Griffith University: developing female leaders

Griffith university case study

To address a persistent gender imbalance in senior management roles, Griffith University is working to increase the number of women entering leadership roles by developing the skills of existing staff.

The university’s 2013-2017 Strategic Plan sets out targets for women to fill 40% of senior academic roles and 50% of senior professional staff roles. In March 2016, of the 495 senior academic staff, 39% were women and of the 100 senior professional staff, 43% were women, further information on how the University achieved these targets can be found in their Developing female leaders case study.

When a number of senior women moved towards retirement, a conscious decision was made to invest in the university’s own staff and grow its own future leaders, a plan that was championed by Vice Chancellor and President, Professor Ian O’Connor.

In 2014 the Leneen Forde Future Leaders Program was introduced to support the development pathway of women already succeeding in a leadership role. Unlike the Women in Leadership Program, which is based on self-nomination, participants are nominated by their executive as having potential to grow into senior leadership roles and the executive commits to providing sponsorship to the participant over two years. Fourteen women were offered a place in the first program. 

The program also offers events where participants can meet and interact with senior leaders and undertake career planning sessions with senior members of the university. This sees the participants complete a 360-degree evaluation to get a true sense of their leadership style and traits, and understand how they are seen by their peers and leaders.

Whole-of-cohort networking sessions and interactive workshops with guest speakers allow the participants to discuss and develop an understanding of how to evolve their own leadership in different areas.

Participants receive one-on-one career development sessions with their sponsor and can attend workshops on topics such as personal branding and career resilience. Funding of up to $3,000 is also available for external personal development.

All 14 participants completed the initial program in 2016, and 10 were successful in gaining promotion.

Download the Developing female leaders case study below to find out more.