#ChooseToChallenge with compassion and empathy was the focus of my #IWD2021 speech for the Resource Industry Network. In this podcast, I reprise the speech, to share my thoughts on the critical value of compassion and empathy in gender inclusion work.

So grateful to have the chance to speak with 500++ women, men and future leaders for their wonderful lunch celebrating the day.

I've been reflecting a lot on the relationship between gender equality and challenge, and reckon it's time for a change-up. It's time to approach the challenges we face with greater compassion and empathy to increase our hope for the future.

We need to make it easier for everyone to be part of the conversation.

My key focus in the podcast was on how we can do just that:
📌 make it easier to have conversations even if we have different views
📌 make it easier for men to be part of the conversation
📌 be more inclusive, everyday

When it comes to the heavy lifting, the challenge of change, we're better together.

Create a ripple effect - help others achieve heights they never thought they could

This was one of many inspiring messages from Karen Brown in the latest episode.

In our conversation, Karen shares her leadership journey, from school years, as a member of the QLD Firebirds netball team, to her choice of pharmacy as a career, then on to her successes as a Managing Partner of 2 TerryWhite Chemmart pharmacies.

And there’s more….

She’s been recognised through a number of awards: in January, she received a Small Business Person of the Year Award as part of the Australia Day Awards, being recognised for her leadership, entrepreneurship and dedication to the community.

She credits part of her success to her belief that people want to belong to something bigger than themselves; for her, community engagement has been a priority and is a big part of success of her pharmacies.

‘Be where your feet are’ is one of her mantras, and particularly useful with pharmacy on the frontline of the response to COVID.

She says ‘During COVID we couldn't look too far ahead, we needed to be in the moment. COVID was pharmacy’s time to shine - we did that and were respected and loved for it.’

What better way to get back into the podcasting groove for 2021 (finally 🥴) than with a conversation with Dr Tina Soulis, CEO of Neuroscience Trials Australia.

NTA delivers global standard clinical trial projects for pharma, biotech and device clients.

Over the past year, what clinical trials are and their value has become crystal clear to us! We’re all experts now….


Our conversation focused on Tina’s #career and her #leadership focus.


Tina shares that her best working times were in teams where information and communication was shared, it felt inclusive, there was ownership and empowerment.


Her key tips:

✔️ Be open-minded to opportunities that come, along as well planning your career moves

✔️ Don't be afraid to experiment

✔️  There can be good reasons to stay in a job that isn't so great early on in your career as it can provide good experiences

✔️ Lead by example - hard work, honesty, transparency, open door policy, develop  people


Don't be afraid of #challenges - the road less travelled has made all the difference for Tina.

Be #courageous and get out of your comfort zone has been Angela William's call to action, particularly during this #COVID-19 year.

Angela is General Manager at Ventia Pty Ltd, leading a portfolio of projects in excess of $250m. Earlier this year she led the incident management team for the organisation (then Broadspectrum).

In this podcast episode, Angela talks about how she grew her career from her commerce speciality into a broader operational role taking on P&L responsibilities.

When given the responsibility of leading the IMT she was clear she wanted to lead in a very #inclusive way, despite the tense environment; she wanted to ensure that people could 'be themselves'. She outlines how she structured to get the right team, ensured there was no ambiguity in getting the right tools to work with, and set up a feedback loop so that there was an organised rhythm to the team's work. Given they deliver essential services, safety was paramount, and well-managed.

Angela discusses the phases of the IMT responses:

✔️ Respond

✔️ Sustain

✔️ Re-imagine

and how each required a different kind of response from her as the leader.

We finish up the conversation with Angela's advice to seek out 'non-obvious' career moves, and how to do it.

To do that you need to know what makes you tick. Great leaders know themselves inside out, according to @Erin Wild.

Critically she says, you need to push into the uncomfortable situations, to know what stresses you, to be prepared to experience the discomfort. This helps to challenge your thinking and you learn to trust yourself.

And it’s equally important to be able to remain calm, to validate yourself, to be able to flip on your positive self-talk.

