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Back to News 5 March 2024

International Women’s Day 2024 profile: Darlene Voss

Think together, thrive together sits at the heart of everything we do at Tonsley Innovation District. It’s a mantra that has strong synergies with this year’s International Women’s Day theme and we’re pleased to be profiling three women who are not only part of the Tonsley ecosystem but who are making vital contributions towards a future that’s gender equal.

Darlene Voss has managed not-for-profit enterprise Business in Schools and through this role is the Chair of Making Her Mark – an initiative run out of T8T in the MAB designed to support girls and women to explore and embrace a variety of careers uninhibited by gender stereotypes.

Chair of Making Her Mark, Darlene Voss

For Darlene Voss, one of the biggest indicators of positive change towards a gender equal future is the fact that both her daughters have, without a second thought, taken up careers in traditionally male dominated industries.

It’s a fact that reflects the important work Darlene does as the Chair of Making Her Mark – an initiative run out of T8T in the MAB designed to support girls and women to explore and embrace a variety of careers uninhibited by gender stereotypes.

Darlene, while working for not-for-profit enterprise Business In Schools, helped secure a National Careers Institute Partnerships Grant to run the Making Her Mark program. The initiative has engaged some 500 women to date, centred on the notion that girls and women can’t be what they can’t see.

“It’s vital that people in positions of leadership are encouraging discussions around diversity because we know resultant outcomes are all positive,” she said.

"We know that investing in women improves GDP and productivity and we know that it boosts collaboration. In fact, the benefits are endless and it really should be a no brainer for workplaces to see these outcomes and want to proactively seek them out."

Chair of Making Her Mark, Darlene Voss

Darlene has firsthand experience working in a traditionally male dominated industry with an early career that included working for a global oil and gas company.

“I once applied for a role which required two elements – a level of technical knowledge combined with an ability to build relationships,” Darlene said.

“I certainly had the second part covered but didn’t know anything about the technical aspects of the job. Fortunately, the person who went on to become my manager could see the value in my existing skill set and knew that I would quickly get up to speed on the technical elements.

“By seeing I was keen to learn and by placing value on what was already a strength of mine, I was given an opportunity. And the best part was that this manager didn’t once ask me how I was going to manage the role alongside my other commitments which included MBA studies, a growing family and a job that required me to travel interstate regularly.

“This experience has always stood out, and I think it speaks to the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day which talks about counting women in and taking it as a given that the job will get done.”

When reflecting on her career, Darlene notes that male mentors and people she has encountered as peers and in positions of leadership generally have all played a vital role – both for her personally and for other women to come.

“Gender equality can deliver opportunity for everybody and I think that can sometimes get lost in the messaging,” she said.

“Diversity in general terms should always be celebrated for the many benefits that varied perspectives and experiences can bring to a workplace.”


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