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Embrace Difference's Danielle Beale: my defining professional moment

Embrace Difference's Danielle Beale: my defining professional moment

When Danielle Beale, Steering Co Leader, Create Difference – Gender, Embrace Difference, was given the opportunity to be involved in a female leadership industry program, she considered it an opportunity that should be made available to all. She tells Ioni Doherty about her defining professional moment - helping develop and introduce a leadership program at Coca-Cola Amatil that gave equal opportunity to all employees to take charge of their own career progression. 

Danielle Beale pursues equal opportunity, fairness for all and believes that hard working and ambitious people should be rewarded for their good work and talent. For her, a diverse and inclusive workplace is the only environment worth working in.

She said: “I’ve seen the impact an inclusive workplace has on individuals and teams: the way they interact with one another, how they show up to work and the way they approach challenges. If a person feels they belong and have a purpose that is valued, you see it in a very real and physical way. You see it in their body language and the ways in which they engage in a meeting. People become solution oriented and more productive.

“I have also seen a team of high performers and motivated individuals deflated by leaders that make decisions without taking an inclusive approach. Resulting in the individual feeling overlooked and unappreciated, this ultimately leads to disengagement that can quickly spiral for that employee and can become a challenging environment for the whole team to thrive in. People are always receptive to being included; to that feeling of belonging. And when you have it people smile as they come in the office. If you don’t, the environment feels cold and empty and without purpose.”

With a professional history steeped in sales, Beale landed in the alcohol industry 11 years ago and has no plans on leaving. She feels a great affinity with the business, loves the dynamism, and the fun, celebratory, social and creative aspects inherent to it.

Working at Amatil has been professionally rewarding and the open and forward-thinking culture at the heart of the company has enabled Beale to make an impact in the diversity and inclusion space of the business.

In 2017, Beale took part in the Drinks Association's Inclusive Leadership Program, which at the time partnered ambitious professional women with executive level mentors. Feeling extremely motivated after each session and stage of the program, it became immediately apparent to her how beneficial and invigorating a program like this would be for all of her Amatil team, male or female.

Working with her colleague Tonya Cronin, who was also participating in the program, the duo built a mentor leadership program open to brand partners, all departments and to men and women; an all inclusive and diverse program that connected people from every facet of the Amatil business.

Importantly, the two also shifted the selection process to make it fairer and more equitable. Applicants nominated themselves for the program and the process was in-depth, transparent and forward thinking.

As such, the “tap on the shoulder” that had been common practice ceased to exist, along with the potential to perceive the opportunity as exclusive.

Three years on, the Pay It Forward Mentoring and Leadership Program is now part of Amatil’s charter for values.

“It was essential that the program was a level playing field for all people and that criteria for acceptance based on merit, ambition and performance at work," Beale explained. "We wanted the opportunity to be given to all our colleagues, not just females or people with bigger networks.

Amatil submitted the program for consideration by the Drinks Association for the Inclusive and Diverse Workplace Award in 2019.

Steering the Gender Equity workstream for the Drinks Association feels like a natural progression and an exciting possibility.

“Now that I have experience knowing that I have made a difference at Amatil," Beale said. "I want to continue to pursue the change at an industry level.

“I want to work in an environment that breads creativity, fun and acceptance. And I think all workplaces should strive to take the steps towards being more diverse and inclusive.”

Watch what Beale has to say about Embrace Difference below:

Pictured main: Beale with fellow Steering Co Leader Alan Ko.