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Pop Quiz, Monday with Penelope Twemlow

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The Pop Quiz, Monday is a fun little exam that we love to give to savvy business owners. The examination is not a surprise after all since the interviewee already knew about the questions in advance. However, we can always pretend and have fun with the scenario of a young entrepreneur sitting in class nervously biting on their pencil. They are ready to take a pop quiz on a chapter that they were supposed to read the night before. Instead, they played Metroid all night on their SNES (Oops, this was me in high school). The real purpose of the pop quiz is that this is a fun way to introduce business tips from real-world experiences that you can not learn in a classroom. We want to thank our entrepreneur for being a good sport and volunteering their time to answer a few questions to help our community grow from their knowledge.

I want to introduce you to our guest today who will be taking our Pop Quiz Monday.

Can you please tell everyone your name?
Penelope Twemlow

Penelope Twemlow
Photo credit: Penelope Twemlow

What is your job role?
CEO – General Manager Pty Ltd

Co-founder and Chairwoman – Women in Power

Director – Durack College

Advocate – White Ribbon Australia

Keynote Speaker – Saxton

Tell us about your company?
Women in Power is a Not-For-Profit organisation formed in 2015 whose mission is to promote and improve the energy, construction and resources industries by the advancement of women within it. It provides a forum for its members to meet and exchange information, ideas, and solutions and offers individual members an opportunity to expand personal and business networks,maintain awareness of industry developments, improve skills and knowledge, and make a contribution to other women in the energy, construction and resources industry.

Women in Power’s objectives are:
• To unite women actively involved in the various areas of the energy,construction and resources industries for their mutual benefit
• To promote co-operation, fellowship and a better understanding among members of Women in Power 
• To promote education and contribute to the betterment of the energy,construction and resources industries
• To encourage women to pursue and establish careers in various sectors
• To provide members with an awareness of issues relating to industry.

Women in Power provides an extensive range ofactivities to assist and promote women in industry through: 
• Education seminars
• Mentoring programs 
• Community involvement
• Advocacy on behalf of Women in the energy, construction and resources industries
• Regular events 
• Newsletters 
• Awards program
• Marketing 
• Sponsorship activities 
• Liaison with like-minded related associations.

General Manager Pty Ltd is a corporate consultancy providing services both nationally and internationally to high risk industries in business resilience, people and culture and management consulting. Clients have included Santos, QGC, GAM, AMEC, MCG Group, BHP Billiton, BG Group, Glencore, Rio Tinto, Xstrata, Thiess, Leighton, John Holland, Baulderstone, Abigroup, Bechtel, Strike Energy and more.

Durack College, previously St. Margaret’s College, is a college supporting and preparing students with the skills to navigate tertiary course programs and meet academic rigour required of their chosen discipline. The College aims to prepare students with the ability to adapt to the ever-changing job market of the 21st century as well as leverage its’network of strategic partners to support part-time employment opportunities for students as well as graduates of the College to gain admission to selective graduate programs and secure employment at the best organisations.

What do you love most about your job?
My fellow Women in Power Board members and I see mentoring and networking as an essential leadership skill. In addition to managing and motivating people, it’s also essential that we can help others learn, grow and become more effective in their jobs and lives. Mentoring and networking is a critical component to success and an essential element to support career development and progression. Mentoring and networking opportunities allow access to an experienced source of advice and guidance, provides support with problem solving and handling difficult situations and delivers a non-judgmental and safe place to voice challenges and frustrations. Most importantly, it offers access to resources and networks that would have otherwise been unknown to individuals.

What motivates you to get up every day and go to work?
I am regularly asked why do I do what I do? Why do I push all sorts of limits, and what is my motivation? For me it is quite simple – I enjoy solving problems and taking on issues that I care about and where I can make a difference. I enjoy being successful but most of all, I want to assist others to be successful also.

I have loved all the roles I under take because I am PASSIONATE about the causes behind them and the people they will touch. I don’t just pursue the path that will lead to a steady income – I ensure that I pursue the career of my dreams so that I don’t short change my chances of success and great satisfaction.

Each and every day, I work quietly – and even not so quietly – towards achieving my goals. I demonstrate my worth; I never doubt that I am valuable, compelling and deserving of every chance and opportunity.

At the end of the day, I believe the main consideration that separates people is simply OPPORTUNITY, and I am determined to provide those opportunities to as many people as I can.

How do your co-workers inspire you?
My co-workers in all of the spaces in which I work are incredibly talented and like-minded people who are driven to succeed. Their values align with mine and they are consistently seeking to better themselves and the communities in which they work.

The best way that my coworkers motivate and inspire me is to set a positive example. Approaching work with a positive attitude and completing all tasks as diligently as possible inspires me to do the same.

How do you have fun at work (team building, pranks, etc..)?
In all of the areas that I work, I am fortunate in that I am consistently surrounded by passionate, driven people who also know how to have fun.

We have created certain traditions where we can get together over a meal or a drink and enjoy each other’s company. We are particularly lucky in that our roles are very client-facing so we are continually having a change of environment and getting the opportunity to meet incredible people, young and old. We also have work spaces that we all enjoy,and we are always appreciative of each other, and each other work.

What are some of the challenges of your job?
We are faced with the same macroeconomic conditions that most organisations find themselves these days. On top of this, we are regularly challenged with having to fight the inequality and inequities of doing business as females in typically male-dominated industries.

I understand that different problems and opportunities demand different solutions, so in any organisation that I am managing, I ensure that I:
• Keep up with the market: business conditions change continually, so market research must be continuous as well
• Plan ahead: revisit and update business plans regularly based on market conditions and research
• Cash flow and financial management: Make the best use of finances for business planning and assessing new opportunities
• Problem solve: be alert to new problems and priorities
• Hold the right systems: develop, implement and use information systems to manage effectively
• Possess the right mix of skills and attitudes, both personally and as a team
• Welcome change: be committed to the strategy but understand the need for change if required.

What are some lessons learned from a past project that you can share with us?
The biggest lesson learned from the work we do in Women in Power is that we cannot merely confine our work to just half of the population (women),even though that is what our core mission is. Hence why we now provide our services to men and women alike.

My fellow Women in Power colleagues understand that diverse and inclusive organisations and industries are not merely ones where people look different, but ones where you have created an environment where people feel like they are who they are, uniquely, and in away that integrates them, and that they’re not trapped in a box.

We educate people and organisations on the need for equality and diversity every day. We understand that diversity is a lens for looking at, identifying, developing, and advancing talent. We assist people and organisations to build accountability into systems and ensure each person takes responsibility for creating a diverse and inclusive work environment.

What advice would you give to someone who is starting in your industry?
Many initiatives and strategies are currently being used to promote women into leadership positions within the energy, construction and resource sectors. Where and when possible, organisations must raise the profile of outstanding women by providing awards and honours to individuals as well as organisations who support the full participation of women. Providing professional development programmes for women aimed at empowering them is a great mechanism, as is the ongoing support and encouragement of women to pursue positions in these sectors.

Additional work can be conducted in increasing funding for the development of education programmes on inclusive leadership, challenging stereotypes and unconscious bias as well as building partnerships with government, industry and the corporate sector to increase the percentage of women in the energy, construction and resource sectors.

Every person and organisation should seek to be a leader in modelling gender equality and encourage career progression. The end goal is to achieve industries that maximize performance and capability by enabling all women and men to thrive equally. All staff should be able to participate and progress commensurate with their talent and aspirations and feel valued and inspired to do their best.

Whatever actions are taken, achieving genuine gender equality and effecting cultural change will be an iterative process, and work areas should take the initiative to explore additional and new ideas.

Thank you for taking our pop quiz today. You get an A+ for effort. You can learn more about our interviewee and their business by visiting them on the web:

Website: www.womeninpower.org.au / www.penelopetwemlow.com

Get Over Your Damn Self: The No-BS Blueprint to Building a Life-Changing Business

Romi Neustadt is passionate about helping others build lucrative direct sales and network marketing businesses that help create lives with more freedom and flexibility, greater purpose and a lot more fun. In this book she offers you the same direct, no-BS coaching she’s given to tens of thousands to help you acquire the skills to build this sucker and teach your team to do the same.  –Publisher

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Written by Ricky Singh, MBA

Founder & Editor of The Startup Growth

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