SOLD advisory panel

Jane Counsel

Jane Counsel

  1. 1.

    Why is community involvement important?

    The community reflects your customer base so it is important that businesses reflect the diversity of their customers in their employee base to ensure they can anticipate and deliver to client requirements. To ensure the long-term sustainability of businesses, it is also important they consciously consider the impact of their operations on the communities they serve. When it comes to Diversity, it’s an issue that won’t be solved in the workplace alone particularly when we look at how the issue of caring impacts on women’s participation, which is why community involvement is so important.

  2. 2.

    Why do you think it is important across all industries to provide more opportunities for women?

    For two key reasons :

    1) It’s the massive lost opportunity of not fully tapping into 50% of your talent pool and

    2) There is a broader economic productivity issue created by women’s under representation in the workforce which won’t be addressed until we make full use of this talent pool and progress their participation to ensure women reach their full potential

  3. 3.

    What do you consider a healthy lifestyle?

    Work makes up a big component of your life, so it’s really important to have a job you love and to recognise the importance of balance.  Whether that be through your family, exercise, social or travel, it’s so important to have a broader sense of purpose. Having interests outside of work also gives you perspective and having a healthy mind and healthy body helps build stamina and resilience.  Giving back to society through charity and volunteer work and having an informed attitude and a broader cultural perspective is also important.

  1. 4.

    Why is cultural diversity so important in Australia?

    Australia is already a very culturally diverse country but that diversity is rarely relfected in the management ranks of Australian businesses, which is a real lost opportunity to leverage the value of culturally diverse talent.  Particularly when you consider that by 2030, half the world’s population is going to be living on our doorstep in China and India.

    In order to fully realise the business value of our proximity to these two countries, Australian businesses need to embrace cultural differences and appreciate the value of a non-western style of leadership. These cultural subtleties help with problem solving and understanding our differences gives everyone the opportunity to shine.

  2. 5.

    Tell me about three people that have inspired you

    My mother from a very early age was always incredibly encouraging and that helped me build a strong sense of self-belief and confidence that I have drawn upon throughout my career. She was always my biggest advocate and that has had the greatest impact on me.
    My grandfather who was an old fashioned accountant who was very interested in current affairs and politics and an avid writer of letters to subsequent Federal Treasurers, much to their amusement I’m sure. He encouraged my inquisitive young mind and his interest in current affairs and politics inspired me to pursue my initial career in journalism.
    And Gail Kelly, the former CEO of Westpac, who was a great leader with energy, passion and drive unlike any other CEO I’ve known. Above all else, Gail was a fabulous communicator who had the unique ability to connect with every individual in the room. That really reinforced to me that good communication skills are the defining difference between good and great leaders.

Jane Counsel's bio

Jane has a 24 year career spanning Financial Journalism, Corporate Affairs and Human Resources.

For the first 10 years of her career, Jane worked as a Financial Journalist including high-profile roles at Australian Associated Press in Melbourne and at the Sydney Morning Herald Newspaper as a Resources and Energy Reporter.

Since transitioning to Corporate Affairs 13 years ago, she has developed significant corporate communications and human resources expertise including heading up Media Relations at AGL Energy, Australia’s largest energy retailer and as the Senior Media Relations Manager at Westpac during the Global Financial Crisis and the implementation of a merger with St.George, the largest in the Australian Financial Sector’s history.

While managing Media Relations at Westpac, Jane also helped develop the organisation and then CEO Gail Kelly’s profile as a global leader in Diversity and Inclusion. In recognition of this success, Jane was promoted to the Head of Diversity & Flexibility for Westpac Group directly responsible for the implementation of the organisation’s Diversity and Inclusion strategy for 36,000 employees across multiple brands.

During her time in role, Jane and her team significantly improved the Inclusive Leadership capability of People Leaders and the engagement of employees in Diversity and Inclusion through the development and implementation of training and education programs, awareness- raising events and thought-leadership initiatives. During this period, Westpac celebrated a number of important Diversity successes including the achievement of 40 per cent of Women In Leadership roles two-years ahead of schedule, Top Three Employer in Australia for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Intersex (LGBTI) Employees and recognition as an Employer of Choice for Women, Employees with Disabilities and Older Workers.

Jane led a number of thought-leadership initiatives for Westpac such as the 100 Women of Influence Awards partnership with the AFR Newspaper where she created the initial concept for the awards and executed three very successful award campaigns. She has also managed high-profile research partnerships with the Australian Human Rights Commission, Diversity Council Australia and the Melbourne University Business School’s Gender Equality Project.

Jane is also a member of  Executive Central to lead the Diversity Central Consulting business and is trained as an Executive Coach, having participated in Executive Central’s Coaching Academy.

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