26 January, 2020

Women in Drinks chair Jennifer Collins discusses "huge moves" in diversity

Women in Drinks chair Jennifer Collins discusses "huge moves" in diversity

It's been a proud 12 months for Women in Drinks Chair Jennifer Collins.

Highlights have included her involvement in the second year of The Drinks Association's Mentoring Program, seeing the Women in Drinks council build networking opportunities for women throughout Australia and judging the inaugural Gender Equity Award at the 2018 Australian Drinks Awards and presenting it to the winner Diageo on stage (below).

The award recognised organisations that have demonstrated excellence in initiatives and strategies facilitating gender equity in the workplace including engagement of women in the workplace, attraction and retention strategies for women, flexible work practices, training and development for women and returning to the workplace programs.

Among Diageo Australia's initiatives are an Inclusion Council that is made up of employees from across the business who volunteer their time to run events and information sessions that promote diversity and inclusion. The company also invests in well-developed coaching and mentoring programs.

And, in just a few weeks time, Collins will take to the stage again for the annual Women in Drinks International Women's Day event, which will feature RedBalloon’s Naomi Simson (below) as keynote speaker and a stand-out panel of drinks industry champions of gender equality coming together to discuss how they have actively and successfully incorporated this call to action in their businesses.

"The event is a call to all members for transformation, ongoing action and a steadfast commitment to achieve gender equity in the industry," Collins said.

Video series celebrates diversity initiatives

Late last year, Collins also took part in a Leadership Summit for The Drinks Association’s Diversity & Inclusion Council, where industry leaders joined together to show their commitment to shifting the dial.

Senior executives have shown their support for a more inclusive drinks community via a series of YouTube videos.

Chair of the Diversity & Inclusion Council Denis Brown said: "I am delighted at the support shown by the CEOs and Managing Directors who were so willing to invest their time. This is a powerful message from our leaders - leading inclusively and with diverse people is great for culture, customers, business and ultimately our industry."

In her contribution, Collins discusses her pride in championing and celebrating excellence in gender equity initiatives and programs in the workplace,

"It was quite an emotional experience for me to judge the Gender Equity Award and see how far we've come," she said.  

Personally, Collins noted she was most pleased to see a normalisation men's roles in childcare.

"The old adage of maternity leave and paternity leave is a thing of the past and businesses in our industry are reframing that as primary care and secondary care and that's something that is of benefit to all of us," she noted. 

She added that flexibility in the workplace is what every individual is looking for moving forward regardless of their gender.

"And we've seen huge moves forward," she concluded. 

Watch Collins discuss diversity and inclusion below: