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Macpherson Kelley paves the way for female leaders

01 March 2023 Senior Communications and Marketing Advisor Mika Charm e: mikasha.charm@mk.com.au d: 03 8615 9985 m: 0434 616 089
Read Time 5 mins reading time

While many organisations have a long way to go when it comes to encouraging women in leadership roles – Macpherson Kelley’s Dandenong office is in a league of its own.

Out of the 13 Principal Lawyers and Managers based in Macpherson Kelley’s Dandenong office, the majority are female, and that stat is no mistake says National HR Manager, Olivia Holmes.

“Our Dandenong office is a product of what happens when a firm lives and breathes what they preach,” said Olivia.

“Macpherson Kelley’s purpose is to support our people professionally and personally and, for many of our female leaders, this support has carried them from their early life and career through to the senior roles they occupy now.”

Macpherson Kelley started in 1905 in what was then the manufacturing country town of Dandenong. While the town has undergone significant development since then, male dominated industries like manufacturing continue to hold a great presence in the city, making the office’s female dominance unique to Dandenong’s business sector. The firm has since expanded to Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney bringing with it a culture based on equity and inclusion.

The Managing Principal Lawyer overseeing the Dandenong office, Kelly Dickson has made use of the firm’s Flex+ policy for 10 years to support her professional and personal responsibilities.

Kelly says that the mere fact that a Managing Principal Lawyer can work flexibly, demonstrates to all staff that flexible work is not just an attraction incentive but an attainable reality.

“Let’s be honest, part time work comes with its challenges but I’m proud to show our staff that gender and part-time work status are not impediments to achieving career goals,” said Kelly.

“Working flexibly is a team effort and our Dandy office’s willingness to live our firm values and ‘play as a team’ is what makes it work for all of us.”

Out of the 7 female Principal Lawyers and Managers, 5 work part-time and 4 have taken advantage of the firm’s parental leave policy at some point in their career.

Longevity within the firm is also a point of pride, with 4 out of the 5 female Principal Lawyers having been with Macpherson Kelley for over 12 years – one of which is Belinda Sigismundi. Belinda is now established as a standout in her field, with one of the highest client satisfaction ratings in the firm – much of which she credits to the firm’s ethos and culture.

“One of the highlights during my 18 years at Macpherson Kelly was being promoted to Principal Lawyer as I was about to head off on parental leave with my second child. The timing of this promotion sent a powerful message to other women in the firm – that you can have a family and still progress in your career,” said Belinda Sigismundi.

“It is a message that continues to permeate the incredible culture at Macpherson Kelley, which is based on respect, empowerment and connection.”

Women in leadership roles has been a hot topic both in politics and in the lead up to International Women’s Day on 8 March, but Olivia Holmes says gender equity is not just a conversation for the here and now. It’s a never-ending commitment.

“Seeing is believing – we know the importance of female role models at Macpherson Kelley. There has been a very positive affect on all of our young lawyers who can see you can prioritise life and career development and success,” says Olivia.

“Satisfaction is watching someone climb through the ranks of the firm, learning more about themselves along the way, giving them the space and flexibility they need to thrive in their role. There’s nothing like it and it’s something that the firm will continue to prioritise into the future.”

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Macpherson Kelley paves the way for female leaders

01 March 2023 Mika Charm e: mikasha.charm@mk.com.au d: 03 8615 9985 m: 0434 616 089

While many organisations have a long way to go when it comes to encouraging women in leadership roles – Macpherson Kelley’s Dandenong office is in a league of its own.

Out of the 13 Principal Lawyers and Managers based in Macpherson Kelley’s Dandenong office, the majority are female, and that stat is no mistake says National HR Manager, Olivia Holmes.

“Our Dandenong office is a product of what happens when a firm lives and breathes what they preach,” said Olivia.

“Macpherson Kelley’s purpose is to support our people professionally and personally and, for many of our female leaders, this support has carried them from their early life and career through to the senior roles they occupy now.”

Macpherson Kelley started in 1905 in what was then the manufacturing country town of Dandenong. While the town has undergone significant development since then, male dominated industries like manufacturing continue to hold a great presence in the city, making the office’s female dominance unique to Dandenong’s business sector. The firm has since expanded to Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney bringing with it a culture based on equity and inclusion.

The Managing Principal Lawyer overseeing the Dandenong office, Kelly Dickson has made use of the firm’s Flex+ policy for 10 years to support her professional and personal responsibilities.

Kelly says that the mere fact that a Managing Principal Lawyer can work flexibly, demonstrates to all staff that flexible work is not just an attraction incentive but an attainable reality.

“Let’s be honest, part time work comes with its challenges but I’m proud to show our staff that gender and part-time work status are not impediments to achieving career goals,” said Kelly.

“Working flexibly is a team effort and our Dandy office’s willingness to live our firm values and ‘play as a team’ is what makes it work for all of us.”

Out of the 7 female Principal Lawyers and Managers, 5 work part-time and 4 have taken advantage of the firm’s parental leave policy at some point in their career.

Longevity within the firm is also a point of pride, with 4 out of the 5 female Principal Lawyers having been with Macpherson Kelley for over 12 years – one of which is Belinda Sigismundi. Belinda is now established as a standout in her field, with one of the highest client satisfaction ratings in the firm – much of which she credits to the firm’s ethos and culture.

“One of the highlights during my 18 years at Macpherson Kelly was being promoted to Principal Lawyer as I was about to head off on parental leave with my second child. The timing of this promotion sent a powerful message to other women in the firm – that you can have a family and still progress in your career,” said Belinda Sigismundi.

“It is a message that continues to permeate the incredible culture at Macpherson Kelley, which is based on respect, empowerment and connection.”

Women in leadership roles has been a hot topic both in politics and in the lead up to International Women’s Day on 8 March, but Olivia Holmes says gender equity is not just a conversation for the here and now. It’s a never-ending commitment.

“Seeing is believing – we know the importance of female role models at Macpherson Kelley. There has been a very positive affect on all of our young lawyers who can see you can prioritise life and career development and success,” says Olivia.

“Satisfaction is watching someone climb through the ranks of the firm, learning more about themselves along the way, giving them the space and flexibility they need to thrive in their role. There’s nothing like it and it’s something that the firm will continue to prioritise into the future.”