LGI is setting its own agenda when it comes to workplace diversity with a high proportion of women in positions at all levels.
Jessica North has said no to good jobs at large organisations because of a lack of flexibility and suitable, gender-relevant policies.
The Co-Chief Executive Officer of LGI says it was never individuals that caused her to look elsewhere, but rather rigid policies at an organisational level.
“Corporate decision-making is being made without a pragmatic understanding of the realities of working mothers,” Jessica says.
Her sentiments are shared. According to the Committee for Economic Development of Australia Women in Leadership survey, a lack of flexible work practices, workplace culture and societal expectations regarding gender roles are among the top eight barriers to women’s workplace equality. Other barriers include a lack of female leaders, gender stereotypes, affordability and accessibility of childcare and a lack of mentors.
Leading by example
Jessica, and LGI, are smashing those barriers – 38 per cent of the company’s total workforce is female, its board comprises 33 per cent women with the executive team having 44 per cent. The company prides itself on a culture of collaboration, care, and flexibility.
As a board member, executive and working mum, Jessica is leading by example, but she says the workplace culture is driven by the entire team, spearheaded by Adam Bloomer, LGI Chief Executive Officer, Founder and Managing Director.
Jessica was the only woman in a team of five when she started at LGI. She says that about 12 months into her role Adam admitted it was the first time throughout his career he had worked on equal footing with a female. He found Jessica’s contribution eye-opening.
“Particularly when I became chair of the board of directors, he appreciated the less aggressive, more inquiring approach,” Jessica says. “Adam was also aware of the juggles I had as a working mum and it highlighted to him that it’s very difficult for a lot of professional women to have a full-time role and juggle a parenting role.
“There are professionally excellent women who don’t want to go back into an inflexible environment.”
It takes a village
Abigail Cheadle, Non-Executive Director of LGI and Chair of its Audit and Risk Committee, took on an advisory role to assist the company in its initial public offering (IPO), which was successful in October 2022.
She’s spent more than 30 years working in a traditionally male-dominated sector around the globe. She says she’s been lucky to have been welcomed and appreciated in her workplaces and has worked with some incredible female leaders. But the higher up the corporate ladder she progresses, the fewer women there are.
As a single mother of two, Abigail is an advocate of the ‘village’ approach to career and family.
“There’s a bit of a stigma about asking for help but having a family and career really does take a village,” she says. “When I had children, I couldn’t take time off work. It wasn’t in the equation because I didn’t have the financial ability, I needed that support.”
Jessica says LGI takes into consideration other aspects of life that can be less obvious to male employers. There’s a conscious decision that roles that can be flexible are offered in such a way that they are appealing to mothers.
Danielle Kasuba, a former kindergarten teacher, joined LGI as a contract field technician about three years ago. She began one day a week while her children were young, taking flare readings and balancing gas fields to optimise biogas recovery at LGI’s landfill sites. In 2022 she took on a full-time field position maintaining grounds, assisting with connections and servicing flares.
“It’s the most flexible job I’ve had,” Danielle says. “You can work around your family. The work-life balance is amazing.
“It’s a very different job but I love it because no two days are alike. I can spend the morning at a $100 per head breakfast in Brisbane city and then be driving an excavator in the afternoon.”
Kindness and cuppas
Jane Brimblecombe, Financial Controller, was one of the first to be employed under LGI’s flexible work arrangements in 2016. Six years later she considers LGI her work family.
“It’s a culture of respect and one where everyone is given the opportunity to grow,” Jane says. “There’s plenty of opportunity to let people advance, but I’ve also grown as a person by working at LGI. That’s not something you can say about many workplaces.”
Kindness and cuppas are two common threads when discussing LGI’s workplace.
Jane says she was interviewed over a cuppa, and it’s since become an integral part of the culture.
Jessica refers to Jane as the grand tea master and says it’s one way of ensuring staff are looking out for each other.
“One of our big focuses has always been on having a collaborative culture,” Jessica says. “We really believe in looking after our people.
“We invest a lot in mental health and wellbeing. It’s about doing the right thing, whether it’s environmental or the intention of the business.”
Living the values
Katrina Nelson, who joined LGI in 2020 as Business Development Manager to continue to drive LGI’s growth, says it’s no accident that the 42 and growing LGI workforce feels like family.
When she was brought on board the interview process was as much about her understanding the culture of the business as it was about her professional credentials and energy industry experience. And yes, it involved a cuppa with one of the other working mums
“LGI prides itself on workplace culture and flexibility. It’s something we offer that is a selling point,” Katrina says.
“I’ve always worked in places that had values and wanted to uphold them, but at LGI we are absolutely living the values and putting people first. These values extend to the long-term relationships we develop with our customers who are mostly local councils.
“The importance of mental health, work-life balance and empowering people are all platitudes you hear, but it is actually lived at LGI.”
Grace Tap, Data and Carbon Analyst, can attest to LGI’s ability to empower people.
She began as a casual after deferring university studies in architecture and construction management during COVID-19. She’s now changed career paths, is working at LGI full-time and with help from the executive team is looking to advance to a role in project management.
She says the workplace culture is a big reason why she has stayed on.
“There are so many people working at LGI that are in different stages of their life,” Grace says. “Listening to other peoples’ experiences, I’m glad this is my first full-time job.
“For someone who eventually wants to be in a managing role, to have a woman like Jessica who is CEO of the company and so approachable, as a role model is awesome.
“Watching Jessica, and how she treats people, and learning from Katrina and how she interacts with others so early in my career, has been encouraging.”
For more information, visit: www.lgi.com.au