At NAB, we are on a really important and bold journey to enact change.
As a major bank and a big business in Australia and New Zealand, we have an obligation to make a positive contribution to the lives of our 10 million customers, 35,000 employees and to the communities which we operate in.
At NAB we value diversity and believe in equality, not just for our own workforce but for the community. That’s why we launched our landmark Social Bond (Gender Equality), held public events and provoked discussion to celebrate International Women’s Day. The global theme for IWD this year is #BeBoldForChange. We are.
Cindy Batchelor, EGM NAB Business, hosted our annual Melbourne International Women’s Day Breakfast. Similar celebrations were held all around the globe, in 21 locations.
This event included a lively panel discussion with five amazing guest speakers who epitomise being ‘bold for change’. This blog provides a taste of what they had to say.
David Morrison AO – Chairman, Diversity Council of Australia
David Morrison inadvertently found ‘fame’ when he produced a video calling for greater respect from the 34,000 members of the armed forces in his command. That video received over 1.7million views on YouTube, finding an audience beyond its original intention.
David says: “It worries me to no small extent that this very straight forward message…delivered by a man to his workforce, stating that treating your colleagues with respect is a prerequisite for employment – it’s hardly revolutionary.”
The fact that it was, is telling.
And whilst David acknowledges that we are seeing a “laudable and much needed acceleration of opportunities for women in all walks of life” – it’s not enough and the time is right for a bold disruption.
David is also on the board of Our Watch and believes that corporate Australia has an important role to play in addressing domestic violence. He says, “I have a strong view on domestic violence. I do think there is a corporate responsibility. A domestic violence leave policy is an affirmation that you care for your people, because domestic violence isn’t just in the home – there are victims and perpetrators at work.”
“Work is often the only refuge for victims of domestic violence and we need to create a safe space for them. Corporate Australia is really leaning forward on this but there’s more to be done.”
In 2013, NAB was the first major bank to introduce a Domestic Violence Support Policy and we are the only bank to offer grants to help customers quickly and easily cover immediate costs associated with leaving a violent home.
Daisy Pearce – Captain, Melbourne Football Club (AFLW)
“I loved football, but it didn’t love me when I first started”- How things have changed since Daisy started playing football as an 8 year old.
Fulfilling her mother’s advice to “try to be the change you wish to see”, Daisy has been the pre-eminent leader in the crusade for women’s football and recently became the first female board member of the AFL Players Association, which she believes will give her the opportunity to “leave the game in a better place”.
“Leadership is just about making everyone believe in themselves”
Daisy has grand dreams for the young girls of today. “I want young girls to grow up and see that a professional football career is a viable option.” And it seems that this is well on its way. Through her work with the WAFL she meets many young girls keen to play football – it’s becoming ‘normalised’. “To them this isn’t that exciting or amazing – they say “of course I can play football, why wouldn’t I?”.
And it’s not just on the field that women are exploring their choices in elite football- they are also moving into executive and administration roles within clubs.
Daisy ends with a powerful statement about her own version of leadership- “I’m just passionate and I plough along through the challenges. I believe in myself and I keep putting myself in situations that create change and opportunities for people after me. I have the confidence to keep doing that.
NAB is the naming rights sponsor of the NAB AFL Women’s Competition.
Luz Restrepo – CEO & Founder SisterWorks Inc.
Luz Restrepo, a doctor who worked in casualty wards in Colombia and came to Australia in 2010 as a political refugee with no English language skills spoke passionately about “needing the courage to share our stories.”
Indeed, Luz has a very unique and powerful story.
“It’s our example and it’s our time.”
Frightened, isolated and disempowered in a new country, Luz soon discovered that she was not alone. In 2011, along with a group of women in similar conditions, Luz began to make and sell crafts around Melbourne.
SisterWorks Inc. was established by Luz in May 2013 and now supports over 80 women with asylum seeker, refugee and migrant backgrounds to become entrepreneurs or find work experience in Australia.
Luz described it as “giving the tools that people need to fish. Give mums and carers the tools they need for the workforce. This is our priority.”
Georgia Beattie – Chief Executive Officer, Start-Up Victoria
The CEO of Start-Up Victoria believes that the start-up space has changed dramatically over the past ten years.
She understands that women bring a really different outlook to business and is championing some great initiatives for female start-ups.
But Georgia doesn’t think that women necessarily have to be bold to create change. “It’s a masculine approach – to be ‘bold’ for change. I want to see women using their feminine energy and to be comfortable with that. So it doesn’t have to be bold.”
“Being the change you want to see in the world.”
Georgia candidly conveyed her own start-up story during the discussion. At just 23, she launched Lupé Wines & Single Serve Packaging, the idea sparked during an event she attended at a music festival.
Stephen Barrow – NAB Executive General Manager, People, Culture and Capability
Steve understands the power of working for a large corporate, and the role we play in communities to set the right messages around diversity and inclusion.
He says: “We are a large employer at NAB. We have a huge customer base. We reflect society to a degree and we can’t be blind to that. How do we create an inclusive environment that best supports our people?”
“Nothing happens without people stepping into it and that takes leadership.”
Steve proudly conveys his own personal story as an “out” gay man for his entire career and the establishment of Pride@NAB, NAB’s LGBTI employee network.
“The person who has the biggest objection to speaking with me as a gay man is the person I want to speak to.”
He acknowledges that we all have biases- both unconscious and conscious- and that becoming aware of those biases is the first part of creating an environment that allows everyone to participate, give their best and see the opportunity for hope in the future.
“Most of our biases are so subtle… you have to be brave, confront it and challenge it. This is what leadership and personal accountability is about. We are on the journey and there is so much left to do.”