'We shouldn't feel like this': Port GM's big message for women
WHEN the conversation switches from how many women are at the board room table to humanity, Rowen Winsor will know gender equality has been achieved.
The Gladstone Ports Corporation general manager of people, community and sustainability knows all too well the challenges that come with being a woman in a male-dominated industry.
Sharing her insights ahead of today's International Women's Day, Ms Winsor credits her success to maintaining a strong sense of self.
Her first management position was as human resources manager at a remote Central Queensland mine, where her predecessors were all men.
"I had to learn pretty quickly how to operate within that particular environment," she said.
"I'd like to think that part of my success can be attributed to maintaining a strong sense of self.
"So often women think that they have to compete with men and adopt a 'masculine' approach to the way in which they work.
"We shouldn't feel like this - women can and should be intelligent, powerful, feminine, tough, assertive and empathetic.
"There is also power in vulnerability - it is a gift that enables us to carefully consider the choices and decisions that we make."
Ms Winsor's passion, developed during her 25 years as a senior leader across a range of industries, is to help organisations develop their people, social and environment capacity.
She sees gender parity as the realisation of women being seen as positive influences at all levels.
"I believe we will have reached gender equality when we get to a point at which gender becomes irrelevant," she said.
"Where the discussion becomes more about humanity than whether there are enough women sitting at a board table."
Ms Winsor believes instilling these values starts in the workplace.
"I'm particularly proud of GPC and the way it empowers its employees, and encourages its leaders to be enablers and supporters.
"I believe we are in a strong position to be able to work towards closing the gender gap within our own organisation and the wider community."
Ms Winsor has learned not to fear failure, but use it as an opportunity to be an effective driver within your organisation.
"Self-belief is so critical," she said.
"Work on your technical capability, you must be a master of your craft but don't focus on that alone.
"Work on your resilience and mindfulness - without this you will only get so far.
"Acknowledge stress, face the harsh realities and work through it.
"Also watch for your mentors along the way - good or bad, learn from them."
Ms Winsor also warned that you could live and die by your relationships.
"You can be the smartest person in the room, but if you can't look after peoples' well-being and engage with them on a meaningful level, it's wasted.
"Valuing people - your colleagues, your customers, your community - is absolutely paramount."