Posted on 04/03/2021 by

Phillip Island Nature Parks has a lot to celebrate on March 8, International Women's Day, with a mighty team of females making their mark from the boardroom to the beaches.

On any given day at Phillip Island Nature Parks, women are playing pivotal roles across their diverse organisation that has conservation and gender equity at its core.

In 2019-2020, of the 184 employees, 111 were female including the CEO and the majority of senior managers. Six of the nine Board members, including the Chair, are also female.

CEO Catherine Basterfield was recently recognised as one of IPAA’s Top 50 Public Sector Women in Victoria largely for her role in ensuring gender equity and securing the organisation’s sustainability and viability over the challenges of the past year.

“The contribution of women in leadership roles is of great significance to me, and speaks to the importance of gender equality in our workplaces and in our communities which I am a strong champion of,” said Catherine.

“Equally as important is the role women across the organisation contribute in a wide range of roles including marine scientists, farm assistants, environment rangers, visitor services and more. I am very proud of them all.”

Peta Wittig, General Manager of Tourism Operations, has worked in tourism around the world including the challenging environments of Dubai.

Marine Scientist Dr Rebecca McIntosh wrestles seals to the ground by day and is a proud mum to two boys outside of work.

Conservation Manager, Jessica McKelson swapped working orangutans in the Sumatran jungle for caring for penguins and creating a long term conservation vision for Phillip Island and its wildlife.

Farm Assistant, Chloe Dann, cracks whips, rounds and shears sheep and also demonstrates blacksmithing in her Farm Assistant role at Churchill Island.

Shani Blyth is an Environment Ranger and is instrumental in working on the organisation’s Cultural Heritage Portfolio. She was recently announced as a semi-finalist in the Yarn Strong Sista Indigenous Achievement Award which forms part of the 2021 7NEWS Young Achiever Awards.

Also announced as a semi-finalist in the awards in the digital Online Achievement Award category is Sophie Winter, Digital Marketing and PR Executive who, along with her role, has contributed significantly to the community as Vice President of Plastic Free Phillip Island and San Remo.

There is a lot to celebrate this International Women's Day when we can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality, seek out and celebrate women's achievements and collectively help create an inclusive world.