"We need to show it’s normal to be a woman in industry. I try and encourage them this is something that could interest them, that it is open to them, that they can pursue this career if they want to. I try to reassure them, by sharing my own experience, that it’s possible. Every time I can I try to project the image that it’s normal for women to be in this field, and it’s cool to be in this field."
“… I am not an activist, but I live my femininity quite well in a man’s world, and I find my place there, especially to help other women to feel good in an essentially male environment.”
"To have grown the business from a small family company to a national manufacturing enterprise is an achievement which has brought me significant career satisfaction."
“When I took over Colan, the textile industry had an average rate of government assistance of 26% – in the form of direct budget programs and tariffs. When this support was reduced to 5% and offshore goods flooded in, textile companies like ours simply went to the wall. My strategy was to remain niche and be the first to innovate through fibre properties and fabric construction.”
Kerryn grew up in the east of Melbourne, where manufacturing firms once gainfully employed thousands of Victorians. After graduating from RMIT, she commenced her professional life developing textile ranges, which took her around the world. She became an expert in fibres and the manufacturing processes and production options for apparel, interior and industrial textiles.
“I think fundamentally there is no resistance to women at a higher level ... But to be totally treating men and women the same, totally open and fair and equal, we need to recognise that unconscious bias is present, and until you’re conscious about it there’s no way you can correct it.”
“When I was a kid I never played with a Barbie,” she remembers. “My Dad bought me toy cars to build. I was always working with him on his old cars and he encouraged me to do engineering at university.”