When we sat down with Valerie, we got an insight into her hectic schedule as an experienced company director and leading communications advisor. Valerie has 20 years’ experience as a non-executive director, serving on the boards of a number of publicly listed companies, government entities and not-for-profit organisations, including Tourism Australia, Iluka Resources, Integrated Group and Gold Corporation/Perth Mint.
Valerie became a BoardLinks Champion as she has been an active supporter of women believing in their abilities and considers the BoardLinks program will help women take the next step to realise their leadership aspirations.
Why do you value diversity on boards?
Without exception, all of the boards I am associated with have seen real benefit in properly understanding diversity, exploring its potential to improve capability and ultimately, celebrating its practical usefulness. I am not just referring to consideration of women, but also differences in demographics, nationality, in skill sets and experiences.
It has long been my view that men and women do think about things differently, come at issues from different angles and potentially, combine well in circumstances where rigorous thinking and debate is required, to secure practical outcomes. I think in the Age of Disruption, diversity needs to be embedded in the culture of our boards and companies/organisations - as rapid change is calling for the best minds to work together on innovative and creative, flexible and nimble solutions.
What has been your experience as a Director?
With more than two decades spent in the boardroom, I have been part of the evolution to a more equitable situation for women at the “top table.” The tone will always be set by the Chair and I believe I have been fortunate to experience a wide-range of dynamics in many different situations. From being the sole woman to environments now where up to three or more women sit alongside male counterparts, there is no doubt that it feels better, the dynamic has changed for the better and it is a much more constructive environment.