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Connecting with this year’s top 100 Women of Influence

01 October 2014

Connections and networks - I’ve been thinking about them lately, inspired by the fact that our 2014 Australian Financial Review and Westpac 100 Women of Influence have been announced. It’s the third year of identifying 100 outstanding women. We now have 300 women in the alumni and each year the numbers who nominate grow.

So, what do all these ‘quiet’ achievers say to you?

Sadly, it says to me there’s been no one bothered to look for, or publicise, just how many wonderful women influencers there are out there, let alone, what they do and achieve at work, in their communities and families.

You might be tempted to think - like the coverage of sport in this country - that leadership and influence is a man’s game? But I’m here to tell you it’s not true. Australian women are producing and doing remarkable things. The big difference is they’re not afforded the same attention, especially in the media, as their male counterparts for the work they do and the amazing results they achieve.

I’d consider myself, with 30 years at Westpac in various relationship roles, well-connected – locally, nationally and globally. Yet each year I work on the Women of Influence campaign I’m blown away by the depth and quantity of the female talent in this country. Call me naïve – I do the preliminary judging each year so I see all the nominations – but I am always astounded at the unknown, hidden gems among them. It is why, I expect, meeting the 100 Women of Influence is such a pleasure.

The process this year was as delightfully competitive as it always is and the outcome certainly adds to my growing network of amazing women. It also means we are able to feature their often unsung talents on Ruby while allowing us to present a clearer picture of what Australian business- and work-life really looks like. We are diverse – not diverse enough, yet – but certainly more so than we probably knew, or were able to identify, easily.

One of the outstanding categories for me this year was Public Policy. We complain about the fact we see no women in politics, and the Prime Minister’s cabinet does leave a little to be desired. However, I have seen what is happening in Public Policy in this country with women at the helm and I’d defy anyone to say we’re not in good hands when it comes to what these women are doing for the good of the nation in our Public Service. (Do have a look at our Ruby of the Month, Michele Bruniges, who was our 2012 winner in the Public Policy category. Her work at the NSW Department of Education is what I am referring to when I say “the good of the nation”.) 

On October 22, The Australian Financial Review and Westpac will stage the 100 Women of Influence dinner at Sydney’s Town Hall. For the first time this year we’re opening the night to the general public. It will be an amazing opportunity, and I invite you to join us.

The night is hosted by Westpac CEO Gail Kelly and Fairfax Media CEO Greg Hywood. You’ll be the first to meet the 2014 awardees. You’ll be the first to know who the top women are in each of the 10 categories and the first to see who the overall Women of Influence is for 2014. Alumni from the 2012 and 2013 awards will be there on the night and the tickets will go fast, so I’d recommend booking now

For the 2014 100 Women of Influence, see below.

2014 100 Women of Influence