Womenwise Speakers Stand Up for Diversity


An audience of 450 females from around the country converged in Sydney recently for Flight Centre Travel Group’s (FCTG) annual Womenwise conference.
Now in its third year, the event demonstrated the company’s commitment to fostering gender diversity and tackling the issues associated with achieving equality in the workplace.

FCTG's female-focused conference featured headline grabbing attention speakers including Former Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, and media personality and outspoken gender quality advocate, Lisa Wilkinson.

Speaking about resilience in leadership, Ms Gillard shared her tips for becoming a great female leader, urging women to have a strong sense of purpose and to nurture their sense of self to succeed.

The former PM said Australia was in the midst of a “deep, profound moment of change” and  events such as the “me too” movement, Hilary Clinton’s presidential candidacy and the inspirational profile of activist Malala Yousafzai were all feeding into this wave of change.

FCM General Manager Melissa Elf said the Womenwise event was inspirational as much as it was educational.

“It was such an amazing event. The speakers were passionate, the content was thought provoking and inspiring and the atmosphere was one of compassion and excitement,” Melissa said.

“I am so proud to be working for a company that is truly supportive of its women in the workplace. Women at FCTG are provided with all sorts of professional and personal development opportunities so they have the confidence and skills to take on senior leadership roles. At FCM we also advocate flexible working conditions for those who have family commitments.”

Melissa said Lisa Wilkinson’s keynote address focused on her unconventional career path from the early days in the Dolly office, to her first meeting and job offer from Kerry Packer. Her message was simple; “we are good enough”.

The audience also heard from world champion surfer, Layne Beachley AO, women’s health expert, Dr Ginni Mansberg and financial literacy consultant, Cathryn Gross.

FCTG founder and MD, Graham ‘Skroo’ Turner took to the stage as well, sharing his modern take on gender equality thanks to the inspirational women in his life such as wife Jude and daughter Jo, both successful business people.

The event wrapped up a major year for FCTG with the launch of its paid parental leave policy in July and its brand new Parentwise initiative to support its many working parents.
Melissa said Womenwise had been instrumental in creating positive change within the company.

“Through Womenwise we have seen great change already within FCTG - a few key initiatives to be introduced include -:

  • The introduction of paid maternity leave
  • The introduction of Parentwise
  • 50/50 panel of male and female candidates for all senior leadership positions
  • Flexibility options with the likes of FCM Balance
  • Increase in the number of females appointed to senior leadership roles
  • Expansion of Womenwise across the FCTG globally

The Womenwise event in Sydney raised $20,000 for charity partner, the McGrath Foundation and official conference sponsor, Qantas, gave away return flights to Hong Kong.