WA Country Health Service’s Erin Gandy and LGIS WA’s Candy Choo Awarded Scholarship for Aspiring Female Leaders

April 28, 2017

Perth Luminaries Scholarship Winners 2017WA Country Health Service’s, Erin Gandy and LGIS WA’s Candy Choo have been announced recipients of behind closed doors’ (BCD) coveted Luminaries Scholarship for 2017.

Announcing the winner at a networking event for women last night, BCD Founder and Managing Director, Donny Walford, said the 12-month scholarship is awarded to a successful woman seeking access to insights, knowledge, support and high level networks in their journey to Executive and Board positions.

“I extend my congratulations to our winners, Erin Gandy and Candy Choo, as well as our worthy runners up, Luisa Wing, CEO at Community West and Sarah Fairweather, Head of HR at Virgin Australia.” Ms Walford said.

Erin has been working in the health sector for many years having significantly contributed to the growth and innovation of her organisation. Candy, who started her career as a psychologist, has developed a successful career driving change in the insurance sector.

“Both recipients will take every opportunity made available to them through the Luminaries Scholarship.” Ms Walford said.

BCD, who offers an annual Luminaries Scholarship, was this year able to provide two fully funded scholarships to aspiring female leaders. The second because of funding received under the Supporting Businesswomen to Success Scholarship provided by the Australian Government.

The Office for Women, Women’s Leadership and Development Strategy, provides funding towards promoting and supporting greater representation of Australian women in leadership and decision making roles – BCD has used this grant funding to offer a second Perth Luminaries Scholarship.

Ms Gandy, Business Services Consultant – Medical, applied for the Luminaries Scholarship to gain further insight into the skills required to take on an executive role as well as guidance to achieving a Board position.

Ms Choo, Manager WorkCare Services, LGIS WA, is looking forward to the valuable networking opportunities with other professional women that the scholarship will offer.

“Seeking constructive feedback and solutions from my peers will be invaluable,” Ms Choo said.

The BCD Luminaries Scholarship offers businesswomen aspiring to executive roles the opportunity to further expand their leadership and management skills through a year-long membership to BCD Luminaries, valued at more than $5,500.

BCD Luminaries was created in response to an identified need for motivated businesswomen to have a professional sounding board and support network where they can discuss professional and personal issues, challenges and strategies in a totally confidential environment while, at the same time, encouraging each other to extend themselves to achieve and succeed in new environments.

Members meet for three hours, ten times a year, for peer to peer mentoring, professional development and networking with like-minded businesswomen. Outside of this further professional development, networking and mentorship opportunities are provided to members amongst the wider BCD community at a national level.

“One of its major aims,” concluded Ms Walford, “is to increase women’s representation on Boards, committees and in executive management roles and BCD has an enviable track record in successfully supporting our members to achieve these types of roles.” 

Issued by:

Penny Reidy, Marketing Manager, Behind Closed Doors on 8333 4303 or 0401 349 791


Possible Reasons Why Women Don’t Nominate for Scholarships

Nominating for ScholarshipsIn the pursuit of self-development and career growth, there are many avenues open to today’s professional women. Far more than at any other time in history, businesswomen today have access to an astounding array of courses, mentors, coaches and even scholarships to build skills and expand their professional toolkits.

Yet, surprisingly, many of these resources are under-utilised. For example, oftentimes women miss out on scholarship opportunities simply because they fail to nominate each other or self-nominate.

Why is this so? We’ve come up with a list of possible reasons why women, at times, don’t nominate for scholarships.

1. We Think Someone Else Will Win

Sometimes women fail to nominate each other or themselves because they feel the winner is already a given or has been chosen—even way before the results are known. We’ve all had that colleague who seems to have or do it all. That can be really intimidating! So why bother nominating another candidate if there is little or no chance that she will win? You ask yourself, “Doesn’t that set her up for disappointment?” This kind of thinking can lead to fewer votes and a less diverse distribution of nominations.

However, we should be careful of “reading minds” when we make such assumptions. The actual goals of the judging panel are likely to be quite varied. Just because one candidate seems strong does not guarantee that the panel will choose that person, or that person fits their criteria better compared to other nominees. Perhaps they are looking for someone who could better benefit from growth. And regardless, having the added exposure and flagging your interest can only benefit any businesswoman in the long run.

2. We Assume Someone Else Will Nominate

Maybe you know of an especially strong candidate that you think should win, say, a scholarship in a prestigious business program. She works hard, has a great mind for creativity and curiosity, and exemplifies all the qualities you think the “chosen one” should have. In fact, she is so great, obviously everyone will nominate her! Right?

That may or may not be correct. Thinking that not being able to nominate is alright because others will probably nominate that person could derail a candidate’s chances. Think of it this way: What if others think the same way as you do? What a shame if this promising woman misses out on a great opportunity just because you left the responsibility to others and became assuming to a fault.

3. We Think Our Vote Doesn’t Matter

These days it has become easy for people to believe that the system is just too big to take notice of one person or nomination. That attitude can occasionally spillover into our professional development, much to the detriment of our teams and colleagues.

Getting frustrated and simply abstaining from the process doesn’t help anyone. Yes, in some cases, for example, extremely large-scale scholarships, there may be hundreds or even thousands of nominations and votes. But every vote still counts. And the real importance lies in your willingness to keep playing a role, no matter how big or small. As they say, you don’t get to 100 without getting to 10 first.

4. We Feel Competitive 

Occasionally, although we are never proud to admit it, people fail to nominate each other out of a feeling of competition. Getting ahead can be hard! A 2013 study indicated that women exhibit an indirect form of aggression toward each other which is a combination of “self-promotion…and derogation of rivals.” Many of us have developed a sense that we must fight tooth and nail to get where we are going. Sometimes we allow that to make us insecure about advancing a colleague.

Yet this kind of thinking is inaccurate. It comes from a false concept of limited supply on success. Rather than holding each other back, we should recognise that we are stronger as a team! When we lean on each other, build our networks, and see each other as valuable sources of help and guidance, everyone has a better chance of winning, one way or another.

5. We Feel Uncertainty

Women can also be plagued by excessive feelings of uncertainty. Generally speaking, females have a tendency to be fairly considerate of others. Sometimes, we are this way to a fault. This uncertainty may prevent us from nominating colleagues because we are unsure of how they will react to the nomination. Perhaps winning it could be a burden on them? Maybe they won’t like the spotlight?

There is a very simple solution to this: communication. Studies show that men tend to be more direct in their workplace communication whereas women might have a “softer style of communicating.” Occasionally we let that gentler approach slide into avoidance. Before you let uncertainty prevent you from giving a colleague a shot at advancement, talk to her. Ask her if she might be interested and clarify your concerns. Encourage her if she feels modest.

6. We Procrastinate, Forget, or simply Become too Busy 

Sometimes we forget to help each other out simply because the lives of business and professional women are incredibly busy. As we frantically try to balance our careers with our homes and our families, inevitably things get lost in the shuffle. As much as you would like to see your colleague succeed, it simply didn’t rate above preparing for your big meeting or making your deadline.

While we never want to sabotage our own success, helping each other out is part of a healthy life balance. Successful businesswomen know the value of finding the right life organisation tool to keep them on schedule and to properly divide their time. Make sure to include time to support others to promote each other’s success every now and then.

Finally, don’t forget that “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!” No one ever said that success was guaranteed from the start. A strong professional woman knows that persistence pays off. Past failures are not indicators of future results. As proof, Behind Closed Doors’ 2017 Adelaide Luminaries Scholarship was awarded to a professional who won it at her third attempt!

Think of the particularly talented young professional women in your network. You know how hard they work. You know of their achievements, goals and dreams, as well as their obstacles. How can you help them advance? How can you help them get closer to their goals?

Nominating a colleague for a potentially life-altering scholarship doesn’t take very long and doesn’t involve much effort. But you can potentially make a world of difference if you do it. Behind Closed Doors regularly has open scholarship programs. Judging is in progress for our Adelaide Executive Assistant Scholarship and the Perth Luminaries Scholarship which provides access to professional development, peer to peer mentoring and networking to businesswomen who aspire to gain executive roles.

As a leading organisation in providing professional development and support for businesswomen, behind closed doors is a source of scholarships and other ways to promote your professional colleagues. Your nomination is all it takes or, nominate yourself!


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Essential Advice on Owning a Successful Business

Owning a successful businessEstablishing and owning a new business can bring up a lot of emotions, including excitement, fear, drive, confusion, and confidence. Every new business is unique, and whether this is your first entrepreneurial endeavour or not, it’s bound to come with a few challenges.

Take a look at some successful businesswomen who have come before you. Following in their footsteps can help your business attain the same success and allows you to focus on getting through new obstacles, rather than solving the same ones that other women have already gotten through. Try reading books by or about successful women—a little inspiration might be the push you need to start gaining confidence.

We’ve put together a list of tips for running a successful business to help you kick-start your business engine.

Seize Opportunities When They Are Presented to You and Create Them When They Aren’t

When you’re starting something new, it’s important to look at every situation as an opportunity, whether it seems to be one or not. Take advantage of the resources, network, and time you have, knowing that nothing in life is permanent—they may not always be available to you.

Making your own opportunities may mean stepping out of your comfort zone. It can be intimidating at first but successful business owners learn how to do so. You then will be able to see even more opportunities that you weren’t aware of before.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

Sometimes, women find it hard to ask for help from fellow entrepreneurs. This shouldn’t be the case according to Alexandra Lebenthal, President and CEO of Lebenthal & Company. She says, “Ask and she shall receive! Women often find it hard to ask for things, whether it’s a business opportunity or a salary raise. We simply expect others to recognize our value and hard work. Asking for what you want in a gracious, thoughtful way often results in getting what you want, so put your fears aside and ask for what you want. You might just get it!”

Running a business doesn’t mean you have to do everything by yourself either. When you hire a team, you should expect them to do their job. Build your team, delegate, and remember that you’re not being bossy, you’re being efficient.

Failing to ask for help when you need it can leave a business owner overwhelmed, overtired, and overstressed, which is when mistakes happen. It’s much better to have a competent team or a mentor who can offer advice or help so you can stay on top of things, than to forget to lock up at night, fail to pay your taxes, or miscalculate inventory because you’re unable to focus due to the amount of work you need to do.

Maintain Your Network

When it comes to asking for help, it’s always a good idea to have a network of helpful people whose expertise and resources you can tap into. However, a reliable network is made of relationships, and needs care and maintenance. When you meet someone new, send a note to follow up. Networking isn’t only on LinkedIn—if you own a business don’t be afraid to discuss it at every opportunity such as socially in the coffee shop, in the dog park, or at your child’s soccer game. Sometimes, the best people to add to your network are found in the most unexpected of places.

Talking about your business isn’t selfish. Forming and maintaining a network will open you up to new opportunities for growth that you may not find without it.

Don’t Be Afraid to Take Risks

Building a successful business means taking chances, and sometimes, that means failure. Use failure as a platform for learning and remember that you only need to succeed once. You can fail as many times as it takes—the experience you get as you move forward will only serve to give you the proper insights needed to improve your business.

So, don’t be afraid to take risks. Trust your instincts, and take risks on yourself, on your business, and on possible opportunities. Owning a business is, in itself, already a risk. Without having taken that risk, your business would not exist. Learning to calculate and mitigate risk is an important part of business ownership.

Learn to Accept Criticism, but Don’t Let It Define You

Being a businesswoman means you’re a potential target for criticisms from different sources such as your colleagues, fellow businesswomen, your team, clients, family, and even yourself. Learning to analyse criticisms and use it to your advantage not only makes it easier for you to improve your business, it also gives you insights on what others want—a potential tool that you can use to better your products or service.

As such, the ability to ask for an opinion, take criticism, and learn from it, is an extremely valuable tool in business ownership. Learn to tell the difference between constructive and destructive criticism. Remember that destructive criticism isn’t meant to help you, and generally isn’t all that accurate anyway. Constructive criticism, however, can certainly be helpful if you listen and apply what you learn from it. Remember, it’s not personal!

For women just entering the business scene, it definitely helps to gain contacts and insights from those who have, as they say, “been there, done that.” Behind Closed Doors is an organisation of professionals and businesswomen which offers mentorship, networking, and other tools those in the business scene will find helpful, whether you’re just starting out with your business or planning to take it to the next level.



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