155 – No Sex At Work | The secret to gender diversity Ft. Judith Beck

My guest in this episode is Judith Beck. Judith is the author of the salaciously titled book – No Sex at Work. But it’s not what you think. It’s not about the federal government’s famous “bonk ban”. Nope. This is more meaningful than that.

Judith is interested in how we can take control of our professional lives, rather than being defined by our gender. It’s a book full of career tips and strategies to help you thrive.

Judith has a high profile in the industry and has been a mentor to some of Australia’s most successful executives. With a successful career in Banking and Finance, Judith’s entrepreneurial desire led her to form her own Executive Search Firm, Financial Recruitment Group, which she ran as Managing Director for 25 years. Judith is also the Founder of Financial Executive Women and developed FEW in 2012 to follow her passion for ensuring women have the right support systems to advance their careers.


Lesson Learned

A person not a gender

“When I went into my first role, I didn’t go  ‘Oh, I’m a girl’, in this role, ‘I’m gonna be discriminated against and guys are gonna hit on me.’ I didn’t think that light didn’t even cross my mind, I thought, ‘What do I need to do as an individual business person to get from A to B? What are the skills that I need? What do I need to do?”

“But the main thing is because of the upbringing that I had, a “no label” kind of environment, I knew how to handle myself when things did arise. And so that’s really what I wanted to do was inspire people to see “themselves as individuals. What do they need to get from A to B, it’s about learning certain skills and behaviors. And if there are barriers, whether real or perceived, how to knock them down, and how to handle the situations in the workplace when they arrive. That’s the main thing.”


The secret to gender diversity

Organizations are always struggling to be more diverse.  But Judith thinks it all starts with the hiring process.  She thinks it all starts with the hiring panel.  If the panel isn’t diverse their choices won’t be either. A fresh perspective always helps.  That doesn’t just mean having more women or people of colour. It’s about getting people who may not be directly involved with that part of the company.  That needs to be made clear to your HR department or recruitment firm.  Diversity means diverse!


4 points for leaders to consider

  1. Acknowledge a lack of diversity
  2. Diversify your hiring process
  3. Be selective about your recruitment firms
  4. Take diversity seriously


You need an advocate

If you feel like you are not being considered for important roles you need an advocate.  You need someone in your corner.  But those people aren’t necessarily people within your organization.   It’s good to have those people too.  But you need advocates who are one or two levels above you on your company.  People who are not shy about giving you the unvarnished truth.  About yourself and about what you need to do.


“I remember when I first started at a company back in the 80s,.I first went in there so excited about getting the role. And my boss said to me, like after about a month, said ‘Judith, people think you’re aggressive.’ And the thing is, I was too aggressive. And I appreciated the fact that he said that to me, because then I could change the way I needed to work. I got to know my environment, the people. and got more inclusive. And it changed everything. And I was so thankful for that.”




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