Kinexus establishes Women's Defence Networking Alliance, a space for women to connect, uplift and encourage one another.
Experts provide advice on career transitions including entering management, changing industry and leaving ADF.
Join our community as we progress to face to face meetups in the new year.
Kinexus has a 20-year history of solving workforce problems in the defence industry. Experience tells us that some challenges are best addressed through a collaborative approach – improving female participation and leadership is one such challenge.
We hear stories of women achieving amazing things, but recognised that few forums exist for women to come together to share their stories, provide support and grow in confidence.
That’s why Kinexus formed the Women’s Defence Networking Alliance (WDNA), a space designed for women in defence industry to connect, uplift and encourage one another.
The WDNA has launched!
On 18th November 2021, the WDNA held its inaugural event. Somewhat hampered by ongoing travel restrictions, a panel of experienced women came together virtually to discuss making career transitions with confidence.
Joining our host Olivia Agate, Client Relationship Manager at Kinexus, was Krista Geist, Melbourne Operations Manager at Nova Systems; Simone Van Megen, Support and Sustainment Program Manager at BAE Systems Australia and Carly Menzies, Lead Mechanical Engineer at ASC.
So what experiences and gold nuggets of advice did our panel share? We explore the key themes below.
1) Say It with Confidence
Krista shared a highly relatable story. She found herself in a scenario where she felt comfortable in her ability to address issues and solve problems. However, hers wasn’t the loudest voice in the room, and she found herself accepting the views of others whose conviction seemed stronger.
Only when her group leader asked, ‘why didn’t you speak up?’ did she realise her voice was important and opinion valued.
Simone spoke of her transition from the automotive to defence industry, of which she had little prior knowledge. In the whirlwind of all the new acronyms and systems, it wasn’t until years later that Simone reflected on the magnitude of the brave leap that she took to bring about that career change.
Now, she looks back and feels incredibly proud of the work she’s done since joining defence industry. Simone would never have dreamed of achieving all that she has - the decisions she made at that time are the source of great confidence now.
3 important pieces of advice when you Say It With Confidence:
1. Always remember, you have a place at the table because you deserve to be there and your contribution is valued.
2. Speak up and allow your voice to be heard.
3. Vulnerability is not a weakness. Get inspired by anything by Brené Brown.
2) Set Goals
Goal setting is about exploring what gives us a sense of accomplishment and pride and then breaking that down into small, measurable, achievable steps.
Carly shared the story of her incredible career so far. After transitioning out of the Royal Australian Navy and pursuing a career as a professional athlete, she has since transitioned into a role in defence industry. She told us of her clear personal and professional goals and how much work she put into ensuring the two aligned.
Krista reminded us not to stay static and to lean on supportive managers to foster ambition through regular meetings involving honest discussions.
3 important pieces of advice when you Set Goals:
1. Your aspirations are important and you deserve to have the chance to work towards achieving them.
2. Put plans on paper and schedule meetings with your manager to discuss and review them.
3. Get inspired by immersing yourself in a professional organisation specialising in your skillset.
3) Give It a Shot
In Carly’s words, ‘career is fluid’. There is no right or wrong way to navigate it, but the most important step is the first one.
Simone shared that when she applied for her first job in defence industry, she only fitted approximately 30% of the job description. She knew from her previous high-tempo work environment that she was capable and adaptable, so she focused on that in her application and interview.
Don’t get hung up on having the exact experience required in the job description, but consider the value of your soft skills such as teamwork, a willingness to learn and problem-solving. As Krista said, no one really knows how to do the job until they’re doing it.
While fear of failure can be daunting, we can be empowered to throw our hat into the ring by asking for help from the support structures available and remembering that everyone makes mistakes.
3 important pieces of advice when you Give It A Shot:
1. There are no wrong turns, just opportunities. Say to yourself: I am capable of more than I believe. Back yourself like you would a close friend.
2. Write job applications and cover letters that showcase all your skills.
3. Get inspired by reading The First 90 Days by Michael D Watkins.
Kinexus were delighted to launch the WDNA on 18th November and were thrilled to welcome so many women to our virtual community.
Looking ahead to 2022, the plan is to expand the WDNA to face to face meetups across the country. For more information on WDNA, visit our website or sign up to our mailing list to ensure you’re first in the know when we schedule future events.