DNR Capital continues to focus our efforts on building a gender equal business that’s inclusive and a workplace that sees women thrive.

This International Women’s Day, we’re doing our part to celebrate women’s achievements by chatting to our own leading lady, DNR Capital Chair, Justine Hickey, to learn more about what being a female leader, in a male dominated industry, means to her.

1. What does being a female leader mean to you?
Being a female leader means being a ground breaker. Even in 2021, female leaders are still somewhat of a curiosity. I don’t think Australian society has entirely gotten over the idea that a leader has to be tall, commanding and talk with a deep voice. But the more that women are seen in leadership roles and the more women themselves are comfortable and confident in the idea of being leaders, the more society will embrace the possibility and the benefits of a different sort of leadership model.

2. Which female leader inspires you?
Jacinda Adern – for her authenticity, compassion and strength.

3. Have you faced any challenges working in a male dominated industry?
I’m pleased to say, surprisingly few. I would attribute this to a couple of key influences: Firstly, my father was a strong and charismatic businessperson and I learned early not to be intimidated by power and indeed how to work with it. My parents also instilled a sense that I could achieve anything I put my mind to… and I actually believed them.

The second influence was a great boss at a key stage of my career. He was almost blind to gender – he only cared about investment performance and members of his team were judged and succeeded solely on the numbers each of us achieved. He also wouldn’t tolerate any hint of sexism. I remember on one occasion we met with a CEO of a major bank who, in trying to be friendly, complimented me on my outfit. Afterwards my boss pulled me aside and said “if any one ever speaks to you like that again, tell them to F— Off!”

4. What is the best piece of advice you have received?
It wasn’t advice as such – it was an observation that was a bit of a revelation.
Early in my career I was fortunate to go on a site visit to Mount Isa Mines with a group of investors including a very well respected female mining analyst. To my surprise the management team all wanted to talk to this woman – not just because she knew her stuff but because she was fun and feminine and frankly a bit different from all the suits they usually had to deal with. I realised then that it could actually be an asset to be a woman in our industry and that I didn’t have to behave in a tough or blokey manner in order to have legitimacy – even down a mine!

5. What’s your favourite quote?
Not so much a quote but some lines from Shakespeare’s play Hamlet that has had a real influence on my life:

Neither a borrower nor a lender be,
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.

Learn more about this year’s International Women’s Day initiatives and how you can get involved or show your support, by heading to https://www.internationalwomensday.com/