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Leading with empathy: advice from Burnet Chair Mary Padbury

  • 08 Mar 2024

Mary Padbury, wearing tortoiseshell glasses and a green jacket.

On International Women’s Day, we celebrate all the amazing women working at Burnet.

With women making up more than 60 per cent of our workforce, we are indebted to them for the enormous contribution they make.  

Burnet has incredible women in leadership positions across the organisation, including the Chair of our board Mary Padbury.

Ms Padbury is a Director of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra and the Richmond Football Club, with a highly distinguished career in law.

She is a champion of diversity and inclusion, particularly for women in spaces that have historically been the domain of men.

She said leadership was about more than having technical expertise, it was about having the ability to manage people.

“I believe leadership is a collective endeavour, rather than an individual endeavour, and I think women tend to lead that way,” she said.

“There is also evidence that diverse boards, being those that reflect the gender and other attributes of the communities they serve, make better decisions.”

She added that the key to good leadership was diversity of thought and having an open mind, including accepting when you are wrong.”

“People lead in different ways, and I think you have to be true to yourself and your personality,” she said.

“People are more likely to flourish in their work if they feel supported and know their manager cares about them. They are more likely to listen to and act on constructive feedback if they know it comes from a good place.”

When asked what she was most proud of in her career, Ms Padbury said it was helping to support the next generation of women in their career endeavours.

“I’ve met some exceptionally talented women throughout my career and being able to support them and see them go on to succeed has been incredibly rewarding,” she said. 

“If I played a small part in their success, I am very proud of that.”