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Posted on 5 March, 2020 in CommunityEvents & Promotions

International Women’s Day

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FEATURING SOME OF THE AMAZING WOMEN IN OUR TEAM

International Women’s Day is a day set aside to celebrate the achievements and fantastic work of the women’s rights movement over the last century. Whether it be your mother, sister, aunt, daughter or friend, our lives are all touched by wonderful women, and we are in full support of a day simply to celebrate them. At The Westport Club, we have some truly fantastic women in our team – this is your chance to get to know them a little better.

LAUREN CHARLTON – PERSONAL ASSISTANT TO THE GENERAL MANAGER

Time in role: 4 years

Tell us a little bit about you:

I am a 31 year old Mother to an 8 year old boy, Hudson, and expecting a little girl in July 2020 with my partner, Joel. I was born in Bathurst NSW where I spent most of my childhood with my Mum, Dad and 2 younger sisters (a few years in Townsville and Melbourne where we travelled with my Mum’s career). At 15 years we moved to Port Macquarie where I finished Year 10, 11 & 12 at St Joseph’s Regional & Mackillop.

What life or job experience led you to where you are now in your career?

Knowing that I wanted Events Management to be my career path, I started a Bachelor of Business majoring in Events Management at University of Wollongong immediately after school. Deciding that wasn’t for me after 6 weeks, I returned to Port Macquarie to do my Events Management Diploma at TAFE and work part-time.

In December 2007 I started with The Westport Club as a Front of House attendant, working in the bar, café, restaurant, reception gaming and functions before being promoted to the Restaurant Supervisor at 20.

Working split shifts 5 days a week and every weekend was not the best work-life balance for me at 20 so I left The Westport Club on good terms and was employed by Focus Magazine as an advertising sales consultant. I loved working with the amazing team at Focus and learnt so many new skills, particularly in sales and building quality business relationships that have helped me in every subsequent role.

After a year with Focus Magazine I received a call from The Westport Club asking if I was still interested in Events Management and would I like to interview for the Events Coordinator role. I jumped at the opportunity, was successful and started in the role in at 21 years old in December 2009. The role of Events Manager was the perfect role for me to put into practice the skills I had learnt through TAFE and cemented the career path I had chosen was the right one for me. The Westport Club and Mingara Leisure Group also gave me a wonderful environment to develop my leadership skills.

In May 2014 I felt the need to expand within the Events Management industry and to give myself another challenge. Unfortunately Port Macquarie was lacking in the type of opportunities I was looking for with my career so I took a role as the Events Executive with the Canada Bay Club in Five Dock, Sydney. This was a big move for my little family, away from the security of our hometown and our extended families, but was an amazing opportunity for me to develop my career.

I was able to make the Events Department my own within the club, looking after larger scale events and assisting to coordinate a major renovation of the entire functions space. I was also given the opportunity to develop the marketing strategy for the business, moving into a more digital presence. Being a smaller club than Westport, as they were not part of a large group, gave me the ability to develop skills sets in many areas of the business.

In January 2016 my partner was given an opportunity to return to Port Macquarie in a role that would advance his career dramatically and allowed us to return with financial security for our son to start school in Port Macquarie the following year. The return to Port Macquarie was earlier than planned but was an opportunity that couldn’t be passed up!

Once we had made the decision, I sent text messages to those I knew still in the hospitality industry in Port Macquarie, letting them know I was coming back and to let me know of any job vacancies that came up. The next day I received messages from 2 people at The Westport Club, letting me know that the Personal Assistant to the General Manager role was available! I had a phone interview with Anthony Westman and started in the role a few weeks later on a Temporary Contract. Within 6 weeks I had signed a full time contract and have now been in the role 4 years!

What do you feel are some challenges for women in leadership in the clubs/hospitality industry?

Hospitality by nature is working when other people are socializing! The different hours required can put pressure on women with children particularly as daycare hours cater for the “majority” of the workforce. There can be the need for a heavy reliance on family and close friends to help care for your children on weekends and outside the standard “9-5.” I personally made the decision to step back from Events Management for these reasons.

As a woman in leadership I have been very privileged to work in a supportive environment, particularly with having a child, however I also feel that I made sacrifices (of my own choosing) within my career to be able to have a role with more consistent “9 to 5” hours.

What advice would you give to someone who is looking to work in a role like yours? Would that advice be different for a woman?

I would (and do) let people know to show initiative and follow through with things you say you will do. This helps build great relationships and shows your employer that you are reliable and ready for the next opportunity when it arises. I got to where I am because of my tenacity to learn – I always ask questions and put into practice what I learn. I also challenge the “way things have always been.” I truly believe that with the right support from their partner, family, friends and workplace, women in leadership are able to be just as successful as men.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

A day to celebrate the achievements of women in our community and bring awareness to the need for gaps in equality between men and women to be removed.

This year, the IWD theme is #eachforequal, calling for equality in all aspects of life, including at work. Do you feel that is reflected well in Australian workplaces? What can we do better?

Speaking with other women, I feel there is a tendency for workplaces to reward and ultimately promote employees that have invested more time in the business. Often this is not possible for women with children, whether it is because of daycare restrictions or time required as personal leave due to children’s illness. Employers need to get better at recognizing work for its merit rather than the time physically spent devoted to the business. Employers also need to reduce the requirement for extreme flexibility in management roles to suit the business and provide more opportunities for the employee to set the parameters whilst still achieving the goals of the business.

What is the best thing about being part of The Westport Club Team?

The diversity of the team members I work with providing opportunities for me to learn from people with varied experiences and backgrounds.

JENNY EDMUNDS – COMMUNITY AND SPORTS MANAGER

Time in role:  Started May 2007

Tell us a little bit about you:

Grew up in Armidale NSW, youngest of 5 girls.  My mum is my mentor.  My husband and I moved to PMQ in late 2006.  I have two beautiful daughters (both married) and 3 grandchildren.  I love travel, garden, sport, concerts/theatre, the beach and spending time with family and friends; and wine!

What life or job experience led you to where you are now in your career?

I’ve always felt that my purpose in life is to help people.  I’ve always volunteered in community and sporting roles which involved coordinating lots of projects.  This, together with my last job, led me to apply for this role.

What do you feel are some challenges for women in leadership in the clubs/hospitality industry?

Some of the barriers are family/household responsibilities; work/life balance associated with the long hours of the industry; lack of confidence/mentoring; and there is still (not within Mingara Leisure Group) some stereo-tying within the industry.

What advice would you give to someone who is looking to work in a role like yours? Would that advice be different for a woman?

Working with the community and connecting great people with great people is uplifting and diverse.  Being in the role you are constantly learning about the community.  It is exciting and challenging to know when and how to make the connection to our business and connecting our team to the exciting projects we initiate.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

Recognition of the empowerment of women, what they have achieved and continue to flight for.  I think of my two daughters and how proud I am. It is my eldest daughter’s birthday on 8 March.

This year, the IWD theme is #eachforequal, calling for equality in all aspects of life, including at work. Do you feel that is reflected well in Australian workplaces? What can we do better?

There is much more awareness around equality in the workplace and avenues to ensure it occurs.  Women should feel permitted to speak up and supported if there is any discrimination. It is the domestic violence against women that is very concerning.

What is the best thing about being part of The Westport Club Team?

Our Culture and the amazing support we have for each other.

NATALIE MACKENZIE – CLUB SHIFT SUPERVISOR

Time in role: 6 years 8 months

Tell us a little bit about you:

I am a sport and animal loving chick who has a passion for leadership. I had the opportunity in my early to mid 20’s to do something that many athletes train their whole lives to do and never achieve – it was with great pride that I was given the opportunity to play for this beautiful country in the sport of Rugby League. To play for my state and my country in a male dominated sport was truly something else and something I treasure for a lifetime, especially as this was at a time that female athletes were really having trouble even being recognized for playing sport, let alone at elite levels.

I am really loving how far women in sport have come in the past 10 years and through recognition (hard fought for back then) there are now pathways for young girls to play any sport. I adore our 2 dogs, Fui our Maltese cross and Stevie our Pug, oh and of course I adore my wife, Shelby!

What life or job experience led you to where you are now in your career?

Always playing team sports from a young age has definitely contributed to my passion for leadership as it has given me exposure to a deep understanding of team dynamics. I naturally nurtured this passion for all things leadership through taking time to build positive working relationships with those around me, makes life easy when we have like-minded people working toward like minded goals!

What do you feel are some challenges for women in leadership in the clubs/hospitality industry?

At The Westport Club we are in a very unique position as an equal opportunity employer, currently some 10 of 19 leadership positions within our business are held by women which is great as the leadership of the industry as a whole, in the past has been male dominated. So, for me I don’t see any challenges for women in leadership within our organisation anyway, we have equal opportunity so the skies the limit!

What advice would you give to someone who is looking to work in a role like yours? Would that advice be different for a woman?

Work hard at building positive relationships with ranges of different people, it’s worth its weight in gold in both the short and long term. Identify weaknesses in your leadership style and work to improve these. Hone Emotional Intelligence skills. Find the good in every day, be grateful for all you have, life can change in the blink of an eye!

No this advice would not be different for a woman or a man. As I don’t see leadership, job or role as gender based. A job is a job, a role is a role regardless of if you are a man or women, if your leadership is a having a positive impact on the world then the world will be a better place for that.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

Growth – my own personal journey with Rugby League, to see recognition of females now is awesome to see.

Celebration of Women’s achievements

Forging an equal world – making a positive impact on the world around us does not have a gender!

What is the best thing about being part of The Westport Club Team?

Our team themselves! We have some amazingly talented people who we get the opportunity to work alongside and learn from each and every day, we are truly blessed!

 

PAM CLUTTERBUCK – RESTAURANT SUPERVISOR

Time in role:  4 years

Tell us a little bit about you:

I am a mum of two girls and I’ve been with my partner for 22 years. I’m the eldest of 7 children, and have lived in Port Macquarie since age 13 after growing up in Sydney – love this area!

What life or job experience led you to where you are now in your career?

It all started with moving out of home at the age of 16, my family was moving away from the area and I wanted to stay in Port Macquarie. So I put myself through year 11 and 12 and hospitality made sense in terms of an entry level job that would work with my schedule at the time.

I then did a small business traineeship and started a counselling diploma – then I got busy and had my first daughter when I was 21. Again hospitality made sense for work life balance along side my partners career and continues to work for us and our two daughters – I get to be home with them in the mornings and Dave takes over for dinner and the evenings while I’m at work!

What do you feel are some challenges for women in leadership in the clubs/hospitality industry?

I think here in the club I have to say I’ve never felt that women are discriminated against or treated differently and it’s a pretty even split between men and women in leadership roles. Before working here at TWC I used to work in hotels in reception, restaurant and function coordination. That industry was predominantly male lead and I was the only female in a leadership role in the business. It was an obvious and uncomfortable balance and I was often delegated the jobs that weren’t wanted by others, which was frustrating.

What advice would you give to someone who is looking to work in a role like yours? Would that advice be different for a woman?

Would it be different? Probably not. I don’t feel like that. Being a mum of two girls I really am about being strong, equal and who we are. If you believe you can do it – you can do it! We all get knocked down from time to time, if we start to ponder that it could be ‘because I’m a woman’ – we teach people how to treat us, so if we accept it, it continues.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

It doesn’t mean a great deal to me personally, but do reflect on the generations before us and I am grateful that we no longer have to rely financially on the men in our lives – we need to stand up for ourselves and take care of ourselves because we now have the opportunity to do so! The ability to work is so important to me and the work of women before me has got us here.

This year, the IWD theme is #eachforequal, calling for equality in all aspects of life, including at work. Do you feel that is reflected well in Australian workplaces? What can we do better?

Not as a whole. I haven’t personally experienced it, but you hear and see a lot of industries where the male pay grade is higher than an equal position for a female – that’s what we can do better. Close that gap.

What is the best thing about being part of The Westport Club Team?

The best part is definitely the people we work with. That’s what makes me come back every day.

BONWYN MARTIN – GRAPHIC DESIGNER

Time in role: 2 years 8 months

Tell us a little bit about you:

I have lived in Port for the past 8 years and like long walks on the beach (with my dogs). I grew up with three older brothers in Beechwood and Wauchope, travelled to Wagga for Uni, moved to Sydney, lived in London, travelled Europe and after living in Sydney again in my late 20s, I realised that the most beautiful place in the world was on my doorstep the whole time, so I came back.

What life or job experience led you to where you are now in your career?

I had no idea what I actually wanted to do when I finished school, but I knew I liked computers and found designing fun. While at school I did TAFE courses in desktop publishing which gave me the idea of Graphic Design. My high school careers advisor told me I would never be a designer because I didn’t do Art,

but this was at a time when courses were transitioning from hand drawn design to computer-based design. I moved to uni in Wagga Wagga, completed a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Graphic Design and have been working as a graphic designer ever since.

What advice would you give to someone who is looking to work in a role like yours? Would that advice be different for a woman?

If you have a passion for something, pursue it.  Being creative is something inside you that can be expressed in so many different ways.  Don’t let other people tell you what you can or can not achieve – I didn’t and I’ve now been doing this for 20 years. There are many different avenues to be able to achieve a goal, you just need to figure out which direction works for you and your life.

No my advice wouldn’t be different for male or female.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

I feel it’s about celebrating women and the changes that have been achieved to allow women to work, vote, lead and choose their own path. Creating a society that draws on the abilities of all genders and races throughout the world instead of a gender dictating an ability.

This year, the IWD theme is #eachforequal, calling for equality in all aspects of life, including at work. Do you feel that is reflected well in Australian workplaces? What can we do better?

I can’t speak for all workplaces but through my working life I have worked for women and men and haven’t found much difference in my profession (graphic design/printing industry). I guess through a bias female opinion I feel it would be great to have a female Prime Minister, or at least more women (and younger women) making decisions about the future of the country instead of the status quo who can be out of touch with the general public and the opinions of the younger generations.

What is the best thing about being part of The Westport Club Team?

Passion.  The passion of your peers.  Working with wonderful people who don’t just want to get a job done, but want to exceed expectations and do something amazing. We have vibrant, enthusiastic, passionate people in our club and those traits can be felt, not just seen – they rub off on others around them and the whole place lifts up.  It’s the kind of thing you can draw on for creativity and strength.  Good people are the best part of any workplace.

 

The Westport Club is proud to be an equal opportunity employer in all aspects – and is privileged to employ a multitude of remarkable women. This International Women’s Day, we celebrate and appreciate them all, and acknowledge their valuable contribution to our workplace.

 

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