SIA Safety Leadership Forum Wrap-up!


The Safety Institute of Australia had their first Women in Leadership forum on the back of the annual conference this week. I was lucky enough to head down for the forum on Thursday and was not too sure what to expect. I wanted to share with you some of the key speaker messages, if you couldn’t make it, please have a read through the article. Firstly, I loved it! It was a room full of amazing women, and MEN! It was a day of growth, connect and learning.

First we heard from Jodie Deakes from SafeWork NSW. Needless to say it was a super engaging start to the day. Jodie was talking about her own doubt on her ability to lead the new strategic direction for SafeWork NSW and the journey to where it is today. The new direction for SafeWork NSW was taken from the intensive consultation period with different industries and different regional areas. Head over to the NSW WorkSafe Roadmap 2022 for a read! They want to be the regulator of choice and continually pushing the limits of new and engaging consultation. One message that really stood out though, was taking the time to reflect on your achievements. We may doubt ourselves in the beginning, but we always manage to push through, so its important to reflect! Thanks Jodie!

Kicking into the morning we heard from Christine Nixon, former Chief Commissioner of the Victorian Police. Christine was challenged her entire career that she ‘couldn’t’ do it, yet her determination and courage meant she rose above the doubters to be the first female Commissioner in the police force! High five! Christine raised the point that we all have men in our lives – Dad’s, sons, brothers etc that need to all take up the challenge to promote females and encourage them to challenge their limits. Christine also posed an amazing challenge to us all – do NOT change to our environment. Be authentic and be YOU!

As a change of pace, we were lucky enough to hear from Nicole Eckels, the owner of Glasshouse Candles! As I type this I have the soft scent of one of her beautiful luxury candles in the room. Nicole faced some challenges growing up in New York City then moving to Australia to be the first to introduce us to the scented candle industry. Nicole told us she is not feminist, and is more a believer that we need to be ‘pro-business’. If we make business decisions with diversity of thought and the diversity of people, we will make better business decisions. Valuable lesson for us all! Thanks Nicole.

Now, our next speaker is a world-class fashion designer, and you may wonder how that can help us safety professionals! Suzi Derbyshire is a powerhouse of knowledge at QUT and shared with us that our world is in a state of constant, disruptive change and the fashion industry manages to adapt quickly, and we need to think more like designers to keep up with the change! To keep up with this disruptive change, we need to be imaginative, be curious, be observant and look for trends. Have your ideas, but don’t fall in love with all of them. Share your ideas and don’t be afraid to try new things! Are you prepared to create the change, adapt to the change and manage the change as it happens? Thanks Suzi so much for challenging our adaptability.