Winners of 2010 AWWA

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The 2010 recipients of CLW’s Advancement of Women in the Workplace Award (AWWA) have made outstanding contributions in their workplaces to advance the empowerment of women. They pioneered in non-traditional workplaces innovative strategies and programs in collaboration with relevant personnel and in some cases with external agencies. The profiles of winners’ achievements spanned across several sectors including Construction, Public Service, the Royal Australian Navy and the Police Force.

Gold Winner

The First place Gold Winner of the 2010 Advancement of Women in the Workplace Award was Radmila Desic from Construction Skills Queensland for her outstanding initiatives to attract, recruit, retain and train women in the construction industry.

Thank you letter from Radmila Desic

Radmila Desic’s Women in Construction Strategy is an over-arching program that can be incorporated into all strategies and major projects for the building and construction industry. By identifying and addressing specific issues which form a barrier to women entering the industry, the Women in Construction Strategy helps to address wider problems such as skill shortages, long term unemployment, mature aged worker retention and indigenous employment issues.

The first draft of the Women in Construction Strategy was developed following feedback received from the Women in Construction Industry Forum held on 1 November 2006 in Queensland. This productive event helped identify major stakeholders for the development of the strategy, as well as to clarify many of the issues surrounding female participation in the building and construction industry. An industry working group was formed to develop further actions to increase the number of women in trades, paraprofessional and professional careers in construction. In order to achieve the objective of increasing female participation in the building and construction workforce, Ms Desic felt that a range of strategies must be considered and contextualised for existing initiatives. The following are the five key issues she focused on with strategies for each, as she outlined in her application:

  • Attracting and retaining women in apprenticeships and traineeships
  • Developing industry pathways for women into para-professional and professional careers
  • Repositioning women as employees of choice
  • Industry commitment to gender equity and accessibility of the trades
  • Recognising the skills of the women already working in the industry

One strategy for Attracting and retaining women in apprenticeships and traineeships is to target teenage girls and women through the International Women’s Day Women in Construction week. This involves Queensland TAFE colleges across the state making their facilities available during school hours for high school girls and after 4pm for mature aged women to get in and have a go at a trade. Previously they have had the opportunity to try Bricklaying, Tiling, Plastering, and Painting, Surveying and driving a simulation excavator. This type of promotion of non-traditional trades allows women to experience the work first hand and see that it is not impossible to do.

Tailored entry level training programs will also be introduced. These will include ‘all female’ pre-trade courses with structured work placements, to better support women with an introduction to the industry. These programs will target mature aged, long term unemployed and indigenous women also.  The reasoning behind an ‘all female’ pre-trade training course is to provide women with an opportunity to question and try something new without being ridiculed or feeling like they have failed.

A focus on the retention of women will involve undertaking a survey to understand why they are leaving the industry. Outcomes of this survey will help us in developing industry pathways for women into para-professional and professional careers to better assist us to identify requirements for post trade and/or higher education information. Career progression information will also be developed to better assist women to map their careers in construction. The intent is to bring together current female apprentices at a workshop to build supportive networks for each other and to provide them with professional development and leadership skills.

Recognising the skills of the women already working in the industry is about making existing female workers aware of the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) process and requirements so that they can have their skills assessed and become formerly qualified. The key target for this is action is the partners of trade’s men that have for years been running the business and in some case assisted as labourer or trowel hands on site.

One way to start repositioning women as employees of choice is by gathering and promoting case studies of successful tradeswomen. These will be used extensively to change the perception of the industry and of women’s roles within the industry. Introductory information sessions such as “Try a Trade” will be run across the state to encourage school leavers and women changing their careers to consider the construction industry as a career option. This will include information on the Women into Building Project from the Sunshine Coast. This showcase home built by the Buildmore group highlights the high standard and quality of the work output by women in the industry. It also clearly shows how support from the males in the industry builds women’s capacity for success.

