‘Women in the Environment’ moved by Commissioner’s speech

From the Commissioner
Dr Gillian Sparkes

Dr Gillian Sparkes spoke from the heart last night at a speech celebrating ‘Women in the Environment’.

Gillian encouraged the audience with illustrations of her own journey as a woman through science, policy and business. ‘During the 80s and 90s being a woman in science in industry started as a disadvantage for me, but over time as I moved into environmental science and community engagement, I found it became an advantage’. She highlighted to the group that the value of the ‘soft skills’ often naturally attributed to women, should not be underestimated in environmental leadership.

The Commissioner told the group that she was educated through the public school system and forged her career from her love of science. Starting as a trainee chemist with BHP Steel, then completing a PhD and extending further into an MBA to eventually become Victoria’s third independent Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability.

Throughout the speech the Commissioner emphasised the vital importance that education has played in assisting her progression through workplaces that were often industrial. She spoke of the importance of resilience, patience and persistence throughout her career.

The speech was well received at the ‘Women in the Environment’ event, which has been established to foster women working in the environment industry to further their understanding of issues of interest to the industry, broaden their contacts with environmental professionals and provide a network for communication among their peers.

‘Women in the Environment’ is convened by Christine Wardle of Blue Environment and was hosted by Melbourne City Council. They meet quarterly at venues across Melbourne. If you are interested in the program then please read more.

To read more about Gillian’s career visit LinkedIn