Synergy Chief Executive Officer
In his own words . . .
Why commit to gender balance?
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.