26 October 2021
Carina Zeccola, YWCA Canberra’s President, is a finalist of the Chamberlains Law Business Woman of the Year at the 2021 Rubik3 Canberra Women in Business Awards. The awards are an annual opportunity to acknowledge the outstanding contributions of women in business across our community, whilst the Chamberlains Law Business Woman of the Year is an award that recognises a woman who demonstrates leadership, tenacity, compassion, encouragement, and the pursuit of excellence.
This virtual event will be hosted on Thursday 28 October and we wanted to ask Carina a few quick questions about how she feels being a finalist for this prestigious award.
What does being a finalist for the Chamberlains Law Business Woman of the Year mean to you?
I am so honoured and humbled to be a finalist in the CWB Women in Business Awards. Being in business is as equally challenging as it is rewarding. It is moments like these when I find myself reflecting on what it means to be in business and why I made the decision to go into the business of operating a legal and advisory firm. I measure the success of being in business by the culture that exists in the organisation – amongst the staff and our clients. I am proud of the collegiate and supportive culture amongst our team of nearly 40 staff. I am excited each day by the legal matters our clients entrust us to assist them with. It is easy to sit down at my desk with a smile each morning – ready for the day ahead – with staff and clients like ours.
As a woman in business, I enjoy challenging the stereotypes which still exist in the legal profession and amongst the business community and ensuring there is a path to leadership for any woman that wants to achieve it. I am proud to actively pursue the creation of opportunities for young female lawyers and strive to change the culture of female representation in traditional corporate industries, including in law.
What do you enjoy most about supporting the Canberra region?
Canberra is my home – I was born and raised here! As a local business owner, Griffin Legal always prioritises procuring goods and services from other local businesses. I enjoy supporting other local businesses, and seeing other local businesses refer business to us. It’s all about lifting one another up in the local economy.
I enjoy supporting our region by donating my time and skills through volunteer work I do, including as President of the Board of YWCA Canberra where I get to use my expertise in a different way and see the strategy the Board sets implemented across the community.
Can you tell us what kind of achievements or proud moments you’ve had this year?
I am proud of the way the firm has navigated through the challenges of the past year, faced with COVID-19 restrictions and interruptions. I believe a large part of our success has arisen from prioritising our commitment to diversity, and the health and wellbeing of employees. In the past year, our team has grown by 48%, by attracting some top talent through recognising the benefits of focusing on staff wellbeing.
In addition, the firm continued implementing our Indigenous Procurement Plan and Reconciliation Action Plan. Consistent with the firm’s Mental Health Action Plan, various resources were also provided to staff by way of mental health-focused programs as staff navigated through lockdown. The firm has been recognised for prioritising healthy work and mental health initiatives and action with the ACT Government for many years which is something I am passionate about continuing.
Have there been any recent challenges that you had to overcome for your leadership goals or to establish workplace initiatives?
A key challenge I have had as a leader recently has been establishing a new routine following the birth of my son and re-entering the workforce as a working mother. It is a constant balance of servicing clients to the highest standard, and ensuring I am spending quality time with my family each day. It is important to me that staff see that it IS possible to have both a rewarding career and a committed family life, so they can also do this.
I am lucky in this regard that I had wonderful role models before me who have done this, including my amazing mother who was studying when I was born, and ran a successful business when I was young, as well as an incredibly supportive business partner who balances 4 kids with running a business.
This year the Rubik3 Canberra Women in Business Awards will be held virtually. Will you still dress up for the occasion whilst watching the awards?
I will be logged attending the Awards virtually this year and planning to have a nice dinner at home with the family, and perhaps a glass of bubbles. I am looking forward to putting on a nice top and some lipstick – a change to my current uniform of trackies and ugg-boots throughout lockdown!
Good luck to all of the award finalists! Regardless of the outcome, when the 2021 Rubik Canberra Women in Business Awards recipients are announced, we are so proud of Carina for reaching the finals of this competitive awards program. She is a winner to us!