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Flying by an alternate path - Insights into board recruitment and governance trends with Kerryn Newton

Women on Boards I Making it Real

Release Date: 09/18/2020

Bringing the Tech perspective to Boards show art Bringing the Tech perspective to Boards

Women on Boards I Making it Real

Lil Bianchi is not your box-ticking director. As a highly-experienced NED, Chair Audit & Risk Committee, former CEO and tech entrepreneur working across data analytics, fintech, risk and customer value Lil thrives on innovation and loves being around curious people. In this podcast, Lil says there’s space in every boardroom for “weird and whacky ideas” and talks about the importance of Boards to have a tech perspective. As she puts it: “Don’t get bamboozled or sidetracked - just dig, dig, dig.”

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Fashion to financial markets: How Mahjabeen Zaman found her voice show art Fashion to financial markets: How Mahjabeen Zaman found her voice

Women on Boards I Making it Real

Fashion designer, newsreader, banker, lecturer: Mahjabeen Zaman has had all these careers in her sights since growing up in Singapore with her Pakistani-born parents. Now living in Australia, Mahjabeen can add three of those four jobs to her resume. Currently working as a senior investments specialist and part-time lecturer, after also running her own fashion label in Asia, Mahjabeen talks to Claire about her passion for finance and why having a culturally diverse Board should never be ignored.

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Leesa Chesser: From Politics to the Boardroom show art Leesa Chesser: From Politics to the Boardroom

Women on Boards I Making it Real

If anything can prepare you for battle in the boardroom, it’s being a politician in the middle of a crisis. Former SA Mental Health Minister Leesa Chesser was thrust into the spotlight when allegations of elder abuse of dementia patients at the state-run Oakden nursing home were exposed leading, in part, to the aged care royal commission. In this podcast Leesa talks to Claire about what it was like being at the centre of a political scandal, and how vital lessons learned helped in her boardroom journey.

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Roberta Wright: The day my life turned upside down show art Roberta Wright: The day my life turned upside down

Women on Boards I Making it Real

Resilient and tenacious - no two words could better describe long-term Women on Boards member Roberta Wright. Despite being left totally blind after a brain operation then having to fight to keep her adopted baby - on the back of losing her brother to a drug overdose and father to cancer - Roberta is always looking to the future. In this podcast she talks about overcoming adversity, learning to adjust and the challenges of raising a child as a blind single parent.

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Premiership Winning Material: Gaye Hamilton and her Wild Ride show art Premiership Winning Material: Gaye Hamilton and her Wild Ride

Women on Boards I Making it Real

She’s spent years working with children and animals (a combination many of us would steer clear of) and yet Gaye Hamilton says the transferable skills gained in secondary science education and zoo management paved the way for her varied and fascinating career and board journey, including over a decade with the Western Bulldogs AFL club.

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Treading gently: Why mining executive Bobbie Foot is firmly grounded in community show art Treading gently: Why mining executive Bobbie Foot is firmly grounded in community

Women on Boards I Making it Real

What impact can I have, and how can I make the world a better place? It’s these questions which have driven Bobbie Foot; from growing up in a large rural Queensland farming family and qualifying as an occupational therapist to becoming head of Health, Safety and Environment at BMA Coal and being named one of the 2020 Global Top 100 Most Inspirational Women in Mining. In this podcast she talks about the importance of community, collaboration and ‘putting yourself out there’.

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Mind the gap: Mary Wooldridge on why we need to be ever vigilant about gender equality in the workforce show art Mind the gap: Mary Wooldridge on why we need to be ever vigilant about gender equality in the workforce

Women on Boards I Making it Real

Mary Wooldridge believes if you want change on the big social issues then you get engaged in purposeful action to get policy change and action taken. As Director of the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, the issues currently in her sights are gender inequality, including closing the 14.2% gender pay gap. In this podcast, Mary speaks to Claire about why the Liberal Party should implement quotas for women and why we need to be ever vigilant about gender equality in the workplace.

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Helen Croxford has a passion for inclusion and her goal is to become obsolete show art Helen Croxford has a passion for inclusion and her goal is to become obsolete

Women on Boards I Making it Real

On the Eve of the Paralympics Claire Braund talks to President of Sport Inclusion Australia, Helen Croxford about her vision for a fully inclusive sporting club system that welcomes athletes with an intellectual impairment with open arms, and why the media training that they’re running extends to training the media how to deal with people with an intellectual disability.

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Switching gears: WOBSX graduate Claudia Bels on racing and risk management show art Switching gears: WOBSX graduate Claudia Bels on racing and risk management

Women on Boards I Making it Real

With a background in law, finance, risk management Claudia Bels doesn’t seem like your typical risk-taking rev head. But this rally car fan admits she loves racing around in her sports coupe as much as scrutinizing spreadsheets for her various audit committees. Here Claudia talks to Claire Braund about taking part in Women on Boards’ inaugural WOBSX program, having a ‘ready-made cheer squad’ and the turning point which led to her down an unlikely board path.

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From Rural Australia to Royalty: ASX Chair Gina Anderson on how she nailed networking show art From Rural Australia to Royalty: ASX Chair Gina Anderson on how she nailed networking

Women on Boards I Making it Real

Keeping in touch with her large network, as well as simply ‘being in the right place at the right time’, has seen experienced company director Gina secure many board roles - as well as “the job of a lifetime” as personal assistant to the Crown of Jordan in the early 90s. In this podcast, Gina talks about the importance of networking, describes what it was like going from struggling to find work during the recession to working for Jordanian royalty, and the reality of learning on the job.

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Kerryn is the Managing Director of Directors Australia, a national board consulting and non-executive director recruitment firm.

In this podcast Kerryn shares her diverse background, what she’s seeing in the recruitment space and offers advice for candidates.

With her early career aspirations to fly jets not possible, Kerryn wanted to work in the control tower, but on the guidance of her father ended up studying law, albeit unenthusiastically.  She tempered this by joining the Army Reserves in her first year of university to fulfil her desire to serve.

Kerryn ‘served’ for many years in various capacities while studying and working, where she excelled, winning the Sword of Honour as top student of her training regimen.  She credits her time in the army as the foundation of her deep leadership and management experience.

After graduating from university Kerryn worked as a lawyer for only a short time, before literally stumbling across a job in parliament. Her initial contract was for two months on the Fitzgerald Inquiry and she ended up staying for 10 years, ascending to senior management and working at the cutting edge across 25 parliamentary enquiries.

After 10 years in parliament and separating from her husband, Kerryn moved into consulting to help her balance family and work. She purchased the name ‘Directors Australia’ knowing it was what she wanted to do and has grown the business consistently ever since. 

Kerryn discusses how she joined her first board by accident and the key things she is seeing from her clients in the board recruitment space.  She provides advice for candidates on the things they need to clarify when applying for a board role, including 'what value will you bring to a board?' and 'how will you brand yourself?' - which she says candidates typically don’t do well.

Kerryn Newton
LLM, MBA, MA, Grad Dip (Applied Finance and Investment), FAICD, FGIA, FIML

  • Chief Executive Officer, Directors Australia
  • Board of Trustees, Brisbane Grammar
  • NED, Energy Queensland

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