Feedback is something to welcome. But you also need to be able to filter it - don't rely on it to validate yourself.

Erin is an experienced engineer working in Upstream Oil and Gas Operations, with an energy for leadership in Maintenance Operations, Strategic Business Planning and Well Integrity Operations.

She’s worked for @Exxon Mobil since graduation. Her roles have included Integrity and Maintenance Supervisor, Planning Manager, Wellwork and Drilling Strategy Manager, Subsurface Engineering Supervisor.

She’s worked in Equatorial Guinea, Houston, Malaysia and Australia in onshore and offshore drilling operations.

Delighted to share a conversation with Duncan Phillips, CEO at TerryWhite Chemmart.


One highlight of the conversation is Duncan's story of their advisory group response to #COVID-19. The initial feeling in the group, that included people with 30++ years' experience in the industry, was fear. Duncan realised that had to be addressed first, so they started with vulnerability, not action. They shared their fears and concerns. That cleared the room of uncertainties.

The response was heartfelt - it changed things up. It helped them create a practical response that gave them a real competitive advantage. Their response to COVID has helped their wider culture and their sense of #purpose as a business. There is now much more 'sharing of what we do and how important everyone in the business is'. 'We've created more richness and purpose.'

Duncan says that it's far more gratifying when a business initiative is landed by 100s of people, rather than achieving a small win for yourself. It's longer lasting and the benefits are much bigger.

His advice to aspiring #leaders is that there's a lot you can do without the title - don't wait for a title, step up and lead.


Phil says that giving time to team members is always important, more so in our COVID-19 environment. There should be a deliberate, intentional focus on investing time in team members, it’s not something that’s incidental.

A genuine, open and honest conversation should buoy both the team member and the leader.

Such a delight to be sharing Phil's insights in the conversation, and with you here in the podcast.

In this episode, we discuss Phil's:

  • Leadership journey, the challenges he faced and what helped him to be successful
  • Personal leadership insights about how he and his team have adapted to the COVID-19 challenges we are experiencing
  • How the covid crisis is changing leadership.

Phil Turnbull is Executive General Manager, Motoring and Mobility for RACV where he is responsible for the businesses of Emergency Roadside Assistance, Motor Insurance, and other motoring products and services.

Such an enjoyable conversation with SA’s Commissioner for Public Employment Erma Ranieri!


Erma and I worked together some time ago and it was fabulous to reconnect in this conversation: it was enlightening and inspiring to hear how Erma is using her role to promote gender equality.


In the conversation we talk about the value of:


TOP LEVEL commitment

📌 having a plan and leadership commitment

📌 identifying accountabilities and then following through

📌 increasing authentic and adaptive leadership so that leaders are open and challenging themselves + empowering and supporting their people


SYSTEMS that are inclusive not exclusionary

📌 avoiding narrow job descriptions, focusing instead on the core skills

📌 improving processes, particularly recruitment

📌 making sure we speak up when we don’t think processes are fair


We also spoke about the impact of COVID-19 on women and the different kinds of support that are important.


Erma is an advocate for continuous learning – ‘you always need someone to learn from’.


And this reminder to us all: ‘Life is too short to waste it on things you don’t enjoy’.

Susan Ratcliff candidly shares some of the challenges she experienced early in her career and reflected on how they grounded her later leadership career and success.

Sue’s story of grappling with own vulnerability, and why she values it - both the vulnerability and the grappling! -  so much is a wonderfully personal and candid account.

Enjoy this wonderful conversation with the very talented Brooke Young, as we discuss the importance of purpose to your leadership, the value of making leadership an invitation, and the importance of practising your leadership skills and attributes. It's important to continue to cultivate and learn new skills; discomfort is a great catalyst for learning.

Women can be reluctant to ask for support from others: Brooke's advice is to take on the attitude that 'I deserve to be helped', and to be prepared to own what you are good at.

I’ve known and worked with Brooke for over a decade and she's a generous supporter of women and talent. She is an innovative and engaging leader with over 25 years’ experience across higher education, management consulting and the not-for-profit sectors.

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