Profiling Women on Boards in the Pacific: Allison Haworth West
President of the Australia Fiji Business Council.
Non Executive Director Captain Cook Cruises Fiji Islands.
Allison Haworth West is the current President of the Australia Fiji Business Council and is also a Non Executive Director of Captain Cook Cruises Fiji Islands. Allison kindly agreed to share her experience as a women board member in the Pacific in the following interview.
1. Why do you think it’s important to have women represented on boards in the Pacific?
At a basic level to ensure the interests of 50% of the population are represented. Historically this has not been the case. Diversity on boards is critical to ongoing success for organisations.
2. Did you face any hurdles getting a board appointment?
Not really but I think it is not uncommon. Thankfully I think this is changing. We are fortunate in Australia and the Pacific to have the AICD taking a very proactive role in supporting the promotion of women to board positions.
3. What do you foresee the hurdles to be in the future?
Ideally the hurdles will get smaller as the environment changes and develops. It is a conversation that needs to be pursued and encouraged to keep it top of mind.
4. What do you think needs to be done to ensure there are more women on boards in the future?
It is important that female representation is married together with appointment on merit. The challenge lies in positively trying to break the cycle and giving a larger number of women board experience and skills. Fundamental to this is developing the depth of representation of women in senior management positions in organisations that can then progress to boards.
5. What advice would you give to women wanting board positions?
Lean in! Don’t be afraid to put your hand up and be confident in your ability to provide a valuable contribution. Diversity is good for boards and organisations because it provides a variety of perspectives and contributes to richer and more comprehensive decision making.