Compass Ambassador, Lara Hendriks

Who are you?
Lara Hendriks, 37 years old, Regional Manager State Growth Tasmania, dedicated wife and mother of 2 girls; aged 4 and 6.

Which region are you representing?
Tasmania.

Tell us a little about yourself. What is an 'interesting' fact or talent that you have?
Two time Australian Ironman finisher, short course Tasmanian Dualthon Champion, nominee for Telstra Business Woman of the Year as a Government employee and my most interesting story; I crushed two arms and suffered compartment syndrome when 9 months pregnant and recovered from injuries that were deemed irrecoverable. I was to be an amputee and yet now I dead-lift 130 kilos and drill out handstand pushups as a Crossfit competitor.

What inspired you to become a Compass Ambassador?
The desire to encourage more women to believe in themselves and just have a go. When told that only 8% of women in Australia progress to senior management and board positions I questioned why. I clearly recall a conversation with an Agency Secretary who said to me why don’t women apply for our senior positions? Under-qualified men apply all the time, demonstrating they would be prepared to give anything ago, and yet women don’t. Do they not believe in themselves? It was a jolt that made me reconsider my position and those of fellow women managers, to explore why we are not converting to senior leadership roles.

What do you do to support other women in your region?
I employ them, I recommend their appointment to government boards and advisory groups, I used to facilitate a Women in Business and mentor program, I promote Compass and guest speak at leadership and business forums, promoting the message to all regional up and coming leaders, to put their hand up and be heard, in particular women.

In your opinion, what do the women in your region need right now?

  • Opportunity and exposure to roles which see them in key decision making positions
  • Affordable and accessible childcare
  • Traditional mindset change from appointing senior aged males to senior roles in traditional industries
  • More encouragement in the school system for educational opportunities in regions and associated financial support
  • Leadership courses starting from early childhood education
  • Women need to network more in senior circles, to break down barriers of exclusive support and career progression for the ‘mates and all-boys clubs’
  • Boards of Management recycle the same old same old. Time for women to express their interest in being a part of these boards and/or advisory groups

What groups are you involved with?
Currently the North West Advisory Board UTAS, North West Regional Reference Advisory Group.

What would be your advice to someone who is thinking of registering for the Compass program?
Embrace the truth and cherish every minute of it. Be the sponge - listen, learn, participate and practice. Be prepared to fail and grow.

What were your top three moments during the program, and what did you learn?
The power of open sharing, the triad groups and the new professional and personal friendships formed, the clear link between values and aspirational goals.

What is a quality you admire in other women?
Strength shown through compassion, conviction and intelligence, not competition.

Describe your most powerful leadership moment as a woman...
In late 2013, the then Minister for Economic Development in Tasmania announced to a room of CEOs, regional leaders and my Agency Secretary his gratitude for my work and efforts. He stated ‘ if I could carbon copy Lara to the north and the south of Tasmania, the economy would be in a much better state.’

What do you want to achieve in the next 12 months?
To be promoted on merit to a senior leadership role within government administration or within industry.


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