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Hon Pru

Former State Minister, Sex Discrimination Commissioner and political journalist

You can write a plan for change on the back of an envelope, getting it done is the hard part

The Honourable Pru Goward is a nationally respected and outspoken advocate for gender equality and safety who has led important inquiries into unacceptable workplace conduct, including sexual harassment.

She is a former Cabinet minister, Sex Discrimination Commissioner and was a pioneering television reporter with the ABC. Pru has a long history of promoting women’s rights, driving reform, getting it done and challenging business as usual.

Pru speaks across a range of subjects that reflect her decades of experience; gender discrimination and diversity, women and leadership, leadership, trust and values, ageing and age discrimination, mental health, domestic violence, paid parental leave, workplace bullying and harassment and the implementation of reform. She also comments on current political challenges.

Current work:

Pru Goward heads a consultancy company specialising in gender review and corporate communications, Bespoken Consulting and Communications.

She is a diversity and discrimination expert who has recently reviewed sexual misconduct for ministerial staff in the NSW Government and the staff of the NSW Supreme Court. Her review work is on-going and her unique ability to pull together data and insights based on her vast experience enable her to give powerful advice to some of Australia’s most talked-about organisations. Pru has been recently appointed to the National Plan Advisory Group, a small group of expert advisors established to oversee the development of the successor plan to Australia’s National Plan to reduce Violence Against Women and their Children.

Pru Goward is also Professor of Social Interventions and Policy at Western Sydney University, a board member of Anglicare, a regular newspaper columnist and commentator as well as a director with data analytics company, Taylor Fry. She likes to be busy.

Previous experience

Government: Pru Goward’s outstanding career as a senior government official and government minister saw reforms in Family Law and more recently child protection, social and affordable housing and urban planning. With her drive and many years of understanding, New South Wales completely overhauled how the state government approached domestic violence and is the only Australian state or territory to witness a decline in assault rates.

Prior to this, Pru Goward was Australia’s Sex Discrimination Commissioner for six years, promoting the landmark introduction of paid maternity leave, now a national entitlement. She also oversaw Australia’s first sexual harassment survey which continues to be the benchmark for governments and business and reported on the state of work-life balance for men and women in Australia. Pru was also the commissioner responsible for age discrimination.

Pru was the Australian Government’s official spokesperson for the Sydney 2000 Olympics and holds directorships on a number of boards.

Journalism: As a senior current affairs reporter with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation for 19 years Pru was ABC Television’s first female political correspondent, the inaugural presenter of Radio National Breakfast and the recipient of a prestigious Walkley Award for her courageous television profile of organized crime figure George Freeman.

Author: She has authored A Business of Her Own and co-authored a biography of John Howard.

Talking Points

Women and Leadership

Leadership comes down to four basic qualities; not everyone is born with them but most of us can develop them. For women, there are some added twists and cutting through in male-dominated executive suites, sporting organisations or factory floors takes toughness and persistence. Ability is a given.

Pru shares her experience and insights after decades of both being a leader and observing others.

Who is this for?
Ambitious women, women with potential who are keen to succeed, business leaders and executives keen to develop successful strategies that draw in the best people they have.

Key Takeouts:
- The importance of insight into self, understanding of the unwritten rules of organizational hierarchies.
- Critical role of self-belief in enabling leaders to succeed.

So Whatever Happened to Trust?

When an organization, sector or institution loses the trust of its followers, confidence collapses and implosion follows. Sometimes never to be rebuilt. Whether it is the mighty Church, a political brand, sporting code or a corporation, they are only ever as good as the trust their market has in them.

Pru Goward has been part of organisations and brands facing the risk of losing public faith and has observed many others sink in a mire of scandal. She has seen trust rebuilt, but it requires an honest application of values, preparedness to invest in the long term and a strong communication and connection with followers, customers, investors or voters.

Who is this for:
Organisations and leaders suffering a collapse in trust and those anxious to avoid the inevitable implosion that follows.

Key Takeouts:
- Trustworthiness cannot be faked. Eventually organisations are uncovered.
- Organisations need to recognize the symptoms of untrustworthiness and ensure they risk assess regularly
against the key factors integral to trustworthiness.

Making Change Happen is more than a Mission Statement

Organisational reform requires both policy change and implementation. Writing the new vision and then the policy is the easy part; implementing it, especially across complex and large organisations, is much more difficult. Policy change is glamorous and exciting, making it happen is tedious, frustrating work. Pru Goward reflects on a lifetime of reforming and the key ingredients of successful, real change. Case studies include the reform of domestic violence policy in NSW and the remarkable reduction in domestic violence offending flowing from it.

Who is this for?
Hungry executives and managers faced with bosses, shareholders or electors demanding different results but without a road map to get there.

Key Takeouts?
Implementing change and producing different and better results requires an intelligent and factual analysis of the results-gap, a planned and incremental programme, rigorous training and more training, buy-in by the executive, fidelity to the new approaches adopted. And there’s more.

The Pru Goward story- never enough time to do everything.

Funny and serious reflections of forty years of ups and downs, rearing children, loving people, being late, getting there or not.

Toxic Workplaces Need More than a Change of Boss

In any organization there’s a problem child; a unit or office that just doesn’t produce the goods; high staff turnover rates, sexual harassment and bullying, poor work ethics. You can smell them when you walk in the door. So often the answer is to move the boss and bring in a new one. The new broom in turn sacks as many other brooms as possible, restructures positions and declares the job done. In fact nothing has changed.
Pru Goward argues the case for a systematic approach to workplace detoxification based on her experience as a manager, government minister and journalist.

Who is this for?
Executives, managers and key workers struggling with toxicity, determined to change the culture but unable to do so.

Key Takeouts?

Identify essential ingredients of toxicity before sacking staff.
Have a plan.
Accept it will not be accomplished overnight; staff require clear support, retraining and the constant challenging of their expectations.
We would like to thank you for a wonderful presentation at our inaugural luncheon. Your speech was very informative and amusing. I think you also inspired many of us and have made us even more determined to pursue gender related issues that we see as a big factor in Women choosing cardiology as a speciality. A/Prof Gishel New, Director of Cardiology, BoxHill

Pru was Excellent and she received fabulous feedback from delegates.

Institute of Public Administrators Australia

My client, by superiors and myself all thought Pru was great - she was a good sport, funny, informative and entertaining.

Royce Communications, Women In Business Forum

Pru is wonderful. Her participation in our Women's Conference was excellent. She is a very well spoken person with such intellectual capability - this really helped our conference objective and made the session she participated in one of the best during the event. She was extremely professional and very entertaining.


Pru Goward is an excellent speaker , who challenges an audience's thinking. Her speaking voice is one that could be listened to for hours. She can field questions brillantly in Q&A and give very articulate responses on a number of different levels. Some participants gave her presentation a mixed review as they thought she veered off the topic. However, permission had been sought to discuss her current project. On the whole her presentation.

Kariong Public School

Thank you - she was a fantastic speaker! We are thrilled with the outcome!

Commonwealth Bank of Australia

Pru held our audience captivated. Of all the speakers that we have had speaking to our management team, Pru generated the most discussion; in the number of questions asked after the session ended, during lunch and "around the water cooler". Pru is eloquent and has a dazzling intellect.

Toyota Motor Corporation Australia Limited
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