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NEWS AND PUBLICATIONS > Alumnae > Penny Graham on Her Work to #BreakTheBias

Penny Graham on Her Work to #BreakTheBias

On a personal mission to foster greater workplace diversity, Penny Graham is also a proud alumna of Catholic independent girl's school, Loreto Normanhurst.
7 Feb 2022
Penny Graham, Chair of CareerSeekers
Penny Graham, Chair of CareerSeekers

Influential women are intrinsically interwoven into the foundations of Loreto Normanhurst. Graduating in 1984, Penny Graham showcases the school’s ability to propel students on a pathway to fulfil their academic and personal potential and respond to the needs of a everchanging VUCA world.

This International Woman’s Day calls for us to take action and #BreakTheBias so we can live in a world that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive. Penny Graham is one woman who lives to make this a reality.

“Imagine a diverse corporate Australia, representing and ‘mirroring” our population ​ – It’s gender, race, age and preferences. Without seeking that diversity, responding and connecting with it, we risk marginalising whole chunks of our community, our workforce, our shareholders and our customers” said CareerSeekers Chair, Penny Graham.

Drawing on a lifetime spent working and travelling living in Asia, Europe and Australia, Penny Graham has a passion to promote cultural diversity in Australian companies.

She Chairs CareerSeekers, a non-profit organisation supporting Australia’s refugees and asylum seekers to restart their professional careers in Australia.

CareerSeekers provides in-depth preparation and support to participants who undertake paid internships lasting 12 weeks. The internship provides local experience, a professional reference, and a connection to a network in their industry of expertise. Businesses benefit as it helps plug skills shortages and create more diverse workforces.

The organisation has partnered with 80 major employers in Australia and provided 1000 employment outcomes.

In speaking to the impact of the CareerSeekers organisation, Graham says:

“Many humanitarian arrivals in Australia struggle to find employment opportunities that match their skills and experience. Our participants have professional experience and are often highly skilled. The impact of that first internship, that first job, is the catalyst for them settling in Australia successfully. Its impact extends beyond the individual and into their communities. Our participants are resilient, loyal, hardworking, and valuable additions to any workforce.”

29.8% of the current Australian the population was was born overseas, a figure that increases to nearly 49% when including first and second generation migrants. Yet it is hard to find that representation across corporate Australia in professional firms, and in our the elected government and their departments. ​

Equality and diversity, particularly enhanced female representation, is fundamental to the culture of Loreto Normanhurst.

“In the spirit of our foundress Mary Ward, Loreto Normanhurst encourages young women to do much, seeking truth and acting as instruments of justice. Penny is a guiding example of our school’s strategic mission to shape women for our times” Marina Ugonotti, Principal of Loreto Normanhurst.

Penny is a part of Loreto Normanhurst’s 125-year commitment to shaping graduates who are independent, articulate, compassionate and prepared to do great things in the world.

Penny Graham will proudly join a panel of Loreto Normanhurst alumnae as they inspire a new generation of influential young women at the school’s annual Women of Influence Evening on Tuesday 8 March 2022. ​

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