To advance this strategy Industry commitment to gender equity and accessibility of the trades is a must. It has been identified that the National Association for Women in Construction’s (NAWIC) Queensland Chapter Council is well placed to take over the management and implementation of this strategy. Industries growing support for NAWIC has become more evident through the increase in sponsorship and attendance of events. It is also acknowledged as an association of choice in addressing and increasing awareness of issues confronting female employees, this clearly highlights that they are open to a commitment of gender equity. In Queensland strong industry support, potential financial backing from Construction Skills Queensland and strong partnerships with relevant government departments to set targets are all needed for a targeted and holistic approach to ensure successful outcomes.

Improving female participation in non-traditional trades is not a new concept asMs Desic acknowledges. Over the past 15 years, a long string of initiatives have been trialled, both in Queensland and across the nation, to improve the uptake of women into the building and construction industry. Many of these projects were well-resourced with wide media coverage – but despite this, the participation rate of women in Queensland construction trades has remained almost unchanged since 1986. Ms Desic felt that it had become evident that previous methods were not effective in supporting widespread change.  Previous strategies have relied heavily on a program-based model: apprenticeship funding, marketing campaigns, or face-to-face engagement exercises. While all of these have helped to raise awareness of the issue, they had failed due to a lack of scope and support.

Ms Desic attributed the failure to the problem being much wider than any isolated program can hope to address. Attracting, recruiting, training and retaining women to the male-dominated construction industry require support at every step and every level of the VET skilling system. Coordinating support of this magnitude would require a central agency capable of influencing workforce development methodology across the state, with the funding and infrastructure to support an ongoing commitment to women in construction.

Desic’s Women In Construction initiative takes a new approach by providing an integrated strategy; it is designed to compliment and inform every other aspect of the Construction Skills Queensland skilling portfolio. Rather than isolate the promotion of women to a separate agenda, it is instead integrated into the objectives of Construction Skills Queensland, to support the five strategic imperatives outlined above.

This is operationalised simply by the identification of achievable targets for the promotion of women in each Construction Skills Queensland initiative, coupled with a dedicated marketing strategy to send a unified message to industry. In Desic’s view,  female apprentices and tradespeople offer a real solution to the current crisis in Australia in skills development and acquisition, and participation in the workforce. Furthermore Desic believes that women are valuable to the industry: “Women are typically better communicators with more of an inclination or capacity to develop their communication skills. Women pay more attention to detail, this is an important and key skill for today’s economic environment and market as “close enough” is no longer good enough. Women bring fresh ideas to the industry by applying diverse problem solving techniques which improve decision making and enhance innovation.”

Moreover, Desic explains that changes in policy and procedures within this industry to become more accommodating to women will enhance the work life balance for men also. It is becoming more evident that the younger generation of males also struggle with the working hours and inflexible structure of this industry they too want to spend more quality time with their families or simply spending time on their interests in life. These positive changes to the industry policies will also have a huge impact in breaking down the bullying culture of the industry.

Queensland’s Office for Women is a keen partner with a strong interest to see the actions from the Women in Construction strategy implemented. It strongly aligns with the Queensland Women in Hard Hats initiatives.

Other government agencies are also assisting this progress by setting clear expectations for diversity within government funded building projects. During the short time the strategy has been active, many industry and government stakeholders have offered their support and encouragement towards successful engagement, training and retention of women.

Some Examples of the Programs

In 2008 CSQ officially incorporated the WIC Strategy to the organisational structure and incorporated it into the Queensland Training Plan.

One such strategy is to target teenage girls through the Doorways to Construction (D2C) Program. This will include the establishment of the D2C program in a cluster of ‘all girls’ schools, as well as increasing the number of female participants in existing D2C schools. A targeted education program aimed at career advisors, teachers and trainers will need to be developed to positively promote the construction industry and the career pathways available to women.

