Six Degrees network
The Six Degrees network encourages and supports diversity at Sparke Helmore. Six Degrees provides leadership, mentoring, education and knowledge-sharing opportunities for our people and our clients.
The network title comes from "six degrees of separation"—the idea that the modern world is shrinking due to the ever-increasing connectedness of human beings through, communications ,travel and technology. The aim of Six Degrees is to foster connections within and outside of the firm, by creating an open environment where we can listen, learn, contribute and grow. As technology makes communication across teams and offices easier, we have more opportunities to collaborate and work together. Strengthening relationships with our colleagues, clients and even more widely increases innovation and cooperation, improves knowledge sharing, and promotes teamwork and positive working relationships.
International Women's Day with Kitty Chiller
On Tuesday 7 March 2017, Sparke Helmore hosted a special International Women's Day (IWD) event through our Six Degrees initiative for clients in Sydney. Guest speaker Kitty Chiller, a former Olympian and sporting champion, shared her experiences in the world of elite sport.
Kitty is a 12-time national pentathlon champion, seven-time World Cup medalist and six-time World Cup finalist. She was ranked number one in the world from 1996 to1998 and competed in modern pentathlon at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. She was appointed to Deputy Chef de Mission for the 2012 Australian Olympic Team (with swimmer Chris Fydler) and to Chef de Mission for the 2016 Rio Games—her leadership reinvigorated the culture of Australia's Olympic Team.
Kitty captivated the audience as she told the story of her involvement in the Olympics, from athlete to leader. As the first female Chef de Mission during the 2016 Rio Games, Kitty faced significant scrutiny. However, she embraced the challenge ahead of her and, through her leadership of the team, became a living example of this year's IWD theme, be bold for change. In retelling her story, Kitty said that her key to success was to trust your good intentions...harness the support around you and not waver from the mandate.
International Women's Day with David Morrison
On Thursday 10 March 2016, we hosted a special IWD event in Sydney with guest speaker David Morrison, 2016 Australian of the Year and Chair of the Diversity Council of Australia. He shared his very personal story of how and why he became a champion for gender equality and diversity more widely, captivating the 150-strong audience of our clients and staff.
Talking about his time as Chief of Army from 2011 to 2015, David shared that he was confronted with the issue that women have made up less than 10% of the Army over the past century. He realised that a significant factor affecting this low figure was the Army's culture of exclusivity and set his sights on finding the language that would make its culture inclusive. He discovered this language of change after visiting soldiers serving in Afghanistan; "more diverse, more inclusive workforces are more capable...It's about encouraging people to offer their views that would be different from the status quo's, to disrupt complacent thinking, and to try and solve tomorrow's problems with tomorrow's solutions".