As an entrepreneur, Ms Liu founded The Dream Collective in 2012 because she was confronted by the lack of leadership development opportunities for young women in the workplace.
She says Australian corporate leaders are doing it wrong, and need to get better at “walking the talk”.
Research shows that for every $10 invested into senior leaders, less than $1 is invested into the frontline leaders, even though this is where the valuable changes will be made.
“Australian corporates need to shift their approach from focusing on the senior executive level to turning their attention to the pipeline of young female talent coming through their doors,” said Ms Liu, who also co-founded, Australia’s first job share matching technology platform Gemini3.
“Businesses should be investing in the entry-level career women because these frontline professionals are the nation’s next generation of female leaders.”
The number of women in the bottom ranks is disproportionate to the number of women at the top, and this is not a standard we want for Australia’s business landscape.”
Ms Liu said The Dream Collective started as a passion project, but now operates in Sydney and Melbourne with plans to launch in Singapore and Tokyo by the end of 2017.
It partners with corporate brands such as Vodafone, Coca- Cola Amatil and Facebook to deliver leadership and corporate training programs, and is busy working on a micro-documentary series with those brands to be showcased at a premiere in Sydney this week.
Coca-Cola Amatil’s HR group director Libbi Wilson said fostering greater diversity within the boardroom is critical for businesses.
“An organisation needs a culture of flexibility, not just flexible options for women,” she said.
According to Vodafone Australia’s head of organisational effectiveness, Vanessa Hicks, the technology sector must strive to be an exemplar on the issue of gender diversity.
“The technology and telco industry is placing particular focus on females and STEM and it’s something we see as critical to improving diversity,” she said.
Facebook’s ANZ recruiter Sammie Hall said offering workplace flexibility was an important catalyst in encouraging greater female participation, but there was no set formula for success.
“The challenges for each individual would almost certainly be different but some of the ‘enablers’ might be universal,” she said.