Funding of tailored entry level training programs was also introduced. These include ‘all female’ pre-trade courses with structured work placements, to better support women with an introduction to the industry. These programs target mature aged, long term unemployed and indigenous women also.  The following programs have been run successfully to date:

  • Girls with Spark – Electrical pre-apprenticeship course facilitated by the Tropical North Institute of TAFE. There was 95 applications submitted and 16 young ladies selected to participate. All 16 successfully completed and were sign up into apprenticeships in the Cairns region.
  • TAP Girls – Plumbing Pre-apprenticeship Course facilitated by Tropical North Institute of TAFE. All twelve participants have successfully completed the training aspect however all are still waiting to be engaged into apprenticeships.
  • Indigenous Women in Construction – which was Welfare to Work funded course, facilitated by Careers Australia Institute of Training. All participants successfully completed the course with 4 going on to pick up work in the industry
  • CEPU women in Plumbing program – Up to 20 women are to be signup and/or completed their apprenticeship by 2011. To date 10 women have commenced their apprenticeships in either a Certificate 3 in Plumbing or a Certificate 3 in Sprinkler fitting Construction Skills Queensland has assisted by funding the work experience component to provide opportunities.
  • A Certificate I in Resource and Infrastructure Course was delivered to an all female group by Civil Train. This course was also funded by Construction Skills Queensland. Over 70 ladies in Brisbane expressed an interest in doing the course, 14 were selected. Again all successfully completed the Certificate with several ladies picking up full time work in the civil industry. One lady was employed by a piling company which is a rarity.
  • Brisbane North Institute of TAFE at Bracken Ridge also delivers and all female Certificate 1 in General Construction to a group of 8 women in 2008 which was again funded by Construction Skills Queensland. As this was a much more mature aged class most of the ladies refused the onsite component.

A focus on the retention of women will involve undertaking a survey to understand why they are leaving the industry. Outcomes of this survey will link to the ‘post trade action plan’. Career progression information will also be developed to better assist women to map their careers in construction.

Through Ms Desic’s role at CSQ, she has begun to gather and compile case studies of successful tradeswomen which will be used extensively to change the perception of the industry and of women’s roles within the industry. Introductory information sessions such as “Try a Trade” have been run across the state to encourage school leavers and women changing their careers to consider the construction industry as a career option.

Further, in an attempt to capture and spark a career in potential female construction workers,  Ms Desic has gained Construction Skills Queensland’s commitment to continue to promote Women in Construction at a large number of construction industry expos, promotional and career events such as:

  • TAFE Queensland Try-a-Trade Register
  • Training Organisation open days
  • Career Days at Secondary School
  • Careers Expos

The Construction Skills Queensland’s Be Constructive website has a dedicated page to addressing requests for information from women and also promotes case studies of women who are role models in industry. Also available are dedicated flyers which clearly target young women.

CSQ has invested strongly towards destroying the stereo types of women in construction and all marketing to date is aimed to lead the way for all stakeholders to recognised women’s abilities and strengths. The media has also recognised that the time is right to address the lack of women in industry and has positively highlighted many strategic activities actioned by CSQ. This is demonstrated within the $120,000 worth of free media via editorials, radio interviews and prime time news in 2008 alone.       

Mentoring is something that Ms Desic strongly believes is a key to the successful completion of any apprentice in the industry. As part of the Program, CSQ offers mentoring to D2C students, career seekers, Indigenous and female stakeholders. As an example of how CSQ offers mentoring to women, a Women in construction retention forum was held in partnership with QBuild in April 2008. The aim of the workshop was:

  • to prevent the decline of women in the industry during the downturn,
  • to grow the talent of women in the industry,
  • to foster self confidence and personal growth,
  • to provide an opportunity to network with their peers,
  • to develop personal and professional support and, to enable them to have a voice and sounding board.

The workshop was a success with up to 40 participants attending from both public and private sector. Further, CSQ has committed extensive resources into the continued mentoring support for women in construction through the commitment of a full time Project Officer (which is Ms Desic’s role). The Project Officer ensures Construction Skills Queensland remains available to industry to assist girls with a need for support to cope with sensitive issues in an attempt to retain the ladies in the construction industry. 

In terms of size and scope this project encompasses Queensland and to date Ms Desic has been able to influence Primary school, secondary school, TAFE and University involvement from an education aspect. Further through continued contact with industry associations/government/unions and also as the National Association of Women in Construction President (NAWIC) of the Qld chapter she is able to continually keep this issue on the industry agenda. This includes a recent invitation by the Australian Institute of Builders to speak at their National conference on this issue in 2010.                  

