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7 Mar 2019

Balance is key for a better world

In celebration of International Women's Day, an annual event that was started over 100 years ago, we would like to introduce you to some of the brilliant women that work behind the scenes across the Centennial Parklands. This year's theme, Better for Balance, hopes to encourage gender equality across a diverse range of industries and workplaces. 

Learn more about the important contributions from our team of world-class educators, horticulturists, environmentalists and more.

Amara Glynn, Environmental Officer

Amara is responsible for the Parklands' environmental management strategies, plans, procedures and environmental processes.

Why Centennial Parklands?


I have always been passionate about environmental and conservation work.

Centennial Parklands provides the opportunity to work across a diverse range of projects like assessing the water quality in the ponds, helping to protect wildlife habitats and restoration of plant species found across the Parklands'. 

I love the beautiful natural areas and diversity of wildlife that can be found here.

What do you do outside of work?

I enjoy bushwalking and coastal walks, beach swims and going to playgrounds with my daughter and friends.

What positive gains in your industry have you seen to increase a gender balance?

Centennial Parklands has shown ongoing support for creating a gender balance by providing leadership workshops and recognising the contributions of women and men within our organisation.

How do you think gender-balance drives a better work environment in your industry?

Environmental sustainability is an issue that affects everyone. I think it’s important to have gender-diversity in the work-place so that we can work together towards better, balanced decisions.

Sam Crosby, Nature Play Educator

Since 2010 Sam has been enriching the lives of children, carers and educators through education programs at Centennial Parklands.

As a respected trailblazer in the nature play sector, Sam has developed new philosophies, created innovative programs and enabled more and more children to connect with nature, the bush and their unique Australian heritage. 

Where did you start your career?

I started my career at London Zoo running my own children’s events company, as much as I loved working there I wanted to work in open spaces and parks as it was a more authentic learning experience for people.

Why Centennial Parklands?

From the age of about eight I used to tell anyone who would listen that I wanted to be a Park Ranger. I have always been a big fan of nature and wildlife.

Working at one of the worlds greatest urban parks is a great way to teach city folk about the natural world and hopefully create the next generation of nature nuts so they can annoy their teachers about wanting to be a park ranger, just like I did.

I really enjoy working with other nature educators as there is always such great mentoring going on but also living in a big city but being able to go to work in a beautiful green space every day.

What is your most memorable moment? 

At the end of our first Bush School pilot we had a parent’s day, the kids had been coming for two terms and had learnt so much and were so in their element in our bush classroom.

It was great to see how amazed the parents were watching their kids competently climb trees, build a cubby house with sticks and share their favourite nature places with their family.

The parents were totally blown away, these pre-schoolers were showing such confidence and skill, some of them saw such a totally different side to their kids.

How have you seen positive gains in your industry to increase a gender balance?

Education particularly in the early years is female centric so the aim for me has been to mentor more men to get involved. At the same time mentoring women to take on roles with higher skill levels and responsibility, eventually managing and coordinating their own teams and taking on projects whereas traditionally men in education would be leading.

I also think that good nature learning is a great way of engaging young girls into STEM, nature education helps to build curiosity for the world around them and understanding how it all works a great building block for STEM careers.

How do you think gender-balance drives a better work environment in your industry?

In countries where they have more nature education in the early years they have almost a 50/50 parity between men and woman, this benefits everyone especially the kids as they get to see men caring for nature and working in a nurturing environment.

Madeline Arnott-Bryce, Horticulturalist

Madeline is a driven Horticulturalist at Centennial Parklands who has worked across residential and estate gardens, heritage garden dwellings, restoration of native and endemic species and internationally recognised golf courses in Sydney. 

Some of her work can be seen in the Ian Potter Children's WILD PLAY Garden, redesign of the Randwick Gate entry, Rose Garden and Ornamental Gardens. 

Have you always been interested in plants?

I grew up in a small country town and was constantly surrounded by the natural environment.

I never realised how deeply being in nature influenced my character, moulded my personality and shaped how I saw the world until I was older.

I have always been curious about the relationship between humans and the natural environment so working for Centennial Parklands is perfect for me. I love the intrinsic nature of plant ecology, the symbiotic relationships within plant communities and the resilience and adaptability of flora.

How have you seen positive gains in your industry to increase in gender balance?

I enjoy working with individuals from diverse upbringings and backgrounds. I think gender equality is an important step in bigger picture collaboration and bringing people together.

I believe individual characteristics, attributes and compassion are more defining features in the society that have empowered gender equalisation. I see the modern world is more positively focused on contribution, empowering individuals and outcomes rather than it is on gender classifications.

I think a more diversified workplace is always a strong advantage for teams, networks and industries.

How do you think gender-balance drives a better work environment in your industry?

Gender balance and equal opportunities are integral for creating a balanced team that favours ambition, drive and commitment.

Gender diversification also offers opportunity to engage and collaborate with different individuals to give people the social confidence to be receptive to working with different styles of people.

At the end of the day we are all people and although we may offer different skills and abilities on diverse platforms, we all contribute to a bigger picture of creating a better world.

Melissa Driscoll, Head of Venue Services

Melissa is the Head of Venue Services, leading an exceptional team of venue and event managers that look after major events, weddings, filming, photography, picnics, and much more.

With 18 years of experience in marketing and events, she has developed and delivered major events and community awareness campaigns. She specialises in event production, risk management and creating inclusive events for a range of visitors.

Why Centennial Parklands?

Centennial Parklands is known for its beautiful and iconic green spaces and I have always loved the great outdoors.

I feel lucky that I have been able to combine my passions of event production and being outdoors. 

I love feeling empowered to lead a hard-working team, drive initiatives and ideas whilst having the balance to be a mother to two amazing little human’s Jack and Ruby. 

What do you like to do outside of work?

Spending time with my husband, kids, family and friends, I love going to live music gigs and events, training to become a runner (again) by doing the couch to 5 km training program and dancing. 

How have you seen positive gains in your industry to increase a gender balance?

There are a lot more women in leadership positions that are empowered to be authentic leaders. There is now also a greater balance of men vs women at industry meetings that I attend.

How do you think gender-balance drives a better work environment in your industry?

By inspiring women to realise their potential and appreciate that it is possible to balance your career and have a family if that’s what you aspire to do.

Ambitious leaders

This is just a snapshot of the brilliant women that work every day to maintain the beauty and significance of Centennial Parklands.

It's important that we #BalanceforBetter throughout the year, not just on International Women's Day. To find out other ways women are supporting each other this year visit the official website here. 

Category: News, Experiences

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