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Episode Five: Board Careers and Supporting Women with Diane Smith-Gander

Episode Five: Board Careers and Supporting Women with Diane Smith-Gander

WORK180
WORK180Sep 21, 2020

Diane Smith-Gander, AO is a professional non-executive director who maintains a diverse portfolio. She's an advocate for gender equality and past president of Chief Executive Women. Diane is the national chairman for the Centre for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA), a director of AGL Energy, Wesfarmers Limited, QA Group of Companies, Keystart Loans, HBF Health Limited, and is the Chair of Safe Work Australia.

Diane has been active in sports administration and is a past Chairwoman of both Basketball Australia Limited and the Australian Sports Drug Agency. She is also Chair of the inaugural nominations committee for the World Anti-Doping Agency. Diane holds an MBA from the University of Sydney and a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Western Australia, who awarded her an honorary Doctorate of Economics. She is a fellow of the AICD and Governance Institute of Australia and an Adjunct Professor of Corporate Governance at UWA where she chairs the advisory board of the business school.

Diane Smith-Gander believes that gender equality is the strongest lever we have to pull to support economic growth, but fears COVID may have set us back by a decade. She spoke about a Board career, creating your own personal Board of Directors, the value of supporters in helping you open doors and taking a deliberate approach to pivoting your career. With a wealth of experience and fascinating insights, Diane shared some of her hopes for the future, the silver linings of COVID impacts, and the importance of women supporting other women.

In this episode we discuss:

  • The many hats that Diane wears in her career.
  • Building her portfolio of Directorships and the common threads through her work.
  • How Diane supports women throughout her career and why it matters to her.
  • The silver lining of increased flexible work from COVID and maintaining that as things return to normal.
  • Creating your personal Board of Directors and recruiting mentors to support your career development.
  • Diane's approach to pivoting her career and starting her diverse portfolio.
  • How Diane overcame self-doubt when joining Wesfarmers board.
  • The importance of knowing both where the door is, and who the person is that can open it.
  • Diversity defining merit, and redefining merit beyond 'someone who looks and thinks like me'.
  • How to summarise your CV into a story that makes sense to people hiring you.
  • Understanding and using your strengths.
  • The risk of COVID negatively impacting previous gains in gender equality.

Love this Podcast so much that you can't wait to listen to another? Check out our special Bonus Episode: The Financial Benefit of Women in Leadership with Libby Lyons

To make sure you don’t miss future episodes of Equality Talks, subscribe on iTunes, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts!


About the author

WORK180

WORK180

WORK180 is an international jobs network that connects smart businesses with talented women. We pre-screen every employer on our jobs board to see where they stand on pay equity, flexible working, paid parental leave, equal opportunities and a range of other criteria. We also take into account diversity initiatives focusing on age, ability, ethnicity and sexual orientation.

The information we uncover is made public on our website, so that everyone knows what to expect from each employer before applying for a job. We continually review and evolve our pre-screening criteria to ensure workplaces are fair and equal for everyone.


WORK180 is a jobs board with a difference! We pre-screen employers on paid-parent leave, pay equity, flexible working arrangements and more. Find your dream job here.


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