Break structure and you do you – Aussie women say for IWD

Now, more than ever, there’s a strong call-to-action to press forward and progress gender parity. International Women’s Day (IWD) is held around the world on 8 March each year, to recognise and celebrate the social, economic, cultural, political and professional achievements of women.

There’s a strong tide of change within the insurance and the broking segments to motivate and unite friends, colleagues and whole communities to think, act and be gender inclusive.

Leading panellists at JLT’s International Women’s Day celebrations on 8 March, delivered powerful messages about “throwing away structures” which act as barriers, and putting ‘wants’ and values first in order to realise one’s full potential and achieve true equality.

As part of the national Women@JLT initiative, JLT celebrated International Women’s Day on Thursday 8 March across their Australia and New Zealand offices.

Over 440 clients, staff and guests from across Australia and  New Zealand heard from leading women who discussed their achievements, the progress of women, and gave advice on how to overcome stereotypes and champion change. The main advice given was to not only ‘break the mould but to throw it away and create a structure / environment which works best for you – to realise your full potential’.

Sarah Stephens, Head of Cyber, Content and New Technology risks said at the Sydney event, “Cyber is quite a male dominant sector so to succeed within it, along with my female peers is empowering for all of us.”

“I have been very fortunate at JLT, who have given me the chance to flourish in my career and empowered me to specialise in what I love doing. Cyber is quite a male dominated sector so to succeed in it is a great win for me”

Andre Louw, Chairman of JLT Australia and their Corporate Social Responsibility Committee said, “Recognising that our female staff need active support to realise their professional ambitions, our CSR committee has developed Women@JLT. I am pleased to say as Chairman that JLT’s Board of Directors is fully supportive of the Women@JLT initiative and look forward to it being implemented throughout Australia as part of a greater program for advancing the careers of our female staff.”

JLT launched the initiative in 2017 with some of Australia’s most influential women leading panel discussions across the country. These events sparked discussion, communication and positive change within our organisation. JLT’s ‘Women at JLT’ initiative is to support the amazing 659 women who work for JLT across Australia.

Louise Fitzgerald-Baker, CEO, The Pink Hard Hat said at the Brisbane event, “In our family we really have strong policy around certain rituals and behaviours and whether the girls realise it or not it’s embedded.  That expectation of how they’re to be regarded and treated is embedded.”

“There are tools that you can learn to make sure that you can not only survive but thrive through life…and that’s my message for today”

Emma Lo Russo, CEO, Digivizer said at the Sydney event, “Work without limitation and don’t let the law of the lid govern you. You don’t have to accept what you are given – not your role, not your hours, not where you work from. It’s about breaking through with your mindset first and having the courage to pursue and live by what you value.

“If you want to get to netball training every week – you can make that happen, just change your mindset, just do it by ensuring you still deliver what you need to do … if you want to enough, everything is possible.”


Special guest panellists included:

Kim McConnie, Cricket Australia’s Head of Big Bash League (Sydney panel)

Sarah Stephens, Head of Cyber, Content and New Technology Risks, JLT (Sydney panel)

Dr John Byrne, Acting Commissioner for Equal Opportunity Western Australia (Perth panel)

Louise Fitzgerald-Baker, CEO The Pink Hard Hat (Brisbane panel)

Nat Exon, Captain, Brisbane Lions WAFL (Brisbane panel)

Stacey Peters, Female National Pathway Manager, Golf Australia (Melbourne)