Women from the industry chatted candidly about what their goals for 2024 look like and beyond.

On February 14, RSL & Services Clubs Association CEO Margot Smith and Tracey Lentell, an award-winning industry veteran in design, culture and change, spoke candidly and openly to a room of women from the industry about why it’s important to set goals not only for their careers but also for different aspects of their lives including health and wellbeing, relationships and family, finance, community and environment, leisure and education. 

Lentell deep-dived into how articulating these goals is paramount to excelling in life, and that it will help fulfil a sense of purpose, which is key for overall wellbeing. She provided examples of how goals can be tracked with journalling, a diary or a vision board; how stress can be managed through exercise or getting out in nature; how budgeting can help people better understand their financial position; and how to create a career path through training, networking and mentorship. 

The workshop-style event was the fourth session of a four-part series. The RSL & SCA began hosting these events after it received a grant from the Women in Gaming and Hospitality Australasia. The grant funding was designed to promote positive outcomes for women and to drive systemic change in the industry across Australia and New Zealand. Other recipients of the grant included Club Central, Australian Hotels Association, Canberra Labor Club, Gaming Care, The Middle Hotel Korumburra, SkyCity, and Redcape Hotel Group.

According to Lentell, such events aim to help empower women in what is typically a male-dominated industry.  

“The idea is to grow networks, grow education, to continue to foster the women in clubs movement, and to encourage women that they can have careers in clubs,” she said.

Smith added it’s important to help women in clubs be more aware that career paths can exist in the industry. 

“It’s about being conscious about how your career path aligns with your personal values. I think there are times when people get tapped on the shoulder to do a course, go on a trip, or be promoted, but some of those networks might be a closed shop,” she said. 

“As women, we might not always be in the room, so it’s asking if there’s a career path that you want to seek out, rather than waiting to be asked.”

Lentell agreed that not a lot of clubs help employees set career paths, and therefore it’s up to an individual. 

“You have to chase it if you want a career,” she said. “You have to work out where you want to go and drive it, even if it means moving somewhere else. Often people don’t look at a career path, it’s not something clubs do but if it does it comes down to being a happy accident.”

Not establishing career paths is not just a women’s issue, however. 

“If you speak to many CEOs, they’ll tell you they started as a glassie or similar position and then they just moved up, so it’s not just a female phenomenon; it’s everybody in the industry,” Smith. “We want to professionalise career paths in the club industry.” 

Three powerful ways to support women in clubs

RSL & Services Club Association CEO Margot Smith and award-winning industry veteran in design, culture and change Tracey Lentell breaks down three ways clubs can help advance gender equality and better support women.

  • Be open about career paths. “I think clubs should share what development opportunities there are, and be transparent about what courses, promotions, and network opportunities are available,” said Smith.
  • Be flexible with parenting arrangements. “It’s being aware that women can add value to the business, have a career, and balance kids,” said Lentell.
  • Give credit where it’s due. “Sometimes women or team members who do not have kids get additional projects, but it’s important to recognise that even though they might not be saying ‘I need to go pick my kids up’, they might be saying ‘I’ve got to go train for a sporting competition’, and that’s everyone’s choice,” Smith said. 

The next Women’s Roundtable Series will be held in partnership with Michelle Pascoe from Optimum Operating Procedures and Services. Contact kiahkennedy@rslservicesclubs.com.au to find out more.

This story is published in Club Management Autumn 2024, which will be out soon. Keep your eyes out for it!

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