At The Warehouse Group, we believe that diversity creates a more productive, creative, and dynamic society and improves our ability to see and connect with the world around us. That’s why on March 8th, 2018 we celebrated International Women’s Day.
International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. For us, it is an opportunity to celebrate and support our 7,000 female team members so they can bring their whole self to work. By empowering women at The Warehouse Group and in our communities, we can help New Zealand flourish. To demonstrate our commitment to gender inclusivity, challenge stereotypes and bias and celebrate women’s achievements we held an event at our store support office and live streamed it to our store teams around the country.
More than 200 of our team members attended to hear inspirational stories from four inspiring women.
Tania Benyon, CEO of Group Sourcing Support at The Warehouse Group, opened the event saying that diversity to her means thinking differently, having more choices and making better judgements which will ultimately improve business outcomes.
Our first speaker of the day was Joan Withers, Chair and Independent Non-Executive Director at The Warehouse Group. In 2015, Joan was named Supreme Winner in the Women of Influence Awards and was named Chairperson of the Year at the Deloitte Top 200 Management Awards.
“Hold your head up and have confidence in yourself – You are better than you think you are.”
Next, we had Rez Gardi, Legal Officer at the New Zealand Human Rights Commission and 2017 Young New Zealander of the Year, sharing her inspirational life story with our team members. Being born in a refugee camp in Pakistan and coming to New Zealand as a refugee at a young age, Rez managed to overcome the challenges she had to face to make a change. Today, she is a lawyer and advocate for human rights, gender equality, and refugee rights.
“No matter who we are, where we come from, where we were born and who our families are, we have the power to make a change.”
Third, Susie Barns, Chief of Staff at the Royal New Zealand Airforce spoke about her leadership journey. As a senior female leader within the RNZAF, Susie is actively involved in the RNZAF and NZDF Women’s Development Steering Groups.
“If you find a purpose in what you’re doing you will never feel like you are working again.” Susie Barns
Our last speaker of the day was Hana Schofield, Senior Solicitor at SBM Legal and author of No. 1 international bestseller “Goodbye Sarajevo’. When she was 12-years-old, Hana and her sister Nadia escaped the besieged city of Sarajevo during the Bosnian War, leaving the rest of their family behind. From there she made it to New Zealand and within five years she was at Canterbury University where she achieved First Class Honours in Law and Russian Literature.
“If you are experiencing an extreme event focus on the small things that you can control. The actions you took then will help you in the future when life is back to normal.”
With 58% of our workforce being female it is important to The Warehouse Group to support women in the workplace beyond International Women’s day. We do so with benefits like ‘Ease Back to Work” allowing parents to work four days a week and be paid for five for the first four weeks after paid parental leave. Other benefits include additional domestic leave, annual leave accrual while on parental leave and our “Be There: for Partners” and “Family Violence is Not OK” policies. Additional information about our benefits can be found here: https://www.twgcareers.co.nz/benefits/.
Furthermore, we develop women in our workplace through our award-winning “Aspire Women in Leadership” programme. The Aspire programme is designed to support and enable women to perform in senior retail and office-based leadership roles. It is also helping us to have conversations about empowering and supporting women to grow in the business.
Outside of our company, we support women in our communities through partnerships with organisations like Women’s Refuge and we take a stand on issues like family violence. The Warehouse Group is White Ribbon Accredited. This means that we are being recognised for actively integrating violence prevention into our business practice. Find more info here.
We are proud to have taken part in International Women’s Day 2018 but we are equally as proud to support The Warehouse Group woman every day.