The 2021 Women in Defence Awards will (finally!) take place on 01 February following several postponements. The event will be held virtually due to the current public health situation in eastern Australia.

Ahead of the event, we are proud to introduce our readers to the amazing finalists across nine categories. Today we are focusing on the finalists in Communications and Project Management.

Shey Dimon of Penten
Shey is Penten’s Marketing and Communication Manager. She is responsible for driving Penten’s brand awareness and for informing external and internal stakeholders of the company’s progress across a number of initiatives ranging from gender inclusion to efforts in establishing a model for collaborative work arrangements across the Defence sector.

Shey has had an outstanding impact lifting Penten’s profile in the past 12 months. She has increased earned (not paid) media presence by 200%, including brokering feature profiles of our CEO in four major Defence publications and in several mainstream media outlets.

Melanie de Git of The Boeing Company
Melanie de Git is part of the global Communications function at Boeing, overseeing brand and innovation communications for Australia/New Zealand. Melanie also oversees innovation communications in the region, primarily focused on autonomous systems and other advances by Boeing’s Research & Technology-Australia and Phantom Works International teams. Lastly, Melanie is the company’s local social media manager and leads the team’s efforts to adopt new tools and processes for global Communications function uses. In 2020, there were numerous milestones in Australian autonomy, most of which involved the Loyal Wingman/Boeing Airpower Teaming System where Melanie was instrumental in leading the campaign from a communications perspective.

Dr Sharon Mascall-Dare of Babcock Australasia
Sharon is the Head of Marketing and Communications at Babcock Australasia where her 2020 successes led to her nomination as finalist this year. She is also a Major in the Australian Army Reserve posted to the Defence Command Support Training Centre as a Military Public Affairs Officer, working during Operation Bushfire Assist.

Concurrent with the challenges of COVID-19, Babcock Australasia initiated a large-scale transformation program during 2020. The program included a review of strategy, operating model and organisational design. Throughout 2020 Sharon invested considerable effort to Veteran wellbeing at Babcock. In addition to highlighting the needs of the Veteran community through Veteran Employment workshops, Sharon established the global ‘Proud to Serve’ series profiling and promoting stories of Defence personnel, which positioned Babcock as an employer of choice within the Veteran community.

Sarah Vesey of The Decisive Point
Sarah is a Consultant at The Decisive Point (TDP) working with a number of complex and high-profile Defence and Defence Industry clients, including Australian Army UAS/Drones, Air Force RPAS, Army Logistics – Directorate of Enabling Support in the Defence client portfolio and Bell Helicopters, Mirragin Unmanned Systems and JLB-Yaran in the Defence industry sector.
Sarah’s dedication to her clients and to the telling of their story is evident in the overwhelming success of the Army UAS program and its’ STEM engagement activities. Sarah has a fantastic ability to engage with people of all ranks, backgrounds and industries. As a veteran and former Army officer, Sarah brings a wealth of experience both in and out of uniform to support and champion Australian SME’s into the Defence industry market.

Maddy Rentmeester of Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG)
Working as the program director in the Future Air Combat Systems Program Office (FACSPO) with carriage across the Growler, JSF and Loyal Wingman programs. Maddy has led the formation of FACSPO from a group of disparate and individual Air Combat Projects, into a cohesive project management organisation where project teams work together to leverage learning and experience to deliver exemplary project management services.

Maddy’s leadership empowers the project teams to take risk in a measured and appropriate manner. This leadership has built a strong performance culture across the projects where individuals strive to help each other to achieve broader team outcomes.

Air Vice-Marshal Catherine Roberts of Royal Australian Air Force
Cath has established Air and Space capability as a new division that includes strategy, procedures, and initial structures for management of the entire capability life cycle for all airborne capabilities, whilst implementing a revised Capability Program Management Architecture. Cath was nominated for her superb contributions as a champion for diversity and inclusion, not only in Defence but across the broader Australian community; for her exemplary staff development and mentorship; as a significant role model for women; her superior skill as an internationally recognised engineer; and as a successful national program manager for a number of major RAAF programs.

Deb Herberz of Noetic
Deb is Director Learning and Development for the Noetic Group. In this role she has carriage for the design, development and delivery of Noetic’s education and training services across client sectors and building the internal capability within Noetic to deliver high class learning outcomes. Working in both the Joint Experimentation Directorate and Explosive Ordnance Branches, Deb has been instrumental in designing a professionalisation framework that will be implemented to improve the professional education of joint experimentation staff within Defence. To do this, Deb completed a learning needs analysis from first principles, that was made complex by the competing educational and vocational training needs that are pre-requisites unique to undertaking Defence experimentation.

Naomi Smith of Boeing Defence Australia
As the Program Manager P8 Poseidon Through Life Support Program at Boeing Defence Australia, Naomi is accountable overall delivery and performance of the P8 program, including cost, schedule. In 2020, Naomi led the combined Boeing and Airbus team of 165+ employees to progressively transition from several interim sustainment contracts into a single, contemporary TLS contract. The TLS was a significant uplift in contract design and capability management, with Boeing assuming the role of Platform Steward for P-8A Australia. In just four months, Naomi seamlessly transitioned the program to the comprehensive TLS contract. Her perseverance, leadership and strong customer relationship enabled the team to successfully achieved this critical milestone on time.

Claire Milton of AeroPM
As a senior consultant with AeroPM, Claire has been solely responsible for the engineering aspects of a complex avionics update for the C-27J after a 17 year career in the RAAF. The requirements determination covers upgrades to more than 20 individual systems as a system-of-systems dealing with an international user group of four parties alongside the RAAF. Claire led this activity and was able to understand, determine and define the functional requirements of each customer in Italy, two different US users and the OEM to deliver capability to the RAAF. Alongside her mentoring efforts for female engineers, Claire was instrumental in rapidly conducting a feasibility study into sustainability of the Aircraft fleet with little available information. The subsequent approach, analysis, reporting and presentation to senior Defence delegates resulted in shaping strategic direction.

Thanks to all our sponsors: SYPAQ, Penten, Airbus, BGIS, Boeing, Leidos, Precision Public Affairs and Ventia.

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