A seasoned senior executive with extensive international, Federal and State Government experience across a broad range of consumer, industrial and service industries, I have served as Australia’s Senior Trade Commissioner in the US and EU ( UK/Ireland/Israel and Spain/Portugal) I am passionate about economic growth which also supports social good.  I have managed net budgets of $400+ million, asset bases of $12+ billion and teams of 550 people spread over dozens of locations. Throughout my career I have supported and/or driven gender diversity agendas, including being a founding partner of Women in Global Business. As the first female head of Resources & Energy (NSW), I am also accustomed to achieving results and driving change in complex environments under intense public scrutiny. In 2017, I was a NSW Finalist in the 2017 Telstra Business Women’s Awards – public sector and academia.

Why are you participating in the IMNIS program?

Our economic future depends on more people being familiar with, supportive of and actively pursuing STEM skillsets and careers. I have been involved in organisational mentoring programs, both as a mentee and a mentor for almost two decades. As such I am always happy to try to assist others in their career aspirations, if I am able to do so. While I have no formal training/background in STEM, my four years with NSW Resources and Energy has given me relevant experiences, which may also be of assistance to others.

What is the most crucial aspect of this professional relationship for you?

That people seeking my assistance are open and clear about what they need and are comfortable letting me know if the relationship isn’t working for them.

When you meet with your mentee, do you work together on a set of goals or do you go where the conversation takes you?

I tend to let the mentee determine what sort of structure works for them. With some it’s a causal coffee or online chat very so often. With others it’s more of a written plan, outlining objectives, meeting frequency, expectations etc. I’m comfortable with either, but expect the mentee to drive it once they have determined what sort of structure they think will most work for them.

What are the key skills PhD students need to successfully collaborate with and/or work in industry?

  • Curiosity, being genuinely interested in counter points of view, in joint problem solving and/or in the identification of multiple options and solutions to any single problem will open many doors to people, teams and innovative solutions.
  • Communication skills, being able to explain your point of view respectfully, with evidence and via different mediums (eg. in person, written, visual recordings etc), while also helping others to do the same, will deliver significant benefits to anyone seeking to work with others.

What has been the most rewarding aspect of the IMNIS program for you so far?

I’ve only just joined, so its early days but I have enjoyed seeing all the variety of people and activities the program supports across Australia.