Women make waves as radio tunes into change

Apurv Shukla – 

Women have proved time and again that they can be good leaders and meet challenges, cope with stress and promote good corporate governance. Almost all of them have taken tough decisions that have benefited their respective countries and communities.

However, their importance in the media industry is just surfacing, Wendy Palmer, Chief Executive, Media Works Radio said.

She was providing ‘Insights into the Role of Women in Media’ at the Indian Newslink Sir Anand Satyanand Lecture on Monday, July 27, 2015 at Pullman Hotel in Auckland.

Gender bias

The Lecture, fifth in an annual series had ‘The Role of Women in Governance’ as the central theme this year. More than 350 persons representing a cross-section of professions attended the Black Tie event that included cocktails and dinner.

She outlined how the media industry had a definite gender bias when she began her career many years ago.

Women make waves as radio tunes into change (1)“The bias was so intense that radio executives could only be male and belong to Wellington. The categorisation of male and female voices to speak on certain areas was also pronounced and there were preconceived notions that women could talk on only certain select topics on air,” she said.

As Chief Executive of Media Works Radio, Ms Palmer is in charge of nine radio brands that make up New Zealand’s biggest radio network; The Edge, The Rock,  George, MaiFM, The Breeze, MoreFM, The Sound, RadioLIVE and newest station ‘Magic.’

Spanning a 25-year career in the Radio industry, she will share insights into the contributions women make to the Media, pay tribute to the inspiring women leaders who came before her, and celebrate the high numbers of talented, senior women working in all our major media companies.

Better times

Women make waves as radio tunes into changeMs Palmer said that time had changed for the better, at least in the media world.

“Times though have changed for the better, at least in the media world. Boards of Media Works and other organisations in New Zealand have a significant number of women on governance roles. Women are valued for their qualities in taking the team along with them.

“Being in the media means one is in the public glare most of the times. This may lead to friction and egos within individuals. Women in senior management positions play a pivotal part in soothing frayed nerves and ensuring cohesion in the work place to achieve the organisations goals,” she said.

Ms Palmer listed shareholders, investors and senior management as major driving forces of the change in perception and positive moves towards appointing and accepting women as key decision-makers.

Clear Reflections

Women make waves as radio tunes into change (2)Ranjna Patel, Director, East Tamaki Healthcare and Director Bank of Baroda New Zealand Limited spoke about the purchasing power held by women in families.

She said that the low percentage of women places on board of companies in New Zealand (7.5%) was regrettable.

“This is a an unambiguous reminder to organisations that if women can influence buying patterns of their society, their insights and inputs can surely help in achieving better commercial decisions,” she said.

Ms Patel also outlined the categorisation of strong women by the society.

“Having an opinion and trying to take charge was an exception not the rule. This mind set has to change for a more equitable representation of women in governance,” she said.

The underlying theme of the Lecture this year was to encourage the public sector and the corporate world to unlock and unleash the full potential of women in the workforce.

“We should rid the workforce of cultural and racial bias and assist in economic and social progress.

Celebrity women

The Fifth Annual Indian Newslink Sir Anand Satyanand Lecture has the benefit of women speakers who are all high achievers in their respective fields of activity.

Guest Speaker Jan Dawson is the Chairperson of Westpac and Deputy Chairperson of Air New Zealand.

Her experience has encompassed a wide range of services including audit, accounting, due diligence risk and governance advice and litigation support.

She has particular expertise in working with financial institutions, Registered Banks and companies in the infrastructure network, software/IP distribution and forestry.

Ms Dawson is a Member of the Capital Investment Committee of the National Health Board, the Council of the University of Auckland, the Disciplinary Tribunal – NZ Institute of Chartered Accountants, and Voyager Maritime Museum.

Master of Ceremonies

Dr Susan Macken, Director of BNZ and Member of the Treasury was our Master of Ceremonies. She has extensive experience in senior management roles within the Fletcher Group of Companies, the New Zealand Kiwifruit Marketing Board and as Chief Executive of the Auckland Regional Economic Development Strategy.

Ranjna Patel has several other professional interests including Total Healthcare Otara (Executive Trustee), New Zealand Asian Leaders Group and Lottery Auckland Community Distribution Committee (Member).

Photo Caption:

  1. Sir Anand Satyanand speaking to Jan Dawson as Lady Susan Satyanand watches
  2. Charles Pandey, Dr Vinod Sharma, Jai Basrur, Prince Kumar, Wenceslaus Anthony and Sneha Anthony
  3. Ranjna Patel
  4. Wendy Palmer

Pictures by Narendra Bedekar and Sai Bedekar


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