At ICC Sydney, we promote diversity and inclusion for all. As part of this, we champion and celebrate women’s achievements. We are proud of our gender diversity with women representing 42% of our extraordinary team overall and 55% of our senior executive team.
This is why we celebrate International Women’s Day each year. This important global day celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, marking a call to action for accelerating gender parity.The theme in 2021 is #choosetochallenge, recognising that we can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality.
To mark the day, we sat down with each of our five female directors to learn about their first career breaks, what they’ve learned along the way, what they would tell their younger self – and how they choose to challenge, every day.
For our Director of Human Resources, Natalie Britt, who has always worked in male dominated industries, International Women’s Day is an opportunity to highlight and celebrate females across our globe who inspire, motivate and succeed as strong, independent woman.
“In my role I support women in leadership roles by sharing their stories of success, promoting them within the company and offering learning and development opportunities. I am surrounded by strong women in my team who have great career aspirations and who are not afraid to challenge the status quo.”
“There are still imbalances of power between men and women that exist today and we need more women to keep challenging inequalities. Whether it be around the issues of gender pay equity, championing higher participation of women across all levels within organisations, or simply being bold and courageous in speaking up on issues of equality.”
Director of Corporate Affairs and Communication, Samantha Glass, agrees that until we achieve equality for women in share of voice, pay and rights, we need markers like International Women’s Day to remind us to celebrate all that women contribute and keep challenging discrimination.
Glass is focused on what she can do now as a leader herself, “It’s my role to set women up for success, give them opportunities to shine and remind them just how talented, powerful and trusted they are.”
Along the way, Glass has learnt that women often aren’t heard but it’s important to respectfully call this out, “Sometimes women are talked over or not heard. Ever felt your point has fallen on deaf ears only to hear it supported when brought up by a bloke? Well, it’s okay to call people out in a respectful manner. I’ve found this wins people over and brings to their attention to nuances they’ve not noticed.”
Director of Event Services, Malu Barrios, believes there is no reason to try to behave like a man to succeed. Barrios lets her work speak for itself and leads by example, “I don’t have any gender prejudice, I am respectful, kind, professional and authentic to everyone I work with. My father once told me that I had a brain and the same senses as everyone else and to use them well. I now know exactly what he meant by this.
“Through my work here at ICC Sydney, I am very privileged to have had a positive impact on the lives of so many women, both our clients and work colleagues because we operate in an environment of equality.”
For ICC Sydney’s Director of Culinary Services, Lynell Peck, working for a great manager early on in her career taught her about the importance of knowing your audience but also believing in yourself.
“I never let anyone compromise the high standards that I hold for myself. As a leader, I have the opportunity to ensure that my decisions and actions are always undertaken with equality in mind and that I am influencing future female leaders to do the same. I encourage women to know their field of expertise and do everything within their power to excel at it. Be consistent and pay attention to the detail.”
Director of Business Development, Beverley Parker points to the number of women who think that their career success is a result of luck.
“I always considered myself lucky for my professional success. In hindsight, it was through sheer hard work, determination and maximising every opportunity I was given. Parker did note however, that she is grateful that the generations of women and men that came before did much in the way of gender equality advocacy that paved the foundation for her career.
“My advice to emerging female leaders is not to doubt yourself and put your successes down to luck. Trust your instincts and have the courage to speak up on matters that are important to you,” added Parker.