lives.

    After 30 years this is what still drives me today. Of course a lot has changed since. When I first arrived, cows were grazing nearby. Now the cows have been replaced by a thriving city centre. But as a fringe metropolitan council we still have some of these beautiful features. Our community often describes us as ‘where city meets bush’, offering the best of both worlds, including the warmth and kindness of a country town. I have met so many incredibly kindhearted people here and some of them experience adversity, but keep showing resilience and generosity. They fuel my passion for working here.

    What makes local government really appealing to me is that we are the closest level of government to people. It is important that we understand our community and advocate for them to other levels of government. It’s an honour and a privilege to be able to try and fight for things that make life better for our residents and those living in the wider region. Councils often compete against one another for funding from the government, but our residents don't live within a local government boundary. They shop where they like to shop and go for entertainment where they please. There is no line in the sand. As local governments we need to acknowledge this through working together, drawing from each other’s strengths. That way we can achieve the best outcomes for our communities.

    J: Can you share some of the experiences and influences from your upbringing that have shaped your understanding of cultural diversity and gender roles, and how these experiences inform your approach as a female leader?

    L: My mother was born in Sri Lanka and my father in Australia. Back in the days they were among the first people to have what was back then called a ‘mixed marriage’. I grew up in a small country town in Victoria and people used to spit at me and call me names. This utterly confused me as I was born here and didn’t understand why I was different. My mother was one of the first nurses of colour in white Australia to work in a hospital. It was an experiment to see whether patients would tolerate a non-white nurse at their bedside. I grew up with a lot of racism.

    But I also grew up with the culture of my mum, where it was custom to look after the men in the family. She would work all day and then came home to look after my dad and us children. Growing up like this gave me an understanding that people have different cultural backgrounds and different expectations from gender roles. But at the same time I always used to challenge my mum, questioning why my brother didn’t have to clean the kitchen.

    As a female leader I now have a role to play in changing the culture and set an example for other women. But it is not without its challenges. Unfortunately I still regularly interact with people who struggle with the fact that I am a female leader. This is something that still exists, particularly when dealing with diverse cultural backgrounds. Through my own upbringing I understand these different cultural attitudes towards gender roles. I therefore never directly confront different viewpoints in an argumentative way, but try to influence in a manner that motivates people to rethink their beliefs. Putting pressure and driving people in a defensive position will not make them change their mind. My approach is to do my job well and show results. But I always make clear that if I treat someone with respect, I expect that respect back and it shouldn’t matter that I am a woman.

    J: What are your approaches to leadership and how do you create an inclusive workplace at Campbelltown City Council?

    L: My approach to leadership is very much a team approach as opposed to hierarchy. I believe that every single person working at Campbelltown City Council makes an important contribution to our community. We emphasise teamwork and community service. I like this somewhat old fashioned notion of being public servants. In my opinion this exactly describes our role. We are here to serve the public and we want the customer experience to be of a high quality.

    A significant part of our role is to listen and try to understand what challenges people experience and how we can resolve those. I believe in empowering people to recognise that each individual plays an important role and contributes equally to the team's success. Traditionally people working in local government would stay within their own swim lane, operating in silos. However, I believe it is essential to break down those barriers. Understanding different parts of the business is crucial for effectively serving the public. When someone seeks help, having a broader perspective enables us to provide a more comprehensive service.

    This broader perspective also comes from diversity in our teams. We are quite fortunate to have a good gender balance and a staff profile that reflects our community. We also employ people with disabilities and additional needs. However we don’t have specific targets to achieve this diversity. We hire people who are passionate and capable and approach our applicants with an open mind. To me, inclusion means not having a bias. It shouldn't matter how old or young you are, what your cultural background or gender is.

    J: As we celebrate International Women's Day, is there a message you would like to convey to women and girls about the importance of embracing their potential and striving for what they can achieve in life?

    L: It is my strong belief that any woman should be empowered to be whatever she wants to be. I grew up with parents who had really big hearts and were very generous in nature and felt that everybody had a place and a role and should be valued. I brought my own children up with that message. I won’t judge them on what career they choose or what role they play. I want them to have a voice, and I want them to be respected for their voice and their opinions, and this goes for both my son and my daughters.

    But I recognise that women might sometimes need that little bit of extra encouragement. In my life it was my dad who provided that encouragement. So my advice to young women at the start of their career is about the need to be focused, to be passionate and to be determined. As women, these are some of our great strengths. If we are able to channel our passion and our determination we create influence and get a voice.

    Another piece of advice I regularly give to women within our organisation is to prioritise building strategic partnerships and put effort into networking. There are so many opportunities that arise from your network. Building relationships is really important, and something that women are often very good at. So as a woman, you can really take advantage of some of your natural abilities and bring them into a workplace and just make the most of it.

    Presented in collaboration with:

    By Jacqueline Clements
    CEO, Westgate Executive Search

  • 25-Feb-2024 21:08 | Cassidy Lau (Administrator)

    Over 1,600 families with sick and injured children are supported by Ronald McDonald House Charities Greater Western Sydney, at our Westmead House every year.

    CEO Walk in My Shoes is a chance for members of the business community to come inside the “House that Love Built” for a unique 24-hour experience.

    Participants will:

    • Cook and serve meals to our 60 families
    • Use your skills to tackle a business issue together
    • Gain a unique insight into our services and support for families
    • Join fellow participants in raising vital funds

    Register at or contact for more.

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