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FEMALE BOSS MINES RICH SEAM OF SUCCESS

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on October 27, 2008

October 28, 2008

by Adele Horin

IN AUSTRALIAN corporate life, Nicole Hollows, 37, is a stand-out. She is the chief executive officer of Nicole Hollows - Photo - Sahlan Hayesa public company but more amazingly she heads a mining business, Macarthur Coal.

Of Australia’s top 200 listed companies, only four were headed by women when a census was taken in February. And mining companies have a poor record of promoting women to senior positions – although its record is not as bad as the food and beverage industry’s.

Ms Hollows has pushed boundaries on her way to the top. As a chief financial officer, she asked to work part-time for a year after she adopted her daughter. She intended to share child care with her husband, Michael, the general manager of Pacific Petroleum Products.

The startled all-male board had never heard of a chief financial officer working part-time. But they told her if anyone could make it work, she could.

And she did. “It was tough. I did a lot of work at night,” she said. “You can only do that if everyone above and below you is prepared to support you.”

What she likes about being chief executive is being able to drive decisions. “But being boss is not what you imagine it to be,” Ms Hollows said.

“Many people think the CEO has to know everything. Your job is to make sure you have a good management team …

“You have to make sure they’re on the right track without micro-managing. But you don’t actually ‘do’ things.”

In making the big decisions, she has learnt a boss is always going to annoy someone.

The company has 300 employees, a revenue of $400 million and half-yearly profits of about $160 million.

Ms Hollows knows what it’s like to be mistaken for the PowerPoint operator. She said a lot of men in the mining industry know women only as wives, mothers, sisters and daughters.

“I don’t believe in glass ceilings but I believe women have to work harder to prove themselves.”

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE SIDNEY MORNING HERALD’ (Australia)

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