Half Time with Bronte Enright

By Staff Writer

In this instalment of our Half Time interviews, we are talking to Program Manager, Talent at John Holland, Bronte Enright. Bronte is a leader in her field, and is passionate about driving diversity and inclusion within her organisation, and beyond. Her role at John Holland, which powers Workplay, is to oversee gender-based diversity pathways to deliver more inclusive and sustainable talent profiles. We are thrilled to talk to Bronte about her career, her life and her motivations.

  1. Tell us about yourself, your role and your involvement with Workplay.

My role is to create the strategic direction of D&I and Talent pathway programs at John Holland. The race for talent, specifically female talent, in an industry where female participation remains low requires John Holland to think differently. To do away with the ‘business as usual’ model of recruitment in construction, we’ve proudly partnered up with the AFLW to create flexible work opportunities for athletes. John Holland and the AFLW have shared objectives around increasing participation, providing opportunities and raising profiles of females in the communities in which we operate. It’s a rewarding and challenging role – and the true potential of this program is incredibly exciting.

  1. What uplifts you?

Change. Progress. Sunshine. Salt water. Most of all my family!

  1. Would you call yourself an introvert or extrovert?

Most people I know would call me an extrovert. I don’t disagree; however I do often crave alone time and the opportunity to hide away from the noise.

  1. Tell us what your daily routine looks like?

I grew up on a farm and the early morning routine has stuck with me. I’m up at 5am, I wander the house drinking warm water and lemon opening blinds and windows to let the sun in. Very predictable, next stop is a quick check of emails and social media. Then I hit my home gym, during COVID I took over one of our spare rooms and have since kitted it with cardio, weights and a TV I use for classes. I’m big on a sauna so that next then shower and by this time the house starts to come to life. I cook pancakes for my daughter, guzzle coffee and at around 820am we are out the door for school. I live on the south coast so work remotely in a home office, otherwise I’m off to the airport for a slightly longer commute to Sydney or Melbourne. We are beach bums and weekends revolve around the water, we love to surf, swim, and explore our local spots. My evening routine is far more chill, I love cooking and maintain we always sit down to eat together. I’ve been working hard to be present, so I try to ignore work in the evenings and switch off. Instead, I use the time to reflect on the day, download, catchup and settle in for an early night. Unless of course it’s a Friday in which case 5pm sharp is happy hour and you’ll find my dirty martini in hand.

  • What’s one non-negotiable part of your daily routine?

I love chaos but I am also a creature of habit. My morning routine remains the same, even when I travel. I have it down to a fine art. The other constant is coffee 😊

  1. What are you trying to improve in your life?

My fitness. I think we take it for granted and don’t fully appreciate the benefits. I love the feeling of being strong. I am also a slave to the grind because as a very poor sleeper I find it a massive help.

  1. What did you want to be growing up?

An artist. My mother painted and sketched, our house was full of her art and a mish mash of stuff she had collected. My early career inspiration always steered toward the creative.

  1. Do you think 10-year old you would be proud of your journey so far?

I think 10 year old me would be mystified. A lot of my career has been leaders recognising capability in me I hadn’t and challenging me to try new roles, shaping me and supporting me to take a path I perhaps hadn’t considered. On reflection it makes sense to me now, but 10 year old me maybe not so much.

  1. Have you had a mentor in your career? If so, what did they teach you or impart on you?

I am somewhat of a collector; I have several Mentors.

Confidence was something I struggled with, especially as a young woman. I found immense comfort in having someone to check in with, test ideas and learn how to problem solve. The mentor relationships have evolved over time as has my confidence. I don’t think I would be the leader or contributor I am today without the wisdom of experience I was granted through the mentor relationships I have.

  1. What’s been the most pivotal career advice you’ve ever received?


  1. What’s the biggest challenge you’ve encountered in your career, and how did you overcome it?

I was the Manager Base Operations for Qantas domestic, in December 2019 we were battling with horrific bushfires on the East Coast of Australia, at the time I was pulled into a crisis meeting to be briefed on Coronavirus. At the time I thought it was Qantas being overcautious. By March I had stood 50% of my national team down and stepped up into the role of Crisis Chair for PPE globally. Those were very dark times personally and professionally for me. I am a very empathetic person, and the people impact I witnessed daily took a very big toll on me mentally and physically. Reflecting now, my only regret is that I didn’t prepare my team better for the impact – my glass half full approach didn’t cut it and as a result I now take a very different approach to assessing risk and having a BCP.

  1. What’s your proudest moment in your career?

Creating pathways for the first indigenous Pilot cadets at Qantas. A group of students approached me in 2018 having started their journeys to become commercial Pilots. Unfortunately, the training provider folded, lost their funding and subsequently these students where at a loose end. I quiet literally took them all under my wing. With the blessing of my Chief Pilot I began wheeling and dealing to get sponsorship, funding and a training provider onboard to support the completion of their training. Miracles happen and I was able to lock in all of the above, as well as the commitment from our Turbo Prop business to hire the Pilots on our Trainee Pathways should they complete their training and meet the selection and assessment criteria to progress.

Not only was this a really rewarding exercise for me personally, for Qantas it meant that our Indigenous Pilot Pipeline increased by 300%.

I am still in touch with the Pilots, it’s been amazing to watch and be part of their individual journeys and I continue to get great satisfaction watching them chase their dreams.

  1. What’s your role in the Workplay program and why do you enjoy it?

I manage the program internally within John Holland, I also act as the key point of contact for AFLW, clubs and athletes.

The benefits of this program to the individual athletes as well as the opportunity to amplify their individual stories gives me immense pride.

  1. How do you see the overall impact of Workplay in women’s sports?

It’s a conversation starter. Most AFLW viewers have no idea what sacrifices players make to entertain them each week. This program is an excellent vehicle for raising the big issues.

  1. What’s the biggest misconception about your job?

Its transactional. I love the scope to be creative, challenge norms, break rules and build an empire. I get to work with pretty incredible women too, totally up for breaking down barriers and I find that very inspirational.

  1. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Don’t sweat the small stuff.

  1. How do you frame your goals?

I start with utopia and work back from there. Most often its about managing my own expectations and being realistic, I’m like most and want everything done yesterday.

  1. What’s the memory that stands out as the most fun you’ve ever had at work?

Jump seat. At Qantas I was privileged to be a frequent flyer in the jump seat, which is a seat in the flight deck between the Pilots flying the aircraft. It is the most exhilarating, addictive and nerve racking experience of my life. Professionally, nothing has come close to matching that yet but I have been promised a crane may come close….we shall see!

  1. Is there a book, movie, podcast that inspires you?

I love Simon Sineks work, professionally I find him very inspirational. My favourite advice is ‘never be afraid to be the idiot in the room, ask the dumb questions’. When you give yourself freedom to operate without ego its amazing the growth and the doors that open. I never shy away from being the idiot in the room.

  1. How do you seek joy?

I don’t know that I seek it out, I think a lot of it comes in the form of being a mum, a wife, a sister, and a friend. My cup is overflowing with joy.

  1. What is a principle you like to live by?

In our house we have two guiding principles.

 #1 you do you boo. Which is basically, do what makes you happy – we support you and your choices.

#2 which is more a rule that a principle. Which is when we walk to the beach, my wife Sheree ALWAYS goes first to chase the snakes away 😉

  1. What or who can you not live without?

Obviously, family but also sunshine and salt water. Simple.

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