22 January, 2020

WID Chair Jennifer Collins presses for change

WID Chair Jennifer Collins presses for change

2018 is shaping up to be an amazing year for Women in drinks. Drinks Trade editor Hannah Sparks talks to Chair Jennifer Collins about the council's progress and plans. 

What have been Women in drinks’ biggest achievements over the last 12 months?

We had a number of great achievements this year. Firstly, the implementation of the inaugural Serendis Mentoring Program, which was aimed specifically at helping women in the drinks industry to progress their careers to a leadership level.

Our International Women’s Day event had the highest level of attendance thus far, with 450 guests turning out to hear journalist and author Mia Freedman speak.

We also rolled out chapters across NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Queensland, and raised $30,000 for our charity partner the Australian New Zealand Gynecological Oncology Group (ANZGOG).

In June, we hosted Denis Brown from the Diversity and Inclusion Council at our Diversity in Action Network Breakfast, which featured journalist and outspoken feminist Jane Caro.

We are proud to be a high performing council, filled with members of diverse skills sets. This enables us to take individual ownership of key initiatives that must be delivered and improve the traction of our events and overall momentum. The Drinks Association’s new CEO, Georgia Lennon, shares this passion and has aligned well with our objectives. 

What was the success rate of the mentor/mentee matches in the inaugural Serendis Mentoring Program?

The inaugural program saw 29 mentorship pairs, and we’ve enjoyed seeing many pairs continue their relationship beyond the end of the program. The program has been beneficial for both mentors and mentees, with many of the participants linking new opportunities to their involvement and many of the predominantly male mentors achieving a greater awareness of the gender divide in the industry.

We’ve refined our approach for 2018, and businesses are encouraged to contact The Drinks Association directly for more information on how they can be a part of the 2018 program.

Has WID made any changes to the structure of the chapter in the last year?

Yes, in the last 12 months we’ve established chapters in NSW, headed by Judy Massoud; Queensland, under the leadership of Madelyn Ring; South Australia, directed by Melanie Cooper; and Victoria, led by Angela Burgum, who is also the national head of the state chapters. We’ll be setting up shop in Western Australia next year, with our newest council member Emilia Simonin set to head the chapter. The establishment of the state chapters is a great opportunity for councillors to be immersed in different markets and offer their wealth of talent to the organising and staging of events.

I’d like to add that all Women in drinks events aren’t exclusively for women; men are also welcome to attend.

What challenges does WID still face?

The biggest challenge that faces our industry is how we can increase overall female participation. Unfortunately, we still lag in national trends and gender balance in senior management and c-suite roles. It’s vital that we are making sure, as an industry, that we attract the best talent, develop it and retain it. Like all industries and businesses, the challenge is driving the actual changes that we need to, i.e. making sure we deliver the gender equality our businesses need to perform at their best.

Why should people come to this year's International Women's Day event on March 8?

We have a great line-up for the event! Turia Pitt, mining engineer, a former ultra-marathon runner and one of Australia’s most admired women, will be our guest speaker. This will be followed by a fantastic panel discussion: ‘Is Trying Good Enough?’, which will look into what it really takes to drive change in gender equality. Just hoping for change and talking about it isn’t enough. This event is a wonderful opportunity to network and will be focused on this year’s global theme for International Women’s Day, #pressforchange.

I’d also like to sign off with a message of thanks to The Drinks Association, the Board and Ralph Dunning, as Chair, for their ongoing support and assistance.

Click here to purchase tickets to the Women in drinks International Women's Day Event