The event, which aimed at celebrating diversity in the coach and bus industry, is a key step forward given that women only make up 10 per cent of the industry in Australia. Coupled with this, a looming skills shortage makes the increased engagement of women even more important.
Keynote speaker at the event, Anne Deveson OA, Australian writer, broadcaster, film maker and social commentator, discussed how she has learned to be resilient through dealing with her son’s mental illness – a topic which resonated with the audience.
“In rapid times of change, resilience is one of the most valuable strengths we can acquire,” Anne said drawing from her personal experience.
Peta Sigley from the Resilience Institute described resilience as “bouncing back from the death spiral of stress”.
“Resilience is a learned skill that allows us to bounce back from adversity, thrive on challenge, reach full potential and have a positive impact on others,” Peta said.
Peta’s advice was “if in doubt, breathe out”. She gave the audience a practical demonstration of how focused breathing alone can keep us in the productive zone, free from distractions, stress and anxiety.
In fact, resilience has been proven to have a major effect on workforce performance and engagement.
Volvo Buses and CMV Group have been the sponsors of the Women On Board event since its inception six years ago.
“As a company, we’re committed to the development of high quality and safe products. To achieve this, we need to bring our workforce with us. One way of doing this is to build resilience amongst our employees,” Ylva said.
“To build resilience, we need to create room for dialogue with co-workers around why we do things, what the expected outcome is, the future of our company and how we plan to get there. That will give people a good understanding of how they can contribute with their input and knowledge.”
Known as the Volvo Way, the guideline is based on the conviction that every individual has the capability and the determination to improve business operations, and the desire to develop professionally.
“In building engagement and resilience, it’s essential that all employees can see the company culture in action. If we share our values and live them daily, we can open the lines of communication and keep every member of the team moving in the same direction."
The Women on Board event began as a small ladies luncheon six years ago. Today, the event has evolved into a full day of interesting presentations and interactive workshops with an attendee list that has grown almost tenfold to more than 200 men and women.
“It was a fantastic opportunity to meet with so many women from the bus industry, to hear what they think about our products and how we work, and also their challenges in their business.
“It was truly great to see that the event gathers so many people and that it provides an arena to discuss organisational and personal development and at the same time broaden ones network.”