Suzi Finkelstein appointed as CEO of the Australian School of Applied Management

Suzi Finkelstein has been appointed as the CEO of the Australian School of Applied Management, the parent company of Women & Leadership Australia.

Catherine Fox: That's a wrap

Catherine Fox, Director of Diversity for WLNZ, reflects on the 2019 Women & Leadership Australia and New Zealand Leadership Symposium series.

The New Zealand Women's Leadership Forum is coming to Wellington!

The one day personal and professional development experience will be developing Wellington's Leaders.

Women & Leadership New Zealand has launched in the UK.

WLNZ is proud to be celebrating their first cohort of leaders in the UK, with Suzi Finkelstein, Director of Leaderhip and Advocacy, flying over to facilitate the first two face to face sessions and meet our first pool of UK graduates.

Suzi Finkelstein: Look at the jigsaw lid!

Suzi Finkelstein, Director of Leadership and Advocacy at WLNZ, talks about the importance of clarity as a leader.


What are the biggest challenges women in business face today?​

Kelly Rothwell

What skills do female leaders need most in the workforce? Can women really have it all? We wanted to talk to someone who was at the forefront of all things women in leadership, so we chatted to Kelly Rothwell, Head of School at the prestigious Women & Leadership Australia and New Zealand to find out her views on these questions plus much more…

Kelly, tell us about what Women & Leadership Australia and New Zealand (WLNZ) does and what your role in that is? 

WLNZ, as an organisation, is all about our vision, and that is to increase the number of female representatives in leadership in business and the wider community. Businesses realise that greater diversity (especially within leadership teams) not only positively affects their bottom line but also increases agility and innovation, among other things. So really, it just makes good business sense to invest in female talent and find better ways to attract and retain such talent. That is what WLNZ is all about. 

Currently, I am the Head of School for WLNZ. What this means is that I develop all our leadership programs, and lead a team of exceptionally talented female leaders who deliver leadership development and diversity programs (for females at all career levels), and run events that celebrate women in leadership, such as our upcoming NZME Women’s Leadership Symposium.  

That sounds like an incredible position! Can you tell us a bit more about how you got there. What’s your background? 

I am a registered psychologist by trade, so over the course of my career I have become a specialist in large-scale culture change programs, especially those underpinned by psychology and neuroscience. In particular, I focus on executive leadership and high-potential leadership development within organisations. In terms of industries that I have worked in, prior to having my daughter I worked predominantly in mining and related heavy industries around the world.  As you would expect, I often worked only with males. While I enjoyed working in those industries, I really noticed the gender bias that was prevalent and how it impacted on decisions, but more importantly, how it affected what was considered ‘leadership.’ 

I joined WLNZ because I wanted to do just that – help individuals and organisations drive awareness of our gender bias and further provide development for competent and passionate female talent in leadership.  It is clear to me that the differences we bring to the table are all equally important, yet not enough female representation in leadership teams means we miss out. This has occurred for too long and it is time things changed! 

Given everything you have seen, what do you think are the biggest challenges facing women in business today? 

Well, unfortunately I think many women still face similar challenges to what we did a decade or two ago - for example, the ability to integrate all of our needs and wants from a professional and personal perspective, integrating work and life.  We are also often faced with challenges in finding a career and role opportunities that can satisfy these needs. 

Then there is gaining equal pay. Are things getting better? A little bit, but we are still paid on average 15 to 20 per cent less than our male counterparts. This is compounded (in the aggregate) by our apparent reluctance to apply for a job at the next level up, though again, then there is the fact that we’re not often seen as having the greatest potential for success in higher level roles. This all comes down to unconscious bias and a society and culture driven by expectations of how females should behave.  

Although these challenges all sound daunting, I am proud to say that at WLNZ we have tools and techniques to assist with all of these challenges! 

Do you believe women can ‘have it all?’ 

Of course! I think something to be mindful of with this question is firstly that what ‘it all’ is to me may not be ‘it all’ to you and vice versa.  Also, who said we could not have it all? Why would we listen to them anyway? 

And lastly, you mentioned that WLNZ has regular events. How do you think women can benefit from attending your events? 

Firstly, the atmosphere at the events is incredible. Energy levels are always high with speakers who offer knowledge and inspiration around women and leadership. In addition, there are short development sessions focusing on offering tools to address the challenges noted before.  

Of course, there are also the great networking benefits though, for me, our events go deeper than networking. We know from research that developing strategic networks is beneficial from a connectedness perspective and that key protective factors of our ‘fit, functioning and growth’ include working with other women. Often, as we move up in organisational hierarchies we tend to find a decrease in the number of peers who are female.

WLNZ events offer you the opportunity to surround yourself with these peers from all industries and sectors – and to benefit from our leadership development expertise – so they are the perfect place to strategically network and accelerate your growth potential.  

Want to attend the next WLNZ event? You’re in luck! WLNZ is hosting the inaugural NZME New Zealand Women’s Leadership Symposium from 21 to 22 June at the Langham Hotel in Auckland. You can grab your tickets now.

Women and Leadership New Zealand