Article by: Hari Yellina
To be a powerful female leader, you don’t have to wear high heels and a power suit. Dimity Smith of Tamworth wants to challenge the stereotype of females on boards of directors, and she wants to see more regional and rural women represented at the top. The director of GRO Events Group is one of 24 women selected for the Future Women Rural NSW Scholarship for 2022. It’s not an opportunity she’ll pass up, and she’s hoping the experience will help her develop her leadership skills and create great networking chances. “I was ecstatic,” she expressed her delight.
“One of the points I made in my contribution was that, while there has been a lot of progress – which is great – in terms of developing equity on boards, there is still a lot more room for change.” The NSW Government, in collaboration with Future Women, has launched the initiative for the second time, and successful applicants will be given access to a series of premium leadership development opportunities as part of a 12-month Future Women Platinum+ programme. Women who are present or future leaders in their field or community who wish to connect to a larger, like-minded community to help them advance their abilities and network are eligible for the scholarship.
It’s worth $5500 and includes travel expenses to the Future Women Leadership Summit on March 7 and 8, which coincides with International Women’s Day (IWD). Ms Smith, who joined the board of Dairy NSW last year, has been a vocal supporter for raising the profile of dairy production in Australia. She aspires to encourage other women to pursue similar careers. “It’s great for this year’s IWD Break the Bias theme,” she added, “since there’s this perception that being on a board as a woman requires high heels and a power suit.”
“However, I believe that the mould is evolving, and that a woman in jeans and boots from a dairy farm or a beef and cattle station in the Northern Territory, or a lady working for Baiada in Tamworth, can still have a leadership role even if she isn’t sitting in a boardroom in Sydney.” “For a lot of board meetings, online is gaining precedence, and I’m hoping that this chance will allow these 24 women across the state to apply for future board opportunities.” The Future Women network, founded in 2018 by former media executive Helen McCabe, already has tens of thousands of members.