Petula Freese Chadwick pictured in office setting

Friday, 8 March is International Women's Day (IWD), and Broadspectrum is joining in the day's celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.

Collective action and shared responsibility for driving gender parity is what makes IWD successful. This year, Ventia sites and offices across Australia are hosting events to celebrate our talented female colleagues and promote gender parity in the workplace.

Diversity is an essential part of Ventia's culture and values. Our company focuses on maintaining an inclusive workplace where all employees can thrive and feel valued.

We are making strides on the road to gender equality, but there is still more we can do. Over the past year, we have:

  • sponsored and participated in the Chief Executive Women Leaders program for the fourth year, and currently have six participants going through this year's program,
  • committed to offering two scholarships at the University of Technology Sydney for women studying in fields that complement the Broadspectrum business,
  • our #VentiaGrad program has successfully attracted a 50/50 gender mix across all disciplines, and we're extending these efforts to all levels of our organisation, and
  • the company continues to encourage employees to talk with their managers about flexible working arrangements.

#BalanceforBetter in action

Ventia's National Contact Centre (NCC) exemplifies this year's IWD theme, #BalanceforBetter. Currently at the NCC, women count for more than 70 per cent of the 120-strong workforce. The NCC's vibrant and diverse workforce is also made up of eight per cent mature-aged employees (55 years or older), seven per cent Indigenous employees and a further seven per cent of employees have a disability.

Petula Freese-Chadwick manages Ventia's busy NCC. The contact centre is an end-to-end solution for a range of clients, including Defence Base Services, the NSW Land and Housing Corporation and Family (LAHC) and Community Services (FACS) tenants. The NCC services more than 60,000 housing properties, 670 daycare centres, 37 government agencies, defence sites in five states, and NBN NSW. The contact centre operates 24/7, every day of the year and receives close to a million calls a year.

Mentors are the key to success

Aside from her strong work ethic, Petula has succeeded because she has been vocal about what she would like to achieve and the opportunities she would like to take. She believes in the transformative power of a strong mentoring program, where women in management positions are teamed up with a mentor in an executive position who can guide and extend them.

Live by your principles

Petula lives by three key principles: culture, communication and courage. She actively creates a culture of diversity and inclusion, where staff members who may not fit into the 'mould' are given equal opportunities for growth and advancement. She works hard to offer the flexibility to support people's unique needs. Communicating openly with her team is important, and Petula makes it a priority to involve all team members so they can help to drive the team's vision. She empowers her team to have the courage to make decisions and not be afraid of making mistakes.

"You can't learn and grow unless you can see the possibilities for improvement," Petula said.

Trust your worth and inner voice

Petula believes it's important to stay true to what you believe in. She encourages women to be firm, but fair, and to set aside emotions that may cloud their decision-making.

"Empower other women - they will be your greatest allies."

The value #BalanceforBetter brings 

There's a plethora of advantages in championing a gender-balanced workplace. For Broadspectrum, it means offering different opportunities, being flexible, investing in the wellbeing of staff, and attracting the right talent.

Let's all help create a #BalanceforBetter.