Melinda Godber has a background in organisational and adult learning and development, capability building and leadership, her career spans several industries including banking, retail, and the humanitarian sector.
– Melinda Godber, Australia
“When I came to Red Cross, I really felt that I had found a home”
“During this time, I have been fortunate to learn from some amazing women right around the world; listening to their stories, watching them interact with community and supporting their work to make a difference.”
Melinda holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Queensland, a master’s degree in Adult and Workplace Learning from Griffith University and a master’s degree in Organisational Leadership from Charles Sturt University, where she also received the Post Graduate Award for Academic Excellence. “My studies have given me the grounding to challenge existing thinking in how we develop. I have had the opportunity to increase connections and grow awareness of the things I can bring to the movement to push this process”, Melinda explains.
Developing the culture of our workplaces and capabilities of our people are two things Melinda believes are of critical importance to enable the role women have. In particular, she is passionate about how leadership and learning can positively create opportunities for women to change communities and organisations. These experiences culminated in the development of Australian Red Cross’ Talented Women Development Program – Accelerate.
“With Accelerate we wanted to provide women with the chance to consider what else they could be, what influence they could have and how they can support one another in the process of learning. It is inspirational to be part of their growth.
The opportunity to develop a program that brings together women from all parts of our organisation and realise the potential they have has been very rewarding. It was also a chance for us to break the stereotype on what leadership and development programs traditionally focussed on.
Imagine a movement where we are able to ALL share our experiences, to listen and to learn from one another. The voice women have is so important in making this a reality. To be able to grow the strengths of our amazing female talent is critical to our future. Imagine the impact that would have!
Learning can make such a difference to someone’s life. The opportunity to try something and grow in a safe environment can open so many doors. Yet, it is often the opportunity that many women miss out on.
– Melinda Godber, Australia
“The impact women can have has been underestimated in so many ways”
It is through learning, education and development, especially in the areas of leadership, that I believe women can be enabled to have the voice and the space to change communities for the better and influence the future”, Melinda says.
One event in particular made an impression on Melinda; “When I was working alongside our emergency services teams in an evacuation centre during the Queensland floods of 2010, I met a woman who had lost her entire home to the floods. Everything she owned and had built in her life was lost; all she had left was one water-soaked book of family photos. She arrived at the evacuation centre covered in mud, traumatised by what she had experienced. Her first words to me were, “I don’t see the point in living anymore”. Stunned into silence, I watched as one of my colleagues stepped in. With empathy and a quiet fortitude, she guided this woman into safety and a place of feeling she could survive this experience. What struck me was the skill and confidence this team member showed. She had such an incredible impact on this woman’s next steps. I knew that I wanted to use my skill for developing others to help that impact grow. That is the contribution I could make.
This is what inspires me to do all I can to think differently about how we can bring opportunities to grow all our people so they too can have this impact”.
Globally, women hold just 24% of senior leadership positions. The U.S. lags behind the global average at 21%, compared to China where women hold 51% of senior leadership slots.