Continuing to move beyond diversity: Gender equality and enabling female leadership in the workplace

Continuing to move beyond diversity: Gender equality and enabling female leadership in the workplace

Gender equality and enabling female leadership in the workplace were the focus of the agenda in the latest of SBC’s ‘Moving Beyond Diversity’ hui hosted by Watercare. Thank you to the teams from Spark and Watercare who shared details of their leadership journeys.

Last week associate member Watercare’s Larisa Kamysheva and Max Lawson hosted SBC’s latest Moving Beyond Diversity hui. And what a hugely insightful, engaging and inspiring korero it was too! More than 30 People Leaders joined us online to share insights, good practice and resources with the agenda focused on gender equality and enabling female leadership in the workplace.

We heard from Spark’s rockstar Heather Polglase (People, Culture and Ways of Working Director) who shared Spark’s leadership journey on Inclusion and Diversity (I&D). Heather outlined the practical steps Spark has taken in maturing its approach, and how a ‘beginner’s mindset’ has been critical to ensure Spark continues to ‘weave’ diversity, equity and inclusion across the business, to build a culture of connection, contribution and growth mindsets.

Heather also spoke about the effectiveness of creating standards – such as achieving 40:40:20 gender diversity “to define what Spark stands for”, key levers for driving meaningful and impact change, and Spark’s ambitions for 2023. Watch Heather’s presentation here (15mins to view).

Did you know! Heather and six other executives of SBC members were recognised by HRD NZ’s Hot list of 2022 for shifting the standing of HR in their organisations over the last year.

We also heard from the hugely inspiring Jamaine Naicker (Digital Engineering Manager at Watercare) who shared how she overcame racial discrimination and unconscious bias to climb the ranks in the male-dominated tech sector, and how role modelling the way is part of her mahi in empowering wahine in the workplace. Jamaine reflected on the perils of imposter syndrome and the importance of knowing your worth. In quoting Denis Waitley “it’s not what you are that holds you back, it’s what you think you are not.” Jamaine outlines six practical actions for improving gender diversity at work.

Get involved – Join our Moving Beyond Diversity Korero

The Moving Beyond Diversity hui series was established as part of a human centred design process – with SBC governing a group of people leaders across our network to deliver member-led scalable innovations as ‘gamechangers’ for building authentic, inclusive workplaces that foster belonging (check out Watercare’s innovation).

Following the project’s completion, participants wanted the korero, whanaungatanga and knowledge sharing to continue. So, we now hold quarterly hui to build a community of learning and good practice, support collective problem solving, and to create a growing repository of shared resources amongst to support the leadership in cultivating inclusion and belonging within their workplaces, based on reciprocity.

The Group is self-organising, with participants taking it in turns to lead, host and facilitate one quarterly hui.

“The journey towards more inclusive and equitable workplaces is an important kaupapa for us all – but it’s not always an easy journey. When we navigate uncharted and complex waters of change within our respective organisations, it can feel tough and lonely at times. These MBD hui’s create a sense of collective purpose, a safe space of kōrero that helps us feel connected to other waka on the same journey. I particularly enjoy the sharing of insights, ideas and learnings that helps moves everyone forward – to bring in the tides that will helps to lift all waka.”

Martin La’a (Spark)

So, if you are a People Leader, OD/HR lead, or champion in cultivating inclusion and belonging within your organisation, and would like to join our korero, please get in touch ([email protected]). I would also welcome any your ideas you may have on specific topics you would like the group to cover in future hui.

Contact: Rob Perry



15 Jun, 2022

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