Laying the Foundations – The Women in Construction Action Plan

Through a process of industry engagement over the past 2 years – with both ‘coalface’ and executive representatives – Construction Skills Queensland has developed an initial action plan for the roll-out of the strategy. Combining new marketing and engagement initiatives and strong integration with existing programs, the CSQ Women in Construction Action Plan provides the roadmap for effecting real change for women in the Construction industry.

Acknowledgement from Senator Kate Lundy:

“With the number of women in the building trades sitting at a single digit percentile in the trades, the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) have an ongoing important role to advocate for women in the industry and promote the career for girls.

Radmila Desic, a national director of NAWIC was at the launch to acknowledge the significance of the project too. NAWIC have been behind it from the start and Rad herself was the recipient of the International Women’s Day inaugural National Advancement for Women in the Workplace Award in 2010, an achievement that recognises her personal commitment to the cause.

Source: Women into Building Housing Showcase launched April 28, 2010

Silver Winner

Winning the Silver AWWA was Louise Perram-Fisk whose Inspiring Women Series, designed to support women to develop their careers and empower their lives within the Queensland Public sector is now an ongoing program for the Queensland Government.

Louise Perram-Fisk, Queensland State Government, Public Service Association

Louise Perram-Fisk

Louise Perram-Fisk’s Inspiring Women Series was scoped early in 2009 and launched in September 2009 and is now an ongoing program for the Queensland Government. The program was designed to support women to develop their careers and empower their lives within  the Queensland Public sector.    

The project aims to:  

  • Reduce gender disparity over a longer period within leadership cohorts of the Queensland Public Service
  • Promoting equity by providing women in Brisbane and throughout regional, rural and remote areas with targeting learning and development to meet their needs
  • Enabling women’s advancement in the workplace by supporting their development through targeted learning and engaging senior management in their development

Ms Perram-Fisk instigated the Inspiring Women Series because she strongly believes in the empowerment of women in the workplace.  She made a commitment to herself after winning a Business Woman of the Year award in late 2008 that she would do something to support women in Queensland to give back for this honour.  Ms Perram-Fisk set out to understand what blockages could be removed to support women in the workforce.  In the Queensland Public Service with 230,000 employees, there are a significant number that make up the AO2 to AO7 cohort.  From that level upwards, the numbers of women decrease significantly in proportion to men.  It became obvious to her from conversations with representatives from this group that there were some fundamental issues that could be addressed to support the advancement of this cohort.  The common themes that emerged included:

  • Procrastination
  • Personal branding
  • Planning – personally and professionally
  • How to engage effectively with risk
  • Visibility
  • Networking
  • Communication and understanding male and female differences
  • Influencing and negotiating
  • Managing a life balance effectively

In May 2009, the Inspiring Women series was born, addressing the above issues over a 12 week program.  Currently 409 women have graduated, and another 400 will be commencing in February 2010, with another 400 in May and August 2010. The Program reaches  across the state into rural areas like ChartersTowers and Emerald, and over long distances into Cairns, and into remote indigenous communities in inland and coastal Queensland.    The Inspiring Women series is now an approved core program for the Queensland Public Sector.  It is included in the funding and strategic planning for 2010 and beyond.

Dear Diann ,
It is such a surprise and absolute delight  to receive this wonderful news.  It is such an honour to be counted among such deserving women, all contributing to the advancement of women across Australia. 
I look forward to continuing my contribution to this important issue.  I truly thank CLW and the sponsors for highlighting the work of many women, for many women across Australia.
Thank you so much. 

Thank you note from Louise Perram-Fisk
Bronze Winner

Commander Jennifer Wittwer from the Royal Australian Navy won the Bronze Award for her Navy Women’s Leadership Program, designed to provide Navy female leaders with the opportunity to attend, and participate in, various external leadership development events in support of the Navy’s Leadership and Values Cultural Reform Strategy now named, New Generation Navy.

Jennifer Wittwer is a Commander in the Royal Australian Navy who designed the Navy Women’s Leadership Program to provide Navy female leaders with the opportunity to attend, and participate in various external leadership development events in support of the Navy’s Leadership and Values Cultural Reform Strategy now named, New Generation Navy.

The Navy Women’s Leadership Program commenced in February 2009 and completed on 23 November 2009. .  The program incorporated events by the Australian Women and Leadership Forum (AWLF), as well as a two hour workshop on negotiation, mentoring or coaching techniques.  Overall, the Navy Women’s Leadership Program is designed to meet the leadership development needs of Navy women, in conjunction with the Navy leadership development continuum, in various ranks across commissioned and non-commissioned officers in locations around Australia.   

The Program was created and co-ordinated, from initial consultation and negotiation with WTAA through to successful completion of the leadership events by the selected participants, by CMDR Jennifer Wittwer, previously in 2008 the Director of Navy Organisational Culture, and now the New Generation Navy Futures Manager.   CMDR Wittwer instigated the program as a result of the need to provide female Navy leaders with the opportunity to attend leadership events external to Navy, thus broadening their knowledge, experience and skills in leadership and strategic oversight of the issues facing female leaders in the workplace today, and develop their own personal self-awareness.  It was CMDR Wittwer’s view that current Navy leadership training did not achieve this, rather it was focussed on military command and control and operational and situational leadership. CMDR Wittwer’s initiative was based on her previous experience around the recruitment and retention of Australian Defence Force (ADF) women, her passion for equity and diversity in the Navy and successful management of complaints of unacceptable behaviour, and her desire to support the development and advancement of Navy female leaders.

The 2009 Program was fully supported and funded by the Deputy Chief of Navy, RADM David Thomas, in October 2008, as a retention opportunity, the promotion of Navy in the wider community as an Employer of Choice, and to demonstrate that Navy is actively committed to, and assisting, the development of female Navy leadership.   An unexpected outcome of the Program in 2009 was the opportunity for CMDR Wittwer and other Navy women to present at various WTAA events and share their leadership journeys, highlight cultural reform in Navy through proposed New Generation Navy initiatives, and identify opportunities for learning, change and growth for the organisation.

The 2009 Program completed on 23 November 2009 and feedback from the participants across all events has been provided to MINDPMS at that time.  The participants provided glowing tributes of the content of the events, and of the impact on the development of their own leadership skills.    

The principles of the 2009 Navy Women’s Leadership Program are key tenets of the New Generation Navy cultural reform strategy.   The Program has subsequently been built into the new NGN leadership training continuum for all Navy people.  The new NGN leadership framework will be implemented through collective and individual leadership development, and this includes utilising other external (to Defence) course and leadership development opportunities, of which the Navy Women’s Leadership Program is one.  The Navy Women’s Leadership Program has been noted as a specific additional leadership development opportunity in the NGN Strategy 2009 document approved by Chief of Navy in April 2009.  The 2010 Program has been developed and will commence in February 2010.  This program will include an additional component for a further fifty women; the pilot of a self-paced DVD/CD/workbook based leadership development and mentoring program over a twelve week period.

Thank you letter from Commander Jennifer WittwerDownload
Highly Commended 1

Commander Michelle Fyfe and Acting Senior Sergeant Erica Silwood from Western Australia Police received the Highly Commended Award for establishing the Western Australian Police Executive Committee for Women (ECW) and its Women in Leadership Strategy that aims to make changes to professional development programs so that women in the Force can build their capacity to take on senior leadership roles in WA Police.

Erica Silwood is Acting Senior Sergeant in the Western Australian Police and Michelle Fyfe is a Commander in the Western Australian Police.  Together, they are responsible for the establishment of the Western Australian Police Executive Committee for Women (ECW). It has long been recognised by WA Police that there is a distinct lack of female representation in all levels of management. With the growing complexities of Policing it was decided by Fyfe and Silwood that the previous work completed by the Women’s Advisory Network had laid the foundations for women in the agency, however this would now be expanded upon with the implementation of strategic initiatives to increase the advancement of women in policing.

On 19 June 2009 the appointment of the Executive Committee for Women heralded in a new era for women in WA Police. The concept  of a committee that comprised of senior management who all held positions of influence in the agency seemed to be the only successful way forward in order to make real and sustainable change.

After researching current trends and initiatives that are ongoing by other private and public sector businesses, it was recognised that the establishment of a committee such as this was industry best practise. Fyfe and Silwood approached the Executive Director of WAPOL in order to gain senior management support for the project. This support was imperative in order to ensure the success of the ECW. Support and approval from the Commissioners Executive Team was provided. The ECW was immediately established and membership was made up by a number of sworn and unsworn staff from the executive and senior management. Current priorities of the committee include the implementation of a WAPOL Women in Leadership Strategy, the establishment of an internal secondment program for female staff enhancing their personal development and mentoring for female officers for the next round of promotion.

Commander Fyfe explained the work of the ECW in an internal media release “this is no longer about us addressing individual workplace or management issues, there are clear policies in place for that. It’s about making changes to our professional development programs, creating learning opportunities so that women can build their capacity to take on senior leadership roles in WA Police.”

The implementation of a committee such as this is already a win for women in the agency. It is the first time that the issue of women and leadership and career development is being tackled from a strategic level. It is also the first time such an influential group has formed together in order to collaboratively look at women and leadership within the Western Australian Police (WAPOL).  Each committee member is now in the process of mentoring an appropriate person. In some instances committee members have more than one female employee to mentor. This is a unique situation as it gives Constables access to some very senior staff that they would normally have no contact with.

The very first initiative that was tabled by the committee was the formulation of a WAPOL Women in Leadership Strategy. The document sets out a number of strategies that encourage and support initiatives that enable women to achieve high level management roles and also hold decision making positions in the agency. This will contribute to the very important cultural change that needs to occur in order to achieve success. Further to this, the vision of the strategy is “to strengthen the position of women in policing – their number, their professional development, their progress to positions of leadership and their contribution to the future of the Western Australian Police”.

Fyfe and Silwood have been instrumental in researching and assisting in the formulation of this document and working closely with members of the Strategy and Performance unit in order to produce something that is contemporary and aligns with the core business of WA Police. The launch of the WA Police Women in Leadership strategy will occur in early 2010.

There are now 15 female Police Officers who have been identified as potential leaders and approached by committee members who want to assist them in their quest for promotion. Without the formulation of the committee this would never have happened. Many of these officers would not have applied for promotion without the support of their new mentor. The real results will be measured if these officers are successful in gaining promotion. It must be acknowledged that this initiative has instilled new confidence in the selected officers and this already has had a positive impact for the WA Police.

The impending launch of the WAPOL Women in Leadership Strategy will have an overarching affect on all employees. It will make managers accountable for their actions as they will now be required to report on what they are doing in order to advance women within the agency. This will take some time to measure however the strategy will run for a three year term.

Commander Michelle Fyfe and I would like to thank the Australian Centre for Leadership for Women (CLW)  for the opportunity to apply for and subsequently receive an Advancement of Women in the Workplace Award. With the ongoing issues that contribute to a lack of women in leadership positions across many industries  it is fabulous to have an arena  at the national level to share information to address gender disparity in senior management.  We are pleased to form a partnership with the CLW and are appreciative of the opportunity to showcase what is being done within WA Police. Once again Commander Fyfe and I are honoured to receive recognition for our efforts and we hope that this will positively contribute to women in other agencies as well as the WA Police.

Thank you note from Acting Senior Sergeant Silwood and Commander Fyfe
Highly Commended 2

Inspector Nada McDonald of New South Wales Police Force also received the Highly Commended Award for supporting and developing women within the Force through implementation of strategies aligned to achieving workplace goals.

Nada is Inspector of Police and a Manager within the Operational Information Agency (OIA) of New South Wales Police Force (NSWPF). 

Inspector McDonald recognises that women are still significantly under represented at senior or management level in policing, although the overall representation has improved over the past few years.  Currently, women constitute a total of 34.4% with 26.4% being sworn officers.  McDonald feels that there is a need to continually embrace career development opportunities for women through corporate commitment and implementation of fortified strategies.

The issue of the number of outstanding arrest warrants was raised by the Commissioner of Police, who deemed 2008 to be the ‘Year of the Warrant”. A project team comprising of the Warrant Unit, internal and external Command representatives came together to examine the issues and a corporate project was initiated. Nada McDonald recognised that the interaction between OIA and operational areas of the organisation would be paramount to the success or otherwise of the project.  By virtue of the project, her goal was to improve the image, reputation and customer service of the OIA Command to the remainder of the organisation and external stakeholders.

Inspector McDonald believed that her empowerment and influence on the women in my Command would be central to attaining that goal. The way forward was to engage, gain a commitment and promote women who held key roles in the Command in order to achieve the desired project outcomes. This also had the effect of reducing the gender disparity which existed between operational commands and specialist areas such as OIA. The project had a significant and positive impact on the women in the workplace which was acknowledged by the senior executive of the organisation and resulted in me receiving a Commissioner’s Award in 2009, that award being: The Commissioner’s Perpetual Award for the Advancement of Women in the NSW Police Force. The award recognised her outstanding contribution to the standing of women in NSW Police Force by supporting and developing women, establishing their careers and improving their experiences of work.

How did Inspector McDonald empower women?

“I engaged the skills of numerous female staff to research, analyse, develop strategies and implement recommendations.  The warrant subject matter expert and Warrant Team Leader was a civilian officer responsible for supervising male and female police officers and well as administrative staff.  In order to enhance her profile and build her confidence, I invited her to shadow me at meetings, including internal and external stakeholder meetings. I invited her to meet with the Assistant Commissioner assigned as the corporate sponsor for warrants and Senior Executive from the Attorney Generals Department. The officer assisted with presentations to the Deputy Commissioner and Regional Commanders and written project status reports.  The officer assisted me in achieving major changes to the core business of the warrant unit, to bring it in line with the needs of the field, community expectations and Government State Planning. We reported regularly to the Commissioner, Operational Commander’s Forum, State Planning Coordination Unit and Local Area Command Management Teams. Her enhanced leadership and management skills have been recognized and promoted by way of her selection on several occasions to relieve in the Managers position. A civilian officer relieving in a police officer’s position is often resisted by many areas of the organization.

In the initial phases of the project, I invited a female staff member to conduct a detailed analysis of warrant data. This officer was then able to add significant value to the project and build her research and analytical skills. This opportunity built this female staff member’s skills at the same time as significantly benefiting the project. The staff member has subsequently achieved a substantial promotion of grade in anther area of the NSWPF.

I recognised the skills of a female project officer, with some warrant experience, who was deployed to another area of the command. This officer had much to offer but her full potential was hampered by a lack of self confidence. I negotiated with the Commander and her manager to release her to the project, which had now taken on National significance via the Ministerial Council for Police and Emergency Management – Police Senior Officers’ Group. This was a fantastic opportunity for the staff member to work with the Team and build her skills by contributing to the National Agenda. She reviewed existing policy and legislation and coordinated information from other law enforcement jurisdictions. The officer also gained valuable insight into project management at the National level and the workings of the Australia New Zealand Policing Advisory Agency (ANZPAA). This opportunity ultimately built the confidence of the officer and she is currently on secondment to the Aboriginal Policy area performing policy work at a higher grade…”

Through collaboration and teamwork, the staff  achieved improvements in information exchange.  Initially, there were some 48,000 outstanding arrest warrants. At the end of October 2009 there are approximately 35,000.The project exceeded the State Plan 2008-2009 targets of reducing the number of outstanding warrants by 4000 in 2008, with a total reduction of 5,705 achieved that year.

Inspector McDonald feels that being approachable as a manager to the diverse group of staff, the majority of whom are female, has enabled them to commit and adopt the constructive outcomes of the project. She recognises that her awareness of the ongoing needs of the staff, several who have part-time agreements and others who are afforded special consideration on the basis of medical and personal issues has encouraged the best from the staff. She actively involved and was guided by the experience of the police within my team and the Team Leader. 

“I have become acutely aware of the influence I have as a senior female officer in the organisation and the power of being a role model to enhance the image and standing of women.”

Thank you for the honour of selecting me as Highly Commended for the 2010 CLW’s Advancement of Women in the Workplace Award.  I am enormously proud to be representing the women of NSW Police Force and delighted to share the award with them. I am in awe and inspired by the outstanding efforts of the other award winners. Congratulations to them and my sincere appreciation and thanks to you and your fellow judges.
Nada McDonald

Thank you note from Inspector Nada McDonald
Advancement of Women in the Workplace Award (AWWA)
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