Leading diversity: Australia’s competitive advantage?

If you missed our last MV Business+ event, Leading diversity: Australia’s competitive advantage? we have curated the best quotes from our town hall forum discussion for you to reflect on.

Panel discussion at our last MV Business+ event.

Kylie Bishop

Group Executive for People & Culture, Medibank

“If you haven’t spent time thinking about how to create a safe environment for people to speak up and share what they care about and what they’re worried about, then you really can’t deepen that conversation and you can’t drive diversity and inclusion.”

“The hard part is doing something that’s actually very authentic to an organisation. Not doing it because you’ve got a cool poster or can get a great award, or some of the more superficial elements, which we were very clear that we just had no interest in.”

 “One thing we did when we were kicking off the dialogue was just open up the conversation. First of all we made it clear to our senior leaders who were thinking ‘aw, I’m about to go into this forum, I’m supposed to know all about disability or gender’. We just said ‘I don’t want you to do anything other than share what you’re vulnerable about and we want you to be curious. So, just ask a bunch of questions.”

Victor Perton

Founder, Editor & Interviewer, The Australian Leadership Project

“I ask people to stand up and say, ‘the leader is the person in my mirror’. There is so much of ‘they should do more about diversity and the like’. The reality is that each and every one of us is empowered to do something.”

“When did you last ask your partner - whether it’s husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend - when did you last ask them what makes you optimistic? When did you last open a strategy meeting or a board meeting and say ‘I’m optimistic about…’? And it’s something that’s been lost in Australia. The migrant entrepreneur comes here and it’s natural to them but this point that you’re making about a comfortable Australia, it’s also become a pessimistic Australia.”

DD Saxena

Managing Director, Riverina Oils & BioEnergy

“What diversity does is it brings significant exposure. You don’t have a set mindset, you have an open mindset…”

“I think commonality of purpose really integrates. Nelson Mandela is a classic example. The South African rugby team is a classic example of how he was able to galvanise a nation and get a diverse group of people to perform together.”

 “Openness is very important. Many of us reflect our insecurities, our preconceived notions, bring in biases. Even within corporate cultures you certainly impact your own thinking, but having had the privilege and the opportunity of working in a few countries and different places certainly makes you much more open minded. The key is that society is far more accepting and more open but at a higher level, as a nation, we haven’t done enough to create and engage that open-mindedness.”

Amanda Green

Partner, PwC and Advisor to Male Champions of Change

“I said to Peggy [Peggy O’Neil, President of the Richmond Football Club], ‘If we’re not feeling uncomfortable on this journey then we’re not doing the work and I’m not the right person for you.’”

 “To be fair, there’s men leading sport in Australia to this day, there’s very few women leading sport. And they’re sitting in a privileged position in a framework and a structure that’s enabled them to be successful so we shouldn’t be surprised that they can’t see barriers, that they don’t experience them.”

“I think we’ve got to get away from some of ideas that conflict is bad, that difference is bad, it’s how to actually bring people together and go ‘I don’t actually understand that. Explain that more for me. Let me stand in your shoes’. And then we don’t need to worry about ticking the box on the census, we actually just come together.”

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