12 March 2018


On March 8, JLT celebrated its biggest International Women’s Day to date. Speakers led conversations across Australia and New Zealand, celebrating the achievements of women, the giant leaps we’ve made and provided hope for the future. We changed the conversation from negative to positive outcomes, spotlighting what is actually working and the possibilities we can all look forward to.

Over 440 guests including clients and business partners joined Women@JLT celebrations on the ground in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Auckland as representatives of JLT client Norton Rose Fulbright like Melissa Tan, Associate, moderated the provocative discussions that took place.

In Sydney, JLT’s Head of Cyber, Sarah Stephens, on her Australian ‘The Cyber Series’ tour joined Kim McConnie, Cricket Australia’s Head of Big Bash League, and Emma Lo Russo, CEO of Digivizer on stage in front of a packed crowd of both men and women at Grosvenor Place.

Here's a snapshot of what we heard:

You do you: "Throw away structures and put values first"

Leading the charge, Sarah Stephens said, “There is a lot of talk about ‘breaking the mould’ … but why adhere to the ‘mould’ in the first place? Create your own structures and environments which work for you, speak up about it and start advocating for change."

“52% of employees across JLT Australia are women, and I have been very fortunate at JLT to be able to create my own way of working and succeed in quite a male dominated industry along with my female peers in cyber.”

The panellists spoke about the need for women and men to work with their managers to create a working environment which is outcome-based, grounded on how you work, rather than where you work.

“Work without limitation and don’t let the law of the lid govern you. You don’t have to accept what you are given – not your role, not your hours, not where you work from. It’s about breaking through with your mindset first and having the courage to pursue and live by what you value,” said Emma Lo Russo.

She posed the question: what really matters to you?

“If you want to get to netball training every week – you can make that happen, just change your mindset, just do it by ensuring you still deliver what you need to do ... if you want to enough, everything is possible,” added Emma.

Panellists also touched on the important #MeToo campaign, with Kim McConnie stating: “I applaud initiatives like these … it is about time we speak out publically and make some noise. Now that everyone is a lot more aware and conscious, we need to continue this momentum and further enforce zero tolerance on discrimination, stereotyping and any kind of harassment.”

Everyone needs to be in the same boat

Our Perth discussion starring Supreme Court judge, the Hon. Justice Rene Le Miere, dynamic social and business entrepreneur Alicia Curtis, Executive Director of CEOs for Gender Equity, Tania Ceccioni, and Acting Commissioner for Equal Opportunity, Dr John Byrne, highlighted the importance of both male and females being in the same room. A world of equality is a joint mission and we need to equally celebrate male champions of change. The panellists also stressed the importance of celebrating the small gains and wins just as much as the giant leaps we’ve made. Big thinking and great vision is great and important, however it's also about the small steps and achievements along the way. This allows us to enjoy that sense of accomplishment which will build confidence for the next step, and the next step.

Education is crucial

Sending a clear message home on the need to teach the next generation, Louise Fitzgerald-Baker, CEO at The Pink Hard Hat, said: "In our family we really have strong policy around certain rituals and behaviours and whether the girls realise it or not the expectation how they’re to be regarded and treated is embedded. There are tools that you can learn to make sure that you can not only survive but thrive through life...and that's my message for today.”

Louise linked up with Paul French, JLT Senior State Executive, Nat Exon, Captain of the Brisbane Lions WAFL team and Sophie Evans, Group General Counsel & Company Secretary - Cement Australia, for JLT Brisbane’s inaugural Women@JLT event.

Winning risk partnerships

Stacey Peters, Female National Pathway Manager at Golf Australia, a valued JLT client, brought a taste of their Swing Fit initiative to our Melbourne offices for the evening - a program for women to learn and develop golf skills. A former pro, away from the on-site putting green Stacey drove the press for progress conversation forward alongside Simone Morley, Associate Dean Learning & Teaching, Health Faculty at Torren’s University Australia / Laureate International Universities and Ali Villani, Managing Director at Ali V Pty Ltd. As sponsors of the ISPS HANDA Australian Women’s Open held recently, we were proud to support the growth of women’s golf and empower women on International Women's Day to succeed – on and off the course.  

Women@JLT expands to New Zealand

Women@JLT hit New Zealand shores for the very first time on International Women’s Day, with Christine Pears, former CEO and Director; Consulting Strategist, Governance & Financial Services Specialist, Donna Nicolof, Head of Wealth & Private Bank BNZ, her Honour Judge Ida Malosi - District Court Judge and Rachel Cunningham - CEO Corporate Office / Company Secretary – Southern Cross Healthcare Group leading the conversation over breakfast.

Thanks for joining the conversation

JLT were pleased to celebrate its biggest International Women’s Day in history and thank everyone involved for joining important discussions across Australia and New Zealand. We will continue these conversations as part of the JLT's Board of Director's ongoing commitment to the initiative.

More about Women@JLT

Last year, we introduced our Women@JLT initiative, a growing, thriving support network to make JLT a prominent destination for over 600 female employees to accelerate their careers. No matter who you are or where you’re from, we’ve got your back.