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Former State Minister, Sex Discrimination Commissioner and political journalist

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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 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 and getting it done and has frequently challenged institutional bullying and harassment.

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

Current work

Pru currently consults to a number of Australian organisations.

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 now 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 land mark introduction of paid maternity leave, now a national entitlement. She also oversaw Australia’s first statistically valid sexual harassment survey which continues to be the bench mark 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 held 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 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 has 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 succession 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.


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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
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