State Chapter Events in SA, Queensland & Victoria

State Chapter Events in SA, Queensland & Victoria

November 22, 2022
State Chapter Leads

The State Chapter events are back in action with three having taken place during this last quarter. Thanks to all panellists, State Chapter leads and to CCEP’s Rachel De Leon (pictured above centre at the Adelaide State Chapter) who has brought everyone together and set a cracking pace to create some insightful and inspiring events, all supporting the Drinks Association’s mission to embrace difference.

South Australia: Wednesday, 26 October
Around 70 people from the drinks industry came together for an insightful discussion on changes that have impacted our industry in the past 2 years ranging from environmental factors, the evolution of role diversity and flexibility within workplaces and how corporates are adapting to a post-lockdown world.

Panellists for the event were: Helen Strachan, Legal & Corporate Affairs Director, Pernod Ricard Winemakers, Rachel Longhurst, Head of People & Culture - Supply, Treasury Wine Estates and Joe Russo, General Manager Supply Chain & Operations ANZ.

Helen Strachan said, “The event brought the South Australian Drinks Industry together to discuss what has changed over the past 2 years (conclusion - everything!). While Covid significantly impacted our industry, we all agreed on the positive changes to emerge from a very disruptive time.

“Key themes that emerged from the discussion included more agile decision making, the focus on the wellbeing of our people & the importance of flexibility in the workplace. As an industry we also reflected on what we can be doing better to support one another. Whether you come from beer, wine or spirits, a united drinks front on key issues is an important step in moving our industry forward.”

Queensland: Thursday, 20 October

Lion hosted the evening at the iconic XXXX Brewery Ale House with guest speaker Gemma Davidson, General Manager - People, Culture & Safety for Queensland Rugby League. Davidson shared her insights into how the QRL have achieved a diverse and inclusive workplace. The QRL have a 48/52 gender split which was a surprise to many in the audience.

Guests were enthralled by her honest, authentic approach to leaning into the challenging conversations and not apologising for moving the organisation forward. Davidson discussed how shifting language in job advertisements expanded the appeal and led to a more diverse pool of candidates applying for positions. These valuable insights and key learnings were welcomed by many in the audience.

Victoria: Thursday, 17 November

Last week the Victoria State Chapter of the Drinks Association Embrace Difference Counsel held its second event of the year, Leading Inclusively and with Action on the rooftop of the Bell’s Hotel in South Melbourne.

Hosted by Sandra Gibbs - Chief Supply Chain Office, Asahi Beverages and also the Chair of the Embrace Difference Council for the Drinks Association, the audience had the opportunity to hear from an inspiring and passionate panel including Kellie Barnes (she/her) - Group Chief Digital and Disruption Officer, Asahi Beverages, Laura Mirsch (she/her) - Senior Manager, Grant Thornton Australia & Steven Burrows (he/him) - Talent Acquisition and Executive Search Manager, Treasury Wine Estates.

The panel shared their experiences of implementing within their organisations and their professional lives. For them, bravery and curiosity are essential if change is to come. That said, the path there can sometimes be slow and steady. One suggestion was that if there is something you are passionate about, be pragmatic in your approach: name it, measure it, test it, put it into play and the policy will come.

On inclusive workplace culture, the panellists all seemed to agree that the whole ecosystem of the workplace environment needs to connect for inclusivity to work. Employees need to see a consistently inclusive approach from the top down. Visibility, accessibility to and approachability in senior leaders who endorse and drive change in IE&D is invaluable to a business’s employees, and it sets an example of the culture being cultivated within the organisation.

Finally, the observation was made that the styles of leadership which we are now seeing in companies is more diverse. Workplaces seem to have moved beyond the heroic, idealised, lead-from-the-front style of leadership, splintering into varied styles and structures. It seems that organisations have come to value leadership attributes that sit outside of those traditional stereotypes we know so well.

The suggestions left for us to ponder at the end of the evening are: a) if you’re feeling comfortable you’re surrounded by people that think like you. And b) discomfort, difference and uncertainty are powerful agents when it comes to bringing about change.

There will be more State Chapter events around the country in 2023, providing the opportunity to connect with industry peers and engage with thought-provoking guest speakers.

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