N.B. At the time of the interview, Carla worked for COINS Australia. She is now Principal Consultant at CWX Group.
How can routes to development and advancement be opened up to more women?
I believe a key factor in the development and advancement of women is encouraging full participation by both genders to embrace an equal and inclusive workplace. Fostering a culture where individuals feel comfortable offering their insights and opinions to build a balanced future is vital.
I see four essential ingredients to empowering women, and men – education, self-confidence, exposure and independence. The adoption of a talent management strategy for any organisation is important in assisting with development and advancement including flexible working arrangements, personal development plans and investment in training to develop self-awareness. Further, I believe it’s essential to address gender pay inequality and put appropriate measures in place to achieve gender balance.
How can networking opportunities bring more women into senior roles?
I believe that success is based on face-to-face contact, where knowledge is gathered and shared. Networks expose women to new ideas and can grant access to the information and support you need to bring them to life, expand your influence and alert you to opportunities.
Knowledge is exchanged with like-minded people from a variety of professions and backgrounds, with each company and individual having the opportunity to take the relationship one step further. Over time you will have built an army of trusted advisors and confidants around you.
I find the most powerful forums are industry-specific, where women have the ability to expand client and supplier connections through valuable introductions in their related fields.
In what ways can people be empowered to design the working structures and systems that allow them to perform at their best?
A strong set of values and behaviours will steer the both the culture and success of a business, creating a better and more sustainable future for people. I believe minimal policies, procedures and processes need to be in place in order to drive empowerment, autonomy, innovation and creativity. Championing flexible working arrangements and non-traditional ways of operating also gives people permission to set individual work agendas and perform at their best.
COINS Australia’s talent management strategy is designed to set individuals and teams up for success, not just for their current role but also for roles beyond our organisation. If your employees are empowered, they will not just survive, they will thrive and your customers will benefit.
What does an inclusive business culture look like?
Diversity brings a workplace enormous benefits such as improved financial performance, enhanced creativity and stronger business relationships. However, a diverse workplace doesn’t necessarily have an inclusive business culture.
An inclusive culture indicates the pulse and engagement of a team, where respect, equity and positive recognition of differences are cultivated. Efforts need to be focused on removing barriers around social and institutional “norms”, ensuring a positive experience for the whole team. A healthy culture should include transparency, openness, trust, collaboration and social responsibility.
The core values of COINS Australia seek to ensure we are representative of all employees, respect different styles of working and cultures, and allow us to play to each other’s strengths and abilities. We also provide access to resources, opportunities, networks and decision making, equitably and fairly across the entire team.