24 March, 2019

WID brings diversity & inclusion to life

WID brings diversity & inclusion to life

Women in drinks has announced details of the panel discussion at its International Women's Day event on March 8.


The discussion - ‘Bringing diversity and inclusion to life’ - will follow the keynote speech of Mia Freedman, a journalist, author, activist and co-founder of Mamamia, the largest independent women’s website in Australia. MIa was named one of Australia’s 100 Most Influential Women by the Financial Review and is a former chair of the federal government’s Body Image Advisory Board. She remains a passionate campaigner for more diversity in the way the media portrays women.


the drinks association Chairman Ralph Dunning will moderate the discussion, while panellists will be Michael East, Deputy CEO of Accolade Wines; Martin Smith, Managing Director of Endeavour Drinks Group; Jane Hill, Talent and Change Director at Lion; Denis Brown, Managing Director of Bacardi Martini and Chair of the Diversity & Inclusion @ Drinks Council; Jennifer Collins, Global Marketing Activation Director of Pernod Ricard Winemakers and WID councillor; and Kylie Fraser, CEO of Bevchain.


Among the topics the panel will be covering are where responsibility lies for promoting greater gender diversity in leadership roles, cultural barriers to diversity in the drinks industry, and how companies can empower women to lead. The discussion will kick off at 3pm and will be followed by networking at 4pm.  


Here's a little more information on each of the panelists:  


Ralph Dunning, Chairman, the drinks association 
Ralph Dunning is a widely respected executive in the Australian wine industry, currently working as an independent wine business consultant. Ralph is the Executive Officer of Australia’s First Families of Wine – a strong collection of multi generational, quality focused, family wine businesses formed to promote the best of Australian wine around the globe. Previously he headed both Sales and Marketing divisions in the Yalumba Wine Company – Australia’s oldest family owned winery for 27 years. He has also contributed five years in the pro bono role of Treasurer of the Wine Communicators of Australia. Ralph is a founding partner in his own wine business – Byron & Harold – a James Halliday 5 Red Star winery based in Western Australia and also owns and operates his family’s Speckle Park cattle stud in the Barrington Tops, north of Sydney.


Michael East, Deputy CEO, Accolade Wines
Michael joined Accolade Wines in 2012 with a comprehensive background in the Australian wine industry. Michael’s experiences in the industry have included Global Sales and Marketing Director at Lion Wine, Managing Director, Southcorp Wines and Sales Director, Pernod Ricard. Before being appointed Deputy CEO in 2016, Michael was the General Manager, Australia, NZ and The Pacific of Accolade Wines. He has worked in Australia, Europe, North America, Asia and New Zealand. 

Martin Smith, Managing Director, Endeavour Drinks Group
Martin Smith has had an extensive career in Retail spanning more than 45 years, with his most recent appointment to Managing Director of Endeavour Drinks Group – formerly Woolworths Liquor Group in March 2015. Martin came to Australia in 1970 where he joined Woolworths in an operational capacity, leaving in 1987. Martin rejoined Woolworths in 1999 working with AIW and later Dan Murphy’s as General Manager from 2008 to 2015. Martin brings significant knowledge, experience and operational excellence to the role of Managing Director having held senior roles with FAL, Wesfarmers as well as an Independent Supermarket Chain. Martin is also a board member of Australian Leisure and Hospitality (ALH) Group.

Jane Hill, Talent and Change Director, Lion 

Jane joined LION in 2003 as Global Marketing Director for its wine business. With over 20 years’ experience in Marketing, Sales and HR; Jane has built brands in Australia, the UK, the US and New Zealand in different businesses including KFC, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, Schweppes-Cottee’s, Southcorp Wines and LION. In all her roles, a deep understanding of people and what motivates them has been front and centre. As well as a diverse professional background, Jane has experience in different categories (drinks, food and pharmaceutical) and 3 degrees in different fields. Her undergraduate degree was Commerce from the University of NSW. Ten years later, she studied at the University of Adelaide achieving a post grad diploma in Wine Business and in 2014 she completed a Masters in Applied Science (Psychology of Coaching) at the University of Sydney.
Jane brings external, insight driven thinking and a deep understanding of people and organisations, particularly in the FMCG industry. In her current role as Talent and Change Director, Jane is responsible for ensuring LION continues to lead the way on talent, attracting and retaining a diverse workforce and shaping an environment in which everyone flourishes. She also business partners the Managing Director of LION’s Global Alcohol business in Asia and North America. Some recent initiatives include a change to LION’s Reward Strategy, introduction of a new flexibility policy for LION’s 7,000 people and a leadership development program focused on leading in complexity. 


Denis Brown, Managing Director, Bacardi Martini; Chair, Diversity & Inclusion @ Drinks
Denis Brown is currently the Managing Director of Bacardi-Martini Australia. Denis has over 20 years of liquor industry experience, having worked for Diageo and Bacardi Martini both locally and overseas plus consulting to other industries.  Denis started his career in Price Waterhouse before moving into Sales and Marketing roles in Diageo.  Spending eight years working overseas, Denis moved to London to join the global Smirnoff brand team as Global Brand Director RTD, Czech Republic as Country Manager, and as the GM Marketing in Malaysia with the Diageo/Heineken joint venture (Guinness Anchor Berhad).  Denis returned to Australia in 2006 and spent the next 4 years as Commercial Director Australia before a stint in the building industry and then his latest role as MD at Bacardi Martini. Denis is a rookie mountain bike rider and excited by innovation.  Denis has four children, juggling family life with extra industry commitments including Vice Chair of DISCA, and Chair of the newly created Diversity in Drinks. 

Jennifer Collins Global Marketing Activation Director Pernod Ricard Winemakers; Counsellor, Women in drinks

Jennifer Collins is currently the Global Marketing Activation Director for Pernod Ricard Winemakers, driving market activation of a global portfolio of premium wine brands across 75 markets. Jennifer brings to her role over 20 years experience across the FMCG, Pharmaceutical and Liquor industries, working in senior Sales, Marketing, Trade Development and Strategy roles. Jennifer has been an Alternate Director of the Drinks Association since 2013, and appointed Chair of the Women in Drinks Council in February 2017. Jennifer is passionate about the industry and the opportunities we have to advance in the areas of diversity and inclusion. 

Kylie Fraser, CEO, Bevchain 
With a life-long career in freight and logistics, and the last 20 years in key management roles, Kylie joined BevChain in 2011 as the CEO, one of the leading and most successful beverage distributors in Australia. With hands on experience in almost everything, Kylie is a quick and decisive thinker who knows how to find the win-win in all situations. She is prepared to have the tough conversations and make the tough decisions, but also has the courage to stand by them. Kylie’s passion and drive as a leader has seen her able to transform the business - increasing bottom line by almost 40%, and growing BevChain to twice its size in just her first four years as the CEO. Finding the right balance between people, customers, and operations has seen her able to achieve sustainable operational and commercial success for both BevChain and the people around her. Building a successful and sustainable business is as much about making the right decisions at the top, as it is about growing and developing the people who work in it. Kylie takes great pride in finding new talent who she can grow and develop into future leaders in the industry.