WOB welcomes new Cultural Diversity Committee Chair Sara Pantaleo 

Women on Boards welcomes Sara Pantaleo as the new Chair of its Cultural Diversity Committee. In this interview, Italian-born Sara - an inaugural member of the CDC - shares her proudest achievements since stepping on to the committee and her visions for 2024 and beyond. As she says: "I want to ensure every voice is heard, and every idea is considered".

As a founding member of WOB's CDC, what have been your proudest achievements on the committee to date?

The proudest moments were interviewing culturally diverse women and sharing their stories and completing the first Counting Culture survey.  This has now led WOB to ask new and existing members about their ethnicity at sign-up and tracking the diversity of the membership.

What attracted you to the Chair position of the CDC, and what do you feel you bring to the role?

I know growing up in the corporate IT world in my early career as a culturally diverse woman was tough. I would like to collaborate with this amazing group of women to bring awareness, advocate and elevate cultural diversity.  

For boards to truly represent our community we must have more diversity on boards.  It makes sense but we also know that having more diversity in organisations and boards improves innovation and productivity.  As the Chair I am looking forward to collaborating with the team and the WOB board to drive cultural diversity awareness, the importance of boards to embrace culturally diverse women and affecting important change.

What do you enjoy most about being on the Cultural Diversity Committee?

The collaboration and learning from the amazing group of women on the committee.  We are a very diverse group of women in many ways and we bring different strengths that will drive the awareness and impact on needed change.

What are the key issues/areas you see the CDC focusing on into 2024 and beyond?

We are currently reviewing our strategy, together with the WOB board. The WOB Vision is to have gender balance and cultural diversity within board and leadership roles.  Our greatest challenge is the fatigue shown by some that ‘women are getting more of a go now’.  We are not there and we need to keep the awareness and measure the progress while supporting culturally diverse women to get more leadership roles. To do this we need to engage with allies and foster collaboration to close the gap.

What do you hope to achieve in your term as Chair?

Our committee is a unique blend of diverse talents, perspectives and skills and it’s this very diversity that holds the key to our success. They bring an incredible wealth of experience and intellect to the table.  In my role as Chair I am fully committed to harnessing the power of our collective knowledge. Each one of us has a valuable story to tell, a set of experiences that have shaped our viewpoints and skill set that can contribute to our shared objectives.  It is my utmost priority to ensure that every voice is heard, and every idea is considered.  I look forward to our journey ahead and the remarkable accomplishments we’ll achieve together.

What are you hoping to learn along the way?

I expect to gain a wide range of insights, knowledge, and perspectives that can contribute to my own growth and decision-making.  I have already learned so much from some of our new members on understanding and communicating with First Nations peoples.  I believe in continuous learning and look forward to adapting according to changing circumstances together with the committee.

Listen to Sara Pantaleo in conversation with Claire Braund in this 2022 podcast episode:
Building a Franchising Empire, Family Business and Cultural Diversity
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