23/01/2007 - 22:00

Many pathways to career success

23/01/2007 - 22:00


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Since 2005, WA Business News’ Women in Business feature has profiled many high-profile decision-makers in the state’s business community.

Many pathways to career success

Since 2005, WA Business News’ Women in Business feature has profiled many high-profile decision-makers in the state’s business community.

Several of those profiled have been integral to some of the biggest business stories of the past year, including the proposed management buyout at Alinta and the intended float of Australia’s first listed legal group, while others have gone on to achieve further directorships.

Dr Penny Flett has achieved a significant milestone since being profiled in this newspaper in 2005.

She is chief executive officer of the Brightwater Care Group and was the first woman to be elected president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of WA, assuming the role in October last year.

Dr Flett has served on CCI WA’s health and community services council since 1996, and was elected to the organisation’s board in 2005.

She said the appointment was significant for a number of reasons, particularly the opportunity to represent women and the not-for-profit and human services sectors.

“(I’m) the first woman they’ve had in that position…but women are so underrepresented on boards, in CEO and senior management positions,” Dr Flett told WA Business News.

“This will help a little bit to boost everyone’s expectations and confidence. I’m also very mindful that so many women are so successful in small business. CCI WA has nearly 5,000 members and I’m very aware that many are women in small business.”

Dr Flett is also a member of the state infrastructure strategy reference group, established last year to develop a 20-year infrastructure strategy for WA.

Also assuming a new role in 2006 was former Apache Energy regional vice-president and managing director Eve Howell, who left her position with the US-based company in September to join oil and gas giant Woodside Petroleum.

Ms Howell was appointed to the role of director North West Shelf for Woodside, having spent more than 20 years with Apache and its subsidiaries.

Ms Howell told WA Business News she had made the decision to leave Apache after realising it was time for a change.

“It was after I left Apache and was sort of thinking about what to do next, whether to do some non-executive directorship roles or whether to retire, and then this opportunity came up and I thought it was a great opportunity,” she said.

Ms Howell said she was approached by Woodside for the position, having already left Apache.

“The attraction of Woodside was getting into LNG, which was different,” she said.

Gresham Investment House director Jenny Seabrook has acquired two new directorships since 2005.

She was appointed as a non-executive director of West Australian Newspaper Holdings (WAN) in February last year, and was made deputy chairperson of Western Power the following month, after the utility’s break-up into four separate entities.

Former St George Bank general manager of finance and risk in the wealth management division, Anne Tregonning, spent 2006 acquiring a non-executive directorship at Australia’s first publicly listed law firm group, Integrated Legal Holdings Ltd.

Ms Tregonning is one of three board members overseeing an initial placement offer to raise $14 million for the company, most of which will be used to acquire five law firms, including WA companies Talbot Olivier, Brett Davies Lawyers and Durack Zilko. 

Ms Tregonning remains a director with Retail Energy Market Company Limited (REMCo), Musica Viva Australia and Anglicare WA.

She ceased her role as non-executive director of Alocit Group Ltd, after the company failed in its bid to float on the stock exchange last year.

Another to feature among the WA Business News profiles is Michelle Dolin, who remains in her role as chief executive officer of the Government Employees Superannuation Board, overseeing continued growth at the company.

The GESB fund reported a 28 per cent increase in funds under its management last September, to $6.85 billion, up from $5.36 billion the previous year.

Ms Dolin also remains on the board of the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia and not-for-profit body Lions Eye Institute, in addition to her role as pro-chancellor of Curtin University.

Also at the forefront of one of WA’s major business stories is Fiona Harris, non-executive director of management buyout target Alinta.

Ms Harris is one of four independent directors of the company overseeing the proposed buyout.

She continues in her role as president of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, WA division.


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