The inaugural Hunter Diversity Awards were announced at the International Women’s Day breakfast on Friday, 6 March 2015, which featured special guest speaker, media personality Tracey Spicer.
People working in the mining, banking, legal and Aboriginal affairs sectors highlighted what is making the Hunter a fairer and more equitable place to live and work.
The winners are as below:
- Inclusive workplace | McCullough Robertson
- Flexible workplace | The Greater
- Gender Equity workplace | Aurizon
- Diversity champion | Kathy Butler, Wollotuka Institute, University of Newcastle
The Awards are an initiative of the Equal Futures Project – a local group of business leaders dedicated to raising awareness and funds that will facilitate gender equity in the region.
Equal Futures Project Awards Chair, Belinda Smith, said that the Awards showcased an impressive group of people who were ‘walking the talk’ when it came to equity and diversity.
“Winners represent a terrific sample of our region. From individuals who use their personal and professional skills to lead discussion and change, through to the large and geographically spread organisations whose staff create pilot programs that are setting new standards for flexibility in the workplace,” Belinda said.
“The work of a legal firm and a mining company demonstrate that diversity is a team effort but one that needs to be owned by all people across the entire organisation.”
“Each of the winners, and the organisations that sponsored the awards, provide benchmarks for our region – ones that we should be proud of and work to support.”
The International Women’s Day breakfast was sponsored by Pacific National. General Manager NSW/Vic, Stephen Cowan, welcomed the inclusion of the Awards in 2015.
“As part of the Asciano group we are committed to workplace diversity, with a particular focus on supporting the representation of all ranges of age and women at all levels of the company,” Stephen said.
“It is the right thing to do, and it’s good for our business. At a personal level, I have two children, a daughter and a son. I can’t imagine limiting the future possibilities for either.”
The Awards were also supported by gender equity champions
- The University of Newcastle
- The Sista Code
- Hunter Region Chamber Alliance Partners
- Sparke Helmore
- Newcastle Herald
Please find below further details on the award winners
- Inclusive workplace | McCullough Robertson
Category sponsored by Sparke Helmore
McCullough Robertson is committed to providing a rewarding workplace for all employees, enabling them to balance the demands of work with interests obligations and activities.
This is supported by a philosophy that an environment where education, training and gender equity can help shape a work environment that allows all employees to be the best they can be.
Of the 15 staff based in the Newcastle office 13 are female – a statistic that they are proud of given that it opposite to the industry norm.
In 2014 the firm launched the Sky Program – a published document that outlines the framework for diversity initiatives that include a commitment to education, conduct, inclusion and employee behaviour.
The firm looks to the future with optimism as it continues its mission to shape the future of the legal and business sector by practicing strong leadership, diversity and inclusion.
- Workplace Flexibility Champion organisation | The Greater
Category sponsored by NSW Business Chamber’s Local Alliance
At the centre of The Greater’s commitment and success in championing flexible workplace initiative is its team of Great People. The Greater takes every opportunity to encourage and celebrate the success of its people and understand the importance of providing a great place to work through flexibility.
With over 38 per cent of its employees working in a part time capacity it seeks to accommodate the needs of people and offers all employees access to flexible hours of work, time in lieu, career’s leave, purchased leave and unpaid leave.
Through a pilot program, ‘People and Process Transformation’ assisted the Greater’s Retail
Distribution Network achieve cost efficiency measures whilst meeting the flexibility needs of working carers through a roster review. This pilot has now provided a starting point for a number of additional programs in the Illarawarra.
This year the Greater also launched a newly created Self-Funded Day Off Program to further increase workplace flexibility.
- Gender Equity Champion | Aurizon
Category sponsored by ARTC
Aurizon is committed to working hard on shifting the culture of the organisation to one that recognises the commercial value of diversity and the need for an inclusive work environment.
Aurizon Coal Operations in NSW has been a strong advocate for diversity opportunities in the Hunter Valley and Gunnedah regions with the focus of recent recruitment activities on increasing female and Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander representation in the local workforce.
In 2014 the company announced a target of increasing the number of female employees to 30 per cent by 2019 – a bold target that is reflective of the company’s commitment to a transformative cultural agenda.
Another important part of increasing and maintaining positive workplace diversity is a focus on programs to help support and celebrate diversity for all employees.
- Diversity champion | Kathy Butler (pictured)
Category sponsored by The Sista Code
As a champion of diversity Associate Professor Kathleen (Kathy) Butler is a fitting example of someone who “walks-the-talk” and influences the workplace and community through her own stories and experiences and desire for change.
Kathy is an Associate Professor at The Wollotuka Institute at the University of Newcastle. Kathy is an aboriginal woman belonging to the Bundjalung and Worimi people of coastal New South Wales and has been an active member of Aboriginal organisations.
She has a PhD, a Masters of Social Science and a Bachelor of Social Science and has worked at the University since 1997. She has previously been a member of the Academic Women in Leadership program and is now a valued member of its Alumni group.
Kathy’s most recent achievements include being the first woman and first Australian to receive the Toihuarewa Visiting Indigenous Fellowship at the University of Victoria, Wellington New Zealand and Node leader for Yuraki, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures node of the National Indigenous Research and Knowledges Network (2014 ongoing)
She is currently a Senior Teaching Fellow with the Centre for Teaching & Learning to examine the University’s approach to Indigenisation and Internationalisation of curriculum.
Thank you to Edward Cross Photography for the story image