What a great night at #LeanInMelbourne’s inaugural event on August 18th.

It was fantastic seeing more than fifty women gather to discuss the best ways to navigate the workplace and the best strategies for career advancement.

We’d like to thank the Women in Leadership committee from Ernst & Youngfor sponsoring this event and Pauline Ellis for being such a wonderful host.

As Lean in states, “Mentorship and sponsorship are key drivers to success”. This was the theme of the night. The Q and A session with the panel was particularly insightful. Panel members drew from their extensive experience in senior roles across IT, marketing, social entrepreneurship, management consulting and community engagement in not-for-profits, private and public sectors.


1.     Gemma Lloyd – Co-Founder of DCC Jobs

2.     Pauline Ellis – Associate Director | Asia-Pacific Advisory

3.     Elizabeth Joldeski – Industry Engagement Manager

4.     Daryl Antony – Director at Common Code

We wanted to engage with our panel to discuss:

  • What are the top challenges for a woman in a workplace in order to become a senior leader?
  •  How to access to senior leaders for mentorship?
  • How to position and present yourself from an early age so that when you see an opportunity you can take it?

Highlights of the discussion:                 

–      Raise your hand up to work on assignments which interest you

–      Be bold and set a precedent. You will attain some respect by having some boundaries around you. Employment works both ways. Employers need employees and employees need employers. For example, if you are asked to complete an assignment on Friday evening at 6pm, assess the situation before you trade-off your family or other commitments. Saying no is not possible all the time so assess each situation carefully.

–      Understand who you are and what your objectives are in life. Do not follow someone else’s footsteps and move up the ladder because they are.

–      If you are seeking a mentor, have an objective about what outcome you are expecting. Prepare a plan and clear agenda when you are meeting with a mentor. Do not ask for mentorship and meet with a mentor just to have a general chat.

–      Employers should put themselves in an employee’s shoes. Try to create opportunities and understand their expectations.

Unconscious gender bias can be a factor in hiring talent. We tend to hire someone we connect with quickly. Naturally, men are more likely to connect with men quickly. It can be easier for men to get leadership positions if there are more men in the current leadership structure.

To fix this problem a top down approach from senior leaders is needed to implement policies like:

–       Strictly performance and merit based hiring

–       Equal opportunities and payments to women

–       Flexible work arrangements

–       Paid parental leave for primary and secondary carers

Speed Networking: 

The speed networking after the panel discussion saw a range of new connections formed and we are excited as these relationships continue to foster and help move our group forward.

With many more planned over the year we’re excited as as we continue our mission to connect women from all walks of life with a community which supports and inspires each member to pursue their ambitions.

Thanks to our wonderful co-organisers – Phuong Hua, Jessica Grant, Stacey Coe and Janine Ponnadurai for your help.

If you are interested in masterclasses or workshops to improve soft skills then join our circle here: https://leanincircles.org/circle/melbourne-lean-in

If you are interested in networking events then join our chapter here : https://leanincircles.org/chapter/melbourne-chapter

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