For this year’s International Women’s Day, we asked some of the leading ladies within RAC Arena about what the day means to them, and their careers. Thank you to the following women for their contribution.
Cathy Wilson, Projects Manager
Donna Nedelkos, Ticketing Manager
Emma Toovey, Partnerships Manager
Kendall De Sousa, Director of Commercial
Kyllie Graham, Director of Hospitality
Marika Bailey, Marketing Manager
Rachel Winkless, Talent Resources Manager
Sally Ballinger, VIP & Backstage Catering Manager
Zoe Sanders, Merchandise Manager
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
“It’s a celebration for all women that have paved the way for me to be me – strong, determined, and free.” – Sally
“It reminds us of how far we have come to reach gender equality.” – Cathy
Why do you think it is important to celebrate International Women’s Day?
“I think it’s important to have a day to celebrate the achievements of women and to create awareness and encourage conversation around how far we’ve come and the work that still needs to be done to achieve a gender-equal world”. – Marika
“Every generation needs to remember how it was, and how it could have been to be a woman.” – Sally
How can we encourage women to pursue leadership roles in their career?
“Ensure they have the confidence to try everything and give up on nothing.” – Rachel
“By not discouraging them and leading the way. We don’t need to pretend to be hard and unemotional to be great leaders, we can be ourselves.” – Kyllie
What is the most important piece of advice you have been given?
“Growing up on a farm and with a sister, my Dad taught us we can do anything the boys can and more! He instilled a strong work ethic and ensured we never gave up on our goals.” – Emma
“You can have a successful career and raise a happy family. It takes a shift in mentality, time management and creating the right balance that works for you, your work, and your family.” – Donna
Are there any females that inspire you in your career or in life in general? Who, and why?
“Yes, my friend Nat Edwards who’s the Managing Editor for AFLW and Presenter for a number of AFL and AFLW shows. In 2019, she became the first female presenter to host the pre-match AFL grand final coverage on free-to-air TV. Nat is a trailblazer in her industry, but she’s also someone that advocates for women and has amazing drive. She’s one of the most motivated and passionate people I know.” – Kendall
“Gai Waterhouse – showed how to be a powerhouse in a male-dominated industry with grace and dignity. In our industry – P!NK would be my choice. Proving females can have it all but keeping it real.” – Cathy
Have you faced any barriers in your career due to being a woman? If so, how did you overcome them?
“Previous to this role I have had no direct female Mangers, this has made it difficult to envision the possibility of moving up in a male-dominated corporate environment. My current role and Manager have allowed me to see that this is now achievable and I am actively working towards this.” – Emma
“Yes, absolutely! Particularly around my choices of becoming a mother and how that affected my career plans. I spoke with friends and advocacy groups and made sure I didn’t compromise anything – having a family or my career.” – Zoe
What is the most important message you want to send out to young women thinking about their careers?
“Be yourself – if your job is one where you have to pretend to be someone different every day, you don’t want it! Don’t allow anyone to rush you into making decisions particularly when it comes to accepting or declining a new role, it is a life-altering decision, do your research and make sure you are 100% confident you are making the choice that is right for you.” – Zoe
“Be true to yourself, and the rest will follow” – Rachel
Why do you think diversity in the workplace is so important?
“Diversity in the workplace is important as it helps to create a well-rounded team with employees from different backgrounds and experiences applying different perspectives to the job.” – Donna
“Diversity brings different perspectives, without it workplaces are unlikely to evolve. By embracing and truly appreciating our differences we get a better perspective.” – Kyllie
What is your proudest achievement whilst working at RAC Arena?
“I was really proud of what we achieved for our 10th-anniversary celebrations last year. We put together an ambitious calendar of activities, and thanks to lots of hard work from the team, it all came to fruition. I was especially proud of the creation of our Limelight Music Support Fund, which is an initiative I helped build and one that looks to foster the development of up-and-coming West Australian music acts.” – Marika
“In November 2019, after 5 years at the venue, two different roles, and at the age of 34, I was promoted to Head of Commercial. I felt like all my hard work, determination, and perseverance had bought me to this point, I was proud of myself.” – Kendall
Recognising and celebrating International Women’s Day is a sigificantly important action as we continue to champion a workplace that Embraces Equity. For further material created by RAC Arena to commemorate IWD in 2023, take a look at this video of Australian entertainer, Famous Sharron, sitting down to discuss the Day with young kids.
Happy International Women’s Day!