International Women's Day - Interview with Zoe Henham, Global Human Resources Executive

Frazer Jones is proud to be supporting International Women's Day 2017. We have interviewed a series of our female clients asking them how they have been bold for change #BeBoldForChange

Frazer Jones interviewed Zoe Henham, Global Human Resources Executive

Zoe Henham

Do you have any secrets to having a successful career?
I don’t think I have any secrets as such. For me, I believe my career has been defined by passion for what I do, hard work, dedication and commitment. It has involved risk taking, expanding my comfort zone, resilience and “backing” myself. Fortunately for most of my corporate life I have loved what I was doing, believed in who I was doing it for and understood why I was doing it. This makes me feel both proud and fortunate.

Who inspires you and why?
Early in my career I worked for a female manager who I admired, respected trusted and valued. She was a great mentor to me at a time when I was learning who I was as a professional and gaining global experience. Looking back now after many years in Human Resources I see that she was also a sponsor of me at a time when sponsorship of individuals was not a familiar term or concept. She remains an incredibly successful business woman, mother of three, volunteer to and leader within her community and most importantly my friend. She continues to inspire me 20 years later.

How do you achieve work life balance?
I don’t think I do – sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. By my nature, I want to do it all – both professionally and personally – however, I understand there are only so many hours in the day and often in life you need to accept tradeoffs. As I’ve matured I think I’m better at focusing on what really matters, embracing the off button, pacing myself and being open about my needs and priorities. I have a great support system with my husband sharing the load. I have supportive children who are proud of their parents and what they contribute, both within and outside of the home. I have amazing friends and family who form part of the “village” that is central to my lifestyle.

What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership?
Given my work with The Women’s Foundation I don’t believe there is only one barrier to overcome in relation to female leadership. Unfortunately we are 169 years away from gender equality in terms of labour market opportunity, education, health and political clout. Therefore this is a complex and multi-faceted issue. Traditional job design and evaluation metrics can leave potential opportunities for business growth untapped. This is because the leadership competencies being evaluated are often more closely aligned with the relative strengths of men. Companies need to invest in capability building among both male and female leaders and managers to ensure they are adept at managing and celebrating the differences women and men bring to the table. We need more male allies and male champions of change who can advocate for women to have equal access to education and opportunities and who mentor, coach and sponsor women to accomplish their ambitions, thus increasing female leadership. Negating the impact of unconscious gender bias and increasing organisational transparency and acceptance of flexible or agile working will also increase female leadership.