Photography by: Penny Ryan Photography

BUSVIC’s VOLVO-SPONSORED Women On Board seminar series was a “trailblazing event” that workshopped societal issues and how the bus industry contributes to remedying these situations, according to organisers.

Themed 'inclusion and diversity', the 2018 Women On Board seminar series was a labelled a “trailblazing event”.

The annual event was again sponsored by Volvo and its partner in Victoria, the CMV Group, which has been supporting for 11 consecutive years.

Held at the Crowne Promenade in Melbourne, recently, it focused on inclusion and diversity: how operators and suppliers can be more inclusive employers and community leaders. The event attracted more than 80 delegates to the morning seminar series, and almost double that amount for the luncheon.

"With unemployment so low and the demand for bus services so strong, we have to be looking at ways to attract and keep more people. Being more inclusive of labour supply will help us do that," said BusVic executive director Chris Lowe.



"We are again delighted to be part of this special day that not only acknowledges the women who play important roles in our industry, but also brings to light and discusses a range of topics not often raised in other forums across our industry," said Volvo Bus & Coach branch manager at the CMV Group, Darren Cottle.

"The one-day program included a seminar, panel discussion and keynote address, and focused on inspiring new ideas, and sharing useful tools, initiatives and management styles that promote and build inclusion and diversity."



Other speakers and panel members at this year’s seminar series included Dr Victor Sojo from Melbourne University’s Centre for Workplace Leadership; Nicole Rinehart, director at Deakin Child Study Centre and creator of AllPlay; and Volvo Bus Australia’s own general manager Lauren Downs, who shared her personal story of progressing her career in the bus industry, as well as the initiatives, tools and processes Volvo implements to create a culture that promotes a diverse and inclusive workplace.


"Delegates were inspired and motivated to implement the wonderful suggestions they learned of at the event in their workplaces," said Lowe.

"Women On Board has developed a real following over the past 10 years and has developed a real reputation for being the industry’s brains trust and thought leaders," he added.  And this year’s event didn’t disappoint.



Headlining this year’s luncheon was the passionate, driven and ambitious keynote speaker Susan Alberti AC, who has forged paths in areas traditionally dominated by men.

Alberti captured and motivated the audience and moved most of them to tears over lunch sharing her story - of going from having not much to everything she could wish for – the lessons, triumphs and tragedies experienced throughout her journey as a co-founder and managing director of a large building company, as the chairman of her own medical research foundation, and as the ambassador for the National Women’s Football League.

"Susan sets such a fine example for everyone to follow, her words of wisdom were highly valued by all attendees," said Lowe.  

"It was inspirational hearing how adhering to an inclusive agenda helped her succeed in business," he added.



Said Downs: "Volvo’s support of this event spans the past decade and that’s because at Volvo diversity and inclusiveness are core areas and values that we work with every day."

"In our bus organisation in Australia - the largest bus and coach organisation in this country - we have six nationalities, a number of religions, and an age range that spans across five decades. In addition, more than 30 per cent of the team are women, including a number in key management positions.




"We understand the power of inclusion and the need for diversity, and we harness them each and every day to challenge, inspire, create and innovate, to in turn deliver business results in the market.

"Perhaps that’s why we take our commitment to today’s event so seriously," Downs explained.


Next year’s Women on Board will be held late June as the 2019 BusVic Maintenance Conference and Bus Expo is to be held in October.

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