Brother International Australia head of people and culture, Dorothy McDonald, has been working with the company since 2016, but has been a people leader for over 20 years in various industries including professional services, manufacturing, graphic arts, telecommunications and business solutions.

To coincide with International Women’s Day (IWD), McDonald reflected on her career journey and passion for providing a positive employee experience and successful outcomes for businesses.

“The first time I sat in a room full of male leaders, which was some time ago, the atmosphere changed when I entered; conversations stopped and everyone turned with a quizzical look, ‘what is she doing here?’” McDonald told Appliance Retailer.

“Being the only female leader in a sizeable organisation during that period meant you had to find your way to be accepted as part of the executive team and convince them you deserved to be there, which at times was tiring.

“To me, this year’s IWD theme ‘Embrace Equity’ is about raising awareness of how we need to proactively acknowledge, value and support our differences as we are all unique and one size does not fit all.”

When asked about her proudest professional achievement to date, McDonald said: “Being the only female with a seat at the executive table and being acknowledged for the positive impact I had on the organisation.”

As for her advice to other women in male-dominated industries such as tech, McDonald says to actively look for opportunities within your organisation to join a project team. “Develop a personal learning and growth plan and discuss with your leader where you would like to see yourself in the next three to five years. Keep up to date on industry trends, grow your industry network, attend conferences and seminars, and be open and willing to embrace all learning opportunities that may come your way.”