You were instrumental in establishing GHD’s partnership
with the CareerTrackers program, which provides internships for
Indigenous Australians. Talk us through this.
a real labour of love for me. A few years back, I felt it would be
beneficial to have an Indigenous person on our team to assist us
with our expanding stakeholder engagement practice – particularly
due to our increasing work with Indigenous communities. After
contacting CareerTrackers, which was in its infancy at that stage,
we took on our first Indigenous intern in 2010.
On the whole, it made good business sense for us to support the
CareerTrackers program and employ Indigenous people. We knew the
diversity of thinking and the capacity building we could achieve
was going to benefit GHD as well as our corporate social
responsibility and our commitment to closing the gap. Last year, we
formalised our arrangement with CareerTrackers into a 10-year
partnership to provide training and employment opportunities for
Indigenous Australians. GHD now has one of the largest numbers of
interns for an organisation of our size, having employed nearly 50
interns to date.
As a woman in the professional services sector, how has
diversity and inclusion shaped your career?
graduating with a social sciences degree, I got a job as a trainee
in the transport sector. This was a fairly unique position at the
time and it opened my eyes to the lack of technical career pathways
available for women. I realised there was a need for programs to
encourage and support women in this area. Fast forward 27 years,
and we are well on our way to achieving this.
Being a woman in a technical sector has been a positive
experience for me that’s been enriched by GHD’s culture of
teamwork. While there have been inevitable challenges along the
way, our collective focus on getting the job done has meant that
working with diverse people is extremely beneficial in deriving
more inclusive outcomes for our clients.
In 1996, you established GHD’s community consultation
practice. Twenty years on, what has changed?
early days, our engineers were coming up with technically competent
solutions for our clients. However, there were often issues at the
implementation stage, because these solutions were not well
understood by the community. I saw the need to explain solutions to
all stakeholders earlier in the project lifecycle and that’s how
our practice came about. Over the years, I’ve watched the
discipline evolve from being focused on explaining projects to
communities to having a broader agenda that includes added
engagement, planning and development as well as social
What do you consider are the keys to success in having a
diverse and inclusive workplace?
For GHD, it’s about
sticking to our values, which are a good guiding point. Raising
awareness for the various elements of diversity and inclusion is
also very important in our journey – that means having frequent and
evolving conversations about what our approach looks like in terms
of gender equity, Indigenous people, and the LGBTI community, for