“Don’t let people tell you you shouldn’t do it. You should,” Marina told the packed room at The Women’s Club at WOB’s Members’ Mid-Year Luncheon in Sydney.
Marina, who got her first board role through Women on Boards, was invited to talk to the more than 70 WOB members about how she went from a journalist and media executive to building her board career to become an ASX NED with an extensive board portfolio.
After extensive experience in the media industry, Go's first board appointment came with Netball Australia in 2007, and after a six-year term there, she became chair of NRL club Wests Tigers.
She is the current Chair of Ovarian Cancer Australia, a non-executive director of Energy Australia, Autosports Group, 7-Eleven, and Transurban and Chair of Adore Beauty and Netball Australia and author of the business book for women, Break Through: 20 Success Strategies for Female Leaders.
In her enlightening speech, Marina told the audience of a recent conversation she had with the chair of a board.
“The first thing he said to me was ‘I’ve had a look at your CV: Tell me about the West Tigers - I need to know about the West Tigers.’ I laughed and said to him, this is how it starts.
“Every single interview that I have done since I began this journey because I was the Chair of the West Tigers while I was an executive. It is by far the thing that most fascinates chairs, and not only because, but probably because, most of them are still men.”
She went on to explain why, despite admitting to only a passing interest in the NRL at the time - her husband and sons are the real fans - she joined the West Tigers.
“I thought that's a sport that needs more women. That was my primary reason. I thought, ‘If I'm invited to join one, I can be one of those women that makes it easier for other women to join”. Not an easy thing to do apparently.”
“At the time a lot of people said to me, ‘You're crazy. If you want a career in boards at the end of this, it could be a problem for you. This is not a good board for you to join.’ I had so much advice.”
Marina admits it was no easy task, winning over die-hard footy fans - on the field and in the boardroom. As one journalist wrote at the time of her resignation: Marina Go showed as much grit in her role as Wests Tigers chairman as any of the clubs players do on the field.”
“But it ended up being the single most important board because every single board, every single decision that has led to my portfolio today there's a reference back to the West Tigers in some way.”
Photo gallery: See the photos from the event HERE