Women on Boards (WOB) established a Cultural Diversity Committee (CDC) in 2020 with the aim of addressing barriers to leadership, board and committee roles for culturally diverse women.


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The idea for the committee came out of discussions about the lack of cultural diversity in Australian leadership. While the ABS places the percentage of local Australian graduates from non-Anglo/European backgrounds at almost half of all graduates, the Human Rights Commission reports that only 5% of these graduates will eventually be appointed to leadership roles in Australia.

It has been proven that culturally diverse leadership teams and boards are better equipped to handle competition and cement their company’s position in a globally competitive market, due to connections and cultural awarenesss. Cultural diversity also offers the advantage of attracting and retaining global talent, encourages critical, non-uniform thinking and results in greater innovation and higher profitability.

Women on Board’s vision is to have both gender balanced and culturally diverse board and leadership roles. As advocates for women, we are primarily looking at how we can support female cultural diversity within boards. 

Our CDC is working to address the barriers to opportunity and access to leadership roles for diverse women. Only a truly diversified leadership structure can begin to address existing inequities at a systemic level.

Key areas of focus for the Committee

  1. Collating data & diversity facts, telling stories and collaborating with bodies in Australia who act and promote cultural diversity, to enlarge the influence of our collective action and accelerate progress.
  2. Influencing and raising awareness to increase understanding and promote a bias to action; including creating opportunities for culturally diverse women to connect, network and interact with decision makers.
  3. Creating a mentorship program promoting diverse women into leadership roles in Australia.
>>Go to Cultural Diversity Resources

Committee Members

Mahjabeen Zaman

SMahjabeen Zamanenior Investment Specialist, Citi (CHAIR)

 Over 17 years of experience in financial services has helped Mahjabeen develop a deep understanding of investment markets and a wide professional network, both in Australia and Internationally. Mahjabeen's experience in managing Sub-institutional clients and Ultra High Net Worth individuals/families across various geographies including Singapore, Indonesia, Indian subcontinent, UAE, UK and Australia, has embedded her with a global mindset and approach to managing complex investment solutions, portfolio management and relationship building. Mahjabeen is passionate about diversity and inclusion. She is a member of the Citi Women’s Network Committee and member of the NSW State Leadership Committee for Women in Banking and Finance - Australia. LinkedIn

Claire Beattie

ExClaire Beattueecutive Director Asset Activations School Infrastructure NSW, Department of Education NSW & Board member of PCYC NSW and WAGEC

Claire is a proud Yorta Yorta woman and prominent senior NSW Public Servant with over 21 years of experience in government across agencies such as Transport, Treasury and Education. Claire has been a three-time finalist in the Premier’s Awards, a Finalist in the Australian of the Year, Young Australian of the Year Awards and Finalist in the Women’s Agenda Awards. Claire is an advocate for young people and the community who believes in making a difference and being the difference. She embodies the spirit of inclusivity and diversity and wants every community and every young person to feel known, valued and cared for.  LinkedIn

Nicole Donegan GAICD

Nicole DoneganChief Operating Officer, Women on Boards

Nicole has over 25 years experience working across the corporate and not for profit sectors, with more than 10 years' on boards.  Nicole has consulted extensively to all levels of government and the education and corporate sectors in the areas of research, strategy, marketing and customer / member experience.  She is currently on the Board of Triathlon Australia and has previously been on the the Boards of START Foundation and Mens' Health Australia (Foudnation 49). LinkedIn

Miriam George

GradMiriam Georgeuate and Inclusion Manager, Marsh and McLennan

Miriam has 15 years experience across technology, financial services and property industries. She is currently at Marsh as the Graduate and Inclusion Manager. She is also a Committee Member on UTS’ Human Research Ethics Committee. Previously at Microsoft, Miriam managed their graduate program, as well as diversity and inclusion initiatives. At Stockland, she designed and launched the company’s graduate program, as well as managed learning and talent programs. LinkedIn

Belinda Howell GAICD

BoaBelinda Howellrd Member Dunmore Lang College, Macquarie University

Belinda has a keen interest in promoting intercultural awareness and representation, developed over her career as a senior executive with multinational organisations spanning aviation, financial and professional services, and education. Having managed multicultural teams across the world, she believes it is essential to harness diverse cultural perspectives to create more agile and customer-centric organisations. Belinda is an experienced director of NFP Boards and has qualifications in management, executive coaching and mental health. LinkedIn

Marcella Lazarus

DirMarcella Lazarusector & Founder, Growing Organisations

An executive Director, committee member and business owner experienced in founding and growing a business with expertise in organisational culture and transformation. Brings solid experience in community consultation and engagement, particularly with people with a disability, or who have a culturally or linguistically diverse background (CALD). Experienced at influencing and advising across Executive, Boards and Committees, Graduate of AICD, and now wishing to extend into Non-Executive Government Board roles. LinkedIn

Bernadette Masbayi

CommunBERNADETTE MASBAYIity Engagement Officer, Office of Multicultural Interests-Dept of Local Government Sport & Cultural Industries

Bernadette arrived in Australia over 15 years ago as an international student. She completed her Master’s in Public Health and chose to stay and make Australia her second home. Born in Kenya, Bernadette has built her career working with multicultural communities in Western Australia. She has over 15 years’ experience working in health promotion and community development within both the not-for-profit and public sectors.  As Coordinator of the Office of Multicultural Interests’ Leadership and Governance Program, Bernadette is a strong advocate and active supporter of increasing gender and cultural diversity on boards within the corporate, public and not-for-profit sectors.  LinkedIn

Sara Pantaleo

Founder, AfSara Pantaleofari SP, NED & Chair

Sara was born in Italy and migrated to Australia at the age of 11. She is a business woman passionate about diversity and has always loved working and mentoring people. In 1996 she joined La Porchetta and took a major shift from the corporate environment into small family business. She initially joined as Distribution and Administration Manager and was appointed as CEO in 2005 and as a Director in 2010. She was instrumental in driving La Porchetta’s growth to become the largest, licensed, a-la-carte restaurant franchise in Australasia today. She achieved this by building corporate systems and process that enabled the company to expand without compromising its core family values and culture. Sara is passionate about franchising as a business model. She has been a member of the FCA National Board and served as Vice-President of the Victorian chapter of the FCA. She is also a Non-Executive Director of the Family Business Australia National Board. A former National Franchise Woman of the Year (2010), Sara is also a Telstra Businesswoman of the Year Victorian finalist (2012).  LinkedIn

Malini Raj

Head oMalni Rajf Strategy (Multicultural Community Banking), Commonwealth Bank

Malini has over 20 years of experience working across several domestic and international Financial Services organisations. She is currently Head of Strategy for Multicultural Community Banking at the Commonwealth Bank, a role which allows her to work in her area of passion on a daily basis – promoting cultural diversity and social cohesion. She consistently advocates for a more diverse workforce/diverse representation in the community and is seen as a strong ambassador/thought-leader for diversity and inclusion and is also Chair of CommBank’s Cultural Diversity employee network Mosaic which is responsible for promoting culturally diversity and inclusion across the Group. She has a strong interest in making a social impact, reflected in her involvement in various Board and Advisory Board roles. LinkedIn

>> Read what Malini has to say about Cultural Diversity here.

Helen Tran

HR Business Lead, Paramount Australia and NZ

Helen has over 15 years experience in Human Resources.  She is an experienced HR professional having worked across Employee Relations, Performance Development, People Strategy & Planning, Leadership Capabilities and Diversity and Inclusion.  Helen is currently a HR Business Partner Lead for Paramount Australia and New Zealand, a member of its PROUD group ​and responsible for implementing and leading Paramount’s Reconciliation Action Plan in the position of RAP Co-Chair.  She has completed the John Yu Fellowship, in Cultural Diversity and Leadership at the University of Sydney Business School.  Helen believes that a fairer representation of culturally diverse women in leadership roles is essential to organisational growth and working towards true workplace inclusivity.  LinkedIn

Gloria Yuen

Head of Regulatory Enablement and Delivery at NAB

With over 15 years of international experience, Gloria is a risk management evangelist who infuses Inclusion and Diversity principles in effective risk management, strategy and innovation and corporate governance. She serves as Chair of NAB’s Cultural Inclusion Employee Resource Group steering strategic initiatives to accelerate cultural diversity in leadership and harness the power of cultural inclusion for customers colleagues and communities. Gloria also volunteers with various for-purpose organisations with a mission to grow the talent pipeline of professional women and develops initiatives to amplify the voice of women of all ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Before moving to Australia with NAB in 2016, she held various advisory and senior management positions with NAB Asia, JP Morgan Chase, Banco Santander and China Merchants Bank. Gloria was recently named  “40 Under 40: Most Influential Asian-Australian” and the Rising Star Award winner by WiBF for her contributions and achievements in the corporate sector. Gloria obtained her law degree from the University of Hong Kong and is a certified professional practitioner and fellow member of the International Compliance Association. LinkedIn

>> Congratulations to Helen on winning the Women's Agenda Leadership Awards, where she was named 2022 Emerging Leader. Read more here.

Go to Cultural Diversity Resources

Contact

Nicole Donegan (WOB COO) 0417 056 474 | nicole@womenonboards.net
Mahjabeen Zaman (Committee Chair) 0490 702 680 |mahjabeenzaman@gmail.com