Sexual Harassment — Are You Ready to Act?

Sexual Harassment


The meteoric rise of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements have forced open a dialogue on what constitutes appropriate sexual behavior. Following on from Hollywood, other industries including fashion and financial are now becoming woke to the problems entrenched within their workplace culture.

If you have experienced unwanted or unwelcome behavior at work, would you speak out? If you did speak out, do you know who to talk to? What if you are a leader? Most organisations should have policies in place to deal with sexual harassment, however, decision making around the prevention of sexual harassment or actions around responding to reported incidents remains a leadership action.

But are leaders are truly ready to act?

Kim Vella, the executive coach behind Kim Vella Coaching and expert behind our Leiden Careers section, was inspired to organise a panel event discussing this very issue. Kim believes leaders already know how to inform themselves on workplace policy but ultimately need to develop strong ‘soft’ skills in order to make the best possible decisions around sensitive topics such as inappropriate sexual conduct.

Even though sexual harassment has been illegal in Australia for thirty-four years, it still remains a significant problem. ‘Leaders need to still take leadership action and need to be prepared as individuals,’ says Kim. ‘Their organisation can’t do that for them. And it’s never acceptable to claim banter or humour as a defence.’

Two expert panelists will join Kim in conversation to give insight into this pervasive issue. They are:


  • Sarah Avery – the head of the ACT Law Society, who has been practicing in Canberra for a decade. Sarah’s first-hand experience with several of the ACT’s most controversial laws and front-line experience with the ACT judicial system has informed her strong and valuable perspective on the topic of sexual harassment.
  • Belinda Greenwood – Former Commanding Officer of the Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Anzac, who has spent her Navy career moving between sea postings and key staff positions, has worked with the values and behaviours leaders must embody to create harassment free workplaces.


‘It’s not sufficient to put a policy in place and wash your hands of it,’ explains panelist Sarah Avery. ‘What we need is supportive leaders with integrity of their own.’


Event Details

6–7.30 pm, 12 February

East Hotel, Canberra

Tickets $45.00 (plus booking fee and GST) with net proceeds going to Karinya House

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Emma Batchelor

Emma Batchelor

As well as a near obsessive interest in fashion, Emma is a former scientist, occasional contemporary dancer, avid reader and self-confessed cat lady (she has three). Emma lived in Leiden in the Netherlands as a baby and Leiden ought to have been her middle name had her mother thought of it at the time and not chosen Louise instead.

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