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David Fyfe

Chief Executive Officer


I am proud to have recently been appointed to lead Synergy, a State-owned organisation that was formed eight years ago to generate and sell electricity. Synergy serves over a million people, who come from all walks of life, which means it’s important for us to be reflective of the community we serve. 
Synergy has already taken some initial steps to improve the make-up of its workforce and promote gender equity but there’s a lot more we need to do. That’s why one of the first actions I’ve taken as CEO is to sign up as a member of CEOs for Gender Equity – the commitment to do more starts with me.
I’ve taken over as CEO at a time of profound change in the industry, which will see WA transition to a cleaner and greener energy future. To achieve this, we’ll need to apply creativity and innovation, something that comes from having a wide range of perspectives involved and people who feel empowered to contribute.
To have gender balance in teams means you benefit from the different points of view and approaches that come from different life experiences. A diversity of thought will help us spot and seize the new opportunities that lie ahead.   
It’s great that Synergy has already introduced initiatives to improve gender equity, particularly in its recruitment process where there is a 50/50 balance in short lists. The recruitment team uses language filters in advertisements to manage masculine terms, ensures gender balance on interview panels and challenges hiring managers to prioritise gender balance in teams.
We are also striving to ensure a 70/30 female (or better) graduate gender balance in 2023 and have started a program to build a strategic talent pool for female leadership roles.
This work, plus other new programs in the pipeline, will help us to progress in a sustainable way towards a more diverse and inclusive workplace. It’s an important area for Synergy to focus on and a priority for me to lead this from the front.

I always say my main goal as CEO is for everyone to come to work, enjoy what they do, do meaningful work, be recognised appropriately for it and go home happy. That’s what I want for everyone at Synergy – I’m passionate about making it an exceptional place to work.
My inspiration has been heavily influenced by the remarkable Professor Fiona Wood – WA’s first female plastic surgeon and today an international leader in burns care. Dr Wood saved my life after I was involved in the 2002 Bali bombings. Through tenacity and caring I saw firsthand how she led and inspired her team and others around her. Despite the immense pressure she was under at the time, and the need to make difficult life-saving decisions day-after-day, she led with strength and compassion. Whenever she walked into the room, her presence instantly made me feel better.
This experience, while extremely difficult, provided me with some new and valuable perspectives. I have become more proactive when it comes to aligning my personal values with how I approach leadership. It is more of a no regrets approach particularly around matters of fairness and equity.
Having aligned these things over the last 20 years, I have seen firsthand on many occasions the value of diversity and the rich insights that come as a result. This sits behind my drive and commitment to join CEOs for Gender Equity, and I look forward to learning, sharing and driving significant change for today and into the future.
And this has been the case throughout my career, where I have seen time and time again that gender diverse teams make better business decisions and that leaders are good or bad regardless of gender There is no good reason why girls and women should not get the same opportunities as their male counterparts, yet it still happens.

I am privileged to lead an organisation that believes everyone at work has the right to feel safe, valued and respected regardless of their personal characteristics and circumstances, and this includes having the equal right to opportunities in the workplace.  However, I understand that the level of this commitment is driven by ‘the top’. There is only one authentic way I can do this -  not just speak my values but to demonstrate my commitment to them.

In my workplace, I commit to developing and actively supporting organisational initiatives that drive gender equity. I want to pursue this commitment more broadly which is why I chose to become a member for CEOs for Gender Equity.

I believe this membership is particularly important being a male CEO. For too long gender equity policies have been contextualised as a “women’s issue” – as women have historically been the driving force behind gender equity strategies and struggles. The matter will never be appropriately progressed unless senior business women and men work together to create the right culture and opportunities to enable women (and their business) to achieve their full potential.
At Western Power we have developed six Employee Network Groups to foster a strong, diverse and inclusive workforce and increase job satisfaction and knowledge sharing. These groups are management sponsored but employee led groups. One of these groups focusses on gender equity, which states that its main objective is to “bring to light gender biases that inhibit an equitable experience”. This group not only supports the business to provide education and attention to the relevant issues, but also champions the business’ review of our processes to ensure they support equal opportunities in the workplace. 

Western Power has made positive progress and now has over 45% of women in senior leadership roles and 30% of women in all leadership roles. We appreciate the challenges that arise in traditionally male dominated field workforces (more than 50% of our workforce), but we are determined to make the changes required to improve diversity and equity in this area.

I still have more work to do, but am whole heartedly committed. I look forward to improving our gender equity performance in the years ahead and maintaining a safe and diverse workforce where people want to work and can reach their full potential.


CEO Conversation.


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