INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2019

Insights from Helen Besly, Managing Director

Published on
March 7, 2019

Today we celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD) – a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Here at Rowland, we are fiercely proud of the many and varied achievements of our female staff, and of the amazing, inspiring female clients we have the privilege of working with each and every day.

To mark IWD 2019, we sat down with our very own Managing Director, Helen Besly, and asked her to share her insights on IWD, and what it means to be a woman in the workplace in 2019.

How do you connect with other women?

I have many and varied business and social networks so am very fortunate to have an eclectic array of terrific female mentors, associates and friends. Perhaps the most important connection for me is through Chief Executive Women, a national group of CEOs and non-executive directors whose mission is women leaders enabling women leaders.  I’ve been a member of the Queensland chapter for close on 10 years and the camaraderie, insights and support we give each other is inspirational and plain good fun.

Where do you draw your professional motivation?

I’ve always been a ‘doer’ and love the sense of achievement from a successful outcome.  I believe execution is far more difficult than developing the strategy, but acknowledge you need both.  So I’m highly motivated if the plan isn’t working and I need to adjust the course.  I surround myself with great people, who have different skill sets to mine, and find that collaboration towards a common goal is the greatest motivation.

Who has inspired you? 

I have been very blessed to have had several inspirational bosses over my 40 year career who have believed in me and pushed me way out of my comfort zone but clearly in their eyes, within my capability. I would never have achieved as much, without their belief in me and that necessary push.  Interestingly my family has also been my inspiration. I have five children, including a set of 20 year old triplets who remind me every day they are not a collective but rather siblings who happen to be born on the same day.  A large, loud family is very grounding.

Why does your work matter? 

Work gives purpose and balance and teaches life lessons around commitment, financial security, and the importance of making a contribution in some way.  For me I hope the work we do makes a positive difference to a community, an individual or a business.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

IWD is a date around which we can all rally and take time out to focus on important conversations and actions that will shift the needle on equity and bring opportunity for all peoples despite gender, colour, race or creed.

Helen oversees the company-wide management of Rowland’s strategic offering, including the growth and management of the full breadth of our communication services. With more than 40 years’ experience in providing strategic counsel in communication, issues management and organisational change, Helen is widely regarded as one of the leading minds in Australia’s communication industry.

An active member of the Queensland business community, Helen is a corporate coach to many of Australia’s senior business and community leaders and a sought-after facilitator. Among her many accolades, Helen has won a Telstra Business Women’s Award and a Centenary Medal for her services to Australian business leadership. She is a member of QUT’s Business School Academic Board, Chief Executive Women, the Queensland Community Foundation Board of Governors and a Board Member of Brisbane Marketing.