September 28, 2022

6 ambitious women and the workplaces supporting them

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The women we spoke to in this article know a thing or two about the challenges and objections some people can put in the way of an ambitious woman. They also know the exact distance they had to go (to paraphrase Michele Ruiz) ‘to not hear those objections anymore’. 

It turns out, it’s as far as their first role with one of our Endorsed Employers.  

Each of these six women tells their story of the career development programs and progression opportunities they found to foster their ambitions. 

Gina (she/her) – Talent Acquisition Manager at CommBank

“Being the head coach of a four-boy household (including my hubby) has its moments – in the most part, positive! They’re my everything and my work family has always understood this. Being able to work in a way that suits me has been the backbone of all my successes at work and at home. As my family grew, so did my career, without either being compromised.”

Read more of Gina's story

How it started

Anyone that I’ve crossed paths with knows that I’m a people person. So, working in recruitment just seemed like the perfect fit for me. My journey in Talent Acquisition (TA) at CommBank began in a secondment as a recruitment coordinator. From there, I was offered a part-time two days a week role. It was this role that showed me the ropes of the recruitment process. I then moved into another secondment where I played a part in creating our recruitment team as it stands now.

My first promotion

I was mentored by a great leader who helped me move into a Talent Acquisition Partner role recruiting for the branch network.

From branch recruitment, I then moved into tech recruitment. Here, I was responsible for multiple portfolios across Technology – which was such a great learning experience. My days in TA tech were spent speaking to candidates and leading continuous improvement initiatives with the team, including driving the introduction of our Digital Interview process.

Continual growth

The desire to lead a team was never far, and a leadership opportunity came up in TA that I couldn’t pass up – Talent Acquisition Team Leader in Shared Services (the team that books interviews and qualifies our contracts). During this time, I led an amazing group of people and supported the creation of what is now the Probity Operations team.

Whilst I loved leading this team, I did miss the fast-paced nature of the candidate world and working directly with my stakeholders. The TA tech team was calling my name, and it was for a role as a specialist recruiter looking after Analytics and Testing. Here, there was a focus on (surprise, surprise) technology, and I was able to work closely with our Sourcing & Indigenous careers teams.

With my leaders, I’ve never been shy about where I want to go next. And that for me was a Talent Acquisition Manager role. Not long ago, the dream of becoming a Talent Acquisition Manager for Analytics & Digital came true. Without the village of supporters I’ve had, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

How it’s going

Today, I have the pleasure of leading a team of 10 amazing TA Partners and Sourcing Specialists who work together to find the best talent for Analytics & Digital across the Group. A big part of my role is to inspire and influence my team to find joy in what they do. Reskilling, Diversity & Inclusion, goal setting and the Employee Referral Program are just a few of the projects we’ve been working on. 

For anyone that has a passion for people and building relationships, CommBank is the place for them.

Erin Beckefeld (she/ her), Associate at TBH

“The mentoring program is one of the unique features that initially attracted me to TBH.
Joining as an engineering graduate with no prior consulting experience, my mentor played a pivotal role in ensuring I had opportunities to highlight my strengths, expand my technical skill set, and broaden my experiences across different industries and service offerings.

I have often sought the advice of my mentor to navigate difficult situations, leveraging their own experiences and lessons learnt. It has been comforting to know that my mentor is invested in my long-term development, and that I have their confidence and support moving forwards.”

Janet Crosbee (she/her) Engineering Manager at Ericsson

“Throughout my career with Ericsson, I have had the opportunity to move into new roles across different parts of the business, utilizing my existing skills whilst building new ones.”

Read more of Janet's story

How it started

I started my Ericsson journey as a graduate engineer with Ericsson Ireland in 1996. My first role with Ericsson  was as a technical instructor which was a great role to start with as I had to learn how to build and install an Ericsson AXE10 exchange from scratch and then I was able to travel around the world teaching other Ericsson staff and customers how to do the same! It was a great learning experience. 

My first promotion

In 2000, I transferred to Ericsson Australia and moved into a new role as a Senior Integration Consultant where my first major project was the rollout of the new 3G network for the customer 3 in Australia – this was the first commercial 3G network in the world! 

Continual growth

Once the new network was up and running, I was offered the chance to make a move into the sales side of the business, and I took on a Solution Manager role with the Hutchison Customer Unit. In this role I was able to leverage my technical knowledge to produce pre-sales solutions and proposals to the customer, which provided me with great insight into the commercial and sales side of Ericsson. My next move was to a Network Manager role in the Managed Services division of Ericsson for the 3 Network. This was my first role as a people manager, and it allowed me to really hone my leadership skills and build a successful, high performing team of engineers. 

How it’s going

In 2017, I returned to Ericsson after undertaking another opportunity and I am now working as an Engineering Manager back in the Managed Services division. 

Jessica Barba (she/her), Head of Talent, Leadership & Careers at NAB

“I have also been very grateful to have two wonderful mentors in my time at NAB. These two mentors have been instrumental in my development and career progression at NAB and within my life outside of work as well.

The relationships with my mentors have been extremely trusting. They’re trusted people in my life that I have continuously engaged with regarding career decisions, challenging working relationships or projects, when I have been faced with an ethical dilemma, amongst many other things.”

Jemma Ringland (she/her), Local Operations Manager at Pentalver

“After nearly six years in this business and four roles, I can say with confidence that everyone I have met has taught me something. I started with Pentalver as a 19-year-old and here I am today at 25 owing my career to everything I have picked up over the years. At the core of what I do is clear communication, honesty, integrity, respect, confidence, a friendly face, and a sprinkling of optimism (a positive mental attitude goes a long way). “

Read more of Jemma's story

How it started

I started with Pentalver in January 2017 as a Container Conversions Administrator, a role where I co-ordinated with the workshop, customers, suppliers and hauliers. The Conversions Team gave me a great introduction to the business. We were a small team who worked closely together. I got to see some amazing projects carried out and having come from an office environment in my previous role I gained a huge appreciation of the risks involved in the workshop/container storage business. 

My first promotion

I was with the Conversions Team for 18 months when a role for HSSE and Facilities Co-ordinator for Pentalver Cannock came up. This was a role with much more responsibility and my manager pushed me to be the best I could. I loved this role, getting to know everyone on site, helping them solve their issues with the facility and making improvements on site.

Continual growth

In May 2019, following a restructure within the business I joined the G&W UK Group safety team as a HSSE Assistant Business partner. This role involved me travelling between sites providing advice and support for anything HSSE related. I approached every scenario and every new person I met with confidence, clear communication, and a smile. I got to know the ins and outs of our business, where the risks lay and how to approach new challenging situations. I loved the opportunity that being part of the safety team gave me, and after nearly two and a half years I was approached to interview for my current role – Local Operations Manager for Drivers for the Rail Midlands South Ops team.

How it’s going

I have been in this role since October 2021 conducting the day-to-day management of 70 train drivers. This role has been a steep learning curve, I have massively improved my knowledge of the railway, I’ve completed a shunting competency with the help of a couple of great mentors and my understanding of HR and Payroll requirements has skyrocketed! What my drivers and the ground staff do day-in-day-out is incredible, they are the lifeblood of this business and I am here to ensure they can do their roles with as little else to worry about as possible. 

Melissa Leong (she/her), Director, Government Incentives at EY

“I have been involved in EY Oceania’s Cultural Diversity Mentoring program for the past five years. This is one of our flagship programs to support and help culturally diverse people across the service lines. The premise is simple – allowing junior staff to connect with a more senior member to have conversations around lived experiences and support their careers. At the same time, creating opportunities for senior people in the service lines to support, challenge, and provoke the way in which they are shaping careers for the future leaders. Most importantly, cultural diversity is also about inclusion, and EY is focused on bringing out the best in all EY people.

By being a mentor to several mentees in the program, I’ve been able to share personal stories about my lived experiences that I hope will give them the courage and confidence to bring out their best selves.”

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About the Author
Jacynta Clayton’s career started in recruitment advertising and employer branding, working with global clients to create and deploy strategic and creative content. Now she combines her industry experience with the knowledge from her psychology and professional writing degrees to write unique and resounding stories. As a WORK180 storyteller she relishes the opportunity to elevate the voices and experiences of so many amazing people, while also empowering and educating audiences on how to choose a workplace where they can thrive.

Looking for a new opportunity?

Our transparent job board only has vacancies from employers we endorse and lets you see what benefits, policies and perks come